JKR: So you can call it a fraternal bond, but I think it makes it more tragic for Dumbledore. I also think it makes Dumbledore a little less culpable. I see him as fundamentally a very intellectual, brilliant and precocious person whose emotional life was absolutely subjugated to the life of the mind – by his choice – and then his first foray into the world of emotion is catastrophic and I think that would forevermore stun that part of his life and leave it stultified and he would be, what he becomes. That’s what I saw as Dumbledore’s past. That’s always what I saw was in his past. And he keeps a distance between himself and others through humour, a certain detachment and a frivolity of manner.
But he’s also isolated by his brain. He’s isolated by the fact he knows so much, guesses so much, guesses correctly. He has to play his cards close to his chest because he doesn’t want Voldemort to know what he suspects. Terrible to be Dumbledore, really, by the end he must have thought it would be quite nice to check out and just hope that everything works out well. [Laughter.]
MA: Because he’s set up this massive chess game –
JKR: Mm, this massive chess game. But I said to Arthur, my American editor – we had an interesting conversation during the editing of seven – the moment when Harry takes Draco’s wand, Arthur said, God, that’s the moment when the ownership of the Elder wand is actually transferred? And I said, that’s right. He said, shouldn’t that be a bit more dramatic? And I said, no, not at all, the reverse. I said to Arthur, I think it really puts the elaborate, grandiose plans of Dumbledore and Voldemort in their place. That actually the history of the wizarding world hinged on two teenage boys wrestling with each other. They weren’t even using magic. It became an ugly little corner tussle for the possession of wands. And I really liked that – that very human moment, as opposed to these two wizards who were twitching strings and manipulating and implanting information and husbanding information and guarding information, you know?
Ultimately it just came down to that, a little scuffle and fistfight in the corner and pulling a wand away.
All words by Susan Sloan.