We learn about Dumbledore's scar when he drops Harry off at the Dursleys:

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

"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground.

(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1, The Boy Who Lived)

Plainly this is a light-hearted aside. Although I do find the idea of Dumbledore consulting his knee to work out which station to get off at whilst using the Tube hilarious.

Dumbeldore at train station

However, the Muggle underground has clearly undergone a number of changes over the years. For instance, the new Elizabeth Line will change the structure and layout of the Underground significantly when it becomes operational in 2018. This question deals with the issue a bit but doesn't answer the specifics of how Dumbeldore's scar worked.

Did Dumbledore's scar change over the years? Is there any indication that scars work this way?

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    The Dark Lord is asking about Dumbledore, we shouldn't tell him......(^_~)(⌒▽⌒)☆
    – j4rey
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 13:07
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    I've always rather thought Dumbledore's scar shows the London Underground in the same way that Dumbledore saw himself holding socks in the Mirror of Erised. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 13:21
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    In other words, that Dumbledore was being flippant and humorous both times because he didn't want to reveal too much about himself? Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 13:27
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    There is nothing at all in the question (or answers) this has been marked as a duplicate of. That question just establishes that it's a map of the London Underground, which says basically nothing. Voted to reopen. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:28
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    I was hoping for an answer that thought about how scars work in Harry Potter. The other question was wondering what Dumbledore's scar is. I know what it is. I'm wondering how it works. Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


Hate to tell you this, but they really don’t mention Dumbledore’s scar at all after that scene. Therefore, I reserve the right to idly speculate:

There are two possibilities concerning the origin of his scar- magical or non-magical. I mean, we don’t even know that much. Was the scar an honorable wound gained in a fierce battle? Or did he have an accident involving one of those new-fangled muggle bikes?

If it was a non-magical accident, then I’m afraid the scar it stuck the way it is, doomed forever to be inaccurate.

If not, then I suppose it depends on the nature of the magic that inflicted the scar. Harry’s scar was only special because a bit of Voldemort’s soul happened to be in him at the time. If Dumbledore’s scar is shaped like the Underground, then basically it looks like a bunch of squiggly lines, right? I’m not exactly sure how a spell could scar you in such a way, as the only other instances of magic causing scars is when a body part is physically cursed off, like when George loses an ear. Most spells just happen to DO something, like make a tea cup dance or kill you. Unless the spell intentionally was cast to cause a cool scar (like a more concentrated, British version of Sectumsempra, which basically maims you), it would only do it’s desired effect. Maybe some magical animal scarred him, who knows. Either way, it is improbable that the scar was intentionally shaped like London underground, and as it wasn’t associated with it to begin with, it would have no reason to change to account for new routes or whatever. If it was intentionally cast that way, that really raises more questions than it answers, but frankly, if you can figure out how to make a spell that scars you with a map you should be able to make it update itself.

Actually, now that I think about it, that could apply to all other scar instances. As McGonagall asks if Dumbledore can remove the scar, we know it’s possible in some cases, so logically, if you can get rid of it entirely, why not change it? I mean, sure, it sounds painful, but it would only be a few tweaks, and hey, it’s a free map. Might as well.

  • Maybe it was a sort of magical tattoo. Dumbledore seems like the sort of person who'd get one, given how quirky he was. Or maybe he had an unfortunate incident with a Underground branding iron. Great answer! Commented May 1, 2016 at 8:37
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    British version of Sectumsmepra? JKR is British.
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 9:34

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