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- "It destroyed her, what they did: She was never right again. She wouldn't use magic, but she couldn't get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn't control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless."
- —Ariana's unstable disposition[src]
Ariana Dumbledore (c. 1885 – summer 1899) was a British half-blood witch and the youngest child and only daughter of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore. She was the younger sister of Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore. At the age of six, Ariana was attacked by Muggle boys who saw her practising underage magic, which left her traumatised to the point of rendering her magical abilities uncontrollable. This prompted her father to attack the boys and be imprisoned in Azkaban, while her mother moved the family from Mould-on-the-Wold to Godric's Hollow and kept Ariana hidden away from the general population. Because of this, the few people who saw Ariana got the impression that she was being imprisoned.
During a fit when she was fourteen years old, Ariana accidentally caused a magical explosion that killed her mother. Her older brother Albus then became her guardian, a role that he resented. Ariana died when she was accidentally struck by a curse in a three-way duel between her older brothers and Gellert Grindelwald, the soon-to-be infamous Dark Wizard revolutionary. This event would have a profound impact on both her brothers' lives.
After the incident, her eldest brother Albus would become a Transfiguration professor and then the longest and most noted Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, while her favourite brother became the owner and barman of the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade.
- "When my sister was six years old, she was attacked, by three Muggle boys. They'd seen her practising magic, spying through the back garden hedge: She was a kid, she couldn't control it, no witch or wizard can at that age. What they saw, scared them, I expect. They forced their way through the hedge, and when she couldn't show them the trick, they got a bit carried away trying to stop the little freak doing it."
- —Ariana's brutal and unprovoked attack[src]
Ariana was the youngest of three children of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, born in 1885, presumably in Mould-on-the-Wold, a part wizarding village in England. At the age of six, she was seen practising magic by a group of Muggle boys. When she was unable to show them how to reproduce the magic, they violently assaulted her. The attack left Ariana emotionally scarred and unable to control her magic. Her father sought revenge against the boys and attacked them. Because of this, he was sentenced to Azkaban. He refused to reveal the reason for the attack, since Ariana would have been sent to St Mungo's if her condition was discovered, as it threatened the Statute of Secrecy.
To keep her daughter safe, Kendra moved the family to Godric's Hollow and Ariana was secluded from the outside world. Many did not know that the Dumbledores had a daughter. Ariana was sweet and kind, but when she could not control her magic she became slightly dangerous. It was often wondered why Kendra didn't send Ariana to Hogwarts, and many believed Kendra had produced a Squib.
When Ariana was fourteen years old, she had an episode in which her emotions and her magic spun out of control. Her favourite brother Aberforth was not at home to calm her down, and she caused an explosion that caused the death of her mother.
Albus Dumbledore, who had been preparing to go abroad with his friend, Elphias Doge, stayed in England in order to attend his mother's funeral and to take over the position of taking care of Ariana. Aberforth wanted to be the one to take care of his sister, but he had not yet finished his education, and his older brother insisted upon him graduating from Hogwarts.
- "I resented it, Harry. I was gifted, I was brilliant. I wanted to escape. I wanted to shine. I wanted glory. Do not misunderstand me. I loved them... but I was selfish... So that, when my mother died, and I was left the responsibility of a damaged sister and a wayward brother, I returned to my village in anger and bitterness. Trapped and wasted, I thought! And then of course, he came..."
- —Explanation of Ariana's death[src]
At some point after Albus became Ariana's guardian, Gellert Grindelwald came to Godric's Hollow to stay with his great-aunt, Bathilda Bagshot, having been kicked out of Durmstrang Institute for his extreme experiments with the Dark Arts. Grindelwald also had a history of violence which Albus chose to ignore. Albus and Gellert quickly became friends, as they were both extraordinarily talented and very ambitious. The two formed a plan to take over the wizarding world and make Muggles subservient "for the greater good".
Aberforth confronted them over these plans, pointing out that Ariana was in no state to be dragged along with them as they pursued their dreams. Grindelwald became furious, insisting that once they subdued the Muggles, there would be no need for Ariana to be hidden. A three-way duel broke out between him, Albus, and Aberforth. Ariana, aged about fourteen at the time and unable to control her magic, tried to stop it, and was inadvertently killed; it was never known which of the three wizards was directly responsible for her death.
- Aberforth Dumbledore: "And Albus was free, wasn't he? Free of the burden of his sister, free to become the greatest wizard of the-"
- Harry Potter: "He was never free."
- Aberforth Dumbledore: "I beg your pardon?"
- Harry Potter: "The night your brother died, he drank a potion that drove him out of his mind.... He thought he was watching Grindelwald hurting you and Ariana... it was torture to him, if you'd seen him then, you wouldn't say he was free."
- — Aberforth Dumbledore and Harry Potter[src]
Immediately after Ariana's death, Grindelwald fled the scene, fearing retribution from the authorities and losing his friendship with Albus permanently, though it seems they retained some affection towards one another.
At Ariana's funeral, Aberforth broke Albus's nose and blamed him for their sister's death. Aberforth never forgave his brother for his part in her death, nor was Albus ever able to forgive himself. Ariana was buried in the same location as her mother in Godric's Hollow, and they shared a gravestone bearing the epitaph, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," selected by Albus.
In the Mirror of Erised, Albus would forever see his family whole and intact with Ariana alive and using magic, although, when questioned, he claimed to see himself holding only a pair of socks. Rita Skeeter wrote a scathing biography of Albus Dumbledore after his death in 1997, and included humiliating false statements about Ariana being a Squib whom the family mistreated.
A portrait of Ariana hung in Aberforth's room in the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade. It concealed a secret passage to the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts Castle. This passage appeared only after the students had begun using the Room of Requirement in their efforts to fight the Hogwarts administration under Headmaster Severus Snape. It was used to transport Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley to Hogwarts in 1998 with Neville Longbottom, and later other members of Dumbledore's Army and the Order of the Phoenix who answered the call to defend the castle against Lord Voldemort's encroaching army.
Harry Potter thought that Ariana, as an infant, "was a little longer than a loaf of bread and no more distinctive-looking." At the age of fourteen, as depicted in her Portrait in the Hog's Head, she was described as "a blonde girl who gazed out at the room with a kind of a vacant sweetness."
Personality and traits
Ariana was severely traumatised by the attack she suffered at the age of six. Afterwards, she was unable to control her magic. At times, she was mad, strange, and dangerous, according to her brother Aberforth Dumbledore. On these occasions, she could let out her magic in uncontrolled explosions, like the one that killed her mother. Most of the time, however, Ariana was kind and gentle. According to Aberforth when she was calm she would help him feed the goats. She was also brave, as she tried to intercede in the three-way duel between Albus, Aberforth, and Gellert Grindelwald, but was killed in the effort.
- " [...] my father went after the bastards that did it, and attacked them. And they locked him up in Azkaban for it. He never said why he'd done it, because if the Ministry had known what Ariana had become, she'd have been locked up in St Mungo's for good... We had to keep her safe and quiet. We moved house, put it about she was ill, and my mother looked after her, and tried to keep her calm and happy."
- —Aberforth Dumbledore regarding Percival and Kendra Dumbledore on their love and sacrifice for their only daughter[src]
Ariana's parents, Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, were devastated by their daughter's attack. Kendra moved the family to Godric's Hollow and looked after her daughter. Eventually, Ariana accidentally killed her mother in an explosion of uncontrolled magic.
Aberforth Dumbledore was Ariana's older and favourite brother. After her attack, Aberforth was the only one who could calm her down when she flew into a rage, something even their mother could not accomplish. The two often fed goats together in their free time. Aberforth was not present when Ariana lost control of her magic and accidentally killed their mother.
Long after Ariana's death, Aberforth continued to keep a Portrait of his late sister in the Hog's Head Inn. It concealed a secret passage to the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts Castle during the 1997-1998 school year.
- "They say he feared me, and perhaps he did, but less, I think, than I feared him... You see, I never knew which of us, in that last, horrific fight, had actually cast the curse that killed my sister... I dreaded beyond all things the knowledge that it had been I who brought about her death, not merely through my arrogance and stupidity, but that I actually struck the blow that snuffed out her life. I think he knew it, I think he knew what frightened me."
- —Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter about his guilt over Ariana's death[src]
Albus Dumbledore was Ariana's eldest brother and was not nearly as close to his younger siblings as they were to each other. Although he loved his younger sister, Albus was resentful when he had to take responsibility for her after their mother's death, which forced him to stay at home, and abandon his ambitious plans. When he met Grindelwald, Albus and he made plans to start a revolution and planned to take Ariana with them. However, before this plan could ever be carried out, Ariana was killed when trying to intervene in a duel between Albus, Gellert, and Aberfoth. Ever since then, Albus would live the rest of his life feeling tremondous guilt and remorse for what happened to Ariana.
From then on, Albus' Boggart would be Ariana's corpse. In 1991, Albus Dumbledore told Harry Potter that he saw himself holding a pair of thick, woollen socks when he looked into the Mirror of Erised. However, in truth, he saw "his family alive, whole and happy — Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him". He did not want to admit it to anyone, especially Harry.
- Ariana derives from the Greek name Ariadne, comprised of the elements αρι (ari) "most" and αδνος (adnos) "holy". In Greek mythology, Ariadne was a princess of Crete who helped Theseus slay the Minotaur. The legend revolves around the Labyrinth: a hidden and enclosed location where people were sent to die as tribute. In this way, Ariana's name nods to her secluded, tragic life and death.
- The name could also originate from the Welsh arian, meaning "silver".
Behind the scenes
- Hebe Beardsall portrays Ariana Dumbledore in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- Although Ariana is identified in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Aberforth does not explain how she died or her back-story as explained in the book. This might be because of that fact that Harry, at that moment, isn't interested in the situation that happened in the past.
- Harry Potter Film Wizardry states that Ariana died in 1900, and that she was thirteen at the time. This seemingly runs contrary to her age and birth year in the books, perhaps indicating another difference between her character's story in the books and the films.
- The epitaph on Kendra and Ariana's gravestone, which was made of granite — "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" - is Matthew 6:21 from the Christian Bible. This epitaph, chosen by Albus Dumbledore, is curiously similar to the function of one of Albus Dumbledore's inventions, the Deluminator.
- In the Harry Potter books Ariana has blonde hair but in the films, she has more of a dark blonde or light brown.
- While still unconfirmed, Ariana was potentially an Obscurial, as the description of her "illness" given by her brother Aberforth fit the description of an Obscurial. However, if she was indeed an Obscurial then she also lived longer than the average Obscurial. Most Obscurials fail to survive past age 10, with the exception of Credence Barebone.
- If Ariana was an Obscurial, it is unknown how much longer she would have lived, had she not been killed in the duel between Albus and Grindelwald.
- If Ariana was indeed an Obscurial, then this was a fact kept hidden by the Dumbledores; more than thirty years after her death it was widely believed no Obscurial had existed for at least a hundred years (though, since Newt Scamander had recently dealt with one, this is clearly false). However, after seeing her power it is possible that this is what led to Grindelwald searching for Obscurials in 1926, as, if Ariana was indeed an Obscurial, then she must have been very powerful to survive past the age of ten. Therefore, witnessing first-hand the power of Obscurials strong enough to survive longer than normal would doubtlessly make Grindelwald believe that only Obscurials of her calibre could defeat her older brother. It must be said, however, it is currently unknown how Ariana compares to Credence, as it is not even confirmed she is an Obscurial.
- If Ariana was an Obscurial, this would explain why her family worked so hard to keep her hidden, as Obscurials were considered extremely dangerous by the Ministry, and she likely would have been killed, or kept under heavy guard at St Mungos.
- If the Obscurial Credence Barebone is in fact Aurelius Dumbledore, this could further justify why Ariana may have also been an Obscurial, as this may have ran in the Dumbledore family. In addition, Albus pointed out that he felt Ariana was not given as much affection as she needed, which is similar to Credence’s case.
- There are parallels between myth and Ariana's relationship with her two elder brothers, Albus and Aberforth, and their roles in her life and demise. Aberforth represents the heroic character of Theseus, fighting against Albus and Gellert Grindelwald (who function together as the dual-natured Minotaur). Aberforth was the most devoted to his sister, and was also her favourite; Ariadne also takes an instinctive liking to Theseus. As in the Greek myth, Ariana (Ariadne) enables Aberforth (Theseus) to defeat Albus and Gellert (the Minotaur). Additionally, both stories end in tragedy — Theseus betrays and deserts Ariadne on the island of Naxos. Reading Ariana's death through this myth, it can be argued that Aberforth may have cast the fatal blow. Alternately, it could be argued that he either failed or did not attempt to prevent her death. Ultimately, her death exists as a source of conflict between the Dumbledore siblings.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance) (Appears in photographs) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only) (Name appears on gravestone)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Appears in portrait(s))
- Wizarding World (Appears in portrait(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (concept artwork)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Appears in portrait(s))
Notes and references
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore), it is stated that Albus received a letter informing him of Kendra's death shortly after leaving Hogwarts in mid-June 1899, that he befriended Gellert Grindelwald that summer, and that this friendship ended after "barely two months" when Ariana was killed.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28 (The Missing Mirror) - "...single large oil painting of a blonde girl who gazed out at the room with a kind of vacant sweetness."
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28 (The Missing Mirror)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- MuggleNet transcript of Bloomsbury Webchat
- Behind the Name: Ariadne
- "Deathly Hallows Casting Updates: Teen Dumbledore Cast, Chris Rankin Returns (Updated)" from The Leaky Cauldron