A blossoming friendship

Extract from The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore by Rita Skeeter

The very same summer that Dumbledore went home to Godric’s Hollow, now an orphan and head of the family, Bathilda Bagshot agreed to accept into her home her great nephew, Gellert Grindelwald.

The name of Grindelwald is justly famous: in a list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of All Time, he would miss out on the top spot only because You-Know-Who arrived, a generation later, to steal his crown. As Grindelwald never extended his campaign of terror to Britain, however, the details of his rise to power are not widely known here.

Educated at Durmstrang, a school famous even then for its unfortunate tolerance of the Dark Arts, Grindelwald showed himself quite as precociously brilliant as Dumbledore. Rather than channel his abilities into the attainment of awards and prizes, however, Gellert Grindelwald devoted himself to other pursuits. At sixteen years old, even Durmstrang felt it could no longer turn a blind eye to the twisted experiments of Gellert Grindelwald, and he was expelled.

Hitherto, all that has been known of Grindelwald’s next movements is that he ‘travelled abroad for some months’. It can now be revealed that Grindelwald chose to visit his great aunt in Godric’s Hollow, and that there, intensely shocking though it will be for many to hear it, he struck up a close friendship with none other than Albus Dumbledore.

‘He seemed a charming boy to me,’ babbles Bathilda, ‘whatever he became later. Naturally, I introduced him to poor Albus, who was missing the company of lads his own age. The boys took to each other at once.’

They certainly did. Bathilda shows me a letter, kept by her, that Albus Dumbledore sent Gellert Grindelwald in the dead of night.

‘Yes, even after they’d spent all day in discussion – both such brilliant young boys, they got on like a cauldron on fire – I’d sometimes hear an owl tapping at Gellert’s bedroom window, delivering a letter from Albus! An idea would have struck him, and he had to let Gellert know immediately!’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling