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I feel like he was right to wait until Harry could better understand the nuances but it still doesn't sit well with me how calculated his control over necessary information was. It took until the bulk of the way through Half Blood Prince for Dumbledore to explain about how the prophecy wasn't actually 'binding', so to speak. So it doesn't so much bother me that he kept news of the prophecy until now but it does bother me that even now, he was keeping stuff back.

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I think he should have told Harry about the prophecy when 1) Harry first asked about it or 2) when he did.

I've found that, unless a person asks, they usually are not ready to listen to the answer. Giving information, when a person isn't 'set up' internally (mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually) to process it, sometimes can be drastically counter-productive. But Harry did ask, when he was 11.

It's a whole other thing as to how much Dumbledore told him about the prophecy, though -- and how much he didn't tell of it -- at that time.

What if Dumbledore had told him about the prophecy, the whole thing, what he heard and how he translated it and what he thought and felt it meant, as Harry was laying in the bed in the hospital wing when he was 11 years old. Harry was just getting used to the idea of magic, that he himself was a wizard. He'd not learned anything really of self-defense, he'd not gone through the stages of adolescence (with the attendant choices and possible dramz which so usually goes right along with it). He'd not found his own feet. 

I think he'd have probably just have closed up and closed in and maybe even given up if told the whole thing. "What's the use ... this guy killed my parents, the wizarding world is afraid of him, what chance would I have at defeating him (etc)".

Through most of this book, though, when Dumbledore suspected that Harry Potter was being used by Voldemort -- not telling Harry might have been very good strategy, because well, heck, Voldemort was USING Potter, and probably seeing through his eyes and hearing with his ears (as well as the implanting of false information). Why would Dumbledore have wanted to give Voldemort any more information about what was going on?

At the same time, while I have admiration for how Dumbledore was able to figure out how to keep Harry alive (probably the only possible way of making sure Harry Potter survived to the age of 17), I think that Dumbledore could have been more open as to the 'why' of things with Harry (even if he didn't tell him everything, and also told Harry he wasn't telling him everything but would at some date).

 

 

Edited by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
clarifying

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While it's easy to say something like "Dumbledore has a fatal flaw in which he believes he alone knows what's best for the Wizarding World; as such, he feels that he needs those around him to make the decisions he wants them to make - even if they are not the decisions that they would make for themselves" to explain why Dumbledore seems to withhold so much information for so many people from so long, I don't think that this really answers the question.

 

That said, I do think that Dumbledore definitely manipulated situations so that Harry would almost blindly follow everything Dumbledore wanted... and that this was not really the right thing to change - but that does not necessarily mean Dumbledore needed to tell Harry everything at a ridiculously young age (like one year old)!  Even in 1981, it is worth noting that Harry wasn't the only person Dumbledore insisted on keeping in the dark:  if you look at the first chapters of series, one of the first things you would see is Professor McGonagall performing reconnaissance on Privet Drive for the sake of Harry Potter... and Dumbledore essentially telling her to mind her own business (and that it is 'for the best' for Harry to spend ten years in a miserable environment... without telling her why).

 

At the very least, Dumbledore should have informed McGonagall about the prophecy as soon as possible (and, in any event, no later than Harry's arrival at Hogwarts).  This would enable her, as Harry's future Head of House to be able to better look out for him [after all, she cares about Harry as a person; not just a pawn to some larger goal].  And definitely by the first time that it was apparent that Harry was under real threat from Voldemort, Harry should have been given more advice on exactly why he was in danger!  Keeping Harry shielded from useful information did not protect him from pursuit by Voldemort - and, if anything, it made his life more stressful - not less - as being in danger without knowing why is more stressful than understanding the reasons for your peril!

 

Granted, I also think that Dumbledore should have done SOMETHING to lessen the pain of those first ten years at the Dursleys (there are many ways he could have pressured the Dursleys to loosen up a bit, for example - or to let them 'allow' him to visit Arabella Figg or someone else from the Wizarding World without making Figg believe she needed to make Harry's visits there miserable so that the Dursleys would 'allow' such visits) so that Harry would NOT view Dumbledore as his sole 'friendly contact' in terms of authority figures - but then again, that would make him less pliable to Dumbledore's wishes - and Dumbledore wouldn't want that... would he?

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I think that Harry should have been told when he was told about the wizarding World. Perhaps if he had been better prepared they would've found Voldemort with Quirrell before the trio fought their way to the stone? I understand her was young, but when someone wants to murder you and has already murdered your parents, you deserve to know why

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