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Dumbledore's Watch

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Dumbledore's Watch Empty Dumbledore's Watch

Post  Potteraholic on Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:53 pm

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. It was copied/saved by Lady Arabella and reformatted/reposted by Potteraholic. ~Potteraholic

Liz Mann - Apr 25, 2005 4:08 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 17, 2005 1:50 pm

->I changed the title of this thread from 'How did Dumbledore know?' to 'Dumbledore's Watch' to better fit what the discussion was about.<- S.E. Jones

I know this topic has been discussed on this forum before because I remember participating in it ages ago. I think it was before the long period of downtime we had. The discussion seems to not still be going in the current threads, or if it is then I have missed it and the mods can feel free to move this post to the correct place.

We've all wondered how Dumbledore knew that the Potters had been attacked at Godric's Hollow so quickly. He sent Hagrid to retrieve Harry the very same night, seemingly knowing already that Lily and James were dead, because he told Hagrid that Harry was to go to his Aunt and Uncle's (that's what Hagrid said he told Sirius at the house, anyway, when HRH overheard the conversation in The Three Broomsticks in PoA). I was just reading the Mugglenet book The Plot Thickens and one of the essays in it mentions one possibility that I, at least, have never considered before.

When Dumbledore and McGonagall were waiting for Hagrid to arrive at Privet Drive with Harry in the first chapter of book one, Dumbledore took out a watch with twelve hands but little planets moving round the edge instead of numbers. After looking at it, and seemingly understanding it, he said, "Hagrid's late." Now is this watch just some alternate way of telling time, or does it in fact tell the whereabouts of the Potters, and Dumbledore was looking at it to try and find out how far away Harry and Hagrid were? Could this be how he knew, because Lily and James had disappeared from it or their hands had moved to a certain position on the watch? The Weasleys have a clock for that same purpose, after all.

What do you guys think of this theory?
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Dumbledore's Watch Empty Dumbledore's Watch (posts #1 to #32)

Post  Potteraholic on Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:56 pm

mike miller - Apr 26, 2005 8:25 am (#1 of 32)

Liz - I agree with you that there's something important about DD's watch. He does seem to be intrigued by devices of all kinds, recall the spindle table full of gadgets. Most importantly, the "Putter Outer" seems to play a significant role.

It is possible that the "Putter Outer" and the watch work together. All of the lights on Privet Drive were put out and then returned after DD was through with his business. I think it could be placing some kind of "Watching" or "Alarm" spell in place that would link to DD's watch. Moody did the same thing at #12 GP perhaps linking that location to DD's watch as well.

We have no way of knowing if DD had done something similar at Godric's Hollow, but, if I'm right he most likely did. What we do know is that the 2 places where Harry stays away from Hogwarts have been "marked" by this device.

Ticker - Apr 26, 2005 10:10 am (#2 of 32)

It's possible that the watch is like the Weasley's clock, but I wonder if it would have enough hands for all the Order Members - maybe they were represented by the planets? It's a lot of information to have in your palm. But if it could give that information...

Perhaps it is "programmable" to monitor different people at different times. Maybe DD does have Hogwarts "marked" by the watch as well. This might be one of the ways how he knows so much about what is going on in the school without being physically present.

Liz Mann - Apr 26, 2005 11:07 am (#3 of 32)
Edited Apr 26, 2005 12:08 pm

I think he knows so much about what's going on because of the portraits and the suits of armour and the ghosts.

What I was actually thinking was that each hand on the watch represented a different member of the Potter family. Apart from Lily and James, there were about ten people in the Mirror of Erised. And then there's Harry. There were twelve hands on the watch. I know ten and two and one make thirteen, not twelve, but it did say 'about' ten people in the mirror. If it was nine, she might have said ten as an approximate number.

Choices - Apr 26, 2005 4:39 pm (#4 of 32)
Edited Apr 26, 2005 5:40 pm

The people in the mirror were all dead - why would Dumbledore need to keep track of them? They probably aren't doing much moving around.

frogface - Apr 27, 2005 12:33 am (#5 of 32)

Well you could apply it to the "Harry is Gryffindor's Heir" theory, which basically implies that Harry...is Gryffindor's Heir (that was a stupid thing to type wasn't it?) and that he inherited this through the Potter line.

Dumbledore, who already knew that Tom Riddle was the heir of Slytherin, may have also known about the Potters, and so knew it could be very important to track their family. Once the prophecy was made, it made the chances of the Potter's (particularly our young harry) being important double. So maybe he decided to make a watch to track the potter family and after hearing about the prophecy, was constantly checking to see what had happened to them. But this is getting dangerously close to the topic of another thread so I will post this elsewhere too.

fleur-de-lys - Apr 27, 2005 9:17 am (#6 of 32)

Hmmm...when the Potters found they were marked for death by Voldie, they went into hiding. We know they had a secret keeper. Perhaps, when they went into hiding, DD programmed the watch to be used for them. That way he could keep track of what was happened without knowing where they were, him not being the secret keeper. Maybe there were other Order members who were in hiding with a Secret Keeper and that's why there were 12 hands and only 3 Potters to keep track of.

MickeyCee3948 - Apr 27, 2005 12:23 pm (#7 of 32)

I agree fleur-de-lys. I just posted my thoughts on the Order of the Phoenix thread. I also wondered if the watch had people who were in hiding. The Longbottoms and Snape could also have been on the watch.

I have always questioned how Dumbledore knew so fast that Lily and James were dead and dispatched Hagrid to get Harry. If the theory about the watch is true then he could have known that Lily and James were dead and Harry was still alive and sent Hagrid almost immediately. In retrospect he could have been the one to know that the Longbottoms were being tortured and have sent the Aurors to their aide also. Wonder who else Dumbledore was keeping an eye on?


Choices - Apr 27, 2005 4:31 pm (#8 of 32)
Edited Apr 27, 2005 5:43 pm

I think Dumbledore's watch has to do with time travel, not surveillance. We have seen several examples of portraits keeping an eye on things for Dumbledore - Phineas Nigellus at 12 Grimmauld Place watching Harry in his room, the former headmasters and mistresses going to other portraits to watch and report to Dumbledore. I think there was a portrait at Godric's Hollow in the Potter's house that reported to Dumbledore what was happening there.

I became suspicious about Dumbledore and time travel when Harry returned from the Chamber of Secrets with Ginny - everyone was terribly upset....except Dumbledore. He looked as if he knew exactly how it was going to turn out and wasn't the least bit worried. I think he had seen it all and knew there was no reason to be concerned. I think his watch has something to do with time travel and that is how he seems to know what the outcome of so many events in Harry's life is going to be. I believe Dumbledore is orchestrating a great deal of the things that happen to Harry - they are like training episodes - and Dumbledore travels through time to make sure the outcomes are what he wants to happen. He knows that everything....everything rides on what Harry must do and so he takes no chances. He knows before hand what is going to happen and then does what he must to even the odds and make sure things turn out as they should. I'm not suggesting that he can control everything, but he can at least make sure Harry has a fair chance.

frogface - Apr 28, 2005 12:03 am (#9 of 32)

I wonder if the watch is at all related to the room in MoM that had all the planets in?

fleur-de-lys - Apr 28, 2005 3:51 am (#10 of 32)

Interesting idea about time travel, Choices. After all, Hermione's time-turner was an hourglass. So it would make sense.

Frogface, good idea pulling in that room. I'll have to remember that when I read OoP in a few weeks. I'm currently rereading them again, on GoF now. Although, I never did get the idea of several of those rooms in the MoM, and I don't think we were supposed to. But I'm interested to see responses to that idea. If Choices is right about time travel, maybe that room is like the headquarters for time travel. Hmmm...

Choices - Apr 28, 2005 9:39 am (#11 of 32)

Well, the bell jar was certainly interesting and definitely some sort of time cycle, as was the cabinet full of time-turners that kept falling down and smashing and then rebuilding itself. Time, and the manipulation of time, is certainly a big theme in the HP books.

mike miller - Apr 30, 2005 4:24 am (#12 of 32)

Choices - A very interesting idea about DD and "training episodes". I have only question about time travel; if DD has the ability to go forward in time to see the outcome of events, why would he not changed his own actions based on his confession at the end of OotP?

If that is what DD is doing, then he violating the wizarding laws around time travel by changing certain elements if the outcome is not what he wants. I agree that DD has been letting Harry (and others) take more risks to prepare themselves for what is ahead, I'm just not sold on him using time travel to accomplish this goal. The unintended outcomes of manipulating events are far too great to risk interfering too much.

I'll stick with my original hypothesis that the "Putter Outer" and the DD's watch are somehow linked and that allows him to keep track of the event taking place at various important locations.

Choices - Apr 30, 2005 9:45 am (#13 of 32)

Here is an intriguing question. When McGonagall gave Hermione the Time-Turner, she told her how dangerous it could be and mentioned that there were loads of wizards who had gone back in time and actually killed themselves. If those wizards no longer exist, how did McGonagall know this?

Ydnam96 - Apr 30, 2005 9:50 am (#14 of 32)

Well, the person who gave them the time turner and all of the other people who knew the person before the moment they went back to would notice that he/she was gone...

Choices - Apr 30, 2005 4:47 pm (#15 of 32)

No, as I understand it, if they killed themselves long ago, then they were never here in the present to get a time-turner and go back in time. It's rather a paradox, isn't it? Not to mention it gives me a headache just thinking about it. LOL

Elfcat - May 2, 2005 3:22 pm (#16 of 32)

"Time travel. It's a cornucopia of disturbing concepts." (cool quote from a TV show, it seemed to fit)

far from prefect - May 30, 2005 7:06 pm (#17 of 32)

I had the impression from the planets circling around the watch that it was more like an orrery - a model of the solar system. In rereads I almost expected Dumbly to say "Mars is bright tonight." He may read it like the Centaurs read the sky. Clearly he is respected by the Centaurs; I am sure he understands their science (even though Firenze doesn't think there is much use in teaching the kids).

I also like the idea that it had hands that indicated certain people like the Weasley's "most excellent clock". Probably it is a sophisticated device that has more than one action.

Lina - Jun 28, 2005 12:36 pm (#18 of 32)

I must say that I really like the ideas on this thread. You people, made me think that Jo made the intentional pun here (I really hope that I'm using the right word for word-play), using the different meanings of the word "watch":

the act of keeping awake to guard, protect, or attend

close observation

a body of soldiers or sentinels making up a guard

a portable timepiece designed to be worn (as on the wrist) or carried in the pocket

Now, I know it could be elaborated better, I was in a hurry because in two days the thread would be deleted and I wanted to say this. I'm not even sure where I took these definitions from, but I hope that you can get the idea. What I wanted to say is that the idea that he could see what was happening with the Potters from the watch, was not bad at all. Although the other ideas are just as good.

Now, some people tried to compare DD's watch with the Weasley's clock. And this I find intriguing.

This is the description of DD's watch: Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge.

In the OotP DD says about notifying Mrs. Weasley on what happened to her husband: "But she may already know... that excellent clock of hers..."

The description of that clock is in GoF: Located in the Weasley living room, this fine clock is completely useless if you need to know the time. Instead it has a hand for each of the Weasley family members. These hands point to inscriptions around the face which indicated where that person is at the moment. Some of the words on this clock are "home," "school," "work," "traveling," "lost," "hospital," "prison," and "mortal peril" (took from the Lexicon)

This is the description of the clock in the Weasley's kitchen: The clock on the wall opposite him had only one hand and no numbers at all. Written around the edge were things like 'Time to make tea', 'Time to feed the chickens' and 'You're late'.

So these seem to be insinuations that the clocks can be used to watch too, but it doesn't mean that those clocks are completely comparable to DD's watch. It may be so and it might be not.

Hopefully we will find out more about DD's watch in the remaining books.

A little suggestion to the hosts: If this thread continues to be not posted, maybe you could move the existing posts to the "Dumbledore" thread. I think it would be a loss if those ideas would be (auto)deleted.

Thank you.

mike miller - Jun 29, 2005 8:46 am (#19 of 32)

Lina - I think you could very well be right. We should take the meaning of the words JKR uses literally; and, look at alternative meanings. I'm not sure how DD gets his information from the watch, why 12 hands and what are the little planets for, but I have long believed DD is able to gain information about distant locations from his watch.

I also find it interesting that Molly has a "clock" and DD has a "watch". I'll have to think about that some more....

The giant squid - Jun 29, 2005 12:58 pm (#20 of 32)

You know, I never connected the multiple definitions of "watch" before. They definitely fit in Dumbledore's case. I think you may be on to something here, Lina.


Well, the Mikes like the idea, anyway...

John Bumbledore - Jun 30, 2005 4:19 am (#21 of 32)
Edited Jun 30, 2005 5:39 am

12 hands, Hmm, and how many planets move around the watch? Would it be nine? If we draw a direct analogy between the Weasley's clock and Dumbledore's watch, then who are the twelve that DD would want to watch and what are the astronomical meanings of the nine planets..

Mars seams easily aligned with war, and battle. We could guess that is how he new Harry was in battle with Quirrell/Voldemort in SS/PS, by seeing three hands near Mars.

So, since I also like Lina's theory, who is DD watching with his watch. And is it the hands on the face that represent the "watched" people or are they represented by the planets?

I think we have ample evidence that DD watches the heavens. I'm thinking of the big telescope and other instruments in his office. He also has great respect for the astrological abilities of the centaurs.

Hmm, much to think about.

Lina - Jun 30, 2005 11:11 am (#22 of 32)

Let me tell you my humble opinion:

the clock in the Weasley kitchen would be an ordinary clock. Actually, it shows the time, just not with the numbers.

the clock in the Weasley living room is Grandfathers clock and it shows only the family members.

But I don't think that the only difference between this clock and the DD's watch is only about who it applies to. DD is a very observing person. He likes to learn from everybody, he never thinks that he knows enough. I believe that he learned quite a lot from the centaurs, even more than they would be aware of.

I think that the clock in the Weasley living room just shows the situation, it makes you know what is happening right now. While the DD's watch, with the planets, is showing a much wider picture. For example, the watch shows if the enemy is coming around the corner, while the Weasley's clock shows only that the enemy has attacked ("mortal peril" for example). So, I think that the idea of "Mars is bright tonight." is not bad at all.


Phelim Mcintyre - Jul 1, 2005 3:05 am (#23 of 32)

Into all of this can I add the Black's clock that fired cogs at people.

The clocks and watches we have seen the faces of show the focus of the people concerned. The Weasley's may be normal wizard timepieces and other families may have them. The focus being on the family.

Dumbledore has a much wider focus to do with Harry, Voldemort and the whole wizarding world. His watch would fit into that by having a more general view. DD's watch would not show an enemy coming round the corner, it is not able to be that specific, but like "Mars is bright tonight", it is able to chart trends. But it must also have a specific role to do with Harry or else how would DD know that Hagrid was late?

Lina - Jul 2, 2005 3:19 am (#24 of 32)

O.K. Phelim Mcintyre, I agree with you. What I wanted to say was that DD's watch could show the danger approaching, while the Weasley's clock shows only the danger happening. It doesn't mean that DD can see what is the danger that is approaching, just that he can expect it. It is not impossible that he could see even Voldemort becoming stronger at his watch.

far from prefect - Aug 2, 2005 1:39 pm (#25 of 32)

Now that we have read the HBP, what do you make of the fact that Ron got a watch like Dumbledore's for his coming of age birthday? Of course, I'm not sure it is "just like DD's" but it had a bunch of hands and planets circling around... Will that come into play in book 7 or is it just a neat wizarding world artifact? ffp

Ms Amanda - Aug 10, 2005 3:49 pm (#26 of 32)

Goodness, far from prefect, if JKR had not quashed the Ron is Dumbledore theory, then all those believers would be having a field day with this clue. As she has stated Ron is not Dumbledore, though, I don't know what to do.

Perhaps Ron is related to Dumbledore? Perhaps the Weasleys are just fond of unusual timepieces and decided this would be a way to continue the tradition?

Lina - Aug 19, 2005 1:47 pm (#27 of 32)

Well, it is just possible that he is going to need it and use it a lot in the last book?

TwinklingBlueEyes - Aug 19, 2005 11:43 pm (#28 of 32)

Edited Aug 20, 2005 12:43 am

My thoughts exactly Lina! Dumbledore’s watch is very unusual, yet to date unexplained. Ron gets a very similar watch. The watch is featured on JKR's website. There is more to this timepiece than meets the eye...

Dr Filibuster - Aug 20, 2005 1:40 am (#29 of 32)

Edited Aug 20, 2005 2:42 am

I'd be interested in a connection between Dumbledore and Ron's watches. Can they combine to create a bigger picture of something? Can they communicate in some way?

If so, did Albus encourage Arthur and Molly to get Ron's present with a view to Harry receiving Dumbledore's on his 17th birthday/Dumbledore's imminent death?

Perhaps Hermione receives Albus' watch? the closest scene I can remember between Dumbledore and Hermione is when he tells her to use the Time Turner in PoA. It would be lovely for Albus to acknowledge Hermione in some way, especially if it involved time.

TwinklingBlueEyes - Aug 24, 2005 10:17 pm (#30 of 32)

That watch is going to be very important methinks. She has shot down the DD is Ron, or vice versa, or inside out, whatever theory.

DD's watch was odd enough, and never explained. For Ron to have one like it? Odds anyone? Communication device maybe. Major clue that maybe one of our trio unravels through Arithmancy maybe.

...toddles off watching the watch...

Ann - Aug 26, 2005 7:45 am (#31 of 32)
Edited Aug 26, 2005 8:47 am

Well, as an inveterate DD-is-(was)-Ron believer, I think it's the same watch. What she shot down was actually the idea that Dumbledore was Ron or Harry or someone else come back from the future to guide Harry, which is obviously silly, since Dumbledore has been around since the 40s and even took his NEWTS (in Charms and Transfiguration) under Professor Marchbanks, as we learned in OotP. But I won't be surprised if Ron is sent back in time during the final battle (but before his NEWTS!) to become Dumbledore, possibly along with one of the twins (to become Aberforth--you can just see one of them doing inappropriate charms on a goat, can't you? And it would make the long beards in GoF a nice foreshadowing.)

But even if I'm wrong (and I quite likely am), it could be the same watch. We never see Dumbledore consulting it after Ron's birthday, I don't believe. Perhaps he's just distributing some of his treasures in advance of his (anticipated) death. After all, he's a wise old man with a beard, and he knows that the wise old man with the beard always has to die before the hero moves on to the final battle.

Akka - Oct 6, 2005 1:35 pm (#32 of 32)
Edited Oct 6, 2005 2:39 pm

I see that this thread is quite for some time, but it's soo tempting to post, since I've been obsessing over the watch thing myself since I re-read PS and I'd like to share my theory... I believe that indeed DD watch is a tracking device, but my guess is that applies especially to Harry (maybe it was charmed to track whomever it was told though). My thought is that since one can tell his/her exact position by looking at the stars, and DD has, as far as we know, an excellent knowledge of astronomy, he just looks as the planets positions and determines where is Harry. The statement "Hagrid is late" is, I believe, not because the watch is tracking Hagrid, but young Harry who is with him. After reading this thread I am very fond of the idea that Hermione gets the watch... she is probably the one that can best read the planets (she was tutoring Ron in astronomy at some point). Also, in PA we came across a perfect moving model of the galaxy and Harry comments that this means that he would never have to take astronomy classes anymore. That might come in handy to whomever tries to read the watch also... Anyway, it’s just my theory and book 7 is a long way to come (-uh-)
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