Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Will of Albus Dumbledore

One might expect that the reading of a will would be a somber occasion, but in The Deathly Hallows, the
situation is better described as comical.

Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic, is full of questions - trying to figure out what sort of secrets Dumbledore was passing to the only three students he remembered in his will.

1.  Ron receives the Deluminator:
"To what use did he think you would put his Deluminator, Mr. Weasley?" 
"Put out lights, I s'pose," mumbled Ron.  "What else could I do with it?" 
Evidently Scrimgeour had no suggestions. (125)

2.  Hermione receives The Tales of Beedle the Bard:
"Did you ever discuss codes, or any means of passing secret messages, with Dumbledore?"
"No, I didn't," said Hermione, still wiping her eyes on her sleeve.  "And if the Ministry hasn't found any hidden codes in this book in thirty-one days, I doubt that I will." (126) 
3.  Harry receives the Snitch:
"You think this is a mere symbolic keepsake, then?"
"I suppose so," said Harry.  "What else could it be?"
"I'm asking the questions," said Scrimgeour, shifting his chair a little closer to the sofa.  Dusk was really falling outside now; the marquee beyond the windows towered ghostly white over the hedge.
"I notice that your birthday cake is in the shape of a Snitch," Scrimgeour said to Harry.  "Why is that?"
Hermione laughed derisively.
"Oh, it can't be a reference to the fact Harry's a great Seeker, that's way too obvious," she said.  "There must be a secret message from Dumbledore hidden in the icing!" (127).
4. Harry receives the sword of Godric Gryffindor:
Scrimgeour scratched his badly shaven cheek, scrutinizing Harry. "Why do you think - ?"
"- Dumbledore wanted to give me the sword?" said Harry, struggling to keep his temper.  "Maybe he thought it would look nice on my wall."
"This is not a joke, Potter!" growled Scrimgeour. (129) 

Harry, Ron, and Hermione wouldn't have described the event as comical, since they are very frustrated at the Ministry's prying.  However, as an outside reader, I can't help but laugh at Scrimgeour's ridiculous questions.

And after all, we learn later that Dumbledore's death was no surprise to him - he had been cursed by the Gaunt ring.  I imagine that Dumbledore with all of his eccentricities would've wanted the reading of his will to be a humorous occasion, were it not for the importance of his bequeaths.  Remember the very first words Dumbledore said in the Harry Potter series:
"Welcome!" he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words.  And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" (The Sorcerer's Stone, 123)
In the movie version of the reading of Dumbledore's Will, Scrimgeour's prying is almost completely absent, except for the visible disappointment when Harry takes the Snitch and nothing happens:


  1. Excellent post! I love your image of the will. AWESOME. :)

    Stopping by from the #atozchallenge !

    1. Thank you! Can you believe the challenge is almost over?!