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Pairing: Harry Potter/Albus Dumbledore
Alternative name(s): HP/AD, HMS Old Scars, etc. (see Terminology)
Gender category: m/m slash
Fandom: Harry Potter
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: rare
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Harry Potter/Albus Dumbledore is a rarepair in Harry Potter fandom.

The pairing is commonly cited as an example of the most squicky or "out-there" ships the fandom has to offer. Many are uncomfortable with the pairing largely due to the characters' 100-year age difference[1] and the fact that Dumbledore is commonly seen as a grandfather figure in canon.

Many Harry/Dumbledore fanworks use time travel or another method of de-aging Dumbledore in order to make the pairing more appealing. Others focus on the age difference as a kink.

History & Prevalence

Harry/Dumbledore is a very rare pairing, without any central sites or communities. There is not currently a single journal community devoted to it[2] -- though there appears to have been one on LiveJournal, called albusxharry, that was active circa 2007[3] -- and the ship has essentially no presence on Tumblr.[4] As of July 2013, it appears never to have been recommended at Crack Broom, which has around 450 pairings in its memories.

Today, the majority of Harry/Dumbledore stories are found at the Archive of Our Own or FanFiction.net.[5] Kinkier stories are more likely to be found on LiveJournal or more specialized archives (such as the Potter Slash Archive).

Early History

Before the publication of Order of the Phoenix in July 2003, the ship was virtually nonexistent. Two rare examples of pre-OotP HP/AD fanworks are "Kind Monster," a poem by npetrenko published in October 2002, and "Call Me Albus," an NC-17 rapefic set during the summer after Goblet of Fire, published just days before OotP's release.

Enumerating Canon "Subtext"

Order of the Phoenix brought increased interest in the Harry/Dumbledore pairing, as some fans interpreted slashy subtext in scenes featuring Harry and Dumbledore. In October, the "HMS Old Scars" SCUSA thread was started for the ship, and opened with a quote from OotP Chapter 37, which describes Dumbledore and Harry's relationship as "closer then that of headmaster and pupil"[6] Though the thread generated under a page of discussion, several other fans agreed that OotP contained slashy Harry/Dumbledore overtones.

Like OotP, some fans found Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows to be rife with subtext, and several meta posts were dedicated to the topic. For example:

  • JKR's Not So Flawed Plan by essie007 is a March 2008 essay about homoeroticism and the Elder Wand, which discusses some aspects of Harry/Dumbledore subtext in canon


Deathly Hallows brought about a surge of a new Harry/Dumbledore stories, especially time travel fics. "Harry-goes-back-in-time-to-prevent-Voldemort-from-gaining-power" was already a popular trope in fandom, and the insight provided by DH into Dumbledore as a teenager -- who was soon confirmed to be canonically gay -- encouraged fans to start pairing him with time-traveling Harry.

This type of story is popular on FanFiction.net, where several of the major Harry/Dumbledore stories in this genre were posted and based on one another.[7]


Due to the lack of a centralized community for the ship, there is not one universal pairing name. Denoting the pairing by initials ("HP/AD" or "AD/HP"; sometimes "H/DD") is the most unambiguous and thus is common, especially on sites like FanFiction.net. "Harry/Dumbledore" (or "Dumbledore/Harry") also exclusively refers to the Harry Potter/Albus Dumbledore pairing, as Albus is the only Dumbledore who is referred to by his surname alone.

Illustration of a Harry/Dumbledore badfic. Art by skarch86 for babb_comicals.

Since the publication of Deathly Hallows, the use of "Albus" alone in pairing names has become ambiguous: "Harry/Albus" has come to indicate the Harry Potter/Albus Severus Potter pairing much more often than it does the Dumbledore pairing. However, many "Albus/Harry" works refer to Albus Dumbledore -- though this denotation tends to be associated with certain types of Harry/Dumbledore works (for example, stories from Dumbledore's POV or set when Harry is underage).

In October 2003, the SCUSA forum at FictionAlley dubbed the 'ship "H.M.S. Old Scars". This name is not in common usage outside the forum.

Notable Fanworks



  1. ^ Technically, a 99-year age difference: Dumbledore was born in the summer of 1881 (see HPL on Dumbledore) and Harry was born in July 1980.
  2. ^ Harry/Dumbledore is listed as an interest for a cross-generational Harry-slashing community, crossing_harry, which was last updated in 2007. last_protector describes itself as "the first source for everything Harry/Dumbledore" but is strictly no slash.
  3. ^ albusxharry, "Dumbledore's Man Through and Through". Linked in the Gaia Online thread, posted 23 October 2007, and last mentioned 08 November 2007. As of July 2013, it has been deleted and purged.
  4. ^ The single lonely post in the harrydore tag (as of 09 July 2013) states: "is dumbledore/harry a ship? / i mean / do people ship that? / harrydore? / the tag is empty but / is has to be somewhere on here" (compartmentalist, posted 2012.) A handful of other posts can be found at the harry-x-dumbledore and harryxdumbledore tags.
  5. ^ Though Harry P. & Albus D. returns primarily gen, the Albus Dumbledore / Harry Potter community contains some slash as well as gen and searching for HP/AD also returns several Harry/Dumbledore slash fics. (Accessed 14 July 2013.)
  6. ^ SCUSA at FictionAlley Park. HMS Old Scars - AD/HP. Started by Captain James 20 October 2003. (Accessed 10 July 2013.)
  7. ^ Mystical Magician credits Harry Potter and the New Start as the inspiration for Ephemeral Time (see author's notes); Der Mondstrah and wynnebat each credit Lemon Drops and Blood Pops by Toki Mirage as the inspiration for Shiny and Blue (see see Der Mondstrahl's profile) and Old World (see author's notes), respectively. (Accessed 14 July 2013.)