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The Letters of Albus Dumbledore

1899 – 1945

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Edited by

Hermione Granger-Weasley

and

Minerva McGonagall

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Obscurus Books

18a Diagon Alley, London

2009-2011

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"Albus Dumbledore was a good man."

-Harry Potter, upon his reception of the Order of Merlin, First Class


Foreword: A Man Who Loved

In the years since the Dark Lord's defeat, Albus Dumbledore's image has been toppled, dissected, spat-upon, and dragged through the mud. People who shall not be named directly, but with little moral character and the singular desire to make a sensation, who report for the thrill of sullying that which we hold sacred, have done their part in this with more than enough ardor to go around. Similarly, his image has been raised to new heights, praised, lauded, and scrubbed completely clean. There have been well-meaning people, worshipful people, who have taken what Dumbledore was and vaunted his image so high that he has eclipsed Merlin as the ideal of Wizarding society. His name has become both an insult and a blessing, with no room for the in-betweens. He was the greatest of us; he was the worst of us. He manipulated those he claimed to care for; he was always there to protect those who most needed him. He lied; he always told the truth. He trusted; he was a gullible fool. He loved.

This, we believe, is the greatest key to understanding Dumbledore's character: that he loved. Both sides of the debate claim this as an argument. He loved, and this was weak and foolish. He loved, and this is what made him strong. What we should remember is that love has many sides, and that the same man who has loved unwisely can also love justly and well. There are no absolutes in love, just as there should be no absolutes in life. The moment we begin to think in absolutes, we dishonor everything we fought for in the second Great War, and in doing so, we dishonor ourselves. Dumbledore learned this the hard way: love changes. As did he.

Dumbledore was not Merlin. He made mistakes. He tried to make up for them, sometimes with bad results. Dumbledore was not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He worked tirelessly for those who had no one else to help them, even those who had no magic, those who could never thank him for what he did. He was not the kind of man to ask for thanks, much less expect it, as the Dark Lord expected gratitude from the Wizarding world for the atrocities he committed, much like Gellert Grindelwald before him. Who was he, then?

Unfortunately, there is little of him left. Dumbledore was not an open man. Accustomed to a life of necessary secrecy, all the letters he received he likely vanished, for even our best forensic witches and wizards have found nothing but knitting patterns and candy recipes from the files he left behind. Thus, we have only what he wrote to other people as a record of who he truly was: not a flawless hero, not a conniving villain, but a man. A man who tried all his life to make up for his single greatest mistake: that, blinded by the love that would later make him strong, he could not tell the difference between the greater good, and the greater evil.

It is our hope that this collection of letters, arranged in chronological order and donated to use by the families of his correspondents as well as the last surviving member of his own family, will help shed some light on who Dumbledore truly was. It is our belief that he was nothing more, and nothing less, than this: a man who loved.

-Hermione Granger-Weasley and Minerva McGonagall, with some insight from Harry Potter.

Written with all due gratitude towards the families of Bathilda Bagshot and Armando Dippet for their gracious contributions, and deepest thanks toward Elphias Dodge, Aberforth Dumbledore, and all who consented to be interviewed for their invaluable assistance. Additional content generously donated from the files of the Daily Prophet, the Ministry of Magic, the British Library of Magic, and the Nuremburg Secret War Museum.