The Hogwarts headmaster kept secrets from Harry that ultimately led him into grave danger.
Instead of asking for help from the skilled wizards around him, Dumbledore just did what he wanted.
Professor Albus Dumbledore is hailed as the most brilliant wizard of all time and the only man Lord Voldemort was scared of. But he’s no hero in the “Harry Potter” series.
In fact, he mostly just led Harry into danger on far more occasions than necessary.
On the path to defeating Voldemort, Dumbledore consistently mistreated the people closest to him by selfishly keeping them in the dark.
From the very beginning, Dumbledore sent Harry off to fight while holding back crucial information
In his first year at Hogwarts, 11-year-old Harry does the unthinkable and goes up against Lord Voldemort alone.
But even after this dangerous, traumatic experience, he defends Dumbledore to his friends by saying the headmaster just wanted to give him “a chance” to do it on his own.
As Harry is literally lying in the hospital wing after this horrible encounter, he asks Dumbledore about his scar and his connection to Voldemort. But instead of explaining as much as he could, Dumbledore tells him he’s too young to know those answers yet.
He was apparently old enough to face grave danger and the most powerful dark wizard but too young to know the truth about his own history.
Later in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” withholding that information about Harry’s connection to Voldemort came at the heavy price of Sirius Black’s life.
If Harry knew how Voldemort could manipulate his mind, he wouldn’t have fallen for the trap and rushed to the Department of Mysteries thinking he was going to save his godfather.
Dumbledore explicitly knew this was a possibility, but he decided not to tell Harry. He calls his close-lipped approach “an old man’s mistake” and explains that he was distant because he thought Voldemort might use Harry “as a means to spy” on him.
Dumbledore also knew about the prophecy that Professor Trelawney foretold long before Harry ever came to Hogwarts. He knew that in order to kill Voldemort, Harry likely had to die as well.
From the very first time Harry asked questions about his scar until Sirius’ death, Dumbledore concealed all of this crucial information.
Dumbledore was more interested in achieving his grand plans than communicating with the people around him
From the outset, Dumbledore acted like a man who was dealing with chess pieces rather than human lives. But the unilateral decisions he made affected everyone around him.
Even with the most talented and skilled witches in the Order of the Phoenix at his disposal, Dumbledore rarely seemed to involve anyone else in his grand plans. These people were ready to lay down their lives at his command, but Dumbledore gave them only enough information to make their next assigned move on his board.
The headmaster could have told the order about Voldemort’s Horcruxes. But instead, he vaguely tells Remus Lupin, “Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him,” once again putting all the responsibility and pressure on a teenage boy.
Before his death, Dumbledore believed Draco Malfoy was tasked with his murder, but he didn’t try to stop his advances all year, putting students’ lives in danger. Then he went about planning his own demise with little regard for Harry, Severus Snape, or the students at Hogwarts.
He essentially guilts Snape into killing him, and to top it off, he puts Harry under a freezing charm nearby, effectively forcing him to watch powerlessly with no explanation.
Harry later learns that Snape actually called Dumbledore out for his less-than-transparent methods before his death.
Snape tells Dumbledore, “I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter.”
And Snape had little to show for the years of risking his life and bowing to Dumbledore’s whims – aside from landing the long-coveted role of defense against the dark arts professor.
Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth perhaps puts it best when he tells Harry about Albus’ long history with secrecy.
“My brother Albus wanted a lot of things, and people had a habit of getting hurt while he was carrying out his grand plans.”
Dumbledore might have been a great wizard, but his hunger for power and control kept him from being truly good
At the end of the series, Dumbledore admits to Harry that power is his ultimate weakness.
He was always conscious of it, and he feared that power had the potential to corrupt him beyond help. That’s why he never accepted the Ministry of Magic position even after it was offered several times.
Although it’s refreshing that he realized his shortcomings, he never quite grasped their impact. He had his eyes fixed on a goal and destroyed many lives in pursuit of it.
Harry was a loyal soldier; he was “Dumbledore’s man through and through,” and the headmaster took advantage of that.
Dumbledore knew that nothing bound the soul more surely than love – a lesson he sought to teach Harry throughout his life – and so he used Harry’s love for him as a weapon just as he used Snape’s love for Lily to persuade him to do his bidding.
Some might argue that Dumbledore was doing what had to be done to defeat Voldemort – he was doing what any good (and ultimately successful) general of war would do. But he constantly crossed the line between a stoic general and a scheming conspirator by never giving his followers enough information to make a free choice.
He gave everyone only enough to get them to do what he wanted.
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