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How competent is Dumbledore?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Pikachu, May 21, 2023.

  1. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Luck? The angle of impact? Some inherent flaw in the masonry of one compared to the other? Some variation in the power of the Killing Curse used?

    It seems almost conspiracy-theory esque to think Dumbledore planned for it.

    I don't think so. If he could have, he would have. The reason why he didn't is fairly clear from the text: he was distracted in banishing the snake Voldemort had transfigured, and it was too late for him to change what he was doing at the time the Killing Curse was inbound.

    He emptied the plinth because he animated the statues as protective guardians. There was no 4D chess where he somehow knew how the duel would go. He isn't a seer. It just worked out that way, but it could have gone a hundred different ways, depending on what spells Voldemort had chosen to use.

    He wasn't duelling to prove he was the greater wizard, but the fact that he needed support is telling as to who is the greater wizard.

    Sometimes you miss. Voldemort also missed in the graveyard against Harry.

    Also I severely doubt the accuracy of spells has anything to do with physical position/orientation. It's not like spells are shooting out of the end of the wand like a projectile.
     
  2. Slayer Singh

    Slayer Singh First Year

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    Oh, I just said that because I remember him missing when he went after Harry in the Seven Potters scene in Deathly Hallows. So that may have been because he was flying and unable to focus perfectly or something. If he missed in the graveyard, fair enough.

    I based it on the assumption that Dumbledore could imbue the statues with resistance to all curses, which is why the witch and wizard weren't destroyed, and the centaur breaking apart was because he meant for it. Perhaps not a great conclusion, but the only one that occurred to me.

    Any idea why the Killing Curse failed to destroy the statues, though?

    Fawkes appeared before Voldemort even apparated to the plinth. I'd say he knew the curse was coming, and that Voldemort was going to appear somewhere, and summoned Fawkes to make use of the opportunity. He could've apparated out of the way of the snake and on the far end of the hall, banished the snake, and apparated again to avoid the curse, It would just get him back to the way the duel started, however, with no one getting the upper hand. And Voldemort might figure out how to get to Harry in that time. So, rather than apparate, he used Fawkes. Voldemort would feel triumphant for a moment, and in that time Dumbledore would spring his trap (in case of appearing on the plinth, using water).
    Again, just a theory. Any holes, point it out.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2023
  3. Slayer Singh

    Slayer Singh First Year

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    I guess that's because you need 'an act or valour' or something to use the sword? Harry was quite certain Ron had to destroy the locket using the sword.
     
  4. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    With regard to the sword, I'm happy to defer, but he did leave it with someone he trusted to deliver it - Snape has it. As far as I'm aware, it's Snape's choice to hide it in the lake, although equally, he can't really deliver it face to face because Harry 'knows' he's a traitor, so the point about that knowledge arguably still stands. There may have been a different plan to get the sword to Harry if things had been different though, and Harry hadn't been on a camping trip.

    Also, with regard to Dumbledore duelling, he is somewhere between 115 and 150 years old, whereas Voldemort is about 70.
     
  5. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Spells quite often bounce off physical objects, and sometimes break physical objects, generally in an unpredictable manner. See e.g. HBP:

    I disagree in a number of respects - some of which are repeating previously points, which I don't think this answer adequately rebuts.

    1. As a general point, I disagree as to the nature of Dumbledore and Fawkes' connection. Dumbledore does not command him, nor do they share some sort of telepathic connection. Fawkes' arrival, I think, was entirely something of Fawkes' volition and discretion, not something Dumbledore could have known about or relied upon. So from the get go, the whole idea of Dumbledore planning for Fawkes' intervention seems like a non-starter.

    2. The sequence of events just reads as inherently very implausible. There are far too many factors and variables for Dumbledore to account for in such a way, without weirdly accurate Divination. And on top of that, we're talking about something that happened in less than a second - there's no way Dumbledore was able to process the snake, the incoming curse, and plan all of that in the time he had, while also casting the magic he was casting.

    3. I disagree there was any trap, for the reason given above re "clearing the plinth" conspiracy reasoning. He took opportunistic advantage of the water, and if Voldemort had done something else, he would have taken opportunistic advantage of something else. The duel was far too fluid to anticipate that outcome (and also it's not like the use of the water was particularly special, given that Voldemort was able to escape it just fine).

    Another point in Voldemort's favour then, given that Dumbledore had the age advantage?

    Their physical conditions don't seem to play any role in the duel, and logically, there's not really any reason why the physical condition of the participants would have any impact on a duel at that high level where magic is basically used for everything.
     
  6. aAlouda

    aAlouda High Inquisitor

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    Worth noting that neither of the killing curses was intended for the statues.
    The first was intended for Harry
    While the second which destroyed the statue was intended for Dumbledore
    I wouldn't be surprised if Voldemort was simply more focused when attempting to kill Dumbledore than he was with Harry, whcih likely resulted in a stronger killing curse capable of destroying the statue.
     
  7. Slayer Singh

    Slayer Singh First Year

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    Yes, I suppose a psychic link cannot be considered, since we don't even have any evidence of that, unless the circumstances are beyond weird (Harry and Voldemort).

    Still, I believe Dumbledore knows that Fawkes would come if he was in trouble - if Fawkes appeared just because Harry showed loyalty to Dumbledore in the Chamber of Secrets, then he would surely do so when Dumbledore himself was in trouble. So, Dumbledore can still go completely on the offensive(while not focused on defending himself completely, because he has a surprise defence) till Fawkes intercepts one curse, which he did seem to do - Voldemort's attack was sudden and unexpected, because until then, he seemed to be on the defensive.

    And Dumbledore knows this, so yes, I'd say he could rely on Fawkes, just not the way I originally said. This is just him making use of an advantage he has. Otherwise, the duel could stretch too long, and that only gives Voldemort a greater chance to kill Harry (He's the Heir of Slytherin(and not just by blood), so I'd assume he has to be cunning enough to pull it off). And a bunch of other people, because it would be just as legendary as Dumbledore and Grindelwald's, and Voldemort has shown ability to curse others during an ongoing duel.

    (By the way, do know who said Dumbledore and Grindelwald's duel took 3 hours? I've read it a bunch of times, but I don't know if it's actually stated by JKR).

    Fawkes came before Voldemort even reappeared - so it's fair to assume Dumbledore knew a curse was coming. And he also knew Fawkes would take it for him. Otherwise, he'd have apparated from there. It'd give him breathing room. Again, that would only make the duel stretch longer.

    My apologies for using the word 'trap'. It was quite inaccurate. But when Fawkes took the curse, Voldemort would be caught by surprise for a moment, which is why I think the use of water worked. Similarly, if he'd just appeared somewhere else in the Artrium, Dumbledore would land another attack, and since Voldemort managed to escape the water, Voldemort would escape the other attack as well.

    Also, if we consider the verbal exchange between Dumbledore and Voldemort, where Dumbledore says merely taking Voldemort's life won't satisfy him, also suggests that they both considered Dumbledore superior. This isn't particularly sound evidence, however, and I was only obliged to state this.

    Edit: I read what I wrote again - there is no evidence that Dumbledore was the superior wizard in the duel. If Dumbledore knew Fawkes was coming, then the duel is inconclusive. We don't know how else the duel could've progressed if he wasn't duelling with the knowledge that one deadly curse would be intercepted.

    Possible.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2023
  8. RandyRanderson

    RandyRanderson Fourth Year

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    Regarding their ages, I don't think Dumbledore's relatively advanced age made any difference.
    Considering he's doing a perfect breaststroke in the ocean which Harry describes as icy with one hand withered away, I think Dumbledore's agility is more than fine.

    The statue which breaks was also animated along multiple other statues. I expect that the statues would be weaker than the statue animated on its own as a result.

    I think Voldemort is clearly Dumbledore's better in a duel. Dumbledore has the elder wand. Despite having the wand, Dumbledore still has to rely on Fawkes to defend him.

    With that said, it does seem expected by Dumbledore. Though it may not be some sort of "psychic bond," Dumbledore is defending against the snake and attacking Voldemort at the same time that Fawkes is eating the killing curse. I would have expected a two-fold defensive action against both attacks instead if Dumbledore had not anticipated Fawkes' involvement.

    With that said, I disagree that every high-level duel reflects all knowledge and intimacy with magic. I think it's clear Dumbledore has a much better understanding of wand lore and sacrificial magic than Voldemort, but I highly doubt it came into the duel at all. I do think Dumbledore holds an overall edge in terms of breadth of knowledge.
     
  9. AlbusPHolmes

    AlbusPHolmes The Alchemist

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    Eh, you definitely didn't read the books. It's explicitly stated that he doesn't fear Harry, and thinks Harry has survived time and again due to luck, the intervention of his betters, and Voldemort's own missteps. In HBP it's made abundantly clear that Voldemort absolutely hates Dumbledore and that Dumbledore is one number 1 on his to-kill list.
     
  10. TRH

    TRH Groundskeeper

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    As I recall, Voldemort said those things in front of a group of his followers in the first chapter of Deathly Hallows. That's not an audience where he'd confess to fearing anything, and we know he feared a ton of things. That whole bit can easily be dismissed as posturing given the circumstances.
     
  11. aAlouda

    aAlouda High Inquisitor

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    I mean, we do see his thoughts after finding out Harry stole his Horcrux from Gringotts.
    While he is terrified about his secret coming out, he mentally associates it entirely with Dumbledore and he starts theorizing how Dumbledore could possibly find out about the location of the other Hocruxes, Harry in all this is a mere afterthought.
     
  12. Pikachu

    Pikachu Banned

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    Yeah I would go with Voldemort being the greatest wizard than Dumbledore. Hell Dumbledore had no idea he had created horcruxes until a lucky break, the ministry duel Voldemort absolutely dominated him. I don't think Dumbledore would survive in a duel with him or have any knowledge of dark arts anywhere near him.
     
  13. AlbusPHolmes

    AlbusPHolmes The Alchemist

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    How is Dumbledore not somehow knowing instantly Voldemort had horcruxes a slight against Dumbledore?

    And he did figure it out, and even managed to deduce the exact number and the nature of the vessels, which is mind-bogglingly insightful, given that no one pre-Voldemort had dared to create more than one horcrux, let alone attempt seven.

    And, did we read the same book? The Ministry duel had Dumbledore with a slight advantage despite the fact that he wasn't duelling to kill, and managed to put Voldemort on the defensive even though Voldemort was throwing around Killing Curses like confetti.

    In the opening salvo he disapparates and reappears behind Voldemort, and he doesn't take the chance to attack immediately because he has to neutralise Bellatrix, which he does by ensorcelling the statues so well that none of her spells have any effect, where as a few minutes before she had been dismembering the statues with no difficulty while trying to get at Harry.

    People always claim Dumbledore wouldn't have been able to defend against the Killing Curse that Fawkes intercepted, but it seems rather unlikely to me. Fawkes appears before as LV takes shot, and is in the perfect place to eat the curse. That can't be coincidental, especially since Fawkes has been shown time and again to have some sort of link with Dumbledore that goes beyond the bond of a mere pet, and it's canonical that a phoenix will come to his aid when he requires it, and it taking the hit doesn't seem to surprise him at all since he seamlessly uses the time I buys him to once again trap Voldemort.

    That duel was a chess game, and Dumbledore effortlessly used every piece available to him to put LV on the back foot before he turns tail and runs with the arrival of the Ministry Aurors.

    Nowhere in that duel is Dumbledore on the defensive, or even preposterously, dominated...

    Voldemort is the more dangerous wizard, certainly, given his embrace of the dark arts, but even without those Dumbledore more than holds his own.

    And the Elder Wand is a non-factor, there's no evidence it allowed Dumbledore any advantage in the duel he didn't already have with his peerless skill and spellwork. My head-canon is when you get to his and Grindelwald and Voldemort's level, the Elder Wand really doesn't do much for you. We can infer this by virtue of the fact that Dumbledore did beat Grindelwald (if the Wand was that game-breaking it surely would have given GG the edge he needed to surmount Dumbledore being a shade more skillful). There's also the fact that Voldemort didn't appear interested in it at all till he sought a way he could overcome the brother wand effect he shared with Harry, and not as a tool to become more powerful than he already was.
     
  14. TRH

    TRH Groundskeeper

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    Actually now that you mention it, it seems a bit odd to me that Voldemort wouldn't have been interested in the Elder Wand earlier considering he'd want to make himself more powerful any way he can, and he's definitely the type to believe having the best wand there is would be helpful even if evidence said otherwise. And whatever his reason for not pursuing it until DH was, it can't possibly be that he knew its history enough to understand that it doesn't mean much for wizards on his level, because that would require him to know that Grindelwald had it, in which case he could have gone straight for Dumbledore's tomb. Seems more likely that the lore surrounding it is just extremely obscure and mostly limited to eccentrics like Xenophilius Lovegood, and Voldemort didn't even learn about it until he interrogated Ollivander.
     
  15. Slayer Singh

    Slayer Singh First Year

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    Perhaps, but I consider it unlikely. Voldemort considered himself extraordinary, and he didn't need a wand to prove that. It was only after the borrowed wand failed that he decided a superior wand was necessary to defeat Harry; I think he suspected(or Ollivander told him) that the Holly wand now possessed his own skill after Priori Incantatem in GoF.
     
  16. RandyRanderson

    RandyRanderson Fourth Year

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    I still think Voldemort is better than Dumbledore in their 1996 duel, but I also think the matter of potential/talent is heavily weighted in Voldemort's favor.

    Dumbledore started Hogwarts in 1892. Voldemort starts Hogwarts in 1938. He spends 9 years as a spirit and 5 years possessing various body forms. Considering Dumbledore has had over 100 years to hone his skills while Voldemort has had ~44 years. Sure, Dumbledore might not have spent all 100 years focusing on honing his skills but I don't think Voldemort has either, considering a focus on the rather non-martial magic of horcruxes, tracking down the founders' objects (such as working at Borgin and Burkes), and growing his collection of followers to run a coup.

    Additionally, Dumbledore has dueled peers before such as Grindelwald. Voldemort's first duel with a peer is with Dumbledore after 14 years without a humanoid body. In my mind, the duel between the two comes across as slightly weighted towards Voldemort, considering Dumbledore is dueling with Fawkes and the elder wand. Considering the time they had to develop their skills, I feel this makes Voldemort even more impressive in terms of martial magic.
     
  17. Slayer Singh

    Slayer Singh First Year

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    If you're looking at it that way, Dumbledore should be extremely rusty. He hasn't duelled seriously for 50 years, and has been teaching in a school. Voldemort, on the other hand, still trains his Death Eaters(Bellatrix, for instance), and as such, should get enough practice.

    Once, or twice at most. Besides, from what we've seen in FB, Grindelwald duels like a Dumbledore who is willing to embrace the Dark Arts, and not like Lord Voldemort, who could binge fire Killing Curses. That would give Dumbledore no estimate against the Dark Lord.

    Dumbledore wasn't duelling to prove he was the greater wizard. He didn't need Fawkes to save him(Fawkes arrived before Voldemort's killing curse), but he took the opportunistic advantage to attack Voldemort.

    I think there isn't much left left to learn after the seven years at Hogwarts. In terms of duelling, the time required to 'hone your skills' should be no longer than five years for a wizard of Dumbledore or Voldemort's caliber - they only have to learn how to apply their knowledge in battle. Experience matters, but 30 years, I think, is enough. After that, it shouldn't really matter.


    However, I only believe Dumbledore is the better duelist. He has called Voldemort the greatest wizard himself, which is largely because he doesn't embrace the Dark Arts. Perhaps he knows the theory, much like Hermione learns spells, but that won't allow him to master it, they way Voldemort has.
     
  18. RandyRanderson

    RandyRanderson Fourth Year

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    I strongly disagree. We see from the books that there are plenty of hints that magic is a constantly evolving field. There are publications devoted to various branches of magic that are considered notable enough for publication (notably Voldemort would have to catch up on 14 years worth of these). We see hints of spells being invented. It would be as if the ACS was publishing all their journals on chemical advancements when high school chemistry was sufficient enough to master the field.

    As to the rest, I don't disagree with your notion that Dumbledore anticipated Fawkes' arrival. I made the point myself earlier in the thread. But I think we simply fundamentally disagree in our interpretations of what that means for the balance of power between the two combatants.

    I'm not sure where the idea that Voldemort trains anyone comes from, though I will concede it has been a while since I've done a full read of the books. Even if he did, I don't think it really counts as practice considering it not against a peer. As a comparison, see Snape duelling Harry in HBP. Snape is not gaining appreciable experience. In any event, I'm not sure how Dumbledore would be "rustier" than a man who just spent 14 years without a body (and again would have decades less time alive).

    Edit 06/14/23: I don't want to clutter the thread with yet another reply when this seems like it's getting pretty off topic and quickly, but I do want to point out that yet again, the 14 years without a body point is not about their physical capabilities (which I've also agreed is irrelevant earlier in the thread) but pointing out Voldemort hasn't been casting spells for 14 years. As far as the rest, I think it comes down to pretty fundamental disagreements with the nature of how magical theory comes across in spellcasting and how the quality of spells can manifest their differences.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2023
  19. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    Bellatrix says she learned the dark arts from the Dark Lord himself, in the Department of Mysteries, but that might just have been her.

    More than likely, I would wager that training most of the death eaters upper level, esoteric shit wouldn't help much if they aren't fundamentally talented enough in the basics. (Much like it can be argued re. Dumbledore training Harry in magic. What use is there teaching him how to flawlessly animate statues while charming them indestructible if Harry's animation spell is mediocre? Unless he gets perfect at the basics, I don't see what can be done to improve it further beyond a few tips or tricks)
     
  20. Slayer Singh

    Slayer Singh First Year

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    I agree that magic is advancing. However, I think that's more research, and discovery. In Hogwarts, you learn all the pre-established stuff. Of course, some students like Voldemort would go far deeper into it, while most would only learn as much as necessary. I don't think the Transfiguration taught at Hogwarts only equals the Physics taught in high school. For instance, Dumbledore was doing things with a wand the examiners had never seen, with Grindelwald as his only equal.

    For example, Albert Einstein published his papers on Special Relativity, Brownian motion, Mass Energy Equivalence and Photoelectric Effect at just the age of 26. He didn't need decades to understand everything he needed before starting on his own theories.
    Similarly, when it came to duelling, Voldemort already knew enough. He didn't need much of anything else. He had 14 years to catch up to, but none of that was relevant in a duel.

    I suppose it's because of Bellatrix's boast she learnt the Dark Arts from Voldemort himself.

    Well, Taure kind of established that moving around doesn't really matter at that level. It's only the magic that matters, and the only means for moving around Dumbledore and Voldemort used was Apparition.

    Also, the Elder Wand was of little use to a wizard like Dumbledore. His spells are already perfect. Perhaps the red jet of light was powered up by the Elder Wand, but it was the only thing that was influenced by the Wand, and it wasn't even meant to kill.
     
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