GAHP 2, Wherein We Meet Albus Dumbledore…

“Nothing like this man had ever been seen in Privet Drive.”
(Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 12).

Jo Rowling has explicitly stated that Dumbledore was never intended as a “Christ” figure. I can’t see why anybody would ever have thought him one, but it’s always good to get such things out of the way.

What Dumbledore is, is a wizard. He is, I would say, the wizard. Though it may be the case that “everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome” in Privet Drive, it is equally true that “everything from his name to his boots” epitomize what a good wizard can be. Though one might fixate upon Dumbledore’s great moments of power and authority (and there are indeed many) in trying to understand the character, all that we need as readers is found on the 12th page of The Philosopher’s Stone. Dumbledore is a kind, whimsical, joy filled man. He knows laughter, but he also knows pain (the broken nose, we will finally learn, tells us this). He is a man of great depth, but he does not take his own depth too seriously. What a wonderful way to live.

One of my friends once said that though Socrates and Jesus never met, they would have been great friends if they had. I would suggest the same thing about Jesus and Dumbledore. Though the Gospels never tell us that Jesus laughed I have always imagined him as a man who could live honestly in both despair and joy. He could eat and drink and enjoy all that life offers in one moment, and in the next he could lift the suffering and self-tortured up out of their mire.

There are a great many things that can be said about Jesus, and I think that all of the true things we can say are very good, but my favorite thing about Jesus is what a wonderful human being he was. In much the same way that Dumbledore is the wizard, Jesus was (and is) the human.

Not surprisingly Jesus is also, like Dumbledore, seldom welcome in the bourgeois world that we inhabit. But, again like Dumbledore, he is here nevertheless.


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