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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Chapter Eighteen:
The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

'Here's a copy of the book, hope you like it. You said everything, even if you don't remember it.'

Notes by Michele L. Worley
Page editor Belinda Hobbs

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 350 - 362
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 286 - 295
Timeframe: Christmas Day, 1997 [Y17]

In which Hermione gives Harry a copy of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore that she picked up in the Bagshot house, and they learn that the young man in the picture was Gellert Grindelwald, who according to Rita Skeeter was very close to Albus Dumbledore for a brief period when they were young, at a crucial period in both their lives.

illustration by Mary GrandPré

Interesting facts and notes about the text of this chapter:

he had lost all the bones in his right arm once

Thanks to Gilderoy Lockhart's clumsy attempt to fix the arm when it had been broken by a rogue Bludger (CS10).

scars to his chest and forearm

From where Hermione had to use a Severing Charm to detach the Horcrux from his chest and from Nagini's bite, both of which occurred the previous day (DH17).

to join those on his hand

That would be "I must not tell lies" (OP13).

and forehead

Presumably, dear reader, you already know about this one if you've read this far, but see (PS1) if you insist on a citation.

Now approaching his eighteenth birthday

This puts a limit on when Dumbledore's birthday might be - he would have been 17 at the beginning of the school year (presumably September) but this indicates that he was not yet 18 at the end.

Elphias "Dogbreath" Doge, the dim-witted but devoted sidekick he had pickd up at school

Gee, Rita, you wouldn't be holding a grudge that he "refused to be interviewed for this book", would you?

the effort I put into procuring Veritaserum

It's ridiculous that this isn't illegal, let alone that Rita should feel perfectly safe in boasting about it in a book.

her great-nephew, Gellert Grindelwald

This doesn't, unfortunately, indicate on which side of the family they were related - whether through the Grindelwald side or through Gellert's mother's side.

the thoughts of their seventeen-year-old-hero

So Albus Dumbledore was still seventeen years old while Gellert was sixteen, although Albus had just completed his seventh year at Hogwarts. He must have been nearly eighteen by then, because he would have had to be seventeen by September first when the school year had begun. So the two were within two years of one another's age, closer in age than Aberforth and Albus were.

for more, see chapter 22

So "The Greater Good" is one of the first 21 chapters of the book, and chapter 22 presumably focuses on the duel and possibly the events leading up to it.

Dumbledore delayed, for some five years of turmoil, fatalities, and disappearances, his attack upon Gellert Grindelwald

So Grindelwald's open rise to power began at the latest in 1941, since the duel took place sometime in 1945.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

  • none

Characters returning in this chapter:

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:

  • in the tent, which is not in Godric's Hollow since Harry and Hermione Apparated there earlier

Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:

Exceptional character moments:

  • It's quite hard to excerpt any one piece of this with regard to Albus Dumbledore.

  • Hermione being so broken up over the damage to Harry's wand (and frightened that he'll be angry at her).


  • (unspecified) a backfiring charm

Links and Resources:

Memorable lines:

  • (none yet)

Strictly British:

  • fussed

  • sitting room


The day after the Christmas Eve visit to Godric's Hollow, so this all takes place on Christmas Day, 1997.


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