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How Truthful is Dumbledore? (Condensed thread)

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Post  Elanor Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:51 am

How Truthful is Dumbledore? (Condensed thread)

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Denise P. - Nov 18, 2003 2:31 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 12, 2006 11:26 pm

Prefect Marcus - May 6, 2003
How truthful is Dumbledore? Does he tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at all times and in all places? Or does he bend it a little upon occasion?

To wit:

1. He doesn't need a cloak to be invisible.(SS/PS) Dumbledore makes a statement revealing that he knew what Harry and Ron had seen in the mirror the previous night. When Harry catches the implications, Dumbledore (by way of explanation) states he doesn't need an invisibility cloak to be invisible. Notice he doesn't say he WAS invisible. He only says he CAN be invisible.

Now if he was truly in the room with Harry and Ron at the time they were peering into the mirror, I can think of a number of ways he could be invisible without a cloak. There is a whole section in the library dedicated to Invisibility, after all. Dumbledore is a lover of gadgets. His office is full of them. He makes use of the "Put-outer" in the first chapter of the first book. Does he use a gadget, a Invisibility Booster like the one Mr. Weasley attempted to put into his car? Or does he use a spell.

But what if he being a little more subtle? What if he wasn't in the room. What if he was watching them from afar through another device such as the crystal ball in "The Wizard of Oz?" If he had been using that device to watch Harry, he would be -- in truth -- invisible to Harry and Ron but not really invisible. If that be the case, I suspect that it would be rather unnerving for an 11-year-old to learn that his headmaster could watch him anytime he wished. So Dumbledore could have sort of told the truth, but not really when he made his cloak comment. Is that what he did? I don't know.

2. He sees socks in the mirror.(SS/PP) Even Harry had doubts about that one. I suspect Dumbledore really does desire warm socks. However, is it possible that he figured Harry didn't need the heaviness of what he actually saw in the mirror (final defeat of Voldemort, perhaps) and so he substituted a lesser yet present desire out of concern for Harry.

3. The Chamber-pot Room(GOF) Was Dumbledore just pulling Kararoff's leg? Did it really exist? Or if he really had run across such a room, did it really happen "just this morning"? A bit convenient, don't you think?
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Post  Elanor Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:51 am

Dumbledore II - May 6, 2003 ----------------------------------------

1. I guess he did bend the truth a bit knowing that it would be very unnerving for Harry to have the feeling that Dumbledore watches him all the time

2. you are absolutely right, I don't think Harry could have taken the truth of what Dumbledore sees in the mirror

3. I think Dumbledore was pulling Karkaroff's leg.

NoVeil4Me - May 6, 2003--------------------------------------------

I think Dumbledore is truthful but his truth may not be what it seems on the surface.

1. I have felt all along that Dumbledore doesn't literally mean what he said. I think he was alluding to the fact that Harry was so intent on what he was doing, he would have overlooked an elephant herd doing the macarana. He may be actually able to disappear without a cloak but I don't think he was truly saying that.

2. It may well be that the Mirror of Erised doesn't always show the same thing, if the person looking changes. Dumbledore may have seen socks...at some point, not necessarily the most recent time he looked in the mirror.

3. I think we will hear more on the Chamberpot room. JKR is not one to waste words and if she went to the trouble of creating the scene so it could be mentioned, we will see it again.

Sly Girl - May 6, 2003 ---------------------------------------------

Yes, I definitely get the sense that Dumbldore is truthful- however he is truthful in ways that may not seem apparent until later. JKR has to be careful about what she tells us through Dumbldedore- it's the perfect technique to make you undeniably curious and interested in what he says.

I don't think Dumbledore is one that would out right lie- when Harry asks him about why Voldemort tried to kill him, he politely refuses to answer- being direct about being secretive.

It's an interesting characteristic, that most characters would not be able to pull off.

I'd always thought Dumbledore was there in the room with them, but now since I read your post, I've concluded there probably are ways for Dumbledore to know things without having to physically be there. Very Interesting....

Saralinda - May 6, 2003---------------------------------------------

Dumbledore also does a bit of a morris dance around the truth to Fudge, Snape, and company when they note that Sirius is gone (PoA, covering for H, H, and the Time-Turner).

Jackie !Fast - May 6, 2003-------------------------------------------

There are certainly moments when Dumbledore doesn't tell the whole truth. In GoF, the Chapter "Rita Skeeter's Scoop," Harry calls Skeeter a cow, and Dumbledore claims to have temporarily gone deaf so he couldn't hear. Now, did he *really* go deaf or is he just being terribly sensitive about others? :-)

June - May 7, 2003--------------------------------------------------

I don't know, but Dumbledore always gives me the impression that generally, he's truthful. He may bend the truth a little, or gloss over it, but he won't lie, I think. It just doesn't seem to fit in his personality for him to blatantly lie. I don't have any proof for that; it's just a feeling I get from him.

As for chamberpot room... I think's he's just joking... not lying... but given his eccentricity and sense of humour, he's probably just pulling wool over Kararoff's eyes. Still, it might be that he's telling the truth... I'm definitely not ruling it out.

MarĂ­a Guerra - May 7, 2003-----------------------------------------

What if the mirror shows just what you desire in that presise moment. At that moment Dumbledore needed socks, warm ones. Maybe at some other particular moment he would have some other needs, like defeating Voldemort.

I cannot imagine Dumbledore telling lies, only too innocent speaking to people to may not believe what he is telling and may take it as a joke. If there are many possibilities in Magic, there may be many possibilities in a Magic castle, only that the people ready to understand, would understand.

Probably Dumbledore told this piece of information hoping the person he wanted to listen would listen, and this then would mean he knows more than it appears, or he just said it and did not mean to say it at all, as when you know a secret and you tell it, not meaning to, or the last possibility, it is an innocent remark, meaning nothing serious.

Mrs. Black - May 7, 2003---------------------------------------------

Dumbledore could be telling the truth about the socks if they mean something more than just that he wants socks. He says people are always giving him books, maybe he wants to be seen as more than just the great wizard and scholar, but as a friend and a good guy. The fact that he always gets books demonstrates how other people see him. Or maybe he wants to be in a time and place when warm socks could be the greatest thing in the world for him. Instead, he is always on the look out for Voledmort's return and always has nagging concerns about returning death eaters. If we don't look at the socks literally Dumbledore might be telling the truth. Not necessarily, but he could be.

timrew - May 7, 2003 2:55 pm-----------------------------------------

I think people are taking the things Dumbledore says too seriously and missing his 'tongue in cheek' humour. He's not lying, he's making a joke!

Take seeing socks in the Mirror Of Erised. It's obvious that that is NOT what Dumbledore sees, so he makes a joke when asked this rather personal question by Harry. And I think Harry SEES it as a joke, while at the same time realising that Dumbledore is not about to tell the truth. It's not lying to Harry, it's saying, 'I don't want to tell you the truth' in a humorous way.

As for saying stuff like, 'I went temporarily deaf'. That doesn't even bear discussion. He's pretending not to notice Harry's calling Rita Skeeter rude names by making a joke. That's all.....

Jackie !Fast - May 7, 2003-------------------------------------------

Dumbledore may sometimes joke around (evidence that he's an eccentric person, I think), but he *always* tells the truth about matters of pressing importance. In GoF, at the leaving feast, he tells the whole school about Voldemort rising because "the truth is always preferable to lies" (GF 38).

If so, he's not lying, although he's not exactly telling Harry everything...

mischa fan - May 7, 2003--------------------------------------------

I for one think that Dumbledore is as truthful as he feels he can be, and when he isn't he is truthful in that he cannot be truthful, and I think the sock comment is just a nice way of saying "Harry that is none of you business."

W J - May 7, 2003---------------------------------------------------

HP and the Philosophers Stone, UK edition, Raincoast Books hardcover page 217 (the chapter called "The Man With Two Faces"

[Harry said]..."Sir, there are some other things I'd like to know, if you can tell me...things I want to know the truth about..."

"The truth." Dumbledore sighed. "It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. However, I shall answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in which case, I beg you'll forgive me. I shall not, of course, lie."

Denise S. - May 8, 2003----------------------------------------------

I think Dumbledore would only lie if there were an absolute need to, to save someone's hide for example. I agree that the chamber pot episode and "temporary deafness" aren't him lying, they're either him joking around or tacitly agreeing with what Harry's saying about Rita Skeeter (well, that's how I see it). Dumbledore is not a liar; if he was, he would not have told the school the truth about what happened to Cedric.

Cliff Hamaker - May 8, 2003------------------------------------------

I say that Dumbledore speaks with candor when he can and tactfully when he needs to. He tells his jokes, too. And he doesn't lie. I also think that the Chamber Pot joke is just the kind of thing he would say that people wouldn't believe, but it was actually true. Otherwise they'd think him even crazier than they already do.
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