Dumbledore – Iconic Legendary Hero or Just another Ficitonal Character?

Jun 18, 2009

Posted by Doris

What Would Dumble Do?

To me, Dumbledore died on July 02, 1995.

Working on a Harry Potter fan site during the heyday of book releases meant that well meaning fans would send us spoilers before the book release. Two weeks before the release date, I received a book page in my in box, with the fate of the headmaster highlighted in a putrid green.

I quickly closed the page and deleted the file. I sat back in my office chair, and reflected to myself the fate of this character. I’d taught literature long enough to know the adage, “The old wizard with the white beard dies.” I knew Joseph Campbell’s hero journey model well enough to know the hero had to go about the task alone. I had even discussed the possibilities of this death with many other Harry Potter fans, but suddenly, he was dead.

Dumbledore was dead, killed by one of my favorite characters in the series.

I sat in disbelief. I was heartbroken, angry at Snape, angry at Jo, and more than anything worried sick about Harry. I found myself calling Sue Upton and crying with her looking for solace.

All of these tears were for a fictional character.

There are those people, you know the ones, that think admiring a fictional hero seems pointless. After all, they didn’t really “do” anything.

“Fairy tales, are more than true. Not because they tell us that
dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.”

” G.K. Chesterton

If you are reading this blog, you probably love a good story, but reading fiction is more than just entertainment. I could quote boring educational psychology books, (and trust me, they are very boring) but we all know that reading fiction helps us make sense of our non-fictional world. No, I can’t pull out a wand and clean my kitchen, (Trust me, I’ve tried) but reading fiction makes me a better problem solver in my non-fiction life.

Dumbledore is a fictional wizard that came from the imagination of a brilliant woman. But, Harry Potter fans know, he’s more then that as well. I’m amazed at how often this one character is referenced in real lives. Dumbledore has become a cultural icon. His lessons live on, not just on the pages of a book, but within the culture that we all share. Albus Dumbledore has become a real teacher, a real mentor and a true inspiration to those of us who believe that magic still happens.

Very soon, when the movie comes out, we’ll witness first-hand the death of Albus Dumbldore.

I know I’ll be joined around the world by thousands of fans when I cry.

So what do you think? Is Dumbledore a cultural icon of our day, or is he just another character in a story, destined to turn a few pages, then walk out of our minds forever?


Don’t forget that The Harry Potter Alliance’s “What Would Dumbledore Do” campaign is asking you to tell the world what lessons you learned from Hogwart’s Headmaster. You can add your blog into their Common Room here.

Recently, I asked people on Twitter to give me some of their favorite quotes about Dumbledore. The quotes could be something he said, or just something about him. I started following the hash tags (#Dumbledore) so I could keep up with the quotes. As I looked for the quotes, I was amazed at a trend I didn’t expect. Just eyeballing the “tweets” that contained his name, Dumbledore is mentioned approximately every 13 minutes by someone on Twitter. Of course, if your tweets are set to private, then I can’t see those. So those tweets are not part of my count.

After I started this little project of collecting quotes, the reality of how many people have been touched by this character sunk in. Some people tweeted me with over 20 quotes, some sent me several that others had mentioned. If you want to Tweet your favorite quote now, please do so. Just add the #Dumbledore hash tag to assure it shows up on the Twitter feed I’ve linked to below.

Dumbledore on Twitter

Favorite Quotes: Below is a list of the first few favorite quotes to come in after I requested them, and the Twitter username of the person who gave it to me.

“Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Oddment! Blubber! Tweak! Thank you.” @Rudius_Hagrid @NyssaM & @yellowpepper

“Do not pity the dead. Pity the living and above all pity those who live without love.” @andytlc

“The truth… It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.” @NyssaM

“Of course it is happening in your head Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?” @andytlc

“In dreams, we enter a world that’s entirely our own.” @jkrfan

“Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” @tryston009

“I am not worried, Harry, I am with you.” @stampsgal

Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here.” @ravenclawdancer

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” @sassymonkey

“Instead you get to arrest me,” @RylOraMcBeck

You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be” @FzngWizbee

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure” @ravenclawdancer & @euffemia

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” @kimberlydenz & @gbmiii

“One can never have enough socks… Another Xmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair.” @NyssaM

“It is our choices¦that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” @RGtwiddler & @FzngWizbee

“Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.” @NyssaM

“such as myself” @thehogshead

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” @NyssaM

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open” @jkrfan

“I haven’t blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs.” @NyssaM

“We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on.” @NyssaM

23 Responses to Dumbledore – Iconic Legendary Hero or Just another Ficitonal Character?

Avatar ImageHarryPotterMuch says: Wow, Jo Really Did A Great Job Did'nt She?Avatar ImageKatetheKeeper says: Dumbledore is truly an amazing character. All of my real life heroes have traits that compare to his. Thank you, Jo, for creating such an amazing person. Avatar ImageOxymoronic says: Great post! I love, love love the character of Albus Dumbledore. As far as I'm concerned, Dumbly is most definitely a cultural icon, who will not only hold a place in my mind for years to come, but a place in my heart as well.Avatar ImageSammysaint says: Dumbledore did mean alot to me as, as you said, the things he teaches his students are life lessons not just magic. I have read the Half-Blood Prince many times and cry every time when that scene takes place. However i don't just cry then, i can cry for a while after, so hurt and sad that I would never read more of his wisdom again :(Avatar ImageDorisTLC says: Dumbldore is one of my fave literary characters too. Jo did a wonderful job making him a multi-dimensional persona. Thanks everyone Avatar Imagemaxteach says: Yes, Dumbledore is a fictional character. But, what he has spawned in the real world is what makes him a cultural icon. If it hadn't been for Dumbledore's Army, there wouldn't be a Harry Potter Alliance. Through this fictional character, we see that change CAN be affected; that fighting back is NOT futile; that truth CAN win out... as long as you have love in your heart and friends by your side, you can change the world.Avatar Imagekcat22 says: Cool blog. Dumbledore was a great character and he made a big impact on the reader.Avatar ImageDorisTLC says: Thanks guys - Max you are right fighting back isn't futile, and it's what we all have to do sometimes. Dumbledore has been an awesome influence on so many of us.Avatar Imageemmalinnankivi says: Dumbledore was such a wealth of knowledge, not just about magic, but about life in general. Very inspiring!Avatar Imagewordsaremagic says: Chesterton, Campbell, Rowling--I love your taste in writers!Avatar ImageDorisTLC says: We are lucky to have one worth admiring. It's great to see so many people reaching out and embracing the lessons learned in this stories. Thanks everyone!Avatar ImageKaylie Marie says: Dumbledore has always fascinated me. And I found it interesting at how real he seemed. I feel like he's a kind of grandfather to me. You're not alone Doris, we all admire fictional characters; lucky for us, we have found one worth admiring. Avatar Imagehermioneginny122 says: i have so many dumbledore sayings (twitter didnt work for me so im leaving mine here) to the well-organized mind death is but the next great adventure call him voldemort,harry.always use the proper name for things.fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself. the truth. it is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. it was agony to touch a person marked with something so good. the question is not who. the question is how? you will find that i only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. you will also find that help shall be givin at hogwarts to those who ask for it. my sorce tells me hes hiding in a forest in albania. it is our choices, harry, that show what we truly are far more than our abilitys. only a true griffiondor could have pulled that ouut of the hat harry. what we need is more time. you think the dead we loved ever truly leave us... your father is alive in you. in a way you did see your father last night.... you found him inside you and so much more i still have about 7 more pages of dumbledore qsayings.Avatar ImageDorisTLC says: Thanks for adding in your favorite quotes. I have so many quotes that I love. It's amazing how one fictional character can impart so much wisdom.Avatar ImageNayNay3782 says: This was awesome. Dumbledore is an AMAZING person who I learned a lot from. Thanks, Jo, for creating such an admirable and witty character that we can all look up to. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore lives on! Avatar ImageLillylove says: Oh Doris ~ Such a beautifully written blog. This one spoke straight to my heart. You put into words my exact feeling in regard to how fiction and its' characters so profoundly effect our real world. Dumbledore has indeed, and will continue to leave his mark on the lives of all of us :) Avatar ImageMRG7672 says: Dumbledore deserves to live in the real world... but who know's, our world may just be another book for him to live in ;)Avatar ImageDorisTLC says: I adore thinking about Dumbledore alive in another book somewhere - one never knows. Thanks for popping in, don't forget to check out HPA's WWDD project if you love our favorite headmaster.Avatar ImageEllanalida says: Wonderfully written :) Dumbledore was my favorite character since the beginning of the series. I still remember how much I cried up on learning his death in the HBP. It was 2am, 26 hours after the release of the book, and I was crying my eyes out in my room. He always felt real to me, and I always thought that if someone was to ask me which character you wished was real, my answer would always be (and still is) Dumbledore. Since I don't have Twitter, I'd like to share my favorite quote of his from the end of Goblet of Fire here: "Remember Cedric. Remember if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort."Avatar ImageDorisTLC says: I adore that quote of Dumbldores. It shows his love for friends, even in a time of war he remembered those who died for the cause.Avatar Imagedragontowncorsets says: I cried my eyes out when I read Dumbledore's death. I cried for Harry and the wizarding populous at large, because they lost the most important, if not unconventional, figure in their community. Dumbledore's death marked the second-coming of dark times that would stretch their strength and faith to its limits, and would surely mean the further loss of loved ones. It's easy to apply these feelings to our own lives when we realize that stability, whether at home or across the globe, is fleeting. We see ourselves in the fictional witches and wizards who drew their families closer and fought fiercely for what they believed in. We would do no differently if our way of life was threatened. Jo Rowling has such stalwart fans not only because the HP series has been such a privilege to read, but because she's written all of us, and all of those we know, into these stories. I will always be thankful that she chose to share the talent she was blessed with.Avatar Imagegoodegogo says: Dumbledore was something more than a fictional character to the hearts of true fans. I don't cry very often when I read sad things in books I just feel the pain of it inside but I was so close to crying or even shed a tear when Dumbledor died. When I saw the movie it was so hard to keep my self from crying I really felt sad but I know that Dumbledor is not gone that he will apear again and we will see his wisdome again. Dumbledore gave us some of the wisest things we know that we will never forget.Avatar Imagemiss_ainz says: Dumbledore is an amazing character and hero he will not be forgotten

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