So in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry resents Dumbledore for never properly explaining this to him,

Harry thought of Godric’s Hollow, of graves Dumbledore had never mentioned there; he thought of mysterious objects left with- out explanation in Dumbledore’s will, and resentment swelled in the darkness. Why hadn’t Dumbledore told him? Why hadn’t he explained? Had Dumbledore actually cared about Harry at all? Or had Harry been nothing more than a tool to be polished and honed, but not trusted, never confided in?

Kreacher's tale, HP and Deathly Hallows

It isn't until much later that Harry finds out that Dumbledore knew he was going to die and wanted Snape to kill him. It makes sense at that point to be angry with Dumbledore for not training him better and telling him all he needed to know considering he wouldn't be around for too long. But at the end of HBP and the very beginning of DH, Harry thought Dumbledore's death was sudden and unexpected. At the end of HBP they had just returned with what they thought was a horcrux and would have got to work destroying it had it not been for the visit from the Death Eaters and the subsequent "murder" of Albus Dumbledore.

So why did Harry resent Dumbledore at the beginning of Deathly Hallows then?


  • 8
    Dumbledore had six years in which he could, had he wished, have told Harry about his past. What makes you think a few months longer would have made any difference? Nov 14, 2017 at 6:45
  • Well Dumbledore admits that he regretted not telling Harry things sooner at the end of Order of Phoenix. So he only really started telling Harry things from then on. To me, it felt that he was getting to the point of revealing everything to Harry in HBP (at least before I reached the end of DH). But anyway I am not saying that a few more months would have made a difference, I am asking why Harry resented Dumbledore at the beginning.
    – R_D
    Nov 14, 2017 at 6:59
  • Yes, but your argument for why Harry shouldn't have resented Dumbledore rests on the assumption that Dumbledore would have told Harry these things had he lived - or, rather, that Harry would have thought that Dumbledore would have told Harry these things had he lived. I don't understand why you would expect Harry to believe that. Nov 14, 2017 at 7:09
  • Ok. Fair point.
    – R_D
    Nov 14, 2017 at 7:12
  • 6
    ... plus, of course, I believe it is normal enough to resent someone for dying, particularly if it was unexpected. Irrational, in most cases, but very human. Nov 14, 2017 at 7:13

2 Answers 2


Your question is pretty self-answering. The main reason for resentment was that Dumbledore kept important things from Harry for the six previous years, and Harry thought that the reason for not disclosing these things was that Dumbledore:

  • did not trust Harry
  • did not think Harry was capable or strong enough to handle these things
  • was too self-centered
  • was simply ignoring Harry because of other too-important matters.
  • 1
    Several more reasons, some were even included in the OP's quote: > Was simply using Harry as a tool. > Kept telling Harry to trust Snape when Snape betrayed Dumbledore's trust by killing D (Harry didn't know why at that point). > Left things unexplained that Harry felt would have given him a better chance of finding/killing Voldermort. > Didn't care about Harry.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 16, 2017 at 21:54

The question assumes that Harry has no reason to resent Dumbledore.

But Harry has plenty of reason to resent Dumbledore, although not all of them are known to him at that time. Some of the reasons are given in the quote in the question itself. Especially this part contains more truth than Harry knows at that time:

Or had Harry been nothing more than a tool to be polished and honed, but not trusted, never confided in?

But some other reasons for Harry to resent Dumbledore, known to Harry at the beginning of DH. This list is probably not complete.

  • Harry had been left as a child on the Dursleys' doorstep, and had a horrible childhood. There might be a logical explanation (blood protection), but Harry still has psychological scars for life.

  • Harry still had to go back every summer.

  • Dumbledore knew and admitted that he knew that Harry would have a bad childhood.

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

  • Dumbledore claimed that he cared too much for Harry's happiness, even though he admitted that he knew that Harry would not be happy before he even placed him there.

    "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 mind ..." (OotP)

  • As a consequence of his life with the Dursleys, Harry values family. The Dursleys were never family to him. One indication for this is Harry's reaction in DH when Molly gives him a clock that is a family heirloom. Harry could buy a new one, but this belonged to a family member.

    ‘I’m afraid that one isn’t new like Ron’s, it was actually my brother Fabian’s and he wasn’t terribly careful with his possessions, it’s a bit dented on the back, but –’

    The rest of her speech was lost; Harry had got up and hugged her. He tried to put a lot of unsaid things into the hug and perhaps she understood them, because she patted his cheek clumsily when he released her, then waved her wand in a slightly random way, causing half a pack of bacon to flop out of the frying pan on to the floor.

    Despite this, in sixteen years Dumbledore never took him to visit the graves of his parents.

  • At Hogwarts and with Dumbledore as headmaster, Harry's life was in danger most years. Dumbledore risked the life of the students by fringing the stone to Hogwarts and allowing Voldemort to teach, didn't protect them from the Basilisk, forced Harry to participate in the Tournament.

  • After the resurrection of Voldemort and after Harry witnessed Cedric's death, he is not only sent back to his abusive relatives, Dumbledore even makes sure that Harry is cut off from support of his friends.

    Hermione: "Have you been furious with us? I bet you have, I know our letters were useless -- but we couldn’t tell you anything, Dumbledore made us swear we wouldn’t" (OotP)

  • After forth year Harry was sent back to the Dursleys as usual because he was supposedly safe there. Yet he was attacked by Dementors and was almost killed.

  • Dumbledore is Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He is highly respected by many. This gives him both formal and informal influence. Yet he never tries to get Sirius declared innocent, even after he knows that Pettigrew is alive.

  • During OotP, Dumbledore didn't tell Harry that he suspected that Voldemort could try to get him to the ministry. This was partly the cause for Sirius' death.

  • Dumbledore withheld the prophecy from Harry, when Harry asked in first year in the hospital:

    "Well ... Voldemort said that he only killed my mother because she tried to stop him killing me. But why would he want to kill me in the first place?"

    "Alas, the first thing you ask me, I cannot tell you. Not today. Not now. You will know, one day. ... when you are ready, you will know."

    Yet immediately after the fight in the ministry and while Harry is still shocked because of Sirius' death, Dumbledore suddenly thinks this it the right time to dump the prophecy on Harry.

  • After Sirius' death Harry was again sent to the Dursleys without any emotional support.

  • Dumbledore allowed Snape to abuse Harry (and other students).

  • Dumbledore allowed Umbridge to torture Harry at Hogwarts.

  • During HBP, Dumbledore risked the life of Katie Bell (cursed necklace), Ron (poison) and the whole school (Death Eater invasion at the end) just so that maybe Draco would choose not to kill Dumbledore.

  • During HBP, Dumbledore wasted most of the year showing Harry memories of Voldemort's youth, but doesn't explain about destroying Horcruxes, an essential skill for the mission.

  • Dumbledore claimed that Harry's power over Voldemort is love, yet he made sure Harry would not experience love while growing up after his parents died.

So Harry has more than enough reason to resent Dumbledore.

  • 1
    "Dumbledore is a shmuck", +1. However, for allowing Voldemort to teach, didn't protect them from the Basilisk, forced Harry to participate in the Tournament, that might not really have been Dumbledore's fault (for once): see this and this on Quirrell, this for the Basilisk and this on what happens if you retract from the Triwizard tournament.
    – Jenayah
    Aug 15, 2018 at 8:52
  • @Jenayah Dumbledore may or may not have been responsible objectively, but there is no way for Harry to know, and Harry may still blame him. Especially as Dumbledore pretends to know best, he also gets the responsibility. Aug 15, 2018 at 9:24
  • @Jenayah The first two links don't even address Quirrel being Voldemort. The link about the Basilisk is marked duplicate, the referenced question has a top answer that says Dumbledore knew. About the contract, if it is so easy to create contracts for other people, there is much potential for abuse. Aug 15, 2018 at 9:26
  • True; I thought you were talking about Quirrell when you said "allowing Voldemort to tech", because Dumbledore wouldn't have allowed that if he'd known. The Basilisk one is supposedly a dupe, but the accepted answers are to be qualified; one says he knew at some point, the other says it took him some time, though. As per contract - totally agreed, but then again wizards don't exactly comply to some Child Protection Services recommendations... :D
    – Jenayah
    Aug 15, 2018 at 9:34

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