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Thread: Dumbledore's knowledge of Voldemort

  1. #1
    Wembricken
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    Dumbledore's knowledge of Voldemort

    Hey all, I'm working on a fic where I need to know exactly what Dumbledore knew about Voldemort's history/personality, when and how he learned it, and why he thought it important. I'm in the process of rereading the books (must be prepared for November!), but I'm only halfway through HBP right now and my memory is fuzzy on that which I haven't reread yet.

    Obviously, a lot of what Dumbledore knew he was able to observe firsthand, such as the memory that Harry sees where Dumbledore visits Tom Riddle at the orphanage. But what about those things he wasn't able to observe firsthand? For example, why had Dumbledore clearly begun to take an interest in Voldemort by the time Voldemort returned to Hogwarts to apply for the DADA position? How much did he know about Voldemort at that point and from whom would he have learned that? In fact, when did Dumbledore even realize that Tom Riddle had begun calling himself Lord Voldemort?

    Further to that, when did (or do you think) Dumbledore began to collect the various memories that he showed Harry throughout HBP? Do you think he was sufficiently concerned about Voldemort to have gathered a significant amount of information on him before his reign of terror during the 1970s, or do you think the majority of that information was collected after Voldemort had emerged as a major threat?

    How do you think he came to look for information where he did? ex. when did Dumbledore realize Voldemort was descended from Slytherin and thus think to go to Morfin for memories? or why did he go to Slughorn for information? (seems if Slughorn was so ashamed of the horcrux memory to tamper with it that Dumbledore must have had some inkling of what Slughorn knew, in order to pressure Slughorn to give up his memory)

    Any and all thoughts are welcome!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    But what about those things he wasn't able to observe firsthand?
    He used memories from the people who knew Voldemort. He also admits that he did guess a bit based on Voldemort's patterns, but we know Dumbledore's inferences are usually right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    For example, why had Dumbledore clearly begun to take an interest in Voldemort by the time Voldemort returned to Hogwarts to apply for the DADA position?
    By this time, Voldemort had already had his Death Eaters, as Dumbledore says, and he has already commited the murders. I think that based on Voldemort's past and the funny occuracnces around people he knew, Dumbledore would be fairly suspicious, as he already suspected him of the Chamber of Secrets when he was in his fifth year. Dumbledore never trusted Tom Riddle, so he kept an eye on him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    How much did he know about Voldemort at that point and from whom would he have learned that?
    He knew about the Death Eaters, we know that. I think the Death Eater thing would probably be known by many people then. He also knew that he was Voldemort then too, again, probably word of mouth.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    In fact, when did Dumbledore even realize that Tom Riddle had begun calling himself Lord Voldemort?
    Before Voldemort applied for the DADA job.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    Further to that, when did (or do you think) Dumbledore began to collect the various memories that he showed Harry throughout HBP?
    I think probably after he started the prophesy rolling, as he never thought he was dead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    Do you think he was sufficiently concerned about Voldemort to have gathered a significant amount of information on him before his reign of terror during the 1970s, or do you think the majority of that information was collected after Voldemort had emerged as a major threat?
    I think after the killing of James and Lily. I think he had information before then, but not to the extent he did in HBP.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wembricken
    How do you think he came to look for information where he did? ex. when did Dumbledore realize Voldemort was descended from Slytherin and thus think to go to Morfin for memories? or why did he go to Slughorn for information? (seems if Slughorn was so ashamed of the horcrux memory to tamper with it that Dumbledore must have had some inkling of what Slughorn knew, in order to pressure Slughorn to give up his memory)
    I think he just knew who Voldemort associated with. Dumbledore probably knew about Tom's ancestry fairly early on, and I can imagine that he knew who the Gaunts were, coming from a wizarding family. Dumbledore would have gone to Slughorn because he knew that Tom was in the "Slug Club" and was a personal favourite of Slughorn, so it would be obvious to ask him (at least to Dumbledore )

    Hope this helps!!

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  3. #3
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    For example, why had Dumbledore clearly begun to take an interest in Voldemort by the time Voldemort returned to Hogwarts to apply for the DADA position?

    We know that Dumbledore was the one teacher who suspected something could go wrong with Riddle during his school years, because Riddle only exposed himself to Dumbledore. There was also the suspicion that Riddle was the ringleader of a group of students who were probably behind a lot of nasty incidents at school. Dumbledore would have just kept a suspicious eye out for what Riddle was up to. After he left Hogwarts, Riddle went to work at Borgin and Burkes, a shop with a bit of a reputation, though I doubt his disapperance would have set alarm bells ringing, he would have kept an ear open for rumours. And rumours did reach him; we know he already knows the name 'Voldemort' at that interview, and Dumbledore mentions being friendly with the local barman, who is obviously his brother. I think it probable that to an extent, Dumbledore got his information from his brother, who would hear underground whispers. I think the reason Dumbledore has began to take an interest is because he suspects what Voldemort might be capable of. He would know he had no scruples and was an ambitious and highly talented wizard. That's probably not a good mix.

    How much did he know about Voldemort at that point and from whom would he have learned that?

    Well, I sort of answered this in my last post. I think he would have got his information from piecing rumours together. I doubt he knew a lot about Voldemort at that point, but had a vague idea of what he had been up to. I certainly don't think he would have known about the Horcrux's, or even if he knew that Voldemort wanted to try and cheat death.

    Further to that, when did (or do you think) Dumbledore began to collect the various memories that he showed Harry throughout HBP?

    I think that those memories were collected at various stages. Theres probably a lot more of them, but the important ones, like Slughorn's one, and the ones from Hoakey probably after, or just before, the prophecy. The prophecy could have been a trigger for Dumbledore to start seriously looking around for information on Voldemort, but I think he might have been active in seeking out ways in which he could be killed from before. Memories like the one from Bob Ogden would probably have been from before the prophecy; that sort of memory seems like background research.

    How do you think he came to look for information where he did?

    I think he'd think back to Voldemort's past. As I said before, background research. He could have found out about Voldemort being related to the Gaunts (this could either happen in school, or after he had left), and see if anyone would be willing to talk about them. He'd then probably do a bit of digging about Merope to see if anything could be found there. Perhaps then, after doing some probing into Riddle's life at Borgin and Burkes (I can imagine something slipping out about Riddle having left after 'old Hepzibah popped 'er clogs') he discovered the poisoning of Hepzibah Smith. He then might think back to the deaths of the Riddles and wonder if there was anything there that wasn't as it seemed. One thing would have lead to another, and there was probably a lot of memories that he didn't show to Harry.

    or why did he go to Slughorn for information?

    I think that he only wanted conformation that Slughorn told him about Horcrux's; I'm sure he already knew. Perhaps Slughorn had let a little comment slip that gave Dumbledore a clue, or perhaps Slughorn was reluctant to comment on the subject of Voldemort when asked. Dumbledore would have known they were friendly while Riddle was at school.

    Hope this is helpful!

    Sarah x


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  4. #4
    Wembricken
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    Thanks for all the great and well thought out answers! So much of what we know about Dumbledore's knowledge of Voldemort only came to us in bits and pieces throughout the books, so I was finding it difficult to piece it all together what with my flagging memory.

    This is great though! I'm trying to figure out what information my character might be able to provide to Dumbledore about Voldemort, based upon the timeframe that my story takes place, so I needed to know when Dumbledore was finding his information and who he was getting it from!

    O Esteemed Beta, Sarah, you'll probably shortly be getting an email from me when I get a chance! More ideas are popping into my head since my last.

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