Everything We Know About Dumbledore & Grindelwald’s Complicated Relationship

Photo: Courtesy of Warner bros Pictures.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is about a familiar Harry Potter character, but it tells an unfamiliar story. Longtime fans of the series have been aware of Albus Dumbledore's friendship with Gellert Grindelwald since Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows was published in 2007, the same year author J.K. Rowling told a Carnegie Hall audience that Dumbledore's feelings for Grindelwald were more than platonic. The film, starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp as the respective wizards, is the first telling of their backstory, which ended up defining a whole series.
However, J.K. Rowling still made pains to give us as many details as she could in the original Harry Potter books. Plus, she dropped a few clues after they were published, as she is notoriously wont to do. Before you head to the theater to see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald this weekend, here's everything we know about Dumbledore and Grindelwald so far, according to the books.

Where and when were they born?

Dumbledore was born in the summer of 1881 to Kendra and Percival Dumbledore and grew up in Godric's Hollow — the same place where Harry Potter was later born — with his sister Ariana and brother Aberforth before attending Hogwarts. Grindelwald was believed to have been born a few years later, around 1883, and went on to attend Durmstrang Institute. He was later expelled when he was 16 for performing "twisted experiments."

How did they meet?

After Dumbledore's mother was killed by an outburst from his sick sister around 1899, Dumbledore returned to Godric's Hollow. It was there he met Grindelwald, who was studying the infamous Deathly Hallows.

What was their friendship like?

Dumbledore admits to becoming fascinated with Grindelwald's controversial ideas. They became unified in their search for the Deathly Hallows, which would allow them to overcome death. They planned to use this power to overturn the ministry and create a new order, wizards lording over muggles "for the greater good."
"Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. Grindelwald and I, the glorious young leaders of the revolution," Dumbledore tells Harry in Deathly Hallows. "Oh, I had a few scruples. I assuaged my conscience with empty words. It would all be for the greater good, and any harm done would be repaid a hundredfold in benefits for wizards. Did I know, in my heart of hearts, what Gellert Grindelwald was? I think I did, but I closed my eyes."

Why did their friendship end?

Aberforth became concerned with Dumbledore's ambitions. He knew that Dumbedore would abandon their sister were his ideas put into practice. This resulted in a duel between Aberforth, Dumbledore, and Grindelwald, and, when Ariana tried to insert herself, she was killed by a rogue curse. To whom the curse belonged is still unknown. Grindelwald fled the scene, effectively ending his friendship with Dumbledore.

How did they die?

We witnessed Dumbledore's heartbreaking death at the hands of Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We later learn that Dumbledore had ordered Snape to do the deed, since the curse he sustained from wearing Marvolo Gaunt's ring would have killed him in the year.
Voldemort killed Grindelwald in his Azkaban cell after Grindelwald refused to reveal the location of the Elder Wand, one of the Deathly Hallows.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald comes to theaters November 16.

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