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Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?



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  #1  
Old February 26th, 2011, 1:11 pm
tonks_cousin7  Undisclosed.gif tonks_cousin7 is offline
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Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

when you think about it, Dumbledore didn't act very serious about anything! And didn't really listen to any problems, the other teachers did that.

MAYBE that is why people in Hogwarts were so bad when Dumbledore died. They weren't used to so much discipline.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Dumbledore but I don't think Headmaster was the best job for him!

What do you think?

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  #2  
Old February 26th, 2011, 7:43 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a Bad Headmaster

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Originally Posted by tonks_cousin7 View Post
when you think about it, Dumbledore didn't act very serious about anything! And didn't really listen to any problems, the other teachers did that.

MAYBE that is why people in Hogwarts were so bad when Dumbledore died. They weren't used to so much discipline.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Dumbledore but I don't think Headmaster was the best job for him!

What do you think?
I would agree that headmaster was perhaps not the best job for Dumbledore if we were to ignore the circumstances of the world during the series. I don't think that Dumbledore not taking anything apparently seriously was a problem though, as I think it is pretty clear that he has some pretty serious stuff going on in his mind when we actually get to know him, and that his happy external face to the students is more for their benefit than his.

Also, I would completely disagree that students were "bad" after he died. They were getting in trouble not because they were unused to discipline (especially with Snape and McGonagall around), but because they were being asked to do things which conflicted with their very morals. Many people would have a hard time torturing their peers or even their enemies regardless of circumstances.

To me, the main weakness in Dumbledore as a headmaster is that having the best teachers for the students is not his main priority. He doesn't seem to be that bothered with the type of education his students get. Grubbly-Plank is written as a more proficient teacher than Hagrid, yet Dumbledore gives Hagrid the job. He is doubtless aware of Harry's being bullied by Snape in the dungeons, yet he does nothing to stop it or threaten Snape's job security, and he hires Lockhart, upon which I doubt I need to expand.

However, to me, this is all extremely forgiveable because of what his top priority is: the safety of Harry and the other students and the plan to bring down Voldemort, and given the state of the world outside of Hogwarts, this is absolutely where his efforts should be.


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Old February 26th, 2011, 7:50 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a Bad Headmaster

That question has bothered me, especially when I consider Dumbledore's perceptiveness as Headmaster in acknowledging the value of others: why in the world did he hire Lockhart when most of the other teachers were immediately aware of how "off" he seemed, given how generally perceptive he is of the qualities in others so late in his life? I know that he is sometimes a little too trusting, but of Lockhart? Surely Dumbledore wasn't so easily convinced that Lockhart was as genuine as he claimed to be during his job interview?


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Old February 26th, 2011, 8:48 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a Bad Headmaster

While I don't think Dumbledore was a "bad" Headmaster, I will say he was careless. He hired teachers that not only did not seem more proficient for their jobs than others - Hagrid, as opposed to Grubby-Plank for Care Of Magical Creatures; Lockhart for Defense, compared to, say, Lupin, etc.

Actually, hiring Lockhart was a puzzling decision to me. Why hire a guy who has no interest in teaching the students what they really need to know, but instead manages the curriculum speaking and teaching about himself. The same could be said about Quirrel; Dumbledore suspected he posed a threat, but he kept him in the school and the position, even if it could be dangerous for Harry.

Although he did not suspect Moody, (and while the choice was a good one, had it been the real Moody) the fact remains that a Death Eater taught at Hogwarts, and had perfect opportunity to do things that could put the students in danger.

Nevertheless, his main concern and best achievement is that despite these choices, he did keep the students safe. But why even risk the chances? Why not analyze the teachers closely and when there's a chance they might not be what they were during the interview, dismiss them quickly? He did this for Voldemort; why not everyone else, when any of them could have possibly been as dangerous as the Dark Lord himself?


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Old February 27th, 2011, 5:25 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster

As for why he hired Lockhart, Hagrid gave us the answer long ago. Lockhart was the only one who applied for the job.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 6:24 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster

I don't know if he was a bad headmaster, but I am annoyed with him. I am re-reading OoThP. I know he didn't want to get too close to harry because Voldemort might take advantage of that. However, I think he should have explained to Harry, how Voldemort would use Sirius to get to Harry. Dumbledore waited until almost the end of the book before explaining things to Harry. I wish he had talked to him early in the school year.
And I wish he had found a way for Sirius to get out more. Moody had an invisibility cloak and Sirius was able to transform into a dog. Surely, there should have been a way for Sirius to get out more. Of course, that would change the story completely.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 7:24 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster

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Originally Posted by willfitz View Post
Grubbly-Plank is written as a more proficient teacher than Hagrid, yet Dumbledore gives Hagrid the job. He is doubtless aware of Harry's being bullied by Snape in the dungeons, yet he does nothing to stop it or threaten Snape's job security
We know Dumbledore had special reasons for keeping Snape and Hagrid. He kept Snape because he needed him as a spy, in the future, and possibly because he couldn't get a job, elsewhere because of his history as a Death Eater. And he gave Hagrid the job because Hagrid could never have been able to get a job better than a Gamekeeper, all his life. If one looks at it from the teachers' point of view, it would seem that Dumbledore cared more about his teachers than he did about the students. In hiring Lupin, he probably did the same thing (Lupin couldn't get jobs easily because of his condition), except that Lupin was a capable teacher.

It's definitely not a great thing to do, to put the teachers' welfare ahead of the students', but in Snape's case (according to JKR) he wanted the students to be tough, or something like that, by having quite a harsh teacher like Snape. In Lupin's case we could say that he took all the precautions in order to ensure the children's safety, and with Hagrid, he probably wanted them to have some real experience with Magical creatures, some practical lessons, perhaps. It's probably necessary to mention that when some injuries happened in Hagrid's class, it was much more the student's fault than it was Hagrid's.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 7:28 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster

I understand his reasoning of "the greater good" but i still find it rather distasteful that Dumbledore allowed Draco to continue with his assassination attempts when all they were doing were endangering students. Katie Bell and Ron both very nearly died and had they died of course Draco would be to blame but because Dumbledore didn't act he would also be to blame as he could have easily stopped it.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 7:43 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster

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Originally Posted by bellatrix93 View Post
We know Dumbledore had special reasons for keeping Snape and Hagrid. He kept Snape because he needed him as a spy, in the future, and possibly because he couldn't get a job, elsewhere because of his history as a Death Eater. And he gave Hagrid the job because Hagrid could never have been able to get a job better than a Gamekeeper, all his life. If one looks at it from the teachers' point of view, it would seem that Dumbledore cared more about his teachers than he did about the students. In hiring Lupin, he probably did the same thing (Lupin couldn't get jobs easily because of his condition), except that Lupin was a capable teacher.
That's a great way of putting it.

I think, in the end, Dumbledore was never really a true headmaster. He did not use his abilities and talents to provide the best education for students, and this was never his first priority, but rather he used his position as a means to his very noble ends.

Once again, though, I think we must conclude that this was all for the best, and we can't really fault him for having the greater good on his mind.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 9:37 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

I think that if you look at each new DADA teacher we see in the whole series each of them taught Harry something besides the lessons in the class .

Querrill taught Harry that weak people can be used and abused by an evil person.
Lockhart taught Harry not to trust all adults and that self centered liars can be just as dangerous to him as a truly evil person.
Lupin taught Harry not to go with the crowd when it comes to prejudice and fear of werewolves Lupin also taught Harry that he could do any type of magic if he wanted to bad enough.
Fake Moody taught Harry that Death eaters can be anywhere and that Voldemort truly was a force to be reckoned with .
Umbridge taught Harry that Evil people are not always death eaters ,she also taught him that he could learn and teach magic on his own and he could lead others .
Snape ,well Snape is so complex that it would take forever to list all Harry learned from him.

With the exception of Umbridge all these teachers were hired by Dumbledore and all taught well enough to keep their jobs for most of their year of teaching DADA at Hogwarts .

Could Dumbledore have done a better job? maybe but to my mind that wasn't the focus of the series, it was getting Harry ready to fight Voldemort. I feel Dumbledore's only real failing was not telling Harry more about how to fight and how to defend himself from the kinds of attacks Voldemort might use against him.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 1:34 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

Am I the only one who thinks that finding a new Defense professor, year after year after year, must have been tough??

Dumbledore knew about Voldemort's curse on the Defense position. He knew they would at the most, last a year. Could that have been a factor in his choice of professors? Especially during the Harry Potter years at Hogwarts?

I imagine he must have been quietly chuckling to himself when Umbridge was on a rampage in OotP because she would ultimately be affected by Voldemort's curse and give it up.

As I see it, the things Dumbledore taught to his students was not magic and spellwork but morals and right and wrong.

And as I see it, Dumbledore was really the one who knew most things but pretended to be ignorant. He was someone who was several steps ahead of the game and yet would pretend to wait for his enemies to catch up. Whatever he planned (and he planned quite a lot) was thorough and interwoven. I hardly think that by appointing Lupin or Hagrid, he was disregarding the safety of his students. Quite apart from all the plans put into effect so that Lupin's monthly transformation would be safe, I would imagine Dumbledore to be prowling around in the school at night and keeping watch. The way he seemed to find Harry with the Mirror of Erised, seems to make me think that.

Barty Crouch Jr., I think, was the only person who completely fooled him, in GoF.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 3:46 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

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Originally Posted by Harsh_Potter
Am I the only one who thinks that finding a new Defense professor, year after year after year, must have been tough??
It must have been tough. I find Dumbledore totally blameless when it comes to the DADA teachers. If they were bad, he had to put up with them, if they were good, it wasn't in his power to keep them. I think he should've made better choices, though, in posts where the teachers were able to keep their job for a long time.

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Originally Posted by twinsrule26
I think that if you look at each new DADA teacher we see in the whole series each of them taught Harry something besides the lessons in the class .
I like the way you put it, . While learning these things was certainly unplanned on Dumbledore's side, the students must have learnt something from them.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 11:44 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

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Also, I would completely disagree that students were "bad" after he died. They were getting in trouble not because they were unused to discipline (especially with Snape and McGonagall around), but because they were being asked to do things which conflicted with their very morals. Many people would have a hard time torturing their peers or even their enemies regardless of circumstances.
I would agree with this. What the Carrows were doing was not discipline, it was torture, IMO. I find the students' stand against these DEs admirable, rather than misbehaviour. It shows moral fibre and an ability to think for themselves, rather than blindly obey, IMO.

I agree with those who have said that Dumbledore did not hire people for their teaching skills. His focus was on ensuring Voldemort would be defeated, and I think the students' education took a back seat to that. Teachers hired for Voldemort-related reasons, like Snape and Trelawney could have been given non-teaching jobs, IMO.

I think Hagrid knew his stuff when it came to Magical Creatures, but lacked confidence. In GoF, Harry observes that Hagrid knew just as much about unicorns as he did about monsters, but seemed disappointed that they weren't dangerous. I think Dumbledore's support of Hagrid is admirable - he knew that Hagrid's future was stolen from him when Riddle framed him, and at the end of CoS, he finally had proof.

I think he usually made his students' safety a priority, though. Except for Harry's sixth year when two students were almost murdered, and he did not move to stop the person he knew to be the culprit.


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Old February 28th, 2011, 5:15 am
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

Dumbledore never struck me as a bad headmaster. Filch just seems an odd appointment...


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Old February 28th, 2011, 12:40 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

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Dumbledore never struck me as a bad headmaster. Filch just seems an odd appointment...
Maybe Dumbledore is keeping him for a 'special' reason, too? . It's possible that he might be keeping him because he is a squib and wouldn't exactly fit in both the Wizarding and Muggle world. A caretaker is a humble job, but at least he would be living in a magical atmosphere, where he should've belonged. It's a job that no accomplished wizard would take willingly, and perhaps it's difficult to find people for it.


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Old February 28th, 2011, 1:21 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

I think Dumbledore was a perfect mixture of authority and compassion. So,I would say that he was a good headmaster. He had his faults,but you know what they say,don't speak ill of the dead!


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Old February 28th, 2011, 3:44 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

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I agree with those who have said that Dumbledore did not hire people for their teaching skills. His focus was on ensuring Voldemort would be defeated, and I think the students' education took a back seat to that. Teachers hired for Voldemort-related reasons, like Snape and Trelawney could have been given non-teaching jobs, IMO.
I must say, I find Dumbledore to be equally admirable and maddening. I think he attempted to provide an excellent moral education, and encouraged the students to chose do do what was right, but he had his finger in so many pies that sometimes his other projects superceded what would have been best for the students-- and I think that the appointments of Snape and Trelawney are evidence for that.

Quote:
I think he usually made his students' safety a priority, though. Except for Harry's sixth year when two students were almost murdered, and he did not move to stop the person he knew to be the culprit.
There was also Quirrell, who Dumbledore at least suspected was up to no good, and who was allowed to stay on in the castle even after he tried to kill Harry during the Quidditch match. I think those are two occasions where Dumbledore decided that "the greater good" was going to take precedence over the students protection. I really think that Dumbledore's role as head of the resistance and role as headmaster would have been better served if one of those roles had been given to someone else. He could have still participated in education and the resistance, without needing to be in charge of everything. Dumbledore did like power, and recognized that in himself, but while he did hold himself in check when it came to the offer of Minister of Magic, he still strove to be on the top in nearly every other endeavor he undertook.


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Old February 28th, 2011, 4:35 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

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Originally Posted by OldMotherCrow
There was also Quirrell, who Dumbledore at least suspected was up to no good, and who was allowed to stay on in the castle even after he tried to kill Harry during the Quidditch match.
But it's not known whether Dumbledore knew that Quirell was the one who attacked Harry, is it? Harry himself didn't know that, untill Quirell told him. I don't think Dumbledore had any choice but to keep Quirell at the school; he had no evidence against him, but at least he kept him closely watched.

However, I agree that in Draco's case, Dumbledore didn't do all that was in his power to prevent his attempts. Dumbledore was certain Draco was behind these attacks, yet he left the students' safety to mere luck.


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Old February 28th, 2011, 4:37 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

The problem with hiring the DADA professors was that not many people wanted the job. Dumbledore probably had to take anyone who offered so there wasn't any choice. If you look at who the professors were then you can see how desperate he was to just get a teacher - Quirrell was already the Muggle-studies professor, Lockhart wouldn't have been anyone's first choice, Moody had to come out of retirement, Umbridge was appointed by the Ministry and Snape was already a teacher as well. The only professor who doesn't fit the pattern is Lupin because he was actually a good teacher but found it hard to get a job because he was a werewolf.

I do agree that Dumbledore didn't necessarily hire the best teachers for the jobs, especially with Hagrid & Trelawney, but I'm sure that he wouldn't have hired them if they were absolutely terrible. Okay, that doesn't fit with Trelawney but she was in danger from Voldemort and it was the only way to protect her.

I think that the problem was that Hogwarts wasn't Dumbledore's sole concern. He had the war to worry about and trying to keep Harry safe, especially in the years that we see, and IMO the "greater good" was more important than maybe not hiring the best teachers - it's not as if he completely ignored the school. The only people we see complaining about the perfectly acceptable teachers are Malfoy and his gang of Slytherins (we see some others complaining about Hagrid occasionally, but that's usually after he's done something that he shouldn't have done eg. the Blast Ended Skrewts, or when people found out he was part giant).

Quote:
when you think about it, Dumbledore didn't act very serious about anything! And didn't really listen to any problems, the other teachers did that.
I think Dumbledore did listen to the problems, it's just that he usually knew more about what was really going on than the student (eg. Harry's suspision over Malfoy in HBP) and he wouldn't be the first person most students talked to - it would be their teacher/head of house who would then do their best to sort anything out.


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Old February 28th, 2011, 5:11 pm
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Re: Was Albus Dumbledore a bad headmaster?

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I do agree that Dumbledore didn't necessarily hire the best teachers for the jobs, especially with Hagrid & Trelawney, but I'm sure that he wouldn't have hired them if they were absolutely terrible. Okay, that doesn't fit with Trelawney but she was in danger from Voldemort and it was the only way to protect her.
He hired her initially also because she showed that she did actually have some level of ability. He had to put someone up for the divination post, and who knows how common seers actually were?


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