JK Rowling has revealed her favorite fan theory from the Harry Potter community: the theory that Albus Dumbledore, beloved Hogwarts headmaster and mentor to the Boy Who Lived, represents death.
Dumbledore as death. It's a beautiful theory and it fits. https://t.co/QqTQm2QnI0
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 21, 2015
Let’s break it down
The theory uses the Tale of the Three Brothers, a Wizarding World bedtime story, as a jumping off point. In the Tale, the three Peverell brothers avoid a trap set by Death, who gives them powerful objects as rewards: the oldest receives the Elder Wand, which can win any duel; the middle brother receives Resurrection Stone, which can bring loved ones back from the grave; and the Invisibility Cloak goes to the youngest brother, which, like it says on the tin, can make people invisible to the human eye. The two brothers with the Wand and Stone died soon after using their gifts, but the youngest brother with the Cloak managed to avoid Death until he was a very old man, when he passed the Cloak down to his son and greeted Death “as an old friend."
The theory posits that the three brothers represent Voldemort, Snape and Harry. Voldemort, with his insatiable quest for power, is the oldest. Snape, who mourns his lost love Lily Potter for decades, is the middle brother, who used the Stone to bring back his dead fiancée. The youngest brother is Harry, who possessed the Invisibility Cloak for years and has managed to outfox death many times throughout the series.
Then, the theory goes on to suggest that Dumbledore represents Death in the story. Dumbledore once possessed all three of these objects, which together are called the Deathly Hallows, and had given Harry the Invisibility Cloak himself. Furthermore, when Harry faces Voldemort’s Killing Curse a second time, he is sent to a Limbo version of King’s Cross, where Dumbledore greets him as an old friend.