An Examination Of The "Dumbledore Is A Time-Traveling Ron Weasley" Theory
Approximately every five seconds, a fan has a crazy theory about Harry Potter and posts it on the Internet. They range from boring to brilliant, but this one might be just plain crazy — a few fans theorized back in the day that Dumbledore is an older version of Ron Weasley. They cite a lot odd things that add up and strange coincidences to back up their cases. Clearly J.K. Rowling's fondness for parallels within characters explains away these instances, but it's still an interesting idea to entertain, isn't it?
The fan theory is actually a fairly old one that dates back to the early days of Harry Potter fan forums (bless our aggressively nerdy hearts), before the seventh book was even released. Only recently is it starting to gain tread on Tumblr again, probably because of an influx of new readers and those of us Potterverse veterans going back and rereading the series for the fifth time. It theorizes that Ron lived out the first timeline with Harry, married Hermione, had kids, etc — and then went back in time as Albus Dumbledore, relived an entirely new life, and was around to guide and mentor Harry through the events a second time around.
As a nonbeliever myself, I have to say it was still fun to read through all the ~evidence~ people brought up to defend the case. (And even as a skeptic, I found some of my own.) Here are a few ways people have explained the Ron-as-Dumbledore theory:
Their Physical Characteristics Are Somewhat Similar
Rowling describes both Ron and Dumbledore as possessing long, thin noses (although Dumbledore's has been broken several times), as well as tall and thin. Older memories of Dumbledore also describe him as having red hair. As unobservant as Harry can be, he does make a point of repeating these characteristics as the book goes on. Again, coincidence? Likely.
There is also the matter of a scar on Dumbledore's left leg, that may or may not coincide with one that Ron sustained toward the end of the third book (Rowling never mentions which leg is broken). But even all of this together seems like a stretch. There are many red-haired tall people in the world with long noses, first off, and wouldn't Harry be able to tell that it was Ron the instant he saw a picture of young Dumbledore? But buckle up, friends, we're not done.
The Recurring Theme Of Socks
Harry mentions in the seventh book that there was only one incident he ever thought that Dumbledore lied to him, and it was when he was describing his vision in the Mirror of Erised:
"I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks."
"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a pair. People will insist on giving me books."
Rowling indeed confirmed in a 2007 Web Chat that Dumbledore lied about what he saw, saying that instead, "He saw his family alive, whole and happy – Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him." The fact isn't so much that Dumbledore lied, but what he lied about. We the recurring theme of socks throughout — Dumbledore's desire for them, Molly's fondness for knitting and fretting over them, Dobby's freedom granted by them, Hermione's determination to knit them. As a teenager, Ron is dismissive of Hermione's attempts to free elves through S.P.E.W. and casts the socks his own mother knits him aside. It would be feasible, then, that a much older Ron, who know longer has the two women he loves most in his life, would be hung up on something as simple as a pair of socks.
Their Recurring Theme Of Sweets, And A Bertie Bott's Easter Egg
Ron and Dumbledore both like sweets — this is established in the first few pages of meeting Ron in the Hogwarts Express, and pretty early on with Dumbledore and his infamous candy passwords. Obviously this isn't super groundbreaking by itself. I like candy too, but I'm not Dumbledore (I'm pretty sure?).
But consider this tidbit, presented by a fan with the username "estel":
Aside from the fact that we now know that Dumbledore was 115 years old at his time of death, this still holds fairly true. Still, not much to prove a point, right? Follow me further into the abyss ...
Dumbledore Freaking Knows Everything
There are very few things Dumbledore claims not to know throughout the series — Quirrell's plot for the Sorcerer's Stone, Sirius's innocence, how Harry would react to Occlumency, and the events leading up to Sirius's death are among the few. Of course, all of the events that Dumbledore kept himself out of were, in a way, shaping Harry into the person he was and setting up the conditions that were necessary for his eventual defeat of Voldemort. So let's cast aside the idea that Dumbledore didn't know everything for a moment, and assume that he did. If he really did travel in time, he knew exactly what tragedies would transpire, having lived through them himself as Ron — and knew exactly what he needed to do in supporting Harry, because he had watched his older self do it in the first timeline.
Dumbledore And Ron's Contact Is Virtually Nonexistent Throughout The Series
Although I'm not on board with this theory, when Scrimgeour releases the contents of Dumbledore's will, Ron is especially confused at being bequeathed the Deluminator.
"Would you say you were close to Dumbledore, Ronald?" asked Scrimgeour, ignoring Hermione. Ron looked startled.
"Me? Not — not really ... It was always Harry Who ... "
Ron looked around at Harry and Hermione, to see Hermione giving him a stop-talking-now!sort of look, but the damange was done: Scrimgeour looked as though he had heard exactly what he had expected, and wanted, to hear. He swooped in like a bird of prey on Ron's answer.
"If you were not very close to Dumbledore, how do you account for the fact that he remembered you in his will? He made exceptionally few personal bequests. The vast majority of his possessions — his private library, his magical instruments, and other personal effects — were left to Hogwarts. Why do you think you were singled out?"
"I ... dunno," said Ron. "I ... when I say we weren't close ... I mean, I think he liked me ... "
"You're being modest, Ron," said Hermione. "Dumbledore was very fond of you."
This was stretching the truth to a breaking point; as far as Harry knew, Ron and Dumbledore had never been alone together, and direct contact between them had been negligible.
When you think about it, it is rather curious that Dumbledore and Ron never had much direct contact, especially when Hermione has had plenty throughout the series. It is Hermione that Dumbledore trusts with the plan about the Time Turner in Prisoner of Azkaban, and Hermione who tells Harry that Dumbledore spoke to them about keeping Harry in the dark in Order of the Phoenix. Given the circumstances of everything Ron has been through with Harry, and the fact that he lived in the headquarters of the Order for weeks before Harry arrived, it seems almost deliberate that Dumbledore avoided Ron.
Which is, incidentally, exactly what a time traveler would do — avoid talking to their past selves to stop from adversely affecting the timeline. I'm not saying this is evidence by any means, but I AM saying it does follow the theory, if we are entertaining it.
Buuuuuut, here's why we shouldn't!
How To Disprove Ronbledore In Ten Seconds Or Less:
- Dumbledore is gay, and Ron is not. While sexuality is fluid and we can argue that, perhaps, at some point into his 115 years Dumbledore started playing for the other team, J.K. Rowling has been pretty explicit that Dumbledore was gay throughout the course of his life.
WOOPS. Better luck next time, fandom.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy