3

The passage of interest:

"I cared about you too much," said Dumbledore simply. "I cared more for your happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of my mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed...What did I care if numbers of nameless and faceless people and creatures were slaughtered in the vague future, if in the here and now you were alive, and well, and happy?" (OOTP, US Hardcover, 838-839).

The above passage is Dumbledore's explanation of "The Flaw in the Plan." It is spoken, and then followed up by Dumbledore telling Harry about the prophecy, conveying to the reader--and more importantly, to Harry--that the "flaw" was not telling Harry about the prophecy earlier, presumably so that he could start his horcrux hunt sooner and bring about LV's demise sooner.

  • Is this specifically the way the future slaughter of people and creatures would be avoided? I think not.

Might Dumbledore have been referring to a much bigger flaw? One that he didn't mention to Harry in this room, but one that he cryptically began to introduce here?

I speak of the plan for Harry to sacrifice himself so that LV will never be able to hurt anyone again. Per:

"You won’t be killing anyone else tonight,” said Harry as they circled, and stared into each other’s eyes, green into red. “You won’t be able to kill any of them ever again. Don’t you get it? I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people—” (DH, US Hardcover, 738).

  • There is a really important takeaway from the above passage: Even if Harry had proven unable to destroy a single horcrux, his sacrifice would have prevented LV from hurting any innocent person ever again.

From these two quotes, I glean the following: The "plan" was Harry's self-sacrifice. If this plan failed, the people would not have been protected against LV. The "flaw" was not necessarily Dumbledore's resistance to tell Harry about the prophecy/horcruxes, but his overvaluation of Harry's life when it would have been far more important for Harry to just sacrifice himself (to shield against future harm for "numbers of nameless and faceless people").

Of course, Dumbledore COULD NOT have been truthful here about the plan, otherwise the sacrifice aspect would have been negated. It is nonetheless interesting that Dumbledore tells Harry he is ready for the truth, and then proceeds to lie again, even if it was necessary to start moving Harry in the path toward his sacrifice.

Having reached the end of this long-winded background, I ask the following: What did DD mean specifically by "the Flaw in the Plan" (Horcrux or Sacrifice)?

  • @N_Soong Sufficient or no? – CCHP Nov 21 '15 at 1:22
  • Yes, this is much better! – Often Right Nov 21 '15 at 1:23
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Even if Harry had proven unable to destroy a single horcrux, his sacrifice would have prevented LV from hurting any innocent person ever again.

This is incorrect assumption. While Harry's sacrifice did indeed have this effect - via the same protection mechanism that Lily's sacrifice protected Harry - it was a byproduct of what happened, not the intended outcome.

Please note that Harry didn't even realize what happened until he saw it happening (when silencing spell, and then the torture and binding spells on Neville, didn't work well).

conveying to the reader--and more importantly, to Harry--that the "flaw" was not telling Harry about the prophecy earlier, presumably so that he could start his horcrux hunt sooner and bring about LV's demise sooner. ... What did DD mean specifically by "the Flaw in the Plan" (Horcrux or Sacrifice)?

Not quite. The flaw didn't cause the hunt for Horcruxes to start later (as a matter of fact, until he was gravely injured, Dumbledore wasn't even telling Harry he was looking for Horcruxes - WELL after he told him the Prophecy), nor would it have speeded up Voldemort's demise (because the Horcruxes needed to be gone for that first).

What it DID do, was to cause Harry needless suffering, especially during Year 5:

  • He felt that Dumbledore avoided him and distanced himself
  • He was afraid he was becoming possessed by Voldemort (till Ginny read him the riot act)
  • He lost Sirius because he didn't know the full truth and let himself be tricked by Voldemort

    Harry closed his eyes. If he had not gone to save Sirius, Sirius would not have died . . . More to stave off the moment when he would have to think of Sirius again, Harry asked, without caring much about the answer, 'The end of the prophecy . . . it was something about . . . neither can live . . .'

  • 1
    At the risk of opening myself up to trouble - it's good to have you back: +1 – Au101 Nov 21 '15 at 6:56
  • Can you elaborate on either (hopefully both) of your claims? You kinda just called both of mine incorrect w/o any evidence. I'm sure you have some good evidence based on your past contributions. – CCHP Nov 21 '15 at 7:32
  • Based on all canon evidence, Harry's sacrificial protection would have worked without the elimination of a single horcrux. After all, it succeeded while a horcrux (Nagini) remained. – CCHP Nov 21 '15 at 7:35
  • @CCHP - correct. My point is that the protection was an un-planned-for byproduct, not the point of the whole plan (which was to get Voldemort to kill the pseudo-Horcrux inside Harry) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 21 '15 at 7:36
  • Says who? That's my whole point. Re-reading "The Lost Prophecy" from OOTP possibly yields new insight into JKR's intention for "the plan" and "the flaw" in said plan. How apropos is the quote "What did I care if numbers of nameless and faceless people and creatures were slaughtered in the vague future..."? I am not so sure I agree that this wasn't Dumbledore's true plan. – CCHP Nov 21 '15 at 7:39

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