The Worst Advice Given in Harry Potter (We're Looking at You, Dumbledore)

The Worst Advice Given in Harry Potter (We're Looking at You, Dumbledore)
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Dumbledore was one of the wisest and most powerful characters throughout the Harry Potter series.

Often serving as a mentor and guide to Harry throughout his time at Hogwarts and beyond.

Yet, there is one instance in the series where his advice is not only questionable but potentially harmful: when he tells Hermione and Ron to ignore Harry straight after the events of The Goblet of Fire.

At the beginning of the fifth book, Harry is notably furious with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, for ignoring him over the summer. At a time when Harry felt he really needed support, he ultimately felt abandoned and left alone once again at the Dursleys. However, it soon comes to light that this was all part of Dumbledore's plan, who had told Hermione and Ron to avoid communicating with Harry during the school break.

Even when Harry returns to school, however, for the following term, he still receives the cold shoulder from the headmaster until the end of the book.

While Dumbledore's intentions were undoubtedly good, seeking to protect Harry, his advice was deeply flawed. For one, he failed to consider the emotional impact of this isolation on Harry. He had already suffered a great deal of loss and trauma in the months before with the return of Voldemort and the death of Cedric. The prospect of spending the summer alone and being cut off from his friends would have been incredibly distressing for him.

Furthermore, Dumbledore underestimated the importance of Harry's friendships with Hermione and Ron.

He assumed he was better off without them by telling them to ignore Harry. Yet we see a complete reversal of Dumbledore's thinking in the later books. Intending the trio to be the only ones to hunt the horcruxes together. In the following book, he also tells Harry that he needs his friends and must rely on them for support when he can't achieve his mission alone.

Maybe the most concerning aspect, however, is that Dumbledore's advice left Harry totally vulnerable to Voldemort's influence. By pushing Harry away and isolating him, Dumbledore inadvertently makes him more susceptible to the Dark Lord's manipulation.

As we see later in the book, Voldemort takes advantage of Harry's isolation and uses it to plant a false vision in his mind. Leading him on a dangerous and ultimately futile mission to retrieve a supposed Horcrux.

If Dumbledore had understood the significance of his friendships with Ron, Hermione, and other Order of the Phoenix members sooner, maybe Sirius would have never died.

Ultimately, Dumbledore is a complex character who may not have consistently done the right thing or given the best advice, but he always had the best intentions. Advising Hermione and Ron to ignore Harry at such a vital time was certainly misguided. At least in the end, Dumbledore understood that friendship was Harry's biggest strength against Voldermort and not his weakness.