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In Chapter Thirty-One of Deathly Hallows Harry has the following thought about the Room of Requirement:

Tom Riddle, who confided in no one and operated alone, might have been arrogant enough to assume that he, and only he, had penetrated the deepest mysteries of Hogwarts Castle. Of course, Dumbledore and Flitwick, those model pupils, had never set foot in that particular place, but he, Harry, had strayed off the beaten track in his time at school — here at last was a secret he and Voldemort knew, that Dumbledore had never discovered —

But Harry was aware that Dumbledore had indeed set foot in the Room of Requirement. In Chapter Eighteen of Order of the Phoenix he says the following to Dobby:

“— and if you really needed a bathroom,” said Harry, suddenly remembering something Dumbledore had said at the Yule Ball the previous Christmas, “would it fill itself with chamber pots?”

This is a reference to Chapter Twenty-Three of Goblet of Fire:

“Oh I would never dream of assuming I know all Hogwarts’ secrets, Igor,” said Dumbledore amicably. “Only this morning, for instance, I took a wrong turning on the way to the bathroom and found myself in a beautifully proportioned room I have never seen before, containing a really rather magnificent collection of chamber pots. When I went back to investigate more closely, I discovered that the room had vanished. But I must keep an eye out for it. Possibly it is only accessible at five-thirty in the morning. Or it may only appear at the quarter moon — or when the seeker has an exceptionally full bladder.”

Harry clearly took Dumbledore’s comment seriously, as (back in Order of the Phoenix) when he told Ron and Hermione about the room he invoked Dumbledore:

“This room isn’t just some mad idea of Dobby’s; Dumbledore knows about it too, he mentioned it to me at the Yule Ball.” Hermione’s expression cleared.

Dumbledore told you about it?”

Just in passing,” said Harry, shrugging.“

Why, then, in Deathly Hallows does Harry think that Dumbledore has never been in the Room of Requirement?

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  • 2
    Dumbledore might be joking
    – Valorum
    Mar 23, 2023 at 12:40
  • 1
    @Valorum True, but Harry seems to take the comment seriously.
    – Alex
    Mar 23, 2023 at 12:43
  • @Valorum Added a quote to support Harry taking it seriously.
    – Alex
    Mar 23, 2023 at 12:51
  • 1
    Strangely, the source of the Mirror is answered in a question about its fate. It says Dumbledore took the Mirror out of the Room and put it back, so he definitely has been there before. Case of unreliable narrator, perhaps?
    – fez
    Mar 24, 2023 at 14:47
  • @fez Harry wouldn’t have known about that.
    – Alex
    Mar 24, 2023 at 15:38

2 Answers 2

38

I think we should parse "that particular place" as the version of the Room which is full of random illicit stuff. The Room is presented as being able to show different versions of itself, and it can swap between them so long as it is unoccupied. (In Deathly Hallows this is a minor plot point as it can't be used as a safe zone at the same time as allowing access to the illicit-objects collection.) From what Harry knows, Dumbledore has seen the Room when it presented an assortment of chamber pots, but on the basis of that overheard conversation it would appear that Dumbledore hasn't penetrated the true nature of the Room. (Subsequent stories have shown him using it; that's still consistent with him not spilling every bean in his chat with Karkaroff, where he was mainly trying to be cryptically unhelpful.)

At this point, Harry believes that the diadem is hidden in the illicit-objects version of the Room, which is a single configuration that has been used by many students at different times. In accordance with the general working rules of the Room, it would be accessible to people who are trying to hide or retrieve a forbidden object. That matches all the known uses of that version of the Room, including the Half-Blood Prince's book, Malfoy's teleportation cabinet, and Trelawney's stash of sherry. If Harry, or anyone else, used the Room with a different need in mind, then they wouldn't have access to those objects.

This explains Harry's thoughts that Dumbledore and Flitwick were too goody-goody to have been in "that particular place": they wouldn't have had anything so naughty that they had a great need to hide it. Dumbledore (in Harry's view) has encountered the Room in a different form, and doesn't know that it also holds a stash of contraband.

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  • This was my first thought as well, and may ultimately be the right answer, but the overall context seemed to me to lead more towards discussing the Room of Requirement itself. For example, would discovering the Room of Requirement for something other than hiding things be less of penetrating the deepest mysteries of Hogwarts?
    – Alex
    Mar 23, 2023 at 14:10
  • 5
    I suppose presumptively Voldemort knew enough of the mechanics to believe that he could use the Room at will, whereas Dumbledore (on the basis of the overheard conversation alone) only knows it as the chamber-pot room, and doesn't know how to get there again. But I agree the Room seems to be pretty widely understood, certainly in comparison to the Chamber of Secrets, to name another toilet-adjacent mystery.
    – alexg
    Mar 23, 2023 at 14:21
  • Wasn't there things that was not contraband as well...like chairs and other furniture? I always got the impression that it was just a place to store stuff
    – rtaft
    Mar 24, 2023 at 17:15
  • @rtaft Cursed chairs and furniture, maybe? Or maybe it's a feature of the room to fill itself with all kinds of other useless junk when someone is looking for a hiding place because otherwise it wouldn't be that effective as a hiding place? Doesn't explain Dumbledore finding it to be full of such a large number of chamber pots - surely just one would be sufficient for his needs? (And I guess don't ask who empties them after use...) Mar 24, 2023 at 17:57
  • 1
    There is good evidence that Dumbledore was fully aware of the Room of Hidden Things. The chess pieces from Dumbledore's obstacle for the Sorcerer's Stone are stored there.
    – rtaft
    Mar 24, 2023 at 18:08
8

You make two wrong assumption here.

First one is that Harry is not explaining his thoughts but Riddle's. It's Riddle that would be absolutely certain that Dumbledore would never found the Room of requirements, (and more importantly, the specific room for hiding things).

Second one is the timeline, and is in fact a proof of the first one. If you believe Dumbledore (which you should not), he discovered the room, by accident, the day of the Yule Ball, decades after Riddle decision to hide the diadem there. So Tom clearly was right about it.

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  • 3
    I don’t think this fits in context. If Harry was describing Voldemort’s perspective, why would there be references to Dumbledore, Flitwick, and Harry? Voldemort certainly wasn’t thinking about them when he hid the diadem. If, however, it is Harry’s own perspective, it makes perfect sense. Dumbledore had been searching for the Horcrux for years, and Harry had just asked Flitwick about it. Harry is justifying why he was able to figure it out but Dumbledore and Flitwick couldn’t.
    – Alex
    Mar 23, 2023 at 13:08
  • 1
    Dumbledore was certainly not a pupil while Voldemort was in school. I don’t think Flitwick’s age is ever given in the books, so no specific reason to think he was a pupil at the same time as Voldemort either.
    – Alex
    Mar 23, 2023 at 13:23
  • 2
    I don't agree with the reading of this being exclusively Riddle's thoughts. In my view, it's Harry's internal narration where he first agrees with Voldemort (thinking he was right as far as Dumbledore and Flitwick) and then notes a specific way that Voldemort was wrong (Harry has been there, even though Dumbledore hasn't). The point is that Harry still thinks Voldemort was right about Dumbledore not being there.
    – alexg
    Mar 23, 2023 at 14:08
  • 2
    I'd add a third point to justify the second - when Dumbledore had a thing that he wanted to hide, he hid it...with the Dursleys. Voldemort and Harry both know that, when tasked to hide Harry Potter from Voldemort, Dumbledore did not choose to hide him in the Room Of Hidden Things (And given where he was hidden away, it would not surprise most people if Dumbledore had actually decided to use the Room of Requirement to hide Harry, if he thought that it could.). Mar 23, 2023 at 23:29
  • 2
    This reading makes absolutely no sense. If the thoughts are exclusively Riddle’s, then “he, Harry, had strayed” is meaningless (Riddle’s name was never Harry), and “a secret he and Voldemort knew, that Dumbledore had never discovered” even more so (Riddle and Voldemort are not separate people). You’re right that the first part is Harry surmising that Riddle assumed no one but him knew about the Room; but everything after that is completely unambiguously Harry’s own thoughts, not Riddle’s. Mar 26, 2023 at 16:27

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