|Wished RPG Mods (wishedmod) wrote in wished,|
@ 2009-11-06 19:27:00
|Entry tags:||!1997: 11, !daily prophet, !news|
Daily Prophet: November 6, 1997
Coming next week, the shocking story of the flawed genius considered by many to be the greatest wizard of his generation.
Striping away the popular image of serene, silver-bearded wisdom, Rita Skeeter reveals the disturbed childhood, the lawless youth, the life-long feuds, and the guilty secrets that Dumbledore carried to his grave. Why was the man tipped to be the Minister of Magic content to remain a mere headmaster? How did Dumbledore really meet his end?
Rita Skeeter answers these questions and more in her new biography, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. I sat down with the acclaimed author for a one on one interview, sure to tantalize readers.
In person, Rita Skeeter is much warmer and softer than her famously ferocious quill-portraits might suggest. Greeting me in the hallway of her cozy home, she leads me straight into the kitchen for a cup of tea, a slice of pound cake and, it goes without saying, a steaming vat of freshest gossip.
"Well, of course, Dumbledore is a biographer's dream," says Skeeter. "Such a long, full life. I'm sure my book will be the first of very, very many."
Skeeter was certainly quick off the mark. Her nine-hundred-page book was completed in mere weeks after Dumbledore's mysterious death. I ask her how she managed this super-fast feat.
"Oh, when you've been a journalist as long as I have, working to a deadline is second nature. I knew that the Wizarding world was clamoring for the full story and I wanted to be the first to meet that need."
I mention the recent remarks of Elphias Doge, Special Advisor to the Wizengamot and longstanding friend of Albus Dumbledore's, that "Skeeter's book contains less fact than a Chocolate Frog card."
Skeeter throws back her head and laughs."Darling Dodgy! I remember interviewing him a few years back about merpeople rights, bless him. Completely gaga, seemed to think we were sitting at the bottom of Lake Windermere, kept telling me to watch out for trout."
And yet Elphias Doge's accusations of inaccuracy have been echoed in many places. Does Skeeter really feel that these few short weeks have been enough to gain a full picture of Dumbledore's long and extraordinary life?
"Oh, my dear," beams Skeeter, rapping me affectionately across the knuckles, "you know as well as I do how much information can be generated by a fat bag of Galleons, a refusal to hear the word 'no,' and a nice sharp Quick-Quotes Quill! People were queuing to dish the dirt on Dumbledore anyway. Not everyone thought he was so wonderful, you know – he trod on an awful lot of important toes. But old Dodgy Doge can get off his high hippogriff, because I've had access to a source most journalists would swap their wands for, one who has never spoken in public before and who was close to Dumbledore during the most turbulent and disturbing phase of his youth."
The advance publicity for Skeeter's biography has certainly suggested that there will be shocks in store for those who believe Dumbledore to have led a blameless life. What were the nbiggest surprises she uncovered, I ask?
"Now, come off it. Betty, I'm not giving away all the highlights before anybody's bought the book!" laughs Skeeter. "But I can promise that anybody who still thinks Dumbledore was white as his beard is in for a rude awakening! Let's just say that nobody hearing him rage against You-Know-Who would have dreamed that he dabbled in the Dark Arts himself in his youth! And for a wizard who spent his later years pleading for tolerance, he wasn't exactly broad-minded when he was younger! Yes, Albus Dumbledore had an extremely murky past, not to mention that very fishy family, which he worked so hard to keep hushed up."
I ask whether Skeeter is referring to Dumbledore's brother, Aberforth, whose conviction by the Wizengamot for misuse of magic caused a minor scandal fifteen years ago.
"Oh, Aberforth is just the tip of the dung heap,” laughs Skeeter. "No, no, I'm talking about much worse than a brother with a fondness for fiddling about with goats, worse even than the Muggle-maiming father – Dumbledore couldn't keep either of them quiet anyway, they were both charged by the Wizengamot. No, it's the mother and the sister that intrigued me, and a little digging uncovered a positive nest of nastiness – but, as I say, you'll have to wait for chapters nine to twelve for full details. All I can say now is, it's no wonder Dumbledore never talked about how his nose got broken."
Family skeletons notwithstanding, does Skeeter deny the brilliance that led to Dumbledore's many magical discoveries?
"He had brains," she concedes, "although many now question whether he could really take full for all of his supposed achievements. As I reveal in chapter sixteen, Ivor Dillonsby claims he had already discovered eight uses of dragon's blood when Dumbledore 'borrowed' his papers."
But the importance of some of Dumbledore's achievements cannot, I venture, be denied. What of his famous defeat of Grindelwald?
"Oh, now, I'm glad you mentioned Grindelwald," says Skeeter with such a tantalizing smile. "I'm afraid those who go dewy-eyed over Dumbledore's spectacular victory must brace themselves for a bombshell – or perhaps a Dungbomb. Very dirty business indeed. All I'll say is, don't be so sure that there really was a spectacular duel of legend. After they've read my book, people may be forced to conclude that Grindelwald simply conjured a white handkerchief from the end of his wand and came quietly!"
Skeeter refuses to give any more away on this intriguing subject, so we turn instead to the relationship that will undoubtedly fascinate her readers more than any other.
"Oh yes," says Skeeter, nodding briskly, "I devote an entire chapter to the whole Potter-Dumbledore relationship. It's been called unhealthy, even sinister. Again, your readers will have to buy my book for the whole story, but there is no question that Dumbledore took an unnatural interest in Potter from the word go. Whether that was really in the boy's best interests, well we'll just have to see. It's certainly an open secret that Potter has had a most troubled adolescence."
Which leads us neatly to the many rumors still circulating about Dumbledore's final hours. Does Skeeter believe that Potter was there when Dumbledore died?
"Well, I don't want to say too much – it's all in the book – but eyewitnesses inside Ministry of Magic saw Potter running away from the scene moments after Dumbledore fell. Is everything as it seems? That is for the Wizarding community to decide – once they've read my book."
On that intriguing note, I take my leave. There can be no doubt that Skeeter has quilled an instant bestseller. Dumbledore's legion of admirers, meanwhile, may well be trembling at what is soon to emerge about their hero.