Albus Dumbledore was a wise old man. He knew perfectly well if you try to hide something from a teenager, or try to give him half information, that teenager will become more and more curious towards the thing you are making him avoid.

Then why did Albus and the Order didn't make it clear to Harry what Voldemort was after in the start? Including Harry in the order is one thing but keeping him in dark from the things that are ACTUALLY affecting him straight is just moronic.

Why was all that "Special Weapon" non-sense. Something that he didn't have before!! Why not tell him that he is trying to obtain some information that might able him to defeat you and we are trying to protect that very thing from him!

Why did Albus, for an entire year, didn't explain it to Harry the reason he is not looking at him straight. It could have been a 2 min conversation and Albus didn't even had to look Harry in the eye...

Listen Harry, I believe Voldemort is trying to make some connection with you and will try to put false images in your mind so be careful and don't do anything rash! And BTW..the reason I am not looking at you is because he might try to hurt me or the Order by locating /reading the location of our Head Quarter by reading my mind through you.

As simple as that. This could have helped Harry mentally prepare himself and probably taking Occulumency more seriously and above all, Sirius would not have to die because of Harry's rash decision! Why to hide all this from Harry and not tell him up front!! ???

Does simply saying that it was an Old Man's Mistake justify the blunder he did which could have been rectified very easily? It was really good luck that the trio, Neville, Luna and Ginny survived from the death eaters in the Hall of Prophecy. Would Albus have been able to justify himself by just saying it was my mistake to keep you in the dark if any of the 6 teenagers had died too?

  • 2
    Dumbledore explains his motivations quite clearly at the end of Order Of The Phoenix, have you read it? Any answer would just be paraphrasing or heavily quoting that scene.
    – DavidS
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 9:37
  • 1
    Sure would @DavidS Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 9:40
  • @DavidS - Simply saying it was an Old Man's mistake doesn't justify his blunder. Sirius had to die for this mistake and all of Harry's friends might have died too. Can Albus justify all this by saying it was his mistake to keep Harry in the dark. He is very accomplished wizard and even more than that intelligent in human behavior. I am sure he must have realized that keeping Harry in dark or feeding him it-bit of information here and there might lead into something much wicked in the end! Which happened in the end and Sirius had to die!!
    – Harsimrat
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 9:59
  • @Harsimrat Again, Dumbledore explains his reasoning in detail at the end of OotP - CandiedMango has only (though amusingly) provided the one line summary in his answer.
    – DavidS
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 10:07
  • @DavidS Initially, then I went a bit more in depth. Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 10:16

4 Answers 4


Dumbledore's mistake in not letting Harry in on any information was nothing to do with misjudging Harry, but rather misjudging Voldemort.

As the one of the wisest living wizards, headteacher of a school and reasonably close with Harry, he must have known that teenage Harry would want to know, and attempt to find out, more about what was happening. He had done it almost every year since he started school (investigating and chasing down the Philosopher's/ Sorcerer's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, the Shrieking Shack...).

If Dumbledore had wanted Harry to know things but not have Voldemort think they were close, he could have told someone else to pass on the information. However, he believed that any information he gave Harry about what was happening, even indirectly, would give Voldemort more reason to possess his mind and try to control him.

Voldemort's and Harry's minds were linked. That means that Voldemort could feel Harry's emotions, in the same way Harry could feel Voldemort's. Keeping Harry confused and frustrated about the situation, feeling like he knew nothing, was actually the best thing that Dumbledore could do. The more Harry was kept out of the loop, the less he felt like he knew, the less reason Voldemort would feel he had to gain by accessing Harry's mind.

What Dumbledore failed to foresee, however, was that Voldemort would let Harry into his mind. Sure, the Occlumency lessons were to try to keep Voldemort out, but it was only for the one direction. Harry got lucky seeing Ron's dad being attacked. Surely it would have been a lot more useful to train Harry to channel this power in order to spy on Voldemort and see his next move?

The reason he didn't, as others have said, is that Dumbledore was blinded by his own hubris. He assumed that Voldemort wanted to get the edge on him, not Harry.

It's possible that he never even considered the fact that Voldemort would try to single out Harry. At this point in the story, Dumbledore believes that Voldemort has everything he needs from him. He used Harry's blood to resurrect himself, and other than the fact that he had it out for Harry for killing him as a baby, at this point he was just a 15 year old kid. What immediate threat did he pose to the Dark Lord?

Sure, the prophecy said that Harry was the person who would kill Voldemort, but there wasn't much he could do yet. Dumbledore figured he would be safe in school (which he would have been) and Voldemort would have no reason to go for him at that point, whereas Dumbledore and the Order were actively fighting to defeat him again.

Any false images Voldemort implanted, or any control he tried to gain over Harry, he believed would be in the pursuit of taking down the Order, not Harry himself. This is why he was so cautious in investigating the claims that Ron's dad had been attacked, and he only recommended Occlumency lessons after he saw Voldemort seeping into Harry. He never believed that Harry was the intended target, hence never wanted him to be fully involved.


He made a mistake and tried to protect Harry from the connection between him and Voldemort by keeping Harry in the dark and away from information Voldemort could use and also away from Dumbledore himself.

“Voldemort’s aim in possessing you, as he demonstrated tonight, would not have been my destruction. It would have been yours. He hoped, when he possessed you briefly a short while ago, that I would sacrifice you in the hope of killing him. So you see, I have been trying, in distancing myself from you, to protect you, Harry. An old man’s mistake…”

Order of the Phoenix - Page 619 - Dumbledore

Dumbledore's err was one of which most great men are accustomed to, pride. He assumed that out of all possibilities the largest incentive for Voldemort to possess Harry would be to spy on Dumbledore.

“You see,” Dumbledore continued, “I believed it could not be long before Voldemort attempted to force his way into your mind, to manipulate and misdirect your thoughts, and I was not eager to give him more incentives to do so. I was sure that if he realized that our relationship was - or had ever been - closer than that of headmaster and pupil, he would seize his chance to use you as a means to spy on me. I feared the uses to which he would put you, the possibility that he might try and possess you. Harry, I believe I was right to think that Voldemort would have made use of you in such a way. On those rare occasions when we had close contact, I thought I saw a shadow of him stir behind your eyes…”

Why did Dumbledore make a mistake?

Dumbledore merely sought to protect Harry and stop Voldemort but he misunderstood. He misunderstood not only Harry but Voldemort as well. You seem to think it is so obvious what would happen, of course it is to you, you've read the book, you know all the facts from all the key perspectives. Hindsight is 20/20 and I'm sure Dumbledore now see's what he did wrong which is extremely evident throughout the remainder of the series where he now has a more accurate understanding of Voldemort and his motives.

Psychology is not always 100% especially if you do not have all the facts to build a solid profile of someone, sure maybe he could have predicted Harry's actions better but Dumbledore had no way of knowing that Voldemort would try to lure Harry to the Ministry using Sirius.

As a final note, it's impossible to predict the future all you do is pick the best possible action you have available at the time. This may not always reveal the best initial results but it may open up better options in the future.

Why not tell him?

If he told Harry anything that would make him more of a target, it would also make all the information told to Harry readily available. Through telling him anything you risk helping Voldemort.

He did try to stop Harry receiving and acting on false visions by using Snape to teach him Occlumency it just didn't work out and Harry was so full of teenage angst he never told Dumbledore. You can't blame Dumbledore entirely when Harry had a huge part in everything that happened.

  • And on this road, Sirius had to die and all of Harry's friends might have died too..for just his mistake?? Albus is the best wizard of the age, knows all kinds of magic better than atleast Voldemort..how can he do such a big yet simple mistake? Harry and his friends had many hairline thin escape chances in the hall of prophecy. Anything could have happened there. And eventually Sirius had to die. Can all this be justified by saying it was my mistake. Surely Albus must have foreseen that Harry might do something rash if I continue keeping him in dark!!
    – Harsimrat
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 9:55
  • @CandiedMango if you're doing this, it might be wise to include the idea that Dumbledore did not want to let Harry know the Prophecy existed, thinking him too young to deal with it (another old mans mistake). Thus, telling Harry that Voldemort was looking for a way to beat Harry specifically was out of the question, hence the "weapon" stuff.
    – DavidS
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 10:18
  • @CandiedMango - Totally agree with you on this but the last part. Harry did all because of Albus actions. What Harry did in the end was his reaction to whatever Albus was doing so far to him and his mind. Sending Harry to Snape for Occulumency was also a big mistake. He perfectly knew how much both hated each other. Ok..tell me now..since we are defending Albus in one way or another..If Dumbledore had faced a similar situation later on..after OOTP..would he have kept Harry in the dark too..and have justified himself.?
    – Harsimrat
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 10:33
  • 3
    Dumbledore's key failure was to assume that he was the star of the books, rather than a bit player in Harry's story
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 12:21
  • @Richard - ... because he is a Schmuck? Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:05

Dumbledore was being stupid. He knew the Harry Snape Relationship yet he did not attempt to monitor it. Harry was already frustrated about being kept in the dark and Dumbledore keeps forgetting Harry is just a boy and you can't tell him to sit still and do nothing when it directly affects his life. He needed to learn that he can't just treat Harry like an adult when he wants him to be brave and then treat him like a kid and shut him out the next minute. All he had to tell him was that your job is to keep your mind clear and stop your mind from being invaded. He set Harry up by making him think about all those things that would help Voldemort get into his mind.

  • Welcome to the site! In my opinion, this is actually quite a good analysis, but it's very opinionated and a little lacking in quotes or references to substantiate it. Starting out an answer with so bold and controversial a claim as 'Dumbledore was being stupid' and then not going on to provide really hard evidence to support it might fail to attract upvotes here.
    – Au101
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 2:51

The book shows the stupidity of the OOTP, and of Dumbledore, its leader. Why have someone from the order guard the prophecy? One was caught and imprisoned, Arthur was almost killed. Only Harry and Voldemort can take the prophecy. If Voldemort comes, no single guard will stop him, whether he comes alone or not. If it is to stop Harry, this would be easier to accomplish by telling him the truth. As Voldemort knows about the prophecy and is already looking for it, he would learn nothing new if he discovered this from Harry.

Harry is kept in the dark because it is in line with the author's objective, to make Harry's life as miserable as possible. A good summary of OOTP (the longest book in the series) is "Harry is miserable." Being with the Dursleys without contact after he saw Cedric die and Voldemort resurrected, attacked by Dementors, tortured by Umbridge, tortured by Snape, seeing Sirius die, and so on.

Keeping Harry miserable is also Dumbledore's objective. At the end of OOTP he admits that he knew that he condemned Harry to ten dark years at the Dursleys. Not he learned later, from Mrs Figg or the other observers, but he knew before. He wanted Harry to have no self worth, so that he would be willing to die on Dumbledore's order.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.