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In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Professor Dumbledore was killed by Snape. But later he talked with Harry.

Did Dumbledore really die? Or not?

marked as duplicate by Möoz, Moogle, Ward, John Rennie, Monty129 Aug 13 '14 at 12:39

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    I don't think I even knew the fact that Dumbledore stayed in Limbo. So is this really a duplicate, duh? – Jamie Aug 14 '14 at 3:19

Did Dumbledore die?

Yes. There are two ways of looking at it:

  1. Dumbledore was temporarily in Limbo, somewhere between life and death, able to communicate with Harry, who was in the same place.

  2. Harry was hallucinating.

In either case, it is safe to assume Dumbledore was not going to come back to the world of the living.

  • So he was hallucinating...... I thought it was real. – Jamie Aug 13 '14 at 2:05
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    @Jamie Personally, I think he really did see Dumbledore. Harry could get back from Limbo because he was only there as a part of him died. That part can be seen squirming under the bench. – Adam Jensen Aug 13 '14 at 3:05
  • @AdamJensen: the squirming thing under the bench is Voldemort, not Harry. – Martha Aug 13 '14 at 4:00
  • Yeah. A part. And I only meant it was a part of Harry as much as it was a part that had been imprinted on him or his soul. It wasn't there since birth. – Adam Jensen Aug 13 '14 at 4:04


Harry asks as much himself, when he encounters Dumbledore in limbo:

Dumbledore sat down in one of them, and Harry fell into the other, staring at his old headmaster’s face. Dumbledore’s long silver hair and beard, the piercingly blue eyes behind half-moon spectacles, the crooked nose: Everything was as he had remembered it. And yet…

“But you’re dead,” said Harry.

“Oh yes,” said Dumbledore matter-of-factly.

Deathly Hallows, chapter 35 (King’s Cross)

Although Dumbledore has been known to mislead on occasion, everything else he says in this conversation seems to be honest and true (including about what Harry does next), so I’d be inclined to say that he’s telling the truth here, as well.

J.K. Rowling was asked where they were in this chapter, and answered in an interview:

In the chapter King’s Cross, are they behind the veil or in some world between the real world and the veil?

You can make up your own mind on this, but I think that Harry entered a kind of limbo between life and death.

J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com (July 2007

Dumbledore’s soul was able to communicate with Harry in limbo, despite being dead himself, because it’s a special halfway point. However, there is never any point at which it seems like Dumbledore could return to the world of the living. He can get as far as limbo, but no further.

In the mortal world, Dumbledore’s body really is dead. His soul has gone to the afterlife.


It is repeatedly made clear, several times by Dumbledore himself, that death is a one-way barrier: once dead, there is no magic that can bring you back, not even the Resurrection Stone. So yes, Dumbledore is dead, and the explanation for the scene in Deathly Hallows is simple: Harry didn't really talk to Dumbledore in that limbo-version of Kings Cross station.

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

Harry experienced something that would ordinarily be far beyond his human comprehension, so [his brain|God|insert your own interpretation of the causative agent here] made an extended metaphor out of it: the border between worlds became Kings Cross station, the piece of Voldemort's soul became a maimed squirmy... thing, and the thoughts/explanation/logic were put into Dumbledore's mouth, because even in limbo, it'd be weird to have a conversation with yourself.

  • The only thing that speaks vaguely against this is that "Dumbledore" doesn't realize they're in King's Cross, whereas if the "person" creating this extended metaphor is the one talking to him, there wouldn't be that element of surprise. – Matt Gutting Aug 13 '14 at 10:54

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