With the news that Jude Law has been cast as Young Dumbledore in the Harry Potter spinoff franchise Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the internet is naturally rehashing Young Pope memes again. Law’s recent spin in the operatic and buzzed about HBO drama has redefined how the world sees him. But it will also redefine how the world views Dumbledore, because what if Dumbledore and the Young Pope are the same person?
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rita Skeeter writes the sensational biography The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore — but she might have been missing the juiciest portion of all. Think on it: Both men have an affinity for the finer things in life, including killer hats. Both make dramatic entrances and exits. Both give grandiose and bizarre speeches to crowds, unconcerned with how they might be perceived. In short, both men give zero fucks, and Jude Law’s casting proves that Dumbledore and the Young Pope are one and the same.
Consider this: In his youth, Dumbledore was far less righteous than he was in the timeline of the Harry Potter series. At the end of Deathly Hallows, when Harry meets Dumbledore in a purgatory realm and confronts him about his past relationship with the dark wizard Grindelwald, Dumbledore explains that they were “two clever, arrogant boys with a shared obsession. You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me. Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. Grindelwald and I, the glorious young leaders of the revolution.”
Of course, Dumbledore and his teenage crush Grindelwald have a falling out after the tragic death of Dumbledore’s sister. But there were many decades between that event and Dumbledore’s incarnation as the wise old Hogwarts Headmaster Harry and readers knows him as.
Sure, he spent years as a teacher, but there’s still plenty of time for him to take a jaunt to the Muggle world as the Young Pope. After his falling out with Grindelwald, Dumbledore was brokenhearted. He’s also an eccentric guy. What does an eccentric, powerful, brilliant, and arrogant young wizard with a broken heart do? Rather than lying in his bed eating ice cream and watching Netflix, Dumbledore would take a vacation to the Muggle world to be the Pope for a bit. Of course he would.
The time line might not add up at first glance, as The Young Pope is set in the modern world and Young Dumbledore was in his prime in the 1930s. But if Dumbledore was willing to let a thirteen-year-old girl use a Time-Turner just to take extra classes, you can bet he fucked around with them in his youth.
Being the pope helped Dumbledore become the man he is in the Harry Potter series. Reshaping the Catholic Church took all of his time and energy, allowing him to reconcile his love for a dark wizard who may or may not have killed his sister. And it helped him see the error of their initial vision of a world in which Muggles are secondary citizens. If Dumbledore was really that susceptible to prejudice worldview in his love-blindness, it takes a big, life changing event to snap him out of it. What could be more life changing than being the Youngest of Popes for a time?
He put on an American accent and pretended his name was Lenny in order to avoid detection, as he was smart enough to know he’d face Azkaban if he was caught. Being the pope is, after all, a violation of the International Statute of Secrecy.
As a last piece of evidence, recall that Dumbledore’s first ever speech in the first Harry Potter novel is, “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” That’s absolutely something the Young Pope would do.Photos via HBO