As he lay in a deep cave, surrounded by dementors, Albus Dumbledore revealed another side of his personality. This side is very different from his majesty and confidence as a wizard. Dumbledore’s eyes were no longer the reassuring headmaster of Hogwarts, although he was the only one who could make Voldemort feel scared. On the contrary, under the influence of the potion prepared by Voldemort, Dumbledore’s eyes were full of pleading and he murmured: “Please… I was wrong…” The potion evoked the past that he did not want to recall. In “Harry … In the scene “Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, Gambon showed Dumbledore’s fragility, which was deeply imprinted on the hearts of Harry fans around the world.
Gambon passed away on September 27 (Thursday) at the age of 82. He was knighted in 1998 for his contribution to drama and became a well-known actor in the UK. But in China, he is best known for his role as Dumbledore in the “Harry Potter” series.
Professor Dumbledore, who wears purple robes, loves desserts, especially lemon candies. He always gave firm support to those who were excluded and misunderstood by society, did not hesitate to lend a helping hand, and was willing to stand by their side even when public opinion was against them . For example, he insisted on promoting Hagrid from gamekeeper to teacher, and when it came to house elves who were often exploited, he also advocated giving them due rights.
Originally, the role went to Richard Harris. After Harris passed away, Gambon took over, acting from “Prisoner of Azkaban” to “Deathly Hallows: Part 2”. Gambon has not read the original “Harry Potter” books, and he feels it would be better to act according to the script. But that didn’t stop him from successfully portraying Dumbledore.
Unlike Harris, Gambon’s performance was more passionate and controversial. His interpretation was different from the book, which dissatisfied some fans of the original work. Harris’s Dumbledore is calm, majestic, and omniscient, but a bit insincere. He always slightly squints his eyes or raises his lips, and rarely reveals his true thoughts. And Gambon’s Dumbledore is like an eccentric uncle, sometimes saying enigmatic words until his emotions suddenly explode.
In fact, Gambon’s Dumbledore gradually becomes more flawed and more human from divine. Gambon said he was excited about playing the role of the headmaster because he had always played thieves and killers in the past. “Dumbledore is the complete opposite, isn’t he? He’s a good old man.” It will be a “wonderful memory” for him.
He played the role according to his own understanding. He recalled that the first time he appeared as Dumbledore, he ran up the stairs. The director came over and told him: “You can’t do that.” He asked doubtfully: “What?” The director said: “Run up.” He said: “I want to run up.” The director replied: “No, our other actor didn’t Run up there.” “So I said, ‘I’m going to run up there,'” Gambon said, laughing. “I ran up there, and he never spoke to me again.”
Three years later, when he was already playing Dumbledore, JK Rowling revealed Dumbledore’s sexual orientation to him. Gambon wanted to tweak the film slightly to include this new information, but the director told him to stick with it. Fans initially had some reservations about Gambon’s change, but over time, everyone fell in love with his Dumbledore. At first, Gambon just thought it was a job, but later he discovered that it was more than just a job.
The “Harry Potter” series is so popular. Gambon recalled that on the day of the London premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as soon as he got out of the car, 4,000 children in Leicester Square started screaming. “At that moment, I realized how big this thing was,” Gambon said. “I was a little scared. The screaming was deafening. It was raining so hard that the children and their autographed books were all gone. It was so wet that our pencils couldn’t write, and I suddenly felt sorry for them.”
Gambon loved the role of Dumbledore so much that he told the Daily Express in 2016 that he wanted to play it again in “Fantastic Beasts.” “There’s going to be a young Dumbledore, right? I can play his dad and let them look back on me,” Gambon said.
In fact, Gan was cast as Dumbledore because Ian McKellen turned down the role. After Harris passed away, the producers had to find someone to replace him. Sean Connery, Patrick McGoohan, Christopher Lee and Harry Robinson were all candidates, and MacLean was the most likely one. But he was unwilling to succeed Harris because Harris criticized him for his “good acting skills and lack of passion” in his early years. MacLean said: “I can’t take over the role of someone who doesn’t like my acting skills.” So Gambon put on the magic hat and created the classic Dumbledore.
Both Harris and Gambon played Dumbledore brilliantly. In “Harry Potter”, Dumbledore is a mysterious great wizard to little Harry. It’s fitting that Harris emphasizes this point. But as the story progresses, Dumbledore’s true face is gradually revealed, and Gambon’s interpretation shows a more ordinary wizard who is insecure and troubled by the past, but still has to pretend to be an omniscient saint and have complete integrity. plans to deal with the evil Lord Voldemort instead of just relying on the children. By the time of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore had regarded Harry as an equal friend. But even so, he still failed to fully confess and did not reveal his plan to Harry until he was killed by Snape.
Taking over Harris’ role will not be easy. But Gambon used his unique style to flesh out the character of Dumbledore. Starting from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, Gambon’s Dumbledore continues the Dumbledore created by Harris, injecting new vitality and urgency into the character. Especially in later movies, this feeling becomes stronger as the battle against dark forces becomes increasingly serious.
In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, when Harry’s name jumped out of the Goblet of Fire, a trace of panic and anger flashed across the face of Gambon’s Dumbledore. He grabs Harry and yells, “Harry, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” This line is different from the book.
Dumbledore in the book just asked Harry calmly, because he knew that Harry was not the culprit – Harry had practiced mind sealing. In the film, Dumbledore rushed in anxiously and asked Harry loudly, obviously worried. Gambon’s interpretation of Dumbledore is completely opposite, and this line has become one of the classics.
It is Gambon’s unique interpretation that brings Dumbledore to life and makes him unforgettable. He managed to expand the character, adding layers of complexity, intelligence and power . The subtle and complicated relationship between Dumbledore and Harry, the regret for past decisions, and the strategic deployment of Voldemort were all handled appropriately by him. Gambon deeply grasped every detail of the character and played Dumbledore with ease and charm. His Dumbledore is witty and humorous, adaptable and sometimes daring to break the rules, and most importantly, he has a deep faith in his students.
When Ron drank the poisoned wine by mistake, Hermione and Lavender hurried over. Although Lavender was his girlfriend, Ron stopped Hermione, everyone was stunned, and Lavender left sadly. Dumbledore watched it and sighed: “It’s great to be young, you can be crazy about love.” He easily viewed the drama of teenage love, and this clip became one of the most humorous moments in the entire movie.
In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, Harry and the others were worried about Sirius and Buckbeak, but Dumbledore mysteriously talked about time and told them that if they succeeded, “Maybe It will save more than one innocent life.” Hermione understood that it was the time turner used in class. She and Harry went back in time and saved Sirius and Buckbeak. Dumbledore could not interfere directly with the Ministry of Magic’s affairs, but he cleverly got around the rules.
As Dumbledore’s conflict with the Ministry of Magic grew, the conflict culminated in his arrest. Gambon’s Dumbledore firmly promised that he would not be submissive and had “no plans to go to Azkaban.” Then, with a call, Phoenix Fax came and they disappeared in a burst of flames. In this scene, Gambon’s performance highlights how powerful Dumbledore is and how compelling he is.
“Well, I don’t really have to play anyone,” Gambon said. “I just put on the beard and play myself, so it’s not a big deal. It’s also not easy for me to get into a character – every character I play The characters are just variations on my personality. I’m not really a character actor.”
Indeed, Gambon was such a person in private. He was a prankster and once worked with Alan Rickman, who played Snape, to put a fart machine in Daniel Radcliffe’s sleeping bag. Radcliffe said in a statement Thursday that he had worked with Gambon as a teenager and that the actor’s death had made the world “a less interesting place.” He wrote: “Michael Gambon is one of the most brilliant and effortless actors I have ever worked with. Although he was brilliant, what I remember most is the joy he had while working. He was a superb story and joke teller , always blurring fact and fiction when talking to reporters, and is one of the funniest people at press conferences.”
James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, also paid tribute to Gambon, calling him a “legend.” He shared on Twitter an “unforgettable time” he had with Gambon on set. Phelps said Gambon asked him what he was doing over the weekend, and he replied that he was reading “Peter and the Wolf” with the Manchester Halle Orchestra. Gambon offered to share notes with him and his twin brother Oliver, who plays George Weasley. “We discussed my weekend gig when he was supposed to be having a break. It’s something I always remember and a shining moment in my ‘Harry Potter’ days.”
For many characters in the books and real-life Harry Potter fans, Dumbledore was the beacon that illuminated their lives. In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, when dementors came to guard Hogwarts, Gambon’s Dumbledore said: “Even in the darkest moments, people can find happiness. Just someone remembers to turn on a light.” He quickly gestured to light the candles, bringing comfort to the students. This sentence tells people that the power to overcome grief is in their own hands, and has become an inspiring quote that has profound meaning to many people.
Dumbledore once said, “For those with a clear mind, death is just another great adventure.” At this moment, in the magical world, wizards will raise their wands to salute him, but in the real world, Muggles do the same thing. Because when the world falls into darkness, Dumbledore is always there to light up the light of hope for people.