The Power of Love: Comparing Dumbledore and Lily Potter
It’s no secret within the wizarding world that love is one of the most powerful forms of magic. In fact, Dumbledore tells Harry this when Harry asks how he was able to defeat Quirrell. This example shows us just how powerful it is, but this is not the only time that we see the power of love used. We also see it used during the Fantastic Beasts films. But is there a connection between Lily’s sacrifice and Dumbledore’s move to protect Credence from Grindelwald?
During their youth, Dumbledore and Grindelwald made a blood pact. They did this to ensure that should one of them decide they no longer wanted to take part in their plan to find the Deathly Hallows and take over the wizarding world, the other wouldn’t stop them. For years, Grindelwald had the blood pact, until Teddy stole it at the end of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It is this blood pact that prevented Dumbledore from moving against Grindelwald.
Many fans of the series know that it is ultimately Dumbledore who defeats Grindelwald. However, when the blood pact was revealed, questions were raised — the biggest one being how Dumbledore would eventually come to beat Grindelwald in a duel. Many fans speculated that the blood pact would have to be destroyed. And in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, this is what happened.
He sought to kill. I sought to protect. Our spells met.”
During the ending of the film, Grindelwald tries to kill Credence after the latter reveals that Grindelwald had killed the Qilin. However, both Dumbledore and Aberforth move to protect Credence from Grindelwald. This act of protecting Credence caused the blood pact to break, which would allow for Dumbledore himself to move against Grindelwald in the future.
Lily’s sacrifice is one of the key moments within the series. Her sacrifice provides Harry with the protection that ultimately allows him to defeat Voldemort. On that Halloween night, it was never supposed to be Lily who died, but she refused to stand aside for Voldemort. After he killed her, he went to kill Harry as well, but the sacrificial protection that occurred as a result of Lily’s love for her son and her desire to protect him meant that the Killing Curse rebounded and Voldemort was defeated, albeit temporarily.
Looking at these two acts side by side, it is easy to see there is a connection between the two of them. Both Lily and Dumbledore stand in front of the most powerful Dark Wizards of their time when they are about to cast the Killing Curse. They do this to protect the ones they love, even at the expense of their own lives. It is hard to tell whether Dumbledore knew that protecting Credence would break the love pact, but it was still an action he performed to protect his nephew. In Lily’s case, she knew that she would die, but still, she did not hesitate at that moment and did everything that she could to protect her son.
However, the main difference between these two acts is that Voldemort underestimates the importance of love, while Grindelwald sometimes overestimates Dumbledore’s love for him. It was Voldemort’s own upbringing and the life he spent as Tom Riddle that is responsible for this. Born as a result of a love potion, Voldemort is incapable of love, and throughout his life, he comes to see love as a weakness. In turn, that belief becomes his own weakness — it is not only the protection that comes from Lily’s sacrifice that helps Harry to defeat him. It is the love that Harry has for his friends and his family, as well as the love they have for their own loved ones, that fuels their desire to fight Voldemort.
Grindelwald is the opposite, however. He overestimates how much love Dumbledore has for him at times. In the films, Grindelwald relies on this love and the blood pact to protect himself. He does what he wants because he knows this is protecting him. Nobody else can stop him. Dumbledore is the only one who can defeat him, and with this magical bond between the two of them, this is impossible without Dumbledore dying. What Grindelwald doesn’t seem to consider is that Dumbledore no longer loves him the way he once did. Both men have changed, and with Grindelwald putting both the wizarding and Muggle worlds in danger, Dumbledore is prepared to do anything to protect the others he loves who live in these worlds.
Comparing these two stories, it is easy to see that love plays an integral part in the wizarding world. Though the magic might not be something that is fully understood, it is clear that the act of it allows for protection. This can be protecting the ones that you love, such as Lily’s love protecting Harry, or it can be using someone’s love to protect yourself, such as how Grindelwald used the love he and Dumbledore once shared to defend himself. But ultimately, love still always defeats evil.