At some point (during or before Harry's first year at Hogwarts) Dumbledore realized that Voldemort was not truly "dead".

Is there some canon information to show when exactly he knew or suspected that Voldemort was not "fully dead" and would likely return?

Was it during Harry's first year, e.g. when he saw the changes in Professor Quirrell, or was it from the very beginning, right after Harry survived in Godric's Hollow?

  • 5
    I'm pretty sure he suspected it all along.
    – Kevin
    Jan 17, 2012 at 19:31

4 Answers 4


Based on the fact that he insisted that Harry lived with Dudley and Co at Privet Drive (to give him blood protection), he must have known/suspected from the very beginning.

As discussed in earlier questions, blood protection was against Voldemort only, so there wouldn't have been any sense to place Harry in such a hostile (and Dumbledore is smart enough to know it's at least somewhat hostile) environment as opposed to foster/adopt with one of the Order of Phoenix members if not for him worrying about Voldemort coming back.

  • 9
    Another reason given by Dumbledore for fostering him at his Aunt's was to give him a 'normal' life away from celebrity in the Wizarding world (I think he says this to MacGonagall at the start of HP:TPS)
    – HorusKol
    Jan 17, 2012 at 22:40
  • 6
    @HorusKol, that may very well have been an excuse, if not a complete lie. Dumbledore is known to be very secretive.
    – trysis
    Jun 29, 2014 at 20:10

Dumbledore never believed that Voldemort was killed at the end of the First War.

In Deathly Hallows, we witness a conversation between Dumbledore and the Half-Blood Prince which took place shortly after the death of Harry’s parents:

“He does not need protection. The Dark Lord has gone—”

“The Dark Lord will return, and Harry Potter will be in terrible danger when he does.”

Deathly Hallows, chapter 33, The Prince's Tale

Combined with his assertion in Goblet of Fire that “No spell can reawaken the dead”, Dumbledore must have known that Voldemort wasn’t really dead when his curse backfired.

  • 4
    This should be the accepted answer May 2, 2014 at 11:00

Dumbledore had definitely realized this before Harry has started his first year. In Stone chapter 4, Hagrid tells Harry plainly that he doesn't believe in the Dark Lord having died. Hagrid is likely echoing Dumbledore's opinion.

‘Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die. Some say he's still out there, bidin' his time, like, but I don' believe it. People who was on his side came back ter ours. Some of 'em came outta kinda trances. Don' reckon they could've done if he was comin' back.

‘Most of us reckon he's still out there somewhere but lost his powers. Too weak to carry on. 'Cause somethin' about you finished him, Harry. There was somethin' going' on that night he hadn't counted on – I dunno what it was, no one does – but somethin' about you stumped him, all right.’


Dumbledore knew all along that the Dark Lord would return.

When Dumbledore explains to Harry why he sent him to live with the Dursleys, he tells Harry that he knew that the Dark Lord would one day return, and he made his choice with that in mind.

“Voldemort had been vanquished hours before, but his supporters – and many of them are almost as terrible as he – were still at large, angry, desperate and violent. And I had to make my decision, too, with regard to the years ahead. Did I believe that Voldemort was gone for ever? No. I knew not whether it would be ten, twenty or fifty years before he returned, but I was sure he would do so, and I was sure, too, knowing him as I have done, that he would not rest until he killed you.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)

As he tells Harry, Dumbledore knew all along - hours after the Dark Lord’s downfall, Dumbledore already expected that one day he’d return, and planned Harry’s protection around this.

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