Dumbledore – Iconic Legendary Hero or Just another Ficitonal Character?
Jun 18, 2009
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.
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.
“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
“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
“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