Dumbledore’s Earliest Debriefs with Harry: Revelations from Harry Potter Books 2 & 3

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The last post we discussed what Dumbledore knew, when he knew it, and whether he should have told Harry sooner—and what Dumbledore disclosed at the end of the first book after Harry rescues the Philosopher’s Stone from Voldemort/Quirrell.


Today I want to continue that theme slightly and talk about what Dumbledore disclosed to Harry at the end of the next two books, and how he begins to unfold the realities of Harry’s his connection to Voldemort.


At the end of the second book after Harry defeats the basilisk.

1)     According to Dumbledore’s sources, Voldemort was hiding in the forests of Albania

2)     Voldemort was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen

3)     Voldemort disappeared after leaving the school  .  .  . traveled far and wide  .  .  . sank so deeply into the Dark Arts, consorted with the very worst of our kind, underwent so many dangerous, magical transformations

4)     When he resurfaced as Lord Voldemort, he was barely recognizable.

5)      Nothing but loyalty toward Dumbledore could have called Fawkes to Harry

6)     “You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,” said Dumbledore calmly, “because Lord Voldemort—who is the last remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin—can speak Parseltongue. Unless I’m much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I’m sure.  .  .  .”   “Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?” Harry said, thunderstruck.   “It certainly seems so.”

7)     Harry is different from Tom Riddle because he chose Gryffindor and asked the sorting hat not to go in Slytherin.  .  .  . “Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”


So by book two, Dumbledore knows that it seems that “Voldemort put a bit of himself” in Harry, and on the night Voldemort tried to kill Harry when he was a toddler, he unintentionally transferred some of his powers to Harry.


And of course Dumbledore knows what the prophesy says:


Harry is destined to fight to the death the Dark Lord—heavy stuff for a twelve-year-old, I guess.  So Dumbledore tells Harry—basically—to go off and play—and the story continues, Harry none the wiser.


In book 3, Harry saves Sirius and Buckbeak, once again has an end-of-the-book discussion with Dumbledore.  Harry is concerned that he didn’t make any difference because Pettigrew got away.

Dumbledore tells Harry that his actions made all the difference in the world: “You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate.”

Harry then tells Dumbledore about Professor Trelawney’s prediction, where she said “Voldemort’s servant was going to set out to return to him before midnight.  .  .  . She said the servant would help him come back to power.”

Dumbledore concludes that was Professor Trelawney making a real prediction and calmly took the news that Pettigrew is going to help Voldemort return to power.  Harry feels guilty that he has done something that will help Voldemort return to power.  But Dumbledore looks at his action in a positive light:

“You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew’s life.”

“But if he helps Voldemort back to power—!”

“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them  .  .  . trust me  .  .  . the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.”

Finally, Harry had hoped that he had seen his father James across the lake the night before and realizes that his father is indeed dead and cannot return.  Dumbledore helps Harry through this realization as well, telling him, “Your father is alive in you, Harry . . .  How else could you produce that particular Patronus? . . .  So you did see your father last night, Harry.  .  .  . You found him inside yourself.”

So in book 3, Dumbledore doesn’t tell Harry much (except that saving a wizard’s life might help you later) and focuses more on “cheering” Harry up.

Harry remains in the dark, and off once more to the Dursley’s for his summer break!