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Tapping Dumbledore's wisdom

A new campaign asks 'What would Dumbledore do?' as the latest 'Harry Potter' movie hits the screens.

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / July 14, 2009

Michael Gabon portrays Albus Dumbledore, a character from JK Rowling's Harry Potter series of books, in "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," opening in theaters Wednesday.



Westwood, Calif.

From the opening moments of the seven-book series, Harry Potter without Albus Dumbledore would be like a wizard with no wand – unthinkable. The lanky, bespectacled teacher guides Harry to his destiny and, at the same time, expands the boundaries of the traditional magical mentor in important directions, say scholars and fans alike.

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"His character voices the fundamental lessons of the series," says Philip Nel, director of the Program in Children's Literature at Kansas State University in Manhattan. In the end, "Harry doesn't triumph through mere skill or even courage," he says, "but because he knows what love is – something his enemy, Lord Voldemort, does not."

The Hogwarts headmaster is the moral North Star of the series, says Elisabeth Gruner, associate professor of English and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Richmond, Va., – with a modern focus on action.

"His emphasis on personal choice and on love – on making ourselves better rather than accepting an impersonal fate," she adds, is "the central, moral imperative of the series."

Spoiler alert! Don't click to the next page if you don't want the sixth book's ending revealed to you.