Of all the Harry Potter franchise, it seems that Dumbledore makes his worst decisions in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – starting with the decision to allow Harry to compete in the tournament! This decision often seems incomprehensible – after setting up the Age Line himself, and with as much power as he had, Dumbledore presumably could have simply let Harry off the hook somehow… yet he actually allowed him to compete!
This particularly bad decision aside, though, Dumbledore continues to be the wise old leader that fans are used to in this installment of the Harry Potter franchise. He makes some excellent decisions through this school year – even if not all of them have excellent results, and if some didn’t make it from the books to the movies.
5 Hosting The Tri-Wizard Tournament
While this obviously went horribly wrong, leading to the death of Cedric Diggory and the return of Voldemort, Dumbledore’s original decision to host the Triwizard Tournament was a good one. The intention of the tournament was to create magical co-operation, and this is definitely a positive concept, especially when Dumbledore is aware that Voldemort may well return.
It also works, to an extent. Fleur and Bill meet through the Tournament, later marrying and becoming important members of the Order of the Phoenix. Krum also makes connections with Hermione, and it’s because he is at Fleur and Bill’s wedding that the Golden Trio are able to figure out the tale of the Deathly Hallows.
4 Hiring Dobby And Winky At Hogwarts
Unfortunately, this story arc didn’t make it from the books to the movies, but in the original series, Dumbledore hires these House Elves at the Hogwarts kitchens. Dobby is, of course, a fan-favorite in both the books and films, but Winky exists only in the books, where she is the disgraced House Elf to the Crouch family.
Hiring these elves was a great decision of Dumbledore’s for more than one reason. First, it provides an excellent place for House Elves that no one else would have taken in – Dobby, because he wanted pay, and Winky, because she was in disgrace (and increasingly spent her time drunk). For another, though, it keeps an ally close in Dobby, and a potential informant close in Winky.
3 Hiring Mad-Eye Moody
Admittedly, this didn’t work out well in the end, because the real Mad-Eye had been attacked and kidnapped by Barty, who was taking his place. However, Dumbledore did not know this (and couldn’t be blamed for not knowing, as Barty was extremely convincing!), and this would have been an excellent choice, had it been the real Mad-Eye as Professor!
Moody is an exceptional Auror, a friend to Dumbledore, and a loyal member of the Order, so he was a great choice for Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. In fact, having a retired Auror as the professor would have been a great concept from the start – and Dumbledore can’t be faulted for making a bad choice on this one.
2 Giving Barty Veritaserum
In the end, Dumbledore finally realized that Mad-Eye wasn’t Mad-Eye when he took Harry away from Dumbledore in the end – and he was quick to act, after that. Veritaserum isn’t a potion that any wizard would use lightly (unless they were a Dark wizard, that is), so it was likely not an easy choice for Dumbledore to force it on someone.
However, his decision to do so is what brought out all the answers that they needed about what was happening, why Barty was there, and what Voldemort was doing. This allowed Dumbledore to back up his assertions – and had Barty not been left alone with a Dementor, it would have been enough to convince the Ministry of Voldemort’s return, too!
1 Announcing Voldemort’s Return
When Harry returned, and revealed that Voldemort was back, Dumbledore was the first person to publicly support him – despite the fact that this actually worked against him in so many ways, and led to his major rift with the Ministry. However, Dumbledore stood firm, and refused to turn against Harry, or suggest that there might be a mistake.
This was a powerful decision for so many reasons – starting with the fact that it was simply the right thing to do! However, beyond that, this is what truly cemented the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore, leading to Harry’s eventual loyalty, and his willingness to sacrifice himself for what Dumbledore wanted.
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