In book 6, Dumbledore wounded his hand by the curse on Marvolo Gaunt's ring. Does this suggest that the curse slightly diminished Dumbledore's power, and Dumbledore is now weaker than Voldemort, so this prompted Rufus Scrimgeour to place more Aurors around Hogwarts to guard the campus?

  • 2
    Nobody knew what was up with Dumbledore's hand, so... No?
    – Jenayah
    Sep 2, 2018 at 14:26
  • 1
    This might be three separate questions: 1) Was Dumbledore weakened? 2) Did anyone know? 3) Was this the motivation for the aurors around Hogwarts?
    – Alex
    Sep 2, 2018 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


It’s likely that Dumbledore was weakened at least somewhat.

The curse on Dumbledore’s hand definitely did affect him, though it’s unclear how much effect it had on his power. Though it’s unclear how much it affected his power, or if it weakened him sufficiently that he was less powerful than the Dark Lord, since it’s such a powerful curse, it likely did have some effect on his power (though it mightn’t be big). It was going to be fatal to him eventually, likely within a year, though Snape managed to contain it to his hand for a while.

“It is a miracle you managed to return here!’ Snape sounded furious. ‘That ring carried a curse of extraordinary power, to contain it is all we can hope for; I have trapped the curse in one hand for the time being –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

Snape described it as the kind of curse that strengthens over time, so even if it didn’t immediately weaken him, it’s likely it took its toll on him.

“You have done very well, Severus. How long do you think I have?’

Dumbledore’s tone was conversational; he might have been asking for a weather forecast. Snape hesitated, and then said, ‘I cannot tell. Maybe a year. There is no halting such a spell forever. It will spread, eventually, it is the sort of curse that strengthens over time.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

It’s not clear exactly how much the curse weakened him, but it likely did at least to some extent. It’s also unclear if he became less powerful than the Dark Lord because of the curse. There’s no clear indication who was more powerful between Dumbledore or the Dark Lord, or if they were equally matched. Without knowing who was more powerful, it’s hard to state whether the curse made Dumbledore less powerful than the Dark Lord. If they were equally matched, however (which they seemed to be in their duel) the curse would likely then give the Dark Lord the edge.

The Auror guard was likely due to the Dark Lord’s return.

However, the reason that the Aurors were stationed at Hogwarts was likely because of the Dark Lord’s return. Though Dumbledore’s injury likely did make it more important, it was likely due to the broader situation of his return that the Aurors were stationed at Hogwarts, and likely would have happened even if Dumbledore wasn’t injured. Sending Aurors to Hogwarts would be a way for the Ministry to look like it’s taking action to keep people safe, which they’d want regardless. People were reluctant to send their children back to Hogwarts after knowing the Dark Lord was back.

“People are terrified – you know the Patil twins’ parents want them to go home? And Eloise Midgeon has already been withdrawn. Her father picked her up last night.’

‘What!’ said Ron, goggling at Hermione. ‘But Hogwarts is safer than their homes, bound to be! We’ve got Aurors, and all those extra protective spells, and we’ve got Dumbledore!”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)

The protection on Hogwarts had been strengthened quite a bit over the summer.

“No, you couldn’t,’ said Tonks flatly. ‘Anti-intruder jinxes on all of them. Security’s been tightened a hundredfold this summer.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)

In addition, Dumbledore warns students must be careful and follow the rules for their own safety.

“I cannot emphasise strongly enough how dangerous the present situation is, and how much care each of us at Hogwarts must take to ensure that we remain safe. The castle’s magical fortifications have been strengthened over the summer, we are protected in new and more powerful ways, but we must still guard scrupulously against carelessness on the part of any student or member of staff.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)

It seems very likely that they’d increase the protection around Hogwarts after the Dark Lord’s return even if Dumbledore was at full strength - with him back and targeting Harry, Hogwarts would be in much more danger, and the Ministry was then willing to admit that and take more action.


(Skip to the last paragraph in bold for the conclusion.)

The first question is whether people knew about Dumbledore's injury. It seems like it was pretty noticeable to anyone who could see him. Harry noticed it right away upon meeting him:

As he replaced his wand in his pocket, Harry saw that his hand was blackened and shriveled; it looked as though his flesh had been burned away.

Similarly, many people noticed it at the start-of-term feast:

She was not the only one who had noticed. Dumbledore ’s right hand was as blackened and dead-looking as it had been on the night he had come to fetch Harry from the Dursleys. Whispers swept the room; Dumbledore, interpreting them correctly, merely smiled and shook his purple-and-gold sleeve over his injury.

We know Dumbledore and Scrimgeour met after Dumbledore received his injury:

“Please don’t leave on my account,” said Dumbledore courteously, “I cannot stay, I have urgent matters to discuss with Rufus Scrimgeour.”

Therefore, it is probable that Scrimgeour knew of Dumbledore's injury (though he would not necessarily know the effects of the injury).

As to the question of whether the injury affected his power, we find this passage when Dumbledore is about to die:

“He’s not long for this world anyway, if you ask me!” said the lopsided man, to the accompaniment of his sister’s wheezing giggles. “Look at him — what’s happened to you, then, Dumby?”

“Oh, weaker resistance, slower reflexes, Amycus,” said Dumbledore. “Old age, in short ... One day, perhaps, it will happen to you ... if you are lucky. ...”

This passage does not really indicate that Dumbledore was weakened because of the curse; however, it implies that he was cursed because he was weakened. They seem to be saying that Dumbledore's withered hand, while not the cause of his weakness, is evidence of his weakness. The weakness itself is attributed to old age, if we are to trust Dumbledore.

However, if Dumbledore is less powerful because he is getting old, that is just as concerning as if he was less powerful because of a curse. Therefore, if a weaker Dumbledore would be a reason to assign aurors to Hogwarts, the same reason would apply even if the weakness wasn't attributed to the curse.

Getting to the final question of what motivated Scrimgeour to assign aurors to Hogwarts, we don't have much information on that. We first find out about it from the Daily Prophet:

“For obvious reasons, the Ministry will not be going into detail about its stringent new security plans,” said the Minister, although an insider confirmed that measures include defensive spells and charms, a complex array of countercurses, and a small task force of Aurors dedicated solely to the protection of Hogwarts School.

This makes no mention of whether the reason is related to Dumbledore, but then again that's not something we would expect to find in a newspaper.

Later, Tonks tells Harry about being assigned as a guard, but again no reason is offered:

“But what are you doing here, anyway?” Harry asked.

“I’m stationed in Hogsmeade now, to give the school extra protection,” said Tonks.

“Is it just you who’s stationed up here, or — ?”

“No, Proudfoot, Savage, and Dawlish are here too.”

However, for the reason for the aurors to be because of Dumbledore's injury, the injury would have had to have happened before the aurors were assigned. This is a little tricky, but here's what we know:

Dumbledore received the injury a few days before picking up Harry from the Dursleys:

“No, I acquired it very recently,” said Dumbledore. “A few days before I came to fetch you from your aunt and uncle’s, in fact.”

Harry had been at the Dursleys for about a fortnight when Dumbledore picked him up:

But Harry had not packed. It just seemed too good to be true that he was going to be rescued from the Dursleys after a mere fortnight of their company.

This is in addition to the week or so of school after the battle at the Ministry. So we can assume that Dumbledore got injured slightly less than three weeks after the battle at the Ministry.

Fudge tells the Prime Minister that he was sacked:

“My dear Prime Minister, you can’t honestly think I’m still Minister of Magic after all this? I was sacked three days ago! The whole Wizarding community has been screaming for my resignation for a fortnight. I’ve never known them so united in my whole term of office!” said Fudge, with a brave attempt at a smile.

The fortnight here is probably from when the wizarding world found out about Voldemort's return. We can figure out when this was via the following calculation:

We know the theoretical part of the Astronomy exam was on Wednesday, with the practical part that night:

The Astronomy theory exam on Wednesday morning went well enough; Harry was not convinced he had got the names of all of Jupiter’s moons right, but was at least confident that none of them was inhabited by mice. They had to wait until evening for their practical Astronomy; the afternoon was devoted instead to Divination.

The History of Magic exam was the next afternoon:

Their final exam, History of Magic, was not to take place until that afternoon.

Harry saw the vision of Voldemort torturing Sirius during the History of Magic exam, and after the whole interruption with Umbridge they went to the Ministry that evening. Thus, the events at the Ministry occurred on Thursday night.

The announcement of Voldemort's return is mentioned in the Sunday Prophet as having occurred on Friday night:

In a brief statement Friday night, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be Named has returned to this country and is active once more.

Thus, the fortnight of clamoring for Fudge's resignation probably began the very night after the events at the Ministry, which would be at least several days before the fortnight that Harry spent at the Dursley's began. Therefore, if Dumbledore got injured shortly before the end of Harry's fortnight, it could have already been a few days after Fudge was sacked. If we assume that Scrimgeour took over immediately then it is possible that he was already Minister before Dumbledore's injury.

However, we still don't know how soon after becoming minister he assigned the aurors to Hogwarts. The newspaper article about the new security measures says (my emphasis):

Newly appointed Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, spoke today of the tough new measures taken by his Ministry to ensure the safety of students returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this autumn.

Additionally, this paper is in Harry's room lying next to the paper announcing Scrimgeour's appointment, which could indicate that it was the next day's paper.

Based on all this, it is still possible (though not conclusive) that the assignment of the aurors occurred prior to Dumbledore's injury, in which case it certainly cannot have been because of Dumbledore's injury.

In conclusion, Scrimgeour almost certainly knew about Dumbledore's injury, but we cannot be sure that he knew about it before he assigned the aurors to Hogwarts. Even if he did know about it beforehand, it is unlikely that he knew the effects of the injury, although the fact that Dumbledore had received such an injury might have been disconcerting in and of itself. We don't, however, find any mention of Scrimgeour's motivation for assigning the aurors. It is theoretically possible that it was because he thought Dumbledore was no longer as powerful, but it could be due to other reasons as well. In fact, it may have been simply because he did not agree with Dumbledore, as evidenced by the Daily Prophet's report of their rift immediately following Scrimgeour's appointment:

The appointment has largely been greeted with enthusiasm by the Wizarding community, though rumors of a rift between the new Minister and Albus Dumbledore, newly reinstated Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, surfaced within hours of Scrimgeour taking office.

  • Thanks... that's a comprehensive explanation... but how come after the tightening of security measures in book 6, Hogwarts was still infiltrated in Book 7? Sep 3, 2018 at 4:24
  • @Ken_To_2018 By then Voldemort had taken over the Ministry so there wasn't much stopping him.
    – Alex
    Sep 3, 2018 at 4:28

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