Saint or Sinner - All Things Characterisation - "The White Bumblebee" Albus Dumbledore

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Title: Saint or Sinner? - All Things Characterisation - "The White Bumblebee" Albus Dumbledore
Creator: JK Ashavah
Date(s): May 9, 2002
Medium: online
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: Saint or Sinner? Characterisation - "The White Bumblebee" Albus Dumbledore
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Saint or Sinner? - All Things Characterisation - "The White Bumblebee" Albus Dumbledore is an essay posted to "S.P.I.W." by JK Ashavah in May 2002.

"S.P.I.W. (The Society for the Promotion of Issue Welfare: Under-represented issues in Harry Potter Fanfiction)" was the name of the author's regular column at [1]

Some Topics

  • characterisation techniques


There are a number of characters in the Harry Potter universe who are vital to the workings of the books; if it were not for them, Harry's life would be significantly different. He might even be dead. These characters include Sirius Black, Harry's godfather, the person he seeks advice from; Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, his closest friends and confidants; and, much as some of us may hate to admit it, even the Dursleys are vital in making Harry's life what it is.

Another of these characters is the Hogwarts headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. His role in Harry's life is unique. He offers guidance, protection, and wisdom, and while other characters do the same, Dumbledore is different; he is a powerful, knowledgeable wizard, and he is in a position of authority. He can (and does) bend the rules for Harry.

But really, behind the scenes, he remains enigmatic. For a character with such an important role, we as the readers and fans of the book know very little about him. His name suggests white (possibly a reference to his fight for the cause of good), and a bumblebee (a reference to his love of music), but we know little to nothing of his past, his family, his motivations, and most of his schemes.

So, what can we do as fanfiction authors to portray Dumbledore accurately? He is undoubtedly an important character, so how do we avoid spoiling our fanfiction with poor characterisation? As with any character, we need to examine him closely and come up with our own theories about things we don't know from the books. In order to do this, we must look at Dumbledore from two lights: the past and the present.


  1. first issue