Featured in the April 2020 issue of The Rowling Library Magazine.

Dumbledore Tweets

805 words.
By Belén Salituri.

The novel Coronavirus pandemic has brought death and many social and economic problems around the world, but amid the chaos and uncertainty, it has led to the appraisal of health care workers and first responders. It has sprung a barrage of positive messages and kind words from almost everyone on social media, which is something needed when something like this happens. Voices that tell us that everything will be fine in times of social distancing.

And one voice that appeared among these positive messages was J.K. Rowling’s and her comeback to Twitter. Even though she had already returned, the full coronavirus lockdown that was issued in the UK has granted her, let’s say, more free time to be on social media. We know that she continues writing during this time, but she’s been tweeting fairly active these past couple of weeks. Rowling writes several tweets per day and interacts with lots of fans (in fact, this could be the perfect time to tweet something to her and actually get a reply).

Among the many things Rowling tweeted, there is one message from March 29 which stands out from the rest. A fan wrote: “If I don’t have hope in this world, I will never [be] disappointed”, to which the Harry Potter author answered: “No, no, no! Pessimism and cynicism don’t spare you pain, they guarantee you pain! Believing in goodness, seeking it in others and aspiring to it yourself means you’ll never be disappointed, because the more you look, the more you’ll see”. Many fans considered this message to have been written by Albus Dumbledore himself, and it brought many memories from passages of the sixth book, in which the Hogwarts Headmaster gives Harry profound messages similar to this one.

That same day, March 29, Rowling tweeted another message that could’ve been from Dumbledore. Another fan asked her why we miss the people who hurt us and the author replied: “We’re so complicated! We need love, but sometimes childhood pain leaves us with tangled beliefs about ourselves & others. We’re then vulnerable to people who hurt us, yet we can’t stop wanting them, or wanting them to be kinder. Believing you deserve to be happy is the cure”.

It’s not really strange to hear Dumbledore’s voice in Rowling’s own words. She has said on several occasions that she uses this character when she wants to deliver a deep message in a book, so it makes sense that when she is delivering a message to fans, it feels as if Albus Dumbledore is speaking.

Maybe you had some doubts about this Rowling-Dumbledore connection (we didn’t), but irrefutable proof became available when just a few days later, on April 4, Rowling took a quiz to see which fictional character she is most like. The result didn’t disappoint and it was quite obvious: she had an 81% match with Albus Dumbledore.

All this Dumbledore-like tweeting triggered our imagination and we can’t help but picture the Hogwarts Headmaster with access to a phone. What would he think of this little device that allows us to stay in touch with everyone? Would he use this gadget with applications and social media that would let him share his thoughts? We believe Dumbledore would be Twitter savvy, with thousands of followers and wise tweets, but we picture him as more of a thread kind of guy (one tweet in just 140 characters wouldn’t be enough for him). For the time being, we settled for Rowling’s words that remind us of Dumbledore.

And luckily, Twitter is not the only place where we have the chance to hear Dumbledore’s voice beyond the seven original books. Despite being a rumour, but a well founded one, it has been said that the monologue that Albus Dumbledore delivers in Cursed Child was written by Rowling herself. Considering how true those words sound to Dumbledore’s original philosophy, it makes all the sense in the world that Rowling was the sole person behind this speech. In addition, we have the Fantastic Beasts movies, where Rowling has given us this character back and apparently, Dumbledore will be quite active in the remaining three movies of the series. Although we have a younger version of the character, he seems to possess the wisdom that was a clear trait in old Dumbledore.

So Rowling’s return to Twitter is good news, especially if it is to address the fans though the voice of one of the most magical and beloved characters that she was able to create in the Harry Potter world. Amazingly, or perhaps not that much, Dumbledore is one of the characters that prevails in fans’ hearts and memories because of the wise messages he has spread. We hope so see more of these tweets coming in the near future: we are definitely going to need them in times like this.

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