Dumbledore is a troubling character to me. Would you like to talk about my feelings about Dumbledore? Let’s talk about my feelings about Dumbledore.
On one hand, I love him. Sorry not sorry? I just love how he goes around breaking rules and doing nonsensical things and saying things that make no sense – Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Twit! – seemingly just to throw people off and make them think he’s losing his wits in his old age. But is he? NO HE IS NOT SIR OR MADAME. Dumbledore is still very much on top of his game (well, until HBP). He’s a stalwart defender of good and appears to be at least a leader – if not the one single leader – of both the original Order of the Phoenix and the “new” version. Whether going up against his old childhood friend (crush? lover? Has JK ever clarified that?) or a former student, he gives no quarter to the “forces of evil”, so to speak.
But that refusal to give quarter also makes him kind of…ruthless. He pretty openly manipulates Harry and continually puts him in danger – not just the danger inherent in being the Chosen One, but danger because he doesn’t know anything. He lets Snape terrorize students on the OFF CHANCE that he may eventually be useful as a spy again (because lets be serious, Harry’s first year was NOT Snape’s first year, and Snape wasn’t ONLY mean to Harry. He was a dick to every student who WASN’T in his House)(And yes I realize that Dumbledore always expected Voldemort to come back and never believed he was actually dead, but there wasn’t any real proof of this and even so doesn’t really excuse letting a teacher BERATE BELITTLE and BULLY students).
Dumbledore is OBVIOUSLY good, and his slightly befuddled Gandalf routine helps it be easy to love him. But his ruthlessness makes me wonder how close he was to choosing the other side.