To quote the "super great awesome extraordinary brilliant amazing gifted wizard Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore",

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean it is not real?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

What exactly does he mean by REAL here?

ETA : Was the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore actually real or did Dumbledore just say it because he thinks its real?

Why did the Dumbledore say that? If something is happening inside our head, it should logically be NOT real.

What magic exactly was behind this?

Did the Dumbledore come to Harry's mind in reality through some kind of magic?

I know Harry saw dreams which were mirroring a real situation. Was this related to that?

  • 9
    The obvious question that you need to ask yourself is, "What is real?"
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 15:06
  • 3
    Migraines are real. Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 15:16
  • 4
    Floating point numbers are reals.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 15:18
  • 4
    Thoughts, memories, and conversations are real. They are not, however, tangible.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 15:26
  • 1
    Would the "putters on holders" mind adding a comment? Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


Depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, you could take several interpretations.

Philosophical Nature of Reality

How do we define what is true? Descartes's famous Discours de la Méthode discusses how reality is defined entirely by what we perceive. He eventually rejects the idea of reality truly being subjective, possibly all artificially generated by some demon that makes us hallucinate what we think of as real, with her statement of Cogito ergo sum, "I think; therefore I am". On one level, Harry's dream of the train station is his perceptions. Thus, it is his reality of the time.

Dream Interpretation of Outside Perceptions

I believe this is what Rajan is referring to in his answer, that Harry may be taking what he knows happened before he became unconscious, and interpreting the additional sensory information he is passively receiving in a way that makes internal sense as a dream scene. This is the sort of thing that many people experience where their alarm going off in real life becomes a fire siren or a bomb about to explode in their dreams.

A Wizard Did It

No, not necessarily Dumbledore. I'm alluding to the TV Tropes entry where pretty much anything can be dismissed by saying it's magic. We could just take the easy way out here and answer your question by wiggling our fingers and saying mysteriously, "magic.."

The Butler did it... er, I mean Dumbledore did it

Dumbledore may truly be not only dead, but really most sincerely dead. That said, there are many ways in which wizards survive on after death in this world. Portraits, photographs, horcuxes, ghost, priori incantatem apparitions, pensieve memories... those are all canonical ways in which someone who is dead (mostly dead in the cases of the horcrux diary) can appear with seeming sapience. This isn't even getting into factors such as Dumbledore having a twin brother whose blood he likely shares (twins being highly genetically similar). So, this might be Dumbledore actually inside of Harry's head. It's in his head, but it's real.

Personally, I tend toward the third theory. Rowling didn't have any great meaning. She didn't intend this to be some sign of Dumbledore's contingency plans. Rather, she had the scene she wanted to write and she wrote it, and when people ask how it works, she wiggles her fingers and whispers, "Royalty checks..." Er, I mean, she wiggles her fingers and whispers, "Magic..."

  • @AwalGarg: I can no longer see a VTC, but my suspicion would be that it was a "your question is unclear" vote.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:33

This one is an interesting question.

Though I don't have any canonical proof, here is what I understand.

Voldemort used Avada Kedavra against Harry to kill him.He accidentally killed his own piece of soul.

At that time harry could feel that the horcrux inside him is destroyed.

Dumbledore told that to Harry because physically harry was in forest but he was talking to Dumbledore inside (For that , of course Dumbledore used magic).And also he was feeling the destruction of horcrux,

These things was real and Harry was a witness.But it was running in his mind rather then the physical world.

  • 1
    (For that , of course Dumbledore used magic) <-- HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? "super great awesome extraordinary brilliant amazing gifted wizard Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore" wasn't alive anymore... Can the dead do magic in the HP universe? Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 17:18
  • Soul Appears in harry's mind as well as real world too.Don't forget the scene in goblet of fire.
    – Rajan
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 17:35
  • Sorry, but which scene of Goblet of Fire are you referring to? Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:09
  • The duel between Harry and Voldemort.At that time Harry saw his parents and some more souls, they were talking to him.
    – Rajan
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:16
  • Ok, so you mean, a magic similar to that could have brought Dumbledore in front of Harry, but in some other fashion. Am I correct? Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:17

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