The 21 Best & Most Underrated Dumbledore Quotes

The 21 Best Dumbledore Quotes Cover

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. I’ll never forget that name. I was 16 years old when I read him revealing it in The Order of the Phoenix. That was literally half a lifetime ago for me — and I’ve been waiting to be asked for Dumbledore’s full name on a quiz show ever since. In the meantime, today’s list of the very best Dumbledore quotes will have to do.

Dumbledore is neither the most popular wizard in fiction, nor the best-looking. But he is definitely a contender for “most powerful,” and when it comes to being the wisest, he really only has one challenger: Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings. Today, let’s see just how wise Dumbledore is!

Welcome! My name is Nik, and today, I’d like to put more than 20 years of fierce Harry Potter fandom to good use. In this organized list, we’ll cover the 10 most popular pieces of Dumbledore’s wisdom based on reader votes. I’ll also share what I think are the 10 most underrated Dumbledore quotes you’ve probably never heard before. I’ll stick to original quotes from the books.

For good measure, I’ll end with a very special quote and add two bonus sections with movie quotes. Oh, and there’s one line everyone thinks came from Dumbledore but didn’t. I’ve also included a section with all sources at the end. Finally, I’ve made some custom images for you, which you can use to share your favorite Dumbledore lines on social media or with friends.


Navigating this list is easy: Just use the table of contents below to jump to whichever section interests you the most. If you feel like sharing a quote, simply highlight it on the page, and various sharing options will appear. Of course, you can also just skip to the images section at the end of this post, pick your favorite, and share that.

Now, it wasn’t a wizard who said that motivation doesn’t last and that, therefore, like bathing, we should do it daily — though Zig Ziglar sure has a wizard-sounding name. However, I’m sure Dumbledore would agree that inspiration is no small thing, so let’s get to it!

The 10 Most Popular Albus Dumbledore Quotes

If you’re wondering which of Dumbledore’s countless pieces of advice are the most popular with readers and fans, I did the homework for you. Below, you’ll find the top 10 quotes from Dumbledore, based on real reader votes from Goodreads‘ over 100 million members. Perhaps unsurprisingly, several of them rank among Goodreads’ most popular quotes of all time.

Dumbledore’s highest-ranking quote has over 50,000 votes, and #10 still has almost 14,000 votes. Here are the 10 most famous quotes from Albus Dumbledore:

1. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

2. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

3. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

4. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

5. “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

6. “You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”

7. “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”

8. “The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

9. “Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

10. “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”

The 10 Most Underrated Dumbledore Quotes You’ve Likely Never Heard

Given Dumbledore is a main character in a series spanning seven books — a character people make two-hour long videos about just to understand him better — we could keep dropping his wisdom for days. However, while his most popular lines also contain some of his most important ones, you won’t catch some of his best but underrated bits by just looking at his “most liked” list of quotes.

That’s why I went a little deeper down the rabbit hole and dug up 10 more gems of his you likely haven’t heard. I’ll include some context for each one as to why I think it’s great in the notes section below the quotes. Here they are:

11. “As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all — the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.

12. “Every guest in this Hall will be welcomed back here at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again — in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.

13. “I DON’T CARE!” Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE —” He seized the table on which the silver instrument had stood and threw that too. It broke apart on the floor and the legs rolled in different directions. “You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.

14. “Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.

15. “Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young … and I seem to have forgotten lately…”

16. “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery. He needs to know who has put him through the ordeal he has suffered tonight, and why.”

17. “Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!”

18. “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.

19. “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”

20. “Ah” said Dumbledore gently, “yes. Yes, I thought we might hit that little snag. […] You seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going to — what is the phrase? ‘Come quietly.’ I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course — but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing.


  1. This quote shows Dumbledore understands how easily power can corrupt and elegantly encourages a young Harry to stay humble at the same time.
  2. The speech Dumbledore gives to the students of all three wizarding schools at the end of GoF contains several of his best quotes (quote #9 on this list follows shortly after this one) and is a great piece of writing overall. The “let’s set our differences aside bit” often gets neglected.
  3. Harry’s rage against Dumbledore after Sirius dies is one of the most important conversations in the series. Sadly, it was completely neutered in the movie. The whole passage is worth re-reading because it captures what grief can do to us really well. It’s also a masterclass in conflict management on Dumbledore’s part.
  4. This is such a powerful life lesson, and I’m glad Dumbledore gave it to Harry early on. It’ll reoccur throughout the entire series as Harry continues to educate everyone around him to use Voldemort’s name, for we must face our fears head on.
  5. This is how Dumbledore begins his explanation of why Sirius’ death is his fault right after Harry’s outburst (quote #13). It’s simply a genius bit of insight on J.K. Rowling’s part, and I’d never thought of it like this before. Amazing!
  6. For as much as Dumbledore was pulling the strings behind Harry’s life, he did so regretfully. He was always torn between clueing Harry in and leaving him in the dark, and he often revealed more than he should have. Thankfully, Harry could handle it, and he always did, indeed, recover.
  7. This reminds me of a great picture in which a sole orator stands on a board hanging over a cliff. The only reason he doesn’t fall down is because the crowd stands on the board, keeping him in mid-air. If the people were to turn their back on him, he’d plummet to his death. A great bit of culture, history, and encouragement in this line from Dumbledore.
  8. This is also part of Dumbledore’s conversation with Harry after Sirius’ death, explaining why Sirius treated his house elf, Kreacher, so badly for so long. When someone openly dislikes us, we know what we are up against. When they simply ignore us, we make up all kinds of horror scenarios that plague us until we have certainty. You can’t get along with everyone in life, but you can always be honest and communicate clearly.
  9. After seven years, we finally learn why Dumbledore, one of the greatest wizards ever, didn’t just take on Voldemort himself. Why Harry? Here, we at last get an answer — and it was worth the wait.
  10. For all his slyness and plotting behind a quiet facade, Dumbledore knew when to make a statement, and boy, was he a badass in this one. Even the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black, a former Slytherin headmaster of Hogwarts, can’t help but admit after Dumbledore’s flashy exit: “You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts … but you cannot deny he’s got style…”

The Last Words Dumbledore Ever Said to Harry (19 Years Later)

For our last quote, I’ve prepared something special. Earlier this year, I finally went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London. It’s a stage play set 19 years after the events of The Deathly Hallows. Whether you consider it canon or not is up to you, but J.K. Rowling wrote the original story it is based upon, and she considers it “the eighth Harry Potter story.” I liked it.

The play mostly revolves around the children of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Draco, but it does fill in gaps from the original story here and there. Naturally, Dumbledore makes an appearance. Of course, the long-dead headmaster is now confined to his portrait in the current Hogwarts headmaster’s office — and a few others, one of which happens to be placed in Harry’s office at the Ministry of Magic.

Twice throughout the play, Harry asks Dumbledore for both advice and closure. Why couldn’t Harry save Cedric Diggory? Why did he have to suffer in Privet Drive? What’s blocking Harry from connecting with his son, and why didn’t Dumbledore, the only true father-figure in his life, ever tell him that he loved him? After Dumbledore tells him that he did, he forever departs Harry’s life — but not without giving him one last piece of amazing, typically Dumbledorish wisdom:

21. “Those that we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch. Paint…and memory…and love.”

I highly recommend you go see the play for yourself or read the script*. Form your own opinion, and see if you like this continuation of the Potterverse. This quote, however? I think it’s rock solid. It even mirrors something Dumbledore told Harry early on, in Chapter 22, Owl Post Again, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?” Dumbledore may no longer be around to fix his mistakes, but as long as Harry knows that he loved him, he’ll never really be gone.

Bonus: 2 Quotes From Movie-Dumbledore That Were Not in the Books

Since this post only covers original quotes from the books, as a bonus, here are two famous Dumbledore lines from the movies that people love. The first is part of Dumbledore’s “Welcome back to Hogwarts” speech in The Prisoner of Azkaban, reminding the students to not let the Dementors hanging about the castle grounds get them down:

22. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

The second happens during Harry and Dumbledore’s last “meeting” at King’s Cross in The Deathly Hallows:

23. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time (not just among Dumbledore’s). It captures the entire Harry Potter saga — be it for the words a wizard must use to conjure any spell, from “Expelliarmus” to “Avada Kedavra,” or for the power of a great story to change our lives, just like J.K. Rowling did with Harry Potter.

I love this quote so much, I wrote an essay based on its theme, which became one of my most popular pieces ever (almost 50,000 views!). It’s called All These Flaws You See In Yourself Aren’t Real. If you want even more Dumbledore and magic, you can read it here

Bonus: The 1 Quote Dumbledore Didn’t Say (But We All Think He Did)

The most popular quote from the Potterverse, at least on Goodreads, is the following, with a whopping 100,000+ votes — a feat which only 12 quotes have ever accomplished on the platform:

24. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” — Sirius Black

Yes, that’s right. Even though it sounds perfectly Dumbledorish, this line actually came from Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather. It’s from chapter 27, Padfoot Returns, from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

In that book, Hermione leads the house elf revolution after coming to care deeply about the often mistreated species, who usually act as servants. At one point, Ron and Hermione argue about the importance of Barty Crouch, the Minister for Magic, sacking his house elf in a suspicious situation. Ron wants to dismiss the topic of the elf quickly, but Sirius interrupts him and sides with Hermione. He agrees that she’s on to something with Crouch, and that’s when he says the above line.

So there you have it! Not a Dumbledore line. That said, as tragic and great a character as he already is, Sirius Black sure deserves the extra credit for this quote, and I hope you’ll remember his name the next time you see it.


  1. Chapter 18, Dobby’s Reward, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  2. Chapter 12, The Mirror of Erised, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  3. Chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  4. Chapter 35, King’s Cross, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  5. Chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  6. Chapter 36, The Parting of the Ways, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  7. Chapter 35, King’s Cross, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  8. Chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  9. Chapter 37, The Beginning, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  10. Chapter 36, The Parting of the Ways, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  11. Chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  12. Chapter 37, The Beginning, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  13. Chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  14. Chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  15. Chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  16. Chapter 35, Veritaserum, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  17. Chapter 23, Horcruxes, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
  18. Chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  19. Chapter 35, King’s Cross, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  20. Chapter 27, The Centaur and the Sneak, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  21. Part 2, Act 4, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
  22. Dumbledore’s “Welcome back to Hogwarts” speech in The Prisoner of Azkaban (the movie).
  23. At his and Harry’s last encounter at King’s Cross in The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (the movie).
  24. Chapter 27, Padfoot Returns, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (not Dumbledore, but Sirius Black).

More Dumbledore Quotes

The best way to find even more great Dumbledore quotes, if you ask me, is to simply read (or re-read) the Harry Potter books.* Books have a tendency to reveal to us whatever we need at that moment. Every time you re-read a great book, different parts will speak to you. How long has it been since you last read the books? Chances are, you’re a very different person now, and so you’ll find new, interesting, relevant lines from Dumbledore (and the other characters, of course) that’ll have a big impact on your life that you never noticed before.

Here’s a short overview of the series, long with a button to buy all the books (or individual ones). If you do, you’ll also support me and Four Minute Books with a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Dumbledore Quotes Book Cover: Harry Potter, The Complete Series, Box Set, Book 1-7

Favorite Quote

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” — Albus Dumbledore

The Books in One Sentence

Harry Potter is the story of an orphan boy who, despite believing he is entirely ordinary, must face a great destiny to save not just everyone he loves but the entire world of wizardry and magic — a world he didn’t even know existed until he was eleven years old.

Why should you read it?

Come on! Really? Asking for reasons to read Harry Potter is akin to asking why you should read at all. It is one of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time, a character-building series for teens and adults alike, and a masterclass in fantastic writing and world-building. Just get the books, will ya? You won’t regret it, I promise.

Key Takeaways

  1. Home isn’t a place, and family isn’t a relation — our happiness depends on people, and who we surround ourselves with is something we can choose.
  2. Magic can’t solve everything, and even the greatest magic is useless without love.
  3. Anyone can be a leader if they choose to stand up for others, but often, the people who only reluctantly embrace the power that comes with responsibility are best suited for the job.

If you want to learn more, you can get the entire 7-book collection (or individual titles) here:

The Best Albus Dumbledore Quotes for Sharing on Social Media

If you want to share any quote on this page, you can use our “highlight and share feature.” Just highlight the quote, and sharing options will appear. That said, we also made some custom images for you to easily tap and share. Some are optimized for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, while others follow Instagram’s classic square format or Pinterest’s more vertical layout.

We considered using some AI art for our backgrounds, but since Dumbledore had not just one, but two great actors playing him in the movies, we stuck with movie stills from the films. The late Richard Harris portrayed Dumbledore in the first two films (but only after his granddaughter threatened she would never speak to him again if he didn’t). After he passed away, Michael Gambon inherited the role, and he, too, did a great job, especially for the later, darker installments of the series. Here’s to two great actors bringing a wonderful character to life. Happy sharing!

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Phew. Finite Incantatem! That’s the end of our list of the 21 best Dumbledore quotes. What are your thoughts? Did I pick well? Did you enjoy the bonus quotes and learn something new? I hope so. In any case, if you want to share a quote I’ve missed or tell us your favorite, simply tweet at us, and perhaps, your spell, I mean, quote, will make it on the next iteration of this list. Until then, may you be as calm as Dumbledore, and may we all live to become at least half as wise.

Other Quote Lists

Looking for more quotes from interesting people and lines from great books? Here are all quote lists we’ve hand-selected for you so far:

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Last Updated on September 26, 2023