As always, *SPOILERS ALERT*.
This post will talk about Ariana Dumbledore, the younger sister of our favourite headmaster. Could she be an obscurus?
Here’s what we know (about Ariana) from the books;
Ariana was abused by a group of muggle children when she was just six years old. Her father took revenge on the culprit children and landed himself a cell in Azkaban as a result. The attack had left Ariana emotionally and magically unstable. Kendra Dumbledore, her mother, kept her hidden inside at home. Rumours floated around Godric’s Hollow that Ariana was a squib, but Dumbledore revealed to Harry the truth in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; the family feared Ariana would be seen as a threat to the International Statute of Secrecy and be taken away from the family to a mental ward at St Mungo’s Hospital. Pottermore revealed Ariana was incarcerated for due to “a good deal of uncontrollable magic” within her. One day, when Ariana was fourteen years old, one of her ‘outbursts’ resulted in the death of Kendra.
“Then, when she was fourteen… See, I wasn’t there. If I’d been there, I could have calmed her down. She had one of her rages, and my mother wasn’t as young as she was, and… it was an accident. Ariana couldn’t control it. But my mother was killed” (Aberforth Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows).
Several years later, Ariana was accidentally killed in an angry duel between Albus Dumbledore, Aberforth Dumblefore and Gellert Grindelwald, the most evil dark wizard of the time.
What is an Obscurus?
An obscurus is a force which grows inside a young witch or wizard if they are forced to bury their magical ability. It’s not something we heard of in the original Harry Potter novels because times were less conservative. Although hidden, wizards were free to operate in their own society. This was not the case in earlier times, as we discovered in Fantastic Beasts (2016).
An obscurus is deadly; all of the repressed magical energy inside a child erupts at once. The older the child, the more dangerous the obscurus. In Fantastic Beasts, Scamander tells us no obscurus over the age of ten had ever been recorded, but we discover that older obscurials do exist, such as Credence.
Is Ariana an Obscurus?
Could Ariana’s vaguely-described ‘outbursts’ have been of obscurial magnitude? Some internetters think yes.
Although she wasn’t raised in a magically oppressed environment, her treatment from those muggle boys who attacked her caused her to feel traumatised and ashamed in a similar way to Credence did immediately before his own obscurus reigned over his body.
“When my sister was six years old, she was attacked, by three Muggle boys. They’d seen her practising magic, spying through the back garden hedge: She was a kid, she couldn’t control it, no witch or wizard can at that age. What they saw, scared them, I expect. They forced their way through the hedge, and when she couldn’t show them the trick, they got a bit carried away trying to stop the little freak doing it.” (Aberforth Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows)
Ariana’s magical abilities were ruined after the encounter and she tried to repress them herself. According to Pottermore, Ariana’s magical powers “turned inwards”. Despite being a sweet young girl, as described by her brother, Aberforth (barman at the Hog’s Head), anger or upset could cause her to become strange and dangerous.
“It destroyed her, what they did: She was never right again. She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless.” (Aberforth Dumblefore, Deathly Hallows).
Movie Pilot has suggested that Ariana’s obscurus is what led Gellert Grindelwald to Godric’s Hollow in the first place. We know from Fantastic Beasts that he has an inherent fascination with obscurials; namely harnessing the dark power within the child. Is it possible he came to befriend, and become romantically involved, with Albus Dumbledore to get closer to Ariana?
No wonder Dumbledore’s still salty.
Hopefully this storyline will be explored in the Fantastic Beasts films to come!