Did Albus Dumbldore Sacrifice James and Lily Potter in Order to Stop Lord Voldemort?
Abstract: The author explores the possibility that Dumbledore may have intended Voldemort to find the Potters – and kill them.
Did Albus Dumbldore sacrifice James and Lily Potter in order to stop Lord Voldemort?
Question 1: Why would Dumbledore commit such a horrible act?
Question 2: How, and when, did Dumbledore find the way to stop Voldemort?
Question 3: How do you aim love?
Question 4: What about the prophesy?
For question one, why would Dumbledore commit such an act as aiding and abetting in the murder of James and Lily? Because a world in which Voldemort ruled was unacceptable to anyone in the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort was the cause of many deaths and corruption of the wizard community. Everyone in the Order of the Phoenix was committed to stopping Voldemort, or die trying. Period.
How and when did Dumbledore find a way to stop Voldemort? Dumbledore knew that Voldemort was a sociopath who was only interested in power and achieving his own ends. It is logical to think Voldemort could not comprehend love when he had always seen how powerful fear was. Being the headmaster at Hogwarts would have enabled Dumbledore to research the magical qualities of love and find a way to use those qualities to defeat a wizard as powerful as Voldemort. Rowling does not address the matter to my recollection.
Let’s look at how you aim love. You can take advantage of a situation, but you really can’t point love at a person. It was Lily’s sacrifice that enabled the magical qualities of her love for Harry to defeat Voldemort.
Dumbledore had to manufacture a situation where he knew that Voldemort, himself, would come to commit the murder. How to get the message to Voldemort? Enter Snape. Dumbledore knew that Severus Snape was a Death Eater. He would have seen that James and Sirius were tormenting Snape while they were in school, as well as that Snape was being seduced by the allure of the Dark Arts and the bond of belonging to a powerful group such as the Death Eaters.
Dumbledore knew that he was being followed, and wanted to be followed. From a Death Eater’s thinking, a visit between Madam Trelawney, a Seer, and Dumbledore, would provide vital information on how Dumbledore would try to stop Voldemort. Dumbledore knew he was being followed by the Death Eaters, and wanted to be followed so they could hear what was said. Dumbledore cast a spell on Trelawney and had her tell the prophesy so Voldemort would try to kill Harry.
So what was said? The prophecy. Does Dumbledore believe in the Prophesy? No. Why? Because he made Trelawney say it so Snape could hear it. The purpose of the prophecy was to get Voldemort to try to kill Harry or Neville, so their mothers would sacrifice themselves – thus providing Harry or Neville with the means to defeat Voldemort. It wouldn’t have worked to have Lucious Malfoy commit the murders on Voldemort’s orders. In this case, Dumbledore needed Voldemort to kill Lily and then try to kill Harry. Otherwise, the magic would not work against Voldemort.
What if Snape had heard the whole prophesy and reported it to Voldemort? Nothing different would have happened. The prophecy is pretty ambiguous when you look at it. The most specific thing it says is that the Dark Lord will mark someone as his equal. What does that mean? Brand him; Scar him; Write it down in a diary? As for the rest of the prophecy, it basically tells Voldemort that he has to act, and act right away before the baby figures out how to use the power. This sense of urgency would have motivated Voldemort to find James and Lily no matter how well they were hidden.
What about the other prophecy Trelawney makes in POA? That one is probably accurate and immaterial to the point I am trying to make. It doesn’t matter if she was right on that foretelling of events. She still had nothing to do with the prophecy to Dumbledore. Ask yourself if it makes more sense to have Dumbledore use her to stop Voldemort, than for Dumbledore to have to rely on good luck in defeating Voldemort. You will see that though it was a terrible thing, Dumbledore was really left with only one way to stop Voldemort.
Why does Dumbledore show Harry the prophecy if it is a fake? Well, what is Dumbledore supposed to do? Tell Harry, “Here is how I faked Voldemort into killing your parents so you would become the weapon that would destroy him”? Voldemort had just spent the entire Order of the Phoenix book trying to get the rest of the prophecy. Showing Harry what it said kept Harry from asking too many questions about it. Besides, Dumbledore uses the prophecy to motivate Harry to continue the battle against Voldemort, in Half-Blood Prince.