In The Philosopher's Stone (aka The Sorcerer's Stone), Harry and Draco are sent to Forbidden Forest with Rubeus Hagrid, the games keeper.

We know that the Forest is a pretty dangerous place — why would Dumbledore allow that dangerous of a detention assignment?

I know why it was needed for the plot development, but it sounds unlike Dumbledore.

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    i dunno, i think it fits pretty well with dumbledore's track record of being a terrible headmaster in general... – larissa Aug 7 '12 at 7:46
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    @anyaMairead That is incorrect, Dumbledore had an excellent track record of caring about his students: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/26936/… – Möoz Apr 23 '14 at 4:10

It sounds just like Albus.

  1. He knows Harry must one day defeat the Dark Lord.
  2. He knows that the Dark Lord is alive and someone or something is drinking unicorn blood.
  3. He knows the trio (or more likely just Harry, the other two are a bonus) must get to the Mirror of Erised, past Fluffy.
  4. He knows Harry is being bullied by Malfoy.
  5. He knows that unless he toughens Harry up, he has no chance.

The whole experience, with the centaurs, the unicorn blood, hearing about Fluffy (which may have happened earlier, but lets assume Albus wants to be sure Hagrid blabbers), seeing Quirrel, seeing Malfoy run, was intentional.

It's almost as though Albus is the greatest (and craziest) wizarding genius the Wizarding World has ever seen.

Yes, it's for the sake of plot, but Albus knows what plot he wants, knows the prophecy and is helping things along.

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    "The plot is strong with this one!" -- not Darth Vader – Keith Thompson Aug 7 '12 at 2:52
  • This sounds suspiciously like reasoning from a certain rationalist Harry Potter fanfic :) – Tacroy Aug 7 '12 at 15:51
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    @Tacroy, never read any HP fanfic... – AncientSwordRage Aug 7 '12 at 17:11
  • the simple summary is 'Dumbledore was the wisest of all'.. much clichéd.. but truth.. – RicoRicochet Mar 31 '15 at 6:38
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    Why exactly does Dumbledore want Harry or the trio to get to the mirror? – user2813274 Apr 18 '15 at 19:14

The Forest is a dangerous place if students wander there alone. However, the students will spend the detention together with Hagrid the gamekeeper, who keeps them entirely safe.

A slight problem is that Hagrid, in his usual recklessness, didn't keep the group all together with him, but let them split in two. But apart from that, I think the idea was sound.

Students usually do some sort of charitable work in detention under the supervision of a staff member, such as cleaning or answering fan mail. In this case, the students are helping Hagrid in his gamekeeper duties. They may even learn some useful first-hand experience in Care of Magical Creatures applied in the real world.

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