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The Mystery of Aberforth

by David Haber

During the interview after the launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling said, "There is one member of the Order of the Phoenix that you have not yet met properly, but you will meet them in seven." Is this person Dumbledore's mysterious brother, Aberforth? What do we know about Aberforth, and how is he involved in the story?

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Reader Comments:

Very nice theory, you really convinced me that the barman of Hog's Head is Aberforth. Our J.K. leaves many tiny details where some people can predict (a part of) the course of the Harry Potter story. But the question is why is Aberforth hiding his true identity? To protect Harry in secret? And if he's really the brother of Albus, why can't he read? I'm anxious to discover that on 21 of july.

Posted by Asif Kalloe from Netherlands on February 18, 2007 3:18 PM

Aberforth is going to have a role in the 7th book as he is making an appearance in film 5 this summer. If he had no part to play in the final book he would not be in the film, or he would be - as 'the barman who overhears the prophecy' but it would be a two second part not worthy of a famous actor.
One other person who gets a mention in the people at the is 'the hairy bass player from the Wierd Sisters'. Perhaps he too is a member of the Order.

Posted by Orlando from England on February 18, 2007 3:54 PM

I am sure I have missed something about Aberforth. The mentions of his in the books are few (unlike, say, Lily's eyes') unless you DO count the appearances of the barman in the Hogs Head. The mention by Dumbledore of his brother implies a less than savoury incident (goats was it?) but he has always been a shadow.

If, as Asif suggests, Aberforth is hiding his true identity then who might he 'really' be? JKR has stated categorically that Lilly is , but I can't remember about James. However, I can't see James Potter spending years in disguise simply to rid the world of one bad guy.

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on February 18, 2007 5:18 PM

Aberforth is not "hiding his true identity", as if he's pretending to be someone he's not. He's just hiding, not operating out in the open, preferring to stay in the shadows. Mad Eye said he was a "strange bloke".

Besides, Aberforth can't be someone else we know from the story, like James, because that picture of the Order was taken way before the night James and Lily d, and Aberforth was in it (along with Albus).

As to the "unsavory incident", perhaps J.K. just worded it that way to make us think that, but in truth, Aberforth got in trouble for something more sinister, in the same way Sturgis Podmore got in trouble while he was staking out the ministry for the Order.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on February 18, 2007 5:23 PM

If Snape heard the prophecy, it could be possible that Aberforth also heard the prophecy right? Another important part in HBP is when Mundungus is with Aberforth in Hogsmede and Aberforth quickly disappears. Then Harry finds out that Mundungus has been stealing Sirius' stuff. So Aberforth might have Slytherin's real locket, which Regulus Black stole from the cave and hid in his house (Grimmauld Place). This could be the reason why Aberforth is important in ly Hallows.

Posted by Javed from Vancouver, Canada on February 18, 2007 5:25 PM

Thanks, Dave, for starting in on Aberforth (as well of course for this beloved site). My curiousity about him was first sparked in OOTP when Mad Eye was sharing the pic with Harry. Well, it just continued to grow with everything you sited. What solidified the importance of him for me was when he was spotted by the kids outside with Mundungus when he was peddling Sirius' belongings in HBP. Of course, when Harry began to tell Dumbledore of Dung's sidewalk sale, Dumbledore said he had already known. Who told Dumbledore? His brother of course. The same barman who has had problems with Mundungus before, according to Sirius in OOTP, which is why he was in disguise and saw the kids at the DA start-up meeting.

No, I don't think Aberforth is hiding. Bezoar collecting, quite possibly. Academically challenged, perhaps, but, you don't need to be a genius to be part of the Order. (Bless Hagrid's heart.) But vital to the Order, as well as the end of the saga, you bet. For everything Dave pointed out, as well as something little that wasn't mentioned. It might not be of any signifigance, but "the Hog's Head sign creaked a little, though there was no breeze" as Harry and Dumbledore prepared to apparate to the cave in HBP. Was this a signal between brothers?

Posted by Colleen from Winter Garden, Fl on February 18, 2007 8:40 PM

Amazing amazing.. I had put all the things together earlier; except the last piece with Trelawny saying that Snape was there with Aberforth.. I have all appalauds for this piece.. good job..

Posted by ketaki from Pune, India on February 18, 2007 10:06 PM

god... I did not believe that Aberforth was the barnman in Hog's Head till now. Everything sort of makes sense. However, I think Aberforth can read. I mean, being the brother of the greatest wizard in the world {probaby}, he should be somewhat clever?

Jo, hurry up... I wanna read DH

Posted by Britney on February 18, 2007 11:38 PM

I think that Aberforth has to do with the word "Oddment" Dumbledore said in his first appearance at Hogwarts, and Harry reminded at the end of HBP. There were four words, probably related to four persons leading to four Horcruxes/relics of the founders. Aberforth is probably related to Slytherin locket.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 18, 2007 11:55 PM

The moment I finished reading HBP, I was convinced that Aberforth would feature in Book 7, but I wasn't sure where he'd appear from. Now I'm convinced he's the barman at the Hog's Head.

Posted by Miran Ahmed from Lahore, Pakistan on February 19, 2007 01:01 AM

When dumbledore shows harry the prophecy it was shown the full prophecy with no interuptions so does that mean that the prophecy was repeated twice and it could be repeated again so voldermort could hear that he cant live why harry is alive so why was the prophecy shown with no interuptions? p.s good theory though

Posted by Natalie from Bromsgrove on February 19, 2007 04:04 AM

i think that Aberforth is going to help Harry find the last horcrux and then destroy Lord Voldemort. He probably knows all about the prophecy from the night when snape was caught evesdropping. I really want to know why Aberforth cant read. Maybe he knows about Dumbledore's current whereabouts.
But it is possible that there is someother member of the Order who has been mentioned just a few times. Any guesses? (I dont know who that can be)

What about the night when Lupin and Tonks came to private Drive to take Harry to Grimmauld Place along with Moody?
There were a couple of other wizards along with them weren't there? Maybe it is one of them who play an important role in the next book.
I just cant wait to get my hands on it!

Posted by Juhi from Mumbai, Maharashtra on February 19, 2007 04:11 AM

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