Friday, June 5, 2009

WWDD: Mistakes

I’ve been trying and trying to write a WWDD post, but it just wasn’t working because as much as I tried I wasn’t hitting on anything that actually meant something to me personally. I can talk about love and hope, I can (and probably will) talk about Dumbledore’s take on tyrants creating their own enemies (because there are so many modern day examples to back that up), but for this first WWDD blog post, at least, I wanted something I could relate to on more of a personal level.

Then someone made the joking comment this afternoon that WWDD should actually be “WWDDITFSB” aka “What Would Dumbledore Do In The First Six Books?” because Book 7 is where we find out many of Dumbledore’s flaws and (apparently) that means he's no longer as good a role model.

But I’m going to be honest with you… in books 1-5 I loved Dumbledore for his wisdom, wit, and all-out weirdness, but I could never relate to him as a human being. He seemed too, well, on a plane of his own, really. Even Jo Rowling has said of Dumbledore that his "wisdom has isolated him ... where is his equal, where is his confidante, where is his partner?” I mean, who else is that freaking brilliant and wise and loving and funny and kind? Who else is such a leader and yet so humble? He was like this super-human, and as much as I thought he was an awesome character and an important part of Harry’s life, it wasn’t until books 6 and 7, when I started seeing he had weaknesses and made mistakes, that Dumbledore became real to me.

I think that among the many, many lessons Dumbledore has to teach us, this is so very important: Yes, he made serious mistakes; one mistake resulted in the death of his sister, but there could have been even larger casualties: if Dumbledore had chosen to go along with Grindelwald, his “for the greater good” / “ends justify the means” way of thinking could have led to a detrimental outcome had he attained the sort of power they dreamed about. But here is where the role model part comes into play: he saw his mistakes and he learned from them, to the point that he even turned down the post of Minister of Magic because he felt he couldn’t be trusted with that much power.

So that’s what Dumbledore taught me: we all make mistakes, but it’s what you do after that that truly counts. Do you feel remorse and try to change, or do you continue on the downward spiral? It’s up to you.

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