Professor Dumbledore is the Headmaster at Hogwarts. He is an odd old man, but an incredibly powerful wizard who has earned the trust of the wizard world. At the beginning of the book, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid both talk about Dumbledore’s power with a sense of awe and respect. They assert that Dumbledore is the only person Voldemort fears, and the only reason Dumbledore is not more powerful than Voldemort is because the Headmaster refuses to use dark magic. Dumbledore heightens the impression that he is just as powerful as Voldemort by being one of the only wizards brave enough to say Voldemort’s name out loud. Through the eyes of many characters in the book, Dumbledore is an untouchable paragon of wisdom and power.

The book also shows Dumbledore as a man of mystery. His start-of-term speech is a string of nonsense words followed by a dire but vague warning about certain death in the third-floor corridor. Dumbledore appears and disappears spontaneously, and even tells Harry he doesn’t need a cloak to make himself invisible. He gives Harry the invisibility cloak, and returns it after Harry loses it, but he does so anonymously. Harry does not know how to contact Dumbledore at will, nor where the headmaster spends his time at Hogwarts. When Harry asks about the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore lies about what he sees, purposefully withholding details about his deepest longings from Harry. After Harry wakes up in the hospital, Dumbledore answers most of Harry’s questions but will not explain why Voldemort wants to kill him.

Most of the characters have great faith in Dumbledore as a wizard and as a leader. They may not completely understand him, but they are happy to explain his quirks as part of his brilliance. Although he only appears in a few key moments of this story, his presence is a significant influence for Harry. Harry believes Dumbledore orchestrates their discovery of the Sorcerer’s Stone and that Dumbledore wants them to find it. Hermione is shocked that a guardian would put children in that much danger, but Harry and Ron are more impressed by Dumbledore’s foresight. They trust him to have their best interest in mind, and Dumbledore’s exhortation that Harry not focus too much on his deepest desires becomes foundational for Harry’s time at Hogwarts.