Why are there 2 different dumbledores?

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J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has become a cultural phenomenon, captivating readers of all ages with its intricate world-building, relatable characters, and thrilling plot twists. One of the most fascinating characters in the series is Albus Dumbledore, the wise and powerful headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, readers were left puzzled when they discovered that there were two different versions of Dumbledore in the books and movies. In this blog post, we will explore why there are two different Dumbledores and shed light on this confusing aspect of the beloved series.

Why are there 2 different dumbledores?

The Two Dumbledores

The first Dumbledore we encounter in the Harry Potter series is a kind and gentle old wizard who serves as a mentor to Harry. He is portrayed as a wise and benevolent figure, always willing to offer guidance and support. However, in the later books and movies, we see a different side of Dumbledore – a more complex and flawed version of the character. This Dumbledore is manipulative and secretive, willing to use people for his own purposes and keep important information from those he cares about.

So, why are there two different Dumbledores? The answer lies in the evolution of the character and J.K. Rowling’s writing process. Let’s delve deeper into the reasons behind this intriguing discrepancy.

The Evolution of Dumbledore

When J.K. Rowling first created the character of Dumbledore, she envisioned him as a wise and gentle mentor to Harry. She wanted him to be a beacon of hope and a guiding light for the young wizard as he navigated the dangerous world of magic. This version of Dumbledore can be seen in the early books, where he is portrayed as a warm and caring figure who is always looking out for Harry’s best interests.

However, as the series progressed, Rowling began to explore the darker side of Dumbledore’s personality. She realized that no one is completely good or completely evil – we all have flaws and make mistakes. She wanted to show that even the wisest and most powerful among us can be vulnerable to temptation and manipulation. This led her to create a more complex and flawed version of Dumbledore, one who is willing to use people to achieve his goals and keep secrets from those he cares about.

Rowling’s Writing Process

Another reason why there are two different Dumbledores is that J.K. Rowling’s writing process evolved over the course of the series. When she first began writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, she had a rough outline of the entire series but didn’t have all the details worked out. As she wrote and revised each book, she made changes and added new layers to the story. This meant that some aspects of the characters and plot changed over time.

In the case of Dumbledore, Rowling originally envisioned him as a one-dimensional character – a wise and kind mentor to Harry. However, as she wrote and revised the later books, she realized that this version of Dumbledore was too simplistic and unrealistic. She wanted to create a more nuanced and complex character, one who had flaws and made mistakes. This led to the creation of the second version of Dumbledore – one who is willing to use people and keep secrets.

The Impact of Two Dumbledores on the Story

Now that we’ve explored the reasons behind the two different Dumbledores, let’s examine the impact this has on the story. The two versions of the character offer different perspectives on Dumbledore’s motivations and actions, which in turn affects the way we view other characters and events in the series.

The first version of Dumbledore, the wise and gentle mentor, is crucial to Harry’s journey in the early books. He serves as a guiding light, offering Harry advice and protection as he navigates the world of magic. This version of Dumbledore is also important in establishing the themes of the series – love, friendship, and the power of good over evil.

The second version of Dumbledore, the manipulative and secretive figure, adds a layer of complexity to the story. He is not just a wise and all-knowing mentor, but a flawed and morally ambiguous character who makes mistakes and has his own agenda. This version of Dumbledore raises important questions about power and responsibility – when is it right to use power to achieve a greater good, and when does that power become corrupt and dangerous?

The two different Dumbledores also affect the way we view other characters in the series. For example, the revelation that Dumbledore kept important information from Harry and others casts doubt on his trustworthiness and raises questions about his true intentions. Similarly, the fact that Dumbledore was willing to use people like Severus Snape and Harry to achieve his goals adds complexity to their relationships and motives.

The Importance of Character Development

The existence of two different Dumbledores highlights the importance of character development in storytelling. Characters who are complex and multi-dimensional are more interesting and engaging than those who are one-dimensional and predictable. By creating two different versions of Dumbledore, J.K. Rowling demonstrates the importance of allowing characters to grow and change over the course of a story.

Furthermore, the two different Dumbledores show how a writer’s vision for a character can evolve over time. As writers develop and revise their stories, they may find that certain aspects of a character no longer fit with the overall narrative. This can lead to changes in the character’s personality or motivations, resulting in different versions of the character.


In conclusion, the existence of two different Dumbledores in the Harry Potter series is a reflection of J.K. Rowling’s evolving writing process and the complex nature of the character. The two versions of Dumbledore offer different perspectives on his motivations and actions, and impact the way we view other characters and events in the story. The importance of character development is also highlighted by the two different Dumbledores, showing how allowing characters to grow and change can add depth and richness to a story.

Why are there 2 different dumbledores?
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