Some online Harry Potter fans have come up with a fan theory so good it’s earned the tacit approval of J.K. Rowling herself!
Any Potter-head could tell you the story of the Deathly Hallows, the three mythical items gifted to a trio of powerful wizard siblings by death itself, and fan theories have long circulated about which characters in Rowling’s books represent which of the brothers.
But many overlook the fourth character in the story: death itself. Perhaps death has a modern-day analog in the most unlikely of characters…
Dumbledore as death. It's a beautiful theory and it fits. https://t.co/QqTQm2QnI0— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 21, 2015
The tale of the Deathly Hallows supports this interpretation pretty well. In the story, three brothers cheat death by using magic to create a bridge over a deadly river. Death (who does NOT like being cheated) appears and pretends to be impressed. He offers them a gift of their choosing as a “reward.”
The first brother asks for the world’s most powerful wand. He is given the Elder Wand which, true to death’s word, is peerless in its power. However, the jealousy and treachery of other witches and wizards ultimately kill its owner, the wand passes to its next heir, and death takes its victim. People online believe Voldemort is meant to represent this brother.
The Tale of The Three Brothers:— Elder Wand (@Elder_Wand) October 16, 2013
One died for power: Voldemort.
One died for lost love: Snape.
One faced death as an old friend: Harry.
The second brother asks for a stone that can bring the dead back to life. He is given the Resurrection Stone, which does just that. However, when the brother uses the stone to bring back his deceased wife, he finds that she no longer belongs in the mortal world: she’s sad, cold, and “separated from him by a veil.” Driven mad by the situation, he takes his own life in despair, allowing death its second victim. The fan theories suggest this brother is embodied by Severus Snape.
@jk_rowling do you like the Snape is the second brother / resurrection stone theory— MuggleCast (@MuggleCast) March 10, 2018
I'm sorry but I always wanted Snape to be there when Harry used the resurrection stone— lmao (@lmaoHFsucks) June 19, 2015
Someone use the resurrection stone to bring back Prof. Snape, please. ??— nate (@LowkeyNathaniel) January 14, 2016
Finally, there’s the youngest and wisest brother, who asked for something that could hide him from death and received the Invisibility Cloak. It was only after a long, happy life that this brother chose to take off the cloak and meet death as an old friend. Obviously, people believe this brother is Harry Potter himself.
#Imslowbut : in #HarryPotterandThePhilosophersStone Harry is given an invisibility cloak. In #TheTaleoftheThreeBrothers it is only the wizard with the cloak escapes Death. How profound that this is the first of the Deathly Hallows that Harry receives. #whoa @jk_rowling— appk91 (@appk91) August 16, 2018
May 18, 1291: Ignotus Peverell dies, and his son inherits his Invisibility Cloak, one of the Deathly Hallows (just like Harry from his father, James). pic.twitter.com/CYVOCSURZy— Harry Potter Universe (@HPotterUniverse) May 18, 2018
But the details of the story also seem to suggest Dumbledore shares many similarities with the character of death. For instance, it was he who originally gave Harry the cloak in book one, saying:
Your father left this in my possession when he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well.
After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. (Dumbledore, Book 1)— Harry Potter Quotes (@hpotterquotes) August 16, 2018
Also, after Harry is hit with a killing curse in the final book, he finds himself in Kings Cross Station, “dead,” where he greets Dumbledore like an old friend.
Dumbledore as death is still the best fan theory ever fight me— Dumby Butt (@guyfrieri) August 10, 2017
It’s also worth noting that Dumbledore, at some point or another, handled all three of the Deathly Hallows before “gifting” them to different parties.
"Those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Dumbledore) pic.twitter.com/xoRYVKeCtV— Eman (@e_bibliophile) August 19, 2018
Does the fan theory hold up? Is Dumbledore death? J.K.’s on board, so it looks like you should be too.