The Burrow: He Did it All for Harry
by Robbie Fischer
We are all crushed by the loss of Albus Dumbledore, but who has better reason to be crushed than Harry Potter? Harry proudly accepted the title of Dumbledore’s man through-and-through, but how little does he–do we–realize that Dumbledore was Harry’s man through-and-through!
In Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, who made sure that Harry came into possession of his father’s old invisibility cloak? Why, Albus Dumbledore, of course. No one had better reason than the Headmaster to want to prevent children from sneaking around the school at night, but Albus practically encouraged Harry to do just that. He believed so much in Harry’s ability to face Lord Voldemort–and his right to do so–that he essentially stepped out of the way and let the boy carry on. And later, he awarded Harry and his friends enough points in the house tournament (because of their heroic actions) to bring their house from last to first place!
The next year, Harry and his best mate Ron Weasley should have been expelled for the way they broke the rules. To be sure, Dumbledore was disappointed in Harry when he arrived via the Whomping Willow in a stolen, illegal, flying car. When the boys broke every third rule in the school rule book to defeat Tom Riddle and stop the basilisk attacks, however, Dumbledore could have had them expelled. Instead, he had them honored with special awards for services to the school!
During Harry’s third year, Dumbledore entrusted Harry and Hermione with a most dangerous mission: to go back in time to save a convicted (but innocent) man and hippogriff from certain extreme injustice. Once again, he winked at extreme peril and high-level rule breaking on the part of his favorite student, even helping to cover it up.
Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts was where Dumbledore’s care for Harry begins to grow truly poignant. Don’t you realize that the sole reason Dumbledore pushed the age-restriction rule on the Triwizard Tournament was simply that he wanted to protect Harry? No headmaster or headmistress of Hogwarts had ever seen a need for such a restriction, but Dumbledore sensed the danger that Harry was in and was desperate to protect him, even at the risk of making himself very unpopular. It’s no wonder he was furious when Harry’s name still, somehow, came out of that Goblet of Fire!
If there were ever any doubt that Dumbledore would do anything for Harry Potter, behold what happened in the boy’s fifth year at school. Dumbledore made himself the scapegoat for the crimes of Harry and his secret DADA group, Dumbledore’s Army. He had to flee the school and become a fugitive because he wanted to protect Harry and keep him in school. It’s a shame Harry didn’t appreciate this; by the end of the year he was yelling at the headmaster and smashing his favorite possessions. But Dumbledore took all this in stride, forgave the boy, and offered himself to blame for a death for which Harry was equally responsible.
And then there was Harry’s sixth–and Dumbledore’s last–year at Hogwarts. Even apart from the fact that Dumbledore spent the last of his strength protecting Harry, and that he knowingly risked and suffered so much to help Harry in his mission against the Dark Lord, consider this: It is my conviction that Dumbledore knew that his hour was at hand when he made Severus Snape Hogwarts’ Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Dumbledore had resisted doing so for many years, in spite of Snape’s persistent attempts to attain the post. A man of Dumbledore’s insight must have realized that the year that began with Snape’s appointment to the DADA post would end in his own death. So what prompted him to make the appointment? Was it merely the fact that absolutely no other DADA teacher could be found, after fifteen years of the position being cursed? No, I think not.
I think that Dumbledore acted out of the same determination that led Minerva McGonagall to proclaim, “I will help you to become an Auror if it is the last thing I do!” I think he was aware that Harry had the ambition to be an Auror, and, as Harry himself realized, his best chance to fight Lord Voldemort laid in that direction. Dumbledore also knew that with Snape’s refusal to teach NEWT potions to any student who got less than an O on their potions OWL, Harry had no chance of becoming an Auror as long as Snape taught NEWT-level potions class. It was thus essential, for Harry’s sake, that the potions master be replaced. Therefore, Dumbledore courted his own death by promoting Snape to the DADA position, simply to furnish Harry with a potions master who would allow him to take the NEWT-level course.
Dumbledore, who had admittedly welcomed the death of countless unnamed people and creatures simply for Harry’s happiness, now welcomed his own death. He put Snape in the position that he knew would make a teacher prey to the Dark Arts, after so many years free of the Arts’ control. He left the entire wizarding world more insecure and leaderless than ever, more or less to advance the career prospects of a single, favored student.
Harry had better not let Dumbledore down, because if I am right, Dumbledore did all this for Harry alone.