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Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (born c. 1845) is a fictional character of the Harry Potter fantasy book series written by J. K. Rowling. He is the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Dumbledore is characterised as being old, benevolent, slightly eccentric, and powerful. As such he resembles an archetypal good wizard in the mould of Merlin or Gandalf. He is often sympathetic to Harry Potter's difficulties. He is also the only wizard that Lord Voldemort fears. The name Albus is from the Latin word albus ("white"), which symbolises good; "Dumbledore", which means "bumblebee", was picked by the author because she imagines him strolling along Hogwarts' halls and humming.
Dumbledore also emits an aura of extreme modesty of his magical abilities. This may be attributed to the fact that he may feel that he is no match for Lord Voldemort, despite the Dark Lord's fear of him. Conversely, he may just not feel it prudent to show his true strengths. There are few occasions where Dumbledore is straightforward about his superior magic abilities, such as when Dolores Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge try to have him arrested, and he replies with "Well - it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to - what is the phrase? - come quietly."
In the movie versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris, who died in 2002 of Hodgkin's disease. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Dumbledore is played by Michael Gambon.
Albus Dumbledore has a brother called Aberforth who was prosecuted for practising inappropriate charms on a goat and may be illiterate. The theory that Aberforth may be the bartender at the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade has been confirmed by Rowling.
Incidentally, the wand cores of both Harry Potter's and Lord Voldemort's wands come from the tail feathers of Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes who shares a bond with Dumbledore. It has also been established by the author that Dumbledore's Patronus is in the form of a phoenix.
In the early 1940s, the Chamber of Secrets was opened. When a student named Myrtle was killed, the school was almost closed; however, Tom Riddle accused Hagrid of opening the Chamber and thus caused the authorities to believe that, with the neutralisation of Hagrid, the school could remain open. Dumbledore was the only one who seemed to think Hagrid was innocent, and while Hagrid was expelled and his wand broken in two, with Dumbledore's help he remained at Hogwarts as the gamekeeper.
That year a werewolf named Remus Lupin came to Hogwarts. Most headmasters would never have allowed a werewolf into Hogwarts, but Dumbledore thought that as long as special precautions were taken, there was no reason why Lupin should not attend.
The 1970s were the dark years when Voldemort was in power. Voldemort was Tom Riddle, who had been a student of Dumbledore years before. Dumbledore was working tirelessly against Voldemort as a member of The Order of the Phoenix.
In 1980, Sibyll Trelawney applied to become the new divination teacher. Dumbledore hired her when she made a prophecy about Voldemort's fall. Two prominent members of the Order of the Phoenix, Lily and James Potter, knew that Voldemort was after them.
Lily and James went into hiding, using the Fidelius Charm, but were betrayed by their Secret-Keeper — Peter Pettigrew — and killed by Voldemort; when Voldemort turned his wand on their one-year-old son, Harry, however, the curse miraculously bounced off of him and back onto Voldemort, reducing him to a mere shadow of his former self. To keep the now-orphaned Harry safe, Dumbledore placed him in the safe keeping of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, his mother's sister and her husband. This was because Dumbledore did not want the fame of being "the boy who lived" to get to Harry's head, and because there he had placed a spell using the special protection of his mother's sacrifice. As long as Harry was in a shelter where his mother's blood remained, he would be safe from any attacks (while Voldemort was no longer a threat, his Death Eaters were still at large, desperate and seeking revenge, as evidenced in their attacks on Frank and Alice Longbottom).
Dumbledore was twice dismissed from his position as Headmaster: During Harry's second year at Hogwarts, Lucius Malfoy "persuaded" the twelve governors of the school to vote for his dismissal as more and more attacks were occurring (a basilisk was petrifying people in the school). In Harry's fifth year, Harry and other students organised a club called "Dumbledore's Army". When Dolores Umbridge discovered it, Albus Dumbledore took responsibility for its creation in order to protect Harry Potter and the other students -- but he refused to be arrested, and escaped after Stunning all the Ministry employees in the room. At the end of the school year, when Voldemort's return was proven, he was reinstated (after Dolores Umbridge was chased out of the school, of course).
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