PAPWBD vs. LV a.k.b.s.a. TMR
So, who won? In my favourite chapter of OotP, who won? Did our cool, old, blue-eyed, strongly Ravenclawed Gryffindor win, or was it our cold, red-eyed, strongly Gryffindored Slytherin win? True, the fight was not complete. Neither killed the other. But, who dominated overall? Who proved himself better?
First, let me make clear one thing. Tom DID NOT run away with Bella because he was scared of Dumbledore, because he “gave up” as he thought there wasn’t much else he could do against Dumbledore. He ran (or rather disapparated) because all the Ministry aurors had shown up. That is my opinion because I cannot imagine Tom running away after putting up such a great fight. Now, onto the analysis.
Dumbledore used the element of surprise to his advantage. Thus, in the beginning, he was clearly on top of things, so much so that Tom’s first three attacks were mere Avada Kedavras (mentioned as a flash of green light). After having failed once, Tom should have tried something else. But, he didn’t because he was too dumbstruck– whether he showed it or not. Dumbledore, on the other hand, used the entrance hall of the Department to his advantage, cutting off any escape routes (or so it seemed) and making sure Bella was busy and Harry was protected. I must say that, even against Tom, Dumbledore didn’t forget to show the eclectic nature of his magic. Not once did he repeat a curse.
And then it was on.
A death curse from Tom and Dumbledore vanished. (When the Moody-impersonator said there was no counter to the Avada Kedavra curse, I thought that if someone tries to run away, the curse chases him or something. This, it seems, is not the case. Now I can imagine how James Potter “put up a good fight” with Tom when they duelled. Going back to the topic at hand.) Notice how Tom’s first Avada Kedavra didn’t destroy the statue while the third one did. It shows that you can vary the curse’s intensity. According to what Bella said about the Unforgivable Curses, Tom enjoyed killing Dumbledore more than he enjoyed (or meant) to kill Harry, thus, the different intensities of the curse.
Going on to Dumbledore. What curse did he use, the power of which was such that even Tom had to conjure a shield? Simply speaking, I do not know and I doubt whether we will ever find out. However, it had several important properties that I am sure of. It was invisible, and it can’t be escaped by disapparating, otherwise Tom might have done so. Thirdly, it exerted a great force that would destroy– not kill, but destroy– Tom. Fourthly, and surely, Dumbledore made the spell look so easy to conjure.
Back to Tom. The shield with an embedded snake shown in the chapter illustration in the Scholastic version is not JKR-authenticated at all. The shield was not destroyed but definitely damaged by Dumbledore’s curse. After the small talk, Dumbledore’s fire-whip easily coiled around Tom, “shield and all.” This was not showy. It seems the small talk between Dumbledore and Tom followed by such a simple curse allowed Tom to settle down. Notice how JKR brings Tom to the brink of defeat (“for one moment Harry thought.”) and from here begins Tom’s rise and Dumbledore’s fall.
Thus, and finally, some innovation from Tom. Dumbledore faced by a double attack. I can’t wait for this scene in the fifth movie. And this cut HAS to be Matrix-style.
A fire emerges from the top of Dumbledore’s head and motion stops. Camera moves 180 degrees around the whole situation. The Snake about to strike, the Flash of Green light, Tom, Dumbledore, Fawkes. Then the motion resumes.
Proves that Dumbledore is as defensive as aggressive. Fawkes was great. He played a small but awesome part. Flick of a wrist, and Dumbledore saves himself, snake destroyed. Next thing you know, Tom is in trouble again. Dumbledore sees the brink of death and recovers so fast to trap Tom again– totally cool. But, Dumbledore’s rein in this battle was over. It was over when he talked to Tom, giving him time to recover his senses, to absorb the shock that Tom was fighting Dumbledore (maybe the first time, maybe n-teenth time; who knows?). After suffocating a bit, Tom turns into a spirit. From the many experiments that Tom performed on himself, one of them gave him another form– that of a spirit. And it was that form which could not be destroyed by the countered Avada Kedavra curse 13 years ago.
It was over, Harry thought, and he came out of his shielding provided to him by Dumbledore. Harry escaped from death once again, and that was that. Tom left Harry unpossessed. And it was then (in my opinion, at least) that pretty much all the Ministry arrived. They saw Tom, who fled with Bella. As Tom, as Voldemort. He could have duelled all the Ministry aurors at once. He could have duelled Dumbledore at once. But to take on both parties was beyond him. And so he fled.
But I didn’t answer the question. Who won? One big point to Tom for recovering from Dumbledore’s element of surprise and managing to scare him to the extent that he sounds scared. And, between you and me, that is saying something. But, a big point to Dumbledore for fighting Tom, fighting him even though he knew he couldn’t possible kill him! That is why he went to Gryffindor for bravery, even though he should have gone to Ravenclaw (for his blue eyes). Who won? Who is more powerful? Only JKR knows.
For those of you who haven’t guessed (shame on you) the title stands for “Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore vs Lord Voldemort also known by some as Tom Marvolo Riddle.”