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After re-reading the books as an adult I can't stop the nagging feeling, that Dumbledore knowing of the prophecy, helped it get fulfilled by willingly allowing events to unfold as they did - Voldemort learned about the prophecy from Snape, got up and killed the Potters and got hit in the face with his own curse.

It seems plausible and even rational, if amoral - to sacrifice a family in order to stop the Dark Lord. And, as Dumbledore was pretty well acquainted with loosing his allies and friends (after all he was a vet of at least two wizarding wars) - I suppose it could've "dumbed down" the acuteness of that moral dilemma.

There is an issue with Pettigrew - "supposedly" no-one suspected him as a traitor, BUT - it was a war time and Order of Phoenix was bound to be careful to the point of paranoia (think Alastor Moody). Why wasn't Fidelius charm secured with an Unbreakable Vow?

So, how do you think, what really went on in Dumbledore's head regarding that matter?

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    He certainly thinks nothing of using a child as bait (in books 1-7). – Valorum Dec 27 '15 at 13:38
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So, how do you think, what really went on in Dumbledore's head regarding that matter?

It is impossible to say what went on in Dumbledore's head. But we can look at his behavior and try to deduce possible reasons why he behaved that way.

Regarding the inevitability of a prophecy, Dumbledore himself says

"You are setting too much store by the prophecy!" ... "If Voldemort had never heard of the prophecy, would it have been fulfilled? Would it have meant something? Of course not! Do you think every prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy has been fulfilled?" ... "Harry, Harry, only because Voldemort made a grave error and acted on Professor Trelawney's words!" (HBP)

So Dumbledore basically says that a prophecy means nothing unless someone hears it and decides to act on it. But Dumbledore knows that Snape heard the beginning of the prophecy. He knew that Snape was a Death Eater and allowed him to get away with his memory of the prophecy and without an unbreakable wow that he will never tell anybody. As the prophecy was made before Harry's birth, Dumbledore might not have known that it referred to the Potters, but as he will be born to those who have thrice defied him, that means that whoever it is, it is someone who is against Voldemort. So it would make sense to prevent Snape from telling about the prophecy, unless that is exactly what Dumbledore wanted.

Then time passes, and on Halloween Voldemort kills the Potter parents. Dumbledore somehow knows about this, but doesn't bother to go there himself to find out what happened. Instead he sends Hagrid, who later told

"No, sir – house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right" (PS)

Anything that destroys a house is likely to cause enough debris to cause significant injuries to an adult, and even more so to a baby. And is it Hagrid's task to bring Harry to the hospital, or to the Hogwarts infirmary? No, his task is to bring Harry directly to the Dursleys. Before Dumbledore even saw Harry after his parents were killed, he decides that Harry should go to the Dursleys. Later he tells Harry that he knew before he sent him there

"I knew I was condemning you to ten dark and difficult years" (OotP)

When he talks to McGonagall outside the Dursleys' house, he says

"He’ll have that scar for ever."

"Couldn’t you do something about it, Dumbledore?"

"Even if I could, I wouldn’t. (PS)

So he wouldn't remove the Horcrux in Harry's head even if he could. But this Horcrux is the reason Harry has to die. This changes only after Voldemort's resurrection, and is not something Dumbledore could have planned for. Otherwise Dumbledore would not be pleasantly surprised.

"For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes. But next second Harry was sure he had imagined it" (GoF)

This is later explained

"He took my blood," said Harry.

"Precisely!" said Dumbledore. "He took your blood and rebuilt his living body with it! Your blood in his veins, Harry, Lily’s protection inside both of you! He tethered you to life while he lives!" (DH)

So we know about Dumbledore's plans regarding Harry. It was to condemn him to ten dark years, and after that he had to die, unless something unexpected would happen. He made this decision within one day and without even seeing Harry, or he made that decision even before Harry's parents were killed. So as Dumbledore has no problem to set up Harry for ten years of abuse followed by death, it is no big leap to assume that he also didn't have a problem to sacrifice the Potter parents.

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A lot of this is going to be conjecture, but I'll take a stab at it:

[Dumbledore] helped [the prophecy] get fulfilled by willingly allowing events to unfold as they did

Once Voldemort heard the part of the Prophecy, he mistakenly fulfilled it by killing the Potters. Anything that Dumbledore would have done would have resulted in the same fate for the Potters.

It seems plausible [...] to sacrifice a family in order to stop the Dark Lord

I think it's very possible that Dumbledore would have sacrificed someone for wizard good, but only if there was intact a very good plan.

His say-so led to the deaths of many: Snape, himself, even Harry. However, much like a well-played game of wizard chess, he knew sacrifices must be made to get the king.

This, however, does not seem to be a case of that.

"Worse than that, m'dear..." Fudge dropped his voice and proceeded in a sort of low rumble. "Not many people are aware that the Potters knew You-Know-Who was after them....Dumbledore told them that their best chance was the Fidelius Charm."

— Chapter 10, The Marauder's Map

Dumbledore most certainly gave them the idea to use the charm, but he does not tell them who to make their secret keeper. He simply performed the charm.

Why wasn't Fidelius charm secured with an Unbreakable Vow?

Pottermore gives more details about the Fidelius Charm that we don't learn from canon:

The Fidelius Charm is not without its weaknesses. If the Secret Keeper wishes to do so, they may divulge the information at any time (although the secret cannot be forced, bewitched or tortured out of a Secret Keeper who does not wish to give up their secret; it must be given voluntarily).

(Secret-keeper, Pottermore Book 3 Chapter 17 Moment 2)

Because the Potters trusted Pettigrew and Sirius the same, they probably assumed that no matter how much torture they suffered, they would (and could) not give them up.

This still leaves some questions unanswered: why Pettigrew instead of Sirius? This has been a speculated many times, and instead of rewriting it all here, I'll point you to this question, which has some very cogent points.

So [...] what really went on in Dumbledore's head regarding that matter?

He knew that the Potters would die, no questions asked. He heard the Prophecy and we've already established that once Voldemort was threatened, he could not be stopped. Dumbledore gave consult to the Potters, but let them choose their own secret keeper; after all, this is their lives and he already knew that no matter who was chosen, they would perish. He knew, too, from the Prophecy that Harry would live.

Bottom-line: Dumbledore didn't set them up - they were already doomed.

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    Hmm. Did he really know they would die? He understood that they will become targets, yes, but prophecy never specified that Harry's parents had to die. Lily, possibly was doomed indeed though. – mr.pd Dec 27 '15 at 14:48
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    "There is no possible way to un-fulfill a told prophecy - it simply is to be."-this contradicts the canon. Dumbledore said in the sixth book that there were many prophecies in the Department of Mysteries that had never been fulfilled. – rah4927 Dec 27 '15 at 14:52
  • Lily being doomed implied James being doomed. – erip Dec 27 '15 at 14:54
  • @rah4927 "If Voldemort had never heard of the prophecy, would it have been fulfilled? Would it have meant anything? Of course not! Do you think every prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy has been fulfilled?” This is hard to say. Many prophecies were destroyed, which could account for the unfulfilled ones. At the very least it could be said that Voldemort didn't want to change the prophecy being true, so he self-fulfilled it. – erip Dec 27 '15 at 15:14
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    @rah4927 An Unbreakable Vow is dark magic?! Where do you get this from? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 27 '15 at 15:56

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