Thursday, November 10, 2005

Harry Potter: How JKR Shows Us The Truth About Dumbledore

I've had two posts about this already, but I just ran across more proof that ... SPOILER SPACE:

Dumbledore does not appear in the book, and is really Wormtail using Polyjuice. In post one, I gave a detailed proof of this, citing passages from the book explicitly. (I also try to show that Harry does not in fact inherit from Sirius Black and that Tonks is also an imposted.) In post two, I give a handy summary of the first post, without all the book citations, so as to make it more accessible, and then show what interesting conclusions one can draw about certain items smuggled into Hogwarts by an unwitting Harry Potter (and show this with quotations from the text). At the least, read the second post, but the first as well if you want to see all the textual evidence.

Here is an additional proof. I claimed that Dumbledore suddenly straightening up and excusing himself to go to the bathroom when in Slughorn's house is the result of the the Polyjuice he is using wearing off.

(Yes, one could say that this is to give Harry opportunity to persuade Slughorn, but every example I give here has an acceptable alternative explanations, for JK tied up all the loose ends. It is the confluence of evidence all pointing to a fake Dumbledore that makes me think this is so.)

Looking back at the book, it is almost exactly ONE HOUR from the time Harry first sees Dumbledore to the time Dumbledore uses the bathroom at Slughorn's. In fact, this seems to be the longest Dumbledore is with Harry, and so that is why Dumbledore is forced to take another Polyjuice potion, for such potions wear off after about an hour.

JKR deliberately puts in time references so that the astute reader can calculate that about one hour elapses from Harry's meeting Dumbledore to Dumbledore's using the bathroom.

These all occur in chapter 3.

Harry receives a letter from Dumbledore, and starts waiting for him at 7 PM. We read:
Though he already knew it by heart, Harry had been stealing glances at this missive every few minutes since seven o'clock that evening, when he had first taken up his position beside his bedroom window, which had a reasonable view of both ends of Privet Drive. He knew it was pointless to keep rereading Dumbledore's words; Harry had sent back his "yes" with the delivering owl, as requested, and all he could do now was wait: Either Dumbledore was going to come, or he was not.
Harry has been waiting at the window for Dumbledore for 4 hours when he starts to snore:
Harry Potter was snoring loudly. He had been sitting in a chair beside his bedroom window for the best part of four hours, staring out at the darkening street, and had finally fallen asleep with one side of his face pressed against the cold win-dowpane, his glasses askew and his mouth wide open. The misty fug his breath had left on the window sparkled in the orange glare of the streetlamp outside, and the artificial light drained his face of all color, so that he looked ghostly beneath his shock of untidy black hair.
The best part of four hours means that it is not yet 11 PM. Then, when it actually hits exactly 11 PM, we see that Dumbledore has arrived:
The minute hand on the alarm clock reached the number twelve and, at that precise moment, the street-lamp outside the window went out.
Thus, it is 11:00 PM. At that precise moment, she takes pains to tell us.

Dumbledore talks with the Dursleys and takes Harry with him. They set out for Slughorn's place. At that point, it is almost 12.
He set off at a brisk pace, past an empty inn and a few houses. According to a clock on a nearby church, it was almost midnight.
Then, it is 12, just as they are almost at Slughorn's house:
The church clock chimed midnight behind them.
Note the Cinderella reference. Polyjuice wears off after about one hour (not exactly), but the clock chiming midnight signifies that the spell/potion may soon wear off.

Then, Dumbledore says that he might be an imposter:
"No, I thought not. You have not asked me, for instance, what is my favorite flavor of jam, to check that I am indeed Professor Dumbledore and not an impostor."
Then, they reach Slughorn's house, figure out that Slughorn is actually in his house and have a short conversation with him. In the middle of this, Dumbledore suddenly stands up and leaves to go to the bathroom:
Dumbledore stood up rather suddenly.

"Are you leaving?" asked Slughorn at once, looking hopeful.

"No, I was wondering whether I might use your bathroom," said Dumbledore.

"Oh," said Slughorn, clearly disappointed. "Second on the left down the hall."
Let us do a simple calculation. It is 11 PM when Dumbledore arrives at the Dursleys and 12 midnight when they arrive at Slughorn's house. That is exactly one hour. Polyjuice wears off in about an hour, and so we expect the Polyjuice to wear off any moment. When they Slughorn and begin a conversation, JKR makes absolutely no reference to time, so as to highlight the one hour differential. It is quite likely that Dumbledore began to feel the effects of the Polyjuice wear off, and so excuses himself.

If you wish to say that JKR intends nothing by this, then why is she putting in all these references to the time, and does so such that it works out to amount of time Polyjuice would take to wear off?

This in addition to the many other proofs mentioned in the previous two posts.


Anonymous said...

For some reason, the first Dumbledore page is not working for me, so I will post it here. In chapter four, Dumbledore points out to Slughorn that he knew the attack was staged due to the missing Dark Mark. Dumbledore questions Slughorn about the RED blood on the wall, Slughorn says it is dragon blood, which Dumbledore AGREES. If you remember in the first book that Dumbledore was the one who found the 12 uses for dragon's blood, so he would know what it looks like. In OotP, Hagrid uses a piece of dragon meat on his face and the blood is GREEN.

joshwaxman said...

interesting. good eye. it is always difficult to argue from incidental details cross-books, because there is always the chance that JKR was just being sloppy (though she could always make use of an encyclopedia of Harry Potter).

*If* you are correct and this was intended, then one possible implication is that there actually *was* an assault, and to fool Harry, they did not put a dark mark there. Perhaps they killed the actual Slughorn, and that is his red blood on the wall. Though Slughorn's reactions throughout the scene suggests that it is him. Something to think about, indeed. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

If you have a copy of Goblet of Fire, check out Chapter 35. The Barty Crouch, Jr. confession reveals a lot of information to fill in more gaps of your theory.


Anonymous said...

You're theory is extremely interesting.
I've also read the Draco impersonating Tonks theory by nymphe_ which fits in nicely with yours.

However, I've likewise read a theory (can't remember where) about how there was a big plot between Dumbledore and Snape to
a)prevent Draco from becoming a killer
b)to make Voldermort trust Snape
c)to plant the fake locket/have someone drink the poison - which might be lethal and uncurable.
I think pikacharma's theory about Tonks impersonating Draco can fit quite well with this.

Trouble is, I like both pairs of theories equally. And so this has got me to thinking.

Say it was Lucius as DD as you originally claimed?
- Snape could have told DD of LV's plan to replace him with an imposter and they turned it to their own advantage.
- What if having someone impersonating DD wasn't instigated by the Dark Lord but DD to fake his death? In which case DD could be off doing something else important.
What if it wasn't the false-DD all the time?
What if Lucius had turned to the 'Light-side' after being abandoned and punished by Voldermort?
(If he was actually killed) would he be willing to die in order to save Draco - especially if it was serving some other purpose as well?
A problem with that could be what happens if LV finds out?
Either way who is impersonating Lucius in Azkaban?

If it was Wormtail (which you later postulated)
- Snape could still have told DD of LV's plan to replace him with an imposter and they turned it to their own advantage. I don't think Snape would have been above using this as a way to get rid of Wormtail.
Of course the question there would be what was done with DD when Wormtail took his place - do the DEs have him?
- Or it could have been DD's plan to start with not LV's - again, to fake his death.

Going with the Dumbledore's Plan theory:-
If Draco is impersonating Tonks, why can't she be impersonating him in return?
After all just as Tonks isn't always acting Tonks-like, Draco isn't always acting like himself either. And though we're told that Tonks' metamorphmagus powers aren't working properly, it's never from Tonks herself. It's only really hearsay. (I think, correct me if I'm wrong.)

If it's Wormtail as DD then Draco could be in on it and the whole conversation thing on the tower was an utter set up for Harry and the DEs.

If it's Lucius, it's likely that Draco would only know everything if the AK was faked - and he therefore probably wouldn't know if Tonks was impersonating him. But it would still be a set up, aimed at Draco as well as Harry and the DEs.

Of course, like any plan, since they've let DEs into Hogwarts, things don't work out perfectly - it was always going to be dangerous.

How much does Dobby know? Or Kreacher?

Plus, if it wasn't DD who was killed - what about the Unbreakable Vow?
If DD's alive then it is still unfulfilled.

If the imposter was LV's idea - This means that either Snape or Draco will still have to kill the real DD now - and Draco will find out that he was set up to kill either Wormtail or his own father (assuming that DD hasn't utilised it for his own means and that Draco wasn't in on it, in which case he would have to fake finding out).

If the imposter was DD's idea - this again means that either Snape or Draco will still have to kill the real DD now.
Unless what happened at Spinner's End was a set up Bella's sake? So she would tell LV about the vow after Snape kills 'Dumbledore'? But the vow was faked or her memory changed

Wow, bloody hell that's long, not to mention really complicated. Have I confused you enough? *g*

Anonymous said...

what would be the advantage for Wormtail to pose as Dumbledore? anyway he's too stupid to do it and capture Dumbledors character properly! there are alot of holes in your theory...

Anonymous said...

if DD was an imposter send by LV why would he tell HP about the Horcruxes and LV's past history.

Unknown said...

I find one big problem with the Wormtail impersonating Dumbledore theory...

Snape tells Bellatrix/Narcissa way back in Chapter 2 that Dumbledore had injured his hand. I doubt very much Snape could already have known as early as Chapter 2 that there would be an impersonation and a sacrificial Wormtail.

Dumbledore's hand must really have been injured, and so there is no reason to believe it was just a problem with polyjuice potion and Wormtail's fake hand.

joshwaxman said...

just reread the chapter to see what you referring to.
I found one pointed reference to Wormtail's severed hand:
"His left hand was caressing his right, which looked as though it was encased in a bright silver glove."

I did find reference to injury. However, I see nothing that specifies that it is injury to hand. if so, it could well be some injury that takes Dumbledore out of commission, leading the way towards his replacement by Wormtail. Can you give me a quote which mentions Dumbledore's hand specifically?

"I am pleased to say, however, that
Dumbledore is growing old. The duel with the Dark Lord last month shook
him. He has since sustained a serious injury because his reactions are slower
than they once were. But through all these years, he has never stopped trusting Severus Snape, and therein lies my great value to the Dark Lord." "


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