I am really GIGANTIC POTTERHEAD and well this is something I sorta put together when I was in High school, this was sort of a mental note thing, but I just tweaked around with it a bit and well,Voila!
Anyway this is VERY long, and so caution advised, ONLY Potterheads beyond this point!
So what is this all about you ask?
Well HP was a series of books that spanned 7 novels and were continued over the same, but there were certain parts of the story that still remain a MYSTERY and I just wanted to do a little bit of healthy speculation! 😉
When Mad-Eye Moody takes Harry Potter away from the end of the Triwizard Tournament, Albus Dumbledore knows immediately that Moody is in fact an imposter. Once the imposter Moody has been Stunned, however, Dumbledore does something interesting – he sends Snape to fetch Winky before the imposter is revealed to be Barty Crouch Jr. In other words, Dumbledore is one hundred percent certain, before he ever sees it for himself, that this person is Barty Crouch. Why else would he send for the man’s house-elf?
I’ve suggested elsewhere that during Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, Dumbledore knew – and was most likely engineering – just about everything that Harry did in going after the Philosopher’s Stone. Dumbledore is such an incredible character, and he so often comes across as just knowing everything, that it was easy for me to assume a similar scenario this year: it seemed likely (with the Winky scenario as Exhibit A) that this time he once again knew what was going on, and let it all happen toward his own ends, again very much below the radar.
But then I realized something that gave me pause.
Because disguised as Moody, Crouch Jr. was patrolling the outside of the maze during the Third Task. And casting Unforgivable Curses on the other champions to ensure Harry’s victory.
There is no way Dumbledore would have given a Death Eater that much latitude. Those curses could just as easily have been Avada Kedavras as Imperios or Crucios. Given the fact that Cedric almost ended up winning, from Crouch’s perspective, they probably should have been. And Dumbledore never would have allowed that to happen so easily.
And yet Dumbledore has clearly known all year that Voldemort has been planning something involving Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament. Yet in nearly eight months, he simply did not manage to figure out what it was.
Which means Albus Dumbledore must have had a very, very bad year.
So what, exactly, was he thinking?
At the start of the year, of course, it’s clear to Dumbledore that the signs are pointing in a dangerous direction. Bertha Jorkins has vanished in Albania; Frank Bryce has disappeared at the Riddle House; Harry’s scar is hurting; and oh yes, there’s that little matter of a prophecy predicting Voldemort’s imminent return to power. As Sirius says, Dumbledore “reads the signs,” assumes Voldemort is on a comeback trail, and brings on Mad-Eye Moody to teach for the year.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore knows better than anybody that if Voldemort is indeed on the road to recovery, he almost certainly has a Plan. Voldemort always has a Plan. And since the day Voldemort was vanquished by an infant Harry Potter, Dumbledore has known that Voldemort’s next Plan would involve that boy.
But Harry is very well protected, and Dumbledore can’t see any way Voldemort could get to him. So he sits back, keeps his eyes and ears open (as well as the eyes and ears of Moody, Snape, and McGonagall), and waits until he gets a hint of what this Plan might be.
And boy, does he ever get a hint.
Harry Potter’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire.
Which means that not only does Voldemort have a Plan, but that his Plan – whatever it is – is working.
The moment he reads Harry’s name, Dumbledore instantly begins running through possibilities in his mind. He realizes immediately, of course, that Harry’s name couldn’t have been entered under Hogwarts, as he’s already announced a champion for Hogwarts. And so, whoever did enter Harry’s name would have to have used a pretty strong spell to get the Goblet to recognize a fourth school.
Dumbledore checks with Harry to make sure, but it’s quickly obvious that Harry had nothing to do with this. And if Harry didn’t put his name in, then why was his name in there at all?
There’s nothing else for it. Voldemort is behind it. And somebody at Hogwarts is working for him.
Of course, the million dollar question is, Who? Because when you think about it, there really aren’t all that many possibilities.
There are lots of students around, but Voldemort isn’t strong enough to be recruiting new followers yet. His Death Eaters clearly don’t know he’s returned. There’s almost no way a student could be responsible – and besides, precious few could have managed to Confund the Goblet anyway.
Dumbledore trusts his staff. He’s confident none of them are working for Voldemort.
Barty Crouch is hanging around, but he’s spent his life fighting Death Eaters.
It’s unclear what Dumbledore’s relationship with Madame Maxime was prior to this year, but given Dumbledore’s statement at the end of the year that he “no more suspects her than Hagrid” (and the fact that he then recruits her into the Order of the Phoenix), it’s safe to say he has some reason to rule her out pretty quickly, too.
Which really only leaves two possibilities – Igor Karkaroff and Ludo Bagman. Of course, neither of these two seems all that likely, either. Both are inherently weak people who simply don’t seem bright enough to convincingly pull off a scheme like this. Nor would either seem to have a motive. But one is a former Death Eater, and the other was at least accused once of working for Voldemort as well. Rest assured that Dumbledore is now watching them both very, very closely.
Oh yes, and there’s one other possibility, too. We are, after all, talking about people who can perform magic.
The other possibility, of course, is that some form of magical control or concealment is at play. Given the flaws of Bagman and Karkaroff, Dumbledore would probably conclude that it almost has to be in play. The difficulty, of course, lies in finding out exactly what form.
There are several possibilities that we know of, and of course it’s possible that Dumbledore is considering other forms of magic we aren’t familiar with as well. But from what we do know, the list basically boils down to four options:
- Somebody could be under the Imperius Curse.
- Somebody could be using Polyjuice Potion (or be a Metamorphmagus) and impersonating another person at Hogwarts.
- Another animagus could be sneaking in (remember, Rita Skeeter is pulling it off).
- Voldemort could be actively possessing/controlling somebody.
The last possibility seems unlikely; after all, there are distinct signs when a person is controlled by Voldemort (think Quirrell), and nobody around is showing those signs right now. Besides which, Dumbledore probably has a pretty shrewd guess that Voldemort is laying low with Wormtail and getting his health back – after all, he doesn’t seem surprised when Harry describes seeing Voldemort holding a wand – and this would most likely preclude Voldemort from possessing somebody else. So Dumbledore probably rules that possibility out.
The possibility of an animagus is a little disturbing to me, I must admit. Wouldn’t Dumbledore have thought to put up protections against this, especially given Sirius’s sneaking into the school the previous year, not to mention Wormtail’s ability to, you know, turn into a rat? Clearly Dumbledore misses something here, or Rita Skeeter wouldn’t be able to get in (and continue getting in all year!). Perhaps Dumbledore actually knows that Rita is sneaking in and chooses not to do anything about it; perhaps he can’t do anything about it given the need for owls to fly in and out; perhaps he is confident that his short list of people who could be working for Voldemort doesn’t include an animagus (more on that later); it’s hard to say. But regardless, for whatever reason, the possibility apparently isn’t high on his radar. (Though it probably is safe to assume he’s actively doing something to check for rats.)
As far as the Imperius Curse and Polyjuice Potion go, there’s a challenge here, too: there really aren’t very many people around who could conceivably be impersonated or controlled, either. After all, no Death Eater could convincingly play the part of a student or teacher for long without that person’s friends picking up on it; even Karkaroff and Maxime have to know their students, and even the first years (who might not know anyone at Hogwarts) still have to be able to write home. So the only real possibilities for this would seem to be Barty Crouch and, again, Ludo Bagman.
So with these possibilities in mind, Dumbledore begins keeping a close watch on Karkaroff, Bagman, and Crouch, as the year begins to pass. Before long, though, the case against each of these three begins to lose its footing. Snape is reporting that Karkaroff fears the Dark Lord’s return and intends to flee if it happens – and given Snape’s powers of Legilimency, it seems as though Karkaroff is probably being truthful. Meanwhile Bagman is certainly acting fishy, but in a completely different way; either way, it becomes increasingly clear that this guy has never had anything to do with Voldemort. And while Barty Crouch is acting very strangely, he also stops showing up to events. And if Voldemort is using him as his puppet, this makes no sense whatsoever.
Dumbledore is missing something. And it’s clearly something big.
So with his search for Voldemort’s front man going nowhere fast, Dumbledore temporarily diverts his attention to figuring out who’s acting behind the scenes – that is, who really is Voldemort’s “faithful servant.” After all, Dumbledore does know virtually every wizard in Britain, given that he’s taught them all. Perhaps looking at the possibilities for this person will provide him with a critical clue.
Of course this list, too, is surprisingly short.
Almost all of Voldemort’s Death Eaters are either dead, in Azkaban, or – like Lucius Malfoy – out in the wizarding world, continuing to live their lives. Given the size of the wizarding world, not to mention Dumbledore’s connections, it wouldn’t be hard for him to confirm that all of these slimebags are in fact still leading their lives. Lucius Malfoy, check. Macnair, check. Avery, Yaxley, Nott, Carrows, Crabbe, Goyle – check check check. None of them are hanging around Hogwarts; after all, to do so they would have to have been missing from their regular lives for months.
There’s one exception, of course: Wormtail. He’s able to stick with Voldemort full time because he’s presumed dead. But Dumbledore knows that Voldemort would need Wormtail close by; it wouldn’t make much sense for him to be spending his days at Hogwarts, either.
But: what if there’s another one? Another presumed-dead-but-still-alive Death Eater, that is?
Most deceased Death Eaters, of course, can be confirmed as such. For instance, Mad-Eye Moody personally confirmed years ago that Rosier and Wilkes were killed by Aurors. That’s rock-solid. Others have died in Azkaban, also confirmed by the Ministry, which is probably reliable as well.
There is one former Death Eater who was presumed dead, though, without it being confirmed by anybody: Regulus Black. Perhaps Dumbledore considers this a potential lead, or perhaps not; if he does, though, he would simply enlist Sirius’s help and ask Kreacher. Kreacher keeps his oath to Regulus and doesn’t divulge any details, but one thing he can tell Sirius and Dumbledore is that Regulus is definitely dead. And Kreacher isn’t able to lie. Another dead end.
And who else is there? The only other person who seems to have gone missing is Bertha Jorkins – but Bertha, a Death Eater? I don’t think so. And neither does Dumbledore.
So with that, Dumbledore is left with essentially nothing. For months. According to Hagrid, he’s “more worried” than ever before. Voldemort is winning this battle, and there’s nothing Dumbledore can do about it. Like a stalled murder investigation, he’s pursued all of his leads to dead ends and come up with nothing.
Until the end of May. When Barty Crouch shows up on the Hogwarts grounds. Raving about his son.
Dumbledore wouldn’t have had any idea how Crouch Jr. could have managed to escape from Azkaban, but given his father’s strange behavior over most of the year, he certainly would have had a hunch long before this that the family was somehow involved in whatever was going on. Perhaps he even guessed that Junior had somehow escaped Azkaban and was really alive; who knows. Either way, this incident all but confirms that the boy is almost certainly the mystery Death Eater involved. What other information could Crouch possibly have been trying to give Dumbledore about someone who’s been dead for a decade, except that he’s actually alive?
Unfortunately, it turns out this knowledge isn’t the critical clue Dumbledore was hoping for, in terms of figuring out who Crouch is impersonating or controlling. So Dumbledore has nothing else left but to resign himself to looking through old memories, watching four people for clues to their current behavior: Ludo Bagman, Igor Karkaroff, and the two Barty Crouches. They don’t seem likely, but nothing else seems to make sense.
These, of course, are the scenes Harry stumbles across when he falls into Dumbledore’s Pensieve. Sadly, they don’t seem to provide Dumbledore with much more insight than they provide us. And he goes into the third task suspecting that Crouch Jr. is around somewhere; but he doesn’t know where until he realizes Moody has taken Harry away. Then, out of nowhere, it clicks in his brain – Moody is Crouch Jr. – and he sends Snape to fetch Winky. But it’s too late; Voldemort has returned, and Harry is very lucky to be alive.
And while Dumbledore gives chase to Moody and Harry, just one question is whirling through his mind: how did Crouch Jr. pull this off – without Dumbledore suspecting – for an entire year?
On some level, we have to give Crouch Jr. credit for a superb acting job. There can’t be many people who could pull off impersonating one of Dumbledore’s friends, right under his nose for a year, without arousing suspicion. It’s a bit of a stretch that Crouch would be able to pull it off, especially given that it’s likely he’s hardly even met Moody before. But he’s a very smart guy – remember, he got twelve O.W.L.s, a la Percy Weasley – and clearly he pulled it off.
But the tragedy of the year for the good guys doesn’t lie in Dumbledore’s failure to recognize Moody as the imposter. It lies in one of his most trusted allies – Severus Snape.
It always comes back to that guy somehow, doesn’t it?
From the start of the year, it’s obvious even to the students that Snape despises Mad-Eye Moody. But as the year goes on, without even realizing it, Dumbledore compounds the problem by handing Moody Snape’s usual role of “most trusted advisor.” If you think about it, during Harry’s five other years at Hogwarts, every time Dumbledore is having a one-on-one conversation with a teacher in his office, it’s Severus. But this year, it’s Moody that Harry runs into in Dumbledore’s study, and when Crouch Sr. turns up, it’s Moody that Dumbledore summons – even though he’s just left Snape fuming inside the castle. So on top of Snape’s dislike of Mad-Eye (not to mention the fact that the guy’s got the job he craves anyway), he’s now bent out of shape that he’s been displaced from his prized role in the Order, as well.
And we know that if there’s one thing Severus Snape can’t get over, it’s a jealous grudge.
Besides Snape’s general animosity this year (and he really does crank it up a notch, from taunts about Rita Skeeter articles, to threatening Harry with Veritaserum, to his “I see no difference” comment on Hermione’s teeth), we get another view of his bitterness when we see him run into Moody in the middle of the night. His response to Moody’s taunts – “Dumbledore happens to trust me…. I refuse to believe that he gave you orders to search my office!” reveals not only his attitude towards Moody, but also his attitude towards Dumbledore; after all, wouldn’t Snape generally just ask Dumbledore if he suspected Moody was lying?
It’s possible Snape doesn’t bring it up to Dumbledore because he’s afraid Dumbledore really did give Moody permission to search his office and doesn’t want to hear it from the source; or perhaps he’s simply angry with Dumbledore over his attitude towards Moody in general; more likely it’s a combination of the two. But regardless it’s certainly telling that he doesn’t have the conversation with Dumbledore to figure out what’s going on. Just as we see him with Harry over the years, he’s blinded by bitterness and not acting rationally.
Which is too bad. Because he’s the one who ought to realize that Moody isn’t actually Moody at all.
After all, boomslang skin has gone missing from Snape’s private stores as well. If Snape had reported this very suspicious occurrence to Dumbledore – coupled with Moody’s prior unauthorized “office searches” and the fact that Moody is roaming the halls the night the boomslang is stolen, too – well, I think that’s enough information right there to arouse Dumbledore’s suspicions. It should really be enough to arouse Snape’s suspicions all on his own. Remember, all Dumbledore needs is a quick paradigm shift – a mere suggestion that it could be Moody behind all this – and he’ll be on the lookout for more clues. But Snape doesn’t mention either incident to the headmaster, and Dumbledore is left without the thought of Moody’s guilt so much as entering his mind.
(By the way, we can guess that Snape didn’t mention the boomslang skin to Dumbledore because, months later, Dumbledore is still watching Karkaroff in his pensieve – and Karkaroff couldn’t be impersonated by someone with Polyjuice as he has to know his students. It’s true that we don’t know how many potions boomslang skin is in, and perhaps it’s common. But given that it’s in Snape’s private stores, it must be pretty rare/powerful, and with Polyjuice already on the table as a possibility, I have to imagine Dumbledore would have concluded it was being used by Voldemort’s servant.)
Sadly, though, Snape is blinded – by his hatred of Moody, his bitterness towards Dumbledore, and his confounded notion that the Potter kid was actually the one breaking into his office. So he doesn’t mention anything to Dumbledore. And he himself, too, fails to see the forest for the trees and realize what’s going on.
By the end of the year Crouch has clearly learned he can play Snape off of Dumbledore to his advantage. We don’t know how many other times he does it, but it’s certainly a convenient excuse when Crouch Sr. disappears and he arrives on the scene without being notified, explaining that “Snape said something about Crouch” and told him what was going on. It’s not hard to imagine this story coming up in a conversation between Snape and Dumbledore and arousing their suspicions, but by now they aren’t having many of those types of conversations.
And as a direct result, a few days later, Voldemort is able to return.
Which means Dumbledore – and Snape – really have their work cut out for them now.