Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

J. K. Rowling
  • Study Guide

Chapters 12–13

Summary Chapters 12–13

Harry’s growing intimacy with Dumbledore is an important development. At the beginning, Dumbledore is a rather abstractly presented grand person whom we glimpse from afar when he gives the students a welcome speech the night of their arrival. But when Dumbledore comes upon Harry in the mirror room, the old wizard and the young boy are alone for the first time in the story, conversing privately, and we see a more human side of Dumbledore. There is an increasing sense that Dumbledore cares about Harry as an individual, as there is no mention of him having a private audience with any other Hogwarts student. Even more important, Dumbledore surprises Harry at a very intimate moment of self-exploration, when Harry is examining his soul’s deepest desires. Dumbledore’s explanation of the mirror and gentle advice that Harry not consult it anymore show that the great wizard is a wise psychologist, as well as almost a father figure for Harry.

Dumbledore continues to be a protective force for Harry. His advice to refrain from looking in the Mirror of Erised stems from his understanding that the mirror’s powerful images might overwhelm the young Harry. In contrast to Snape, who mocks Harry’s celebrity status without hesitation, Dumbledore understands that Harry is a still a little boy with emotional needs. The later revelation that Dumbledore is the one who gives Harry’s father’s invisibility cloak to Harry reinforces his fatherly role. Finally, with Harry’s discovery that the secret of Nicolas Flamel’s identity is actually in his own possession the whole time, in a collector’s card in his pocket that depicts Dumbledore, we feel even more strongly that Dumbledore occupies a very personal and intimate place in Harry’s life.