Despite my claims about the traditional end to each book in the Harry Potter series (Harry emerging, battered but alive, to find good old Dumbles there to explain it all), Goblet of Fire has only the second such occurence in 4 books. Even then, a lot of it is Harry sitting in on Dumbledore finding out what’s been happening.
Unfortunately, one continues to get the feeling that there’s plenty Dumbledore isn’t telling (which later events prove to be the case); a sense of distance that reinforces the assertion that Dumbledore’s a manipulative puppet-master. It’s a rather ominous thought, and makes me wonder why Harry persists in being so staunchly pro-Dumbledore in later books, despite what he may suspect (then again, our Harry is many things, but his brain has a tendency to nag him about homework in between arguing with Ron) and what he’s actively experienced.
Let’s review, shall we?:
- In Philosopher’s Stone, we find that Harry has to live with abusive relatives, is told nothing about who he really is until the last minute, and is basically set up to go after Quirrell and the Philosopher’s Stone. Doesn’t the scene with Dumbledore at the end smack of a debriefing? A “well done, you passed the test”?
- In Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore apparently knows that Voldemort – not Hagrid – was behind the Chamber’s opening the first time, but doesn’t see fit to tell anyone (not even to prevent Hagrid spending some uncomfortable months in Azkaban), yet doesn’t seem to have a clue what to do until Harry emerges triumphant at the end, fair maiden in tow, whereupon he acts like he knew all along, only being surprised by Harry’s declaration of loyalty.
- In Prisoner of Azkaban Dumbledore sends Harry and Hermione back in time to re-experience a dangerous and unpredictable evening, with the barest of hints as to what on earth they’re supposed to be doing. Plus, he seemingly ignores (probably not for the first time) the level of bile and hatred from Snape, as though it’s a mere detail and his “master plan” is more important.
- And now, in Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore doesn’t notice a Death Eater impersonating one of his teachers for a whole year, then at the end forces Harry to stay and hear Crouch’s tale when all he wants is rest and bandages. Then, one minute he’s insisting Harry relive the traumatic events of the graveyard (again, while tired and injured – Fawkes the phoenix has to comfort Harry and heal him), the next ordering his friends and family to leave him be and let him rest. Knowing the details (especially Voldemort using Harry’s blood) is more important than Harry’s physical/emotional wellbeing.
Yeah, so much as I respect his wisdom and experience, I’m a bit annoyed at the old coot.
Edit: On reflection, there’s nothing borderline about it; the Dursley’s are abusive, full stop.