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Michael Gambon (AKA Dumbledore) died and I’m crying in Potterhead

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Sir Michael Gambon (yes the man who portrayed Dumbledore in the “Harry Potter” franchise) died in Britain at the end of September.

And I’m heartbroken.

I grew up on the “Harry Potter” books, reading all seven in less than three months. I remember crying to my parents when Hogwarts’ headmaster died.

When I finally started watching the movies, Gambon embodied everything that I loved about Albus Dumbledore.

Gambon’s career spanned far more than the “Harry Potter” franchise. But if, like me, this is how you loved him best, let’s travel down memory lane together and find solace in lovely tributes and a few quotes.

Dumbledore’s best Lines

I believe both the movies and the books reserved their best quotes for Dumbledore. As the wise leader of a magical school, as the person who often represented the epitome of good, this character could speak to us as readers just as much as the student’s he taught.

And there is something about Michael Gambon’s voice that breathes life into the words.

at king’s cross in london

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

Personally, this is my absolute favorite Dumbledore moment — and it was Gambon’s too. As the series concludes in a final, momentous battle, he speaks not just to Harry but to everyone who brought the adventure to life in the minds.

He reminds us, in that lovely voice, that stories are important.

Reminding us that our choices define us

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” | “It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

At its core, the “Harry Potter” series explores the differences between good and evil. Dumbledore is as good as good can be while Voldemort is his foil, representing pure evil.

But the reality, of course, is far more complex. No one is completely one or the other, good or bad, but rather good and bad. Hearing Dumbledore remind Harry, and us, of this over and over again allows us to acknowledge what it means to be human: imperfect.

Icons can be funny too

“What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so naturally the whole school knows.”

Not all of Dumbledore’s appearances were so serious. With great wisdom comes great power to be funny.


The people who worked alongside the actor also had a few things to say after he passed. In my mind, this just proves that Gambon had the Dumbledore spark.

The BBC provided a great roundup:

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

So, my fellow potterheads, I’ll leave you with another brilliant Dumbledore quote.

Michael Gambon lived. I mean he really lived, if you’re curious you can read any one of his numerous tributes, which include lengthy pieces from the likes of The New York Times.

I knew him as the headmaster of Hogwarts. Clearly he was also much more.

While his impact will stay with everyone for a very long time, I know we all wish him well on his next adventure, whatever that may be.

Amy is a public relations major in her final year at Penn State. As a British citizen born in South Africa living in America, she calls herself the lucky immigrant. With a motif of movement, whether that be into continents or ideas, she's spent the past three years sprinting through university as a Schreyer Honors Scholar and a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy. After stints at New York City agencies (Lippe Taylor and most recently Edelman), at Penn State Athletics and at Warner Bros. Pictures, Amy's confidently in love with film and city life. When she's not writing for Her Campus @ PSU, you'll find her daydreaming about the best chocolate chip cookies and bagels in NYC (recommendations always welcome) or scheduling time to stress about academics and post-collegiate life.