Why was Dumbledore planning to kill himself?

Battle at the astronomy tower

During a few hours of the night in June 1997, shortly before the official end of Harry's sixth year, a fight against Death Eaters who had invaded Hogwarts took place on the seventh floor of the castle building at the foot and on the access stairs of the Astronomy Tower (HP VI / 27 and 28).


Since the beginning of the sixth grade, Harry had suspected that Draco had become a Death Eater and was doing something at Hogwarts on behalf of Voldemort. With the help of Dobby, he was able to find out that Draco was trying to get the Room of Requirement done, but not what it was about. The very night he was on his way to Albus Dumbledore's to find a Horcrux with him, he discovered that Draco had successfully completed his project. Before he left school with Dumbledore, the Headmaster assured him that members of the Order of the Phoenix would keep vigil in the school corridors while he was away. As an additional safeguard, especially because he distrusted Severus Snape, Harry hired Ron and Hermione to mobilize the members of Dumbledore's army to oversee the Room of Requirement and Snape. For the fight he foresaw, he gave Hermione, Ron, and Ginny the rest of his vial to Felix Felicis.

Course of the fight

Draco had actually got a difficult assignment from Voldemort: he was supposed to secretly give other Death Eaters access to the castle and murder Dumbledore. Draco's ingenious plan was to provide clandestine access through the magically linked Vanishing Rooms, one of which was at Borgin & Burke's in London, the repairable counterpart at Hogwarts.
On the evening of the fight, Draco finally managed to magically repair the broken Vanishing Room at Hogwarts. Immediately he was able to smuggle some Death Eaters into the castle via the Room of Requirement. With instant dark powder and the Hand of Glory lighting the path just for him, he led the intruders unmolested past the helpless guards of Dumbledore's army in total darkness. It was only when they met the members of the Order of the Phoenix that the supply of Dark Powder was exhausted and a bitter fight ensued. Gibbon, one of the Death Eaters who had penetrated, conjured up a widely visible dark mark on the astronomy tower, at the sight of which Dumbledore would surely return to the castle immediately.
While the fight was raging on the 7th floor (no details are reported about the course), Harry and the very weak Albus Dumbledore arrived at the astronomy tower by flying a broomstick. Before Harry could go downstairs under his invisibility cloak, Draco stormed up the stairs to the tower platform and disarmed Albus Dumbledore, who used his reaction time to magically hold Harry so that he had to watch everything that happened next under his invisibility cloak. The disarmed Dumbledore involved Draco in a conversation in which Draco revealed that he actually didn't want to kill Dumbledore. Then the two Carrow siblings, the brutal-looking Yaxley and Fenrir Greyback came to the top of the tower, blocking the staircase with a magical barrier that only Dark Mark wearers could pass. The new Death Eaters asked Draco in vain to murder Dumbledore. Finally, Snape appeared, pushed the hesitant Draco aside and, despite (or because of?) Dumbledore's pleading pleading, hurled a death curse in the middle of his chest with a twisted expression. When Dumbledore fell dead over the parapet, the Death Eaters fled.
In Snape's memories it was clear that Dumbledore knew that he only had a few months to live and had therefore instructed Snape earlier to kill him if he asked him to (HP VII / 33).
Harry, whose magical freeze was lifted by Dumbledore's death, followed Snape to the gate of the castle wall, behind which he could Disapparate with the other Death Eaters. It later emerged that both Hermione and Luna, as well as the members of the Order of the Phoenix, had never obstructed Snape's path to the Astronomy Tower and his way back because they believed he was one of theirs.

Those involved in the fight

Dumbledore's army

Aside from Harry's closest friends, only Luna and Neville responded to the call from Dumbledore's army.

  • Harry
    • is cast a freeze spell by Dumbledore;
    • witnesses Prof. Dumbledore's assassination;
    • paralyzes the brutal looking Death Eater and Greyback with Petrificus Totalus;
    • hindered Carrow with Impedimenta Amycus to defend Ginny against him,
    • casts a spell in the face of the tall, blond Death Eater, causing him to leave the battlefield;
    • is thrown to the ground by the Carrows with a curse in the back
    • can bring the two Carrows down again with a paralyzing spell;
    • shoots several curses at Snape, who blocks them all or can evade them in time;
    • helped Hagrid clear his hut;
  • Hermione
    • supervises Professor Snape;
    • looks after the passed out Professor Flitwick;
  • Ginny
    • notices the penetration of the Death Eaters;
    • tries in vain to shed light on the darkness created by the dark powder;
    • duels with Amycus Carrow and, under the influence of Felix Felicis, can evade his Cruciatus curses as well as other attack spells;
  • Neville
    • supervises the Room of Requirement with Ginny and Ron;
    • is thrown on the ground and injured in battle, but can be completely healed by Madame Pomfrey;
  • Luna
    • wakes up with Hermione in front of the door to Professor Snape's room;
    • lets Snape go upstairs unmolested;
    • looks after Professor Flitwick with Hermione;
  • Ron
    • supervises the Room of Requirement along with Ginny and Neville;

Teacher and Order of the Phoenix

  • Albus Dumbledore
    • casts a freezing spell on Harry;
    • brings Draco Malfoy to the point that he no longer wants to kill him;
    • is killed by Severus Snape;
  • Hagrid
    • attacks the fleeing Death Eaters;
    • save Fang from the burning hut;
    • can clear his hut with Harry;
  • Professor Flitwick
    • goes to get Snape to reinforce the Hogwarts defenders;
    • is shocked by Snape;
    • is taken care of by Hermione and Luna;
  • Remus Lupine
    • can barely avoid a killing curse from Torfin Rowle, the tall, blond Death Eater;
  • Minerva McGonagall
    • sends Professor Flitwick to get Snape;
    • Alecto Carrow hurls curses;
  • Tonks
    • duels with the tall, blond Death Eater Torfin Rowle;
  • Bill Weasley
    • is attacked by Fenrir Greyback and suffered severe disfiguring bite wounds on the face;

magical creatures

  • Catch
    • stuck howling in Hagrid's burning hut and is finally rescued by Hagrid;
  • Buckbeak
    • attacks Snape from above and drives him from Hogwarts;

Death eater

As can be seen from the combat reports, there were arguably more Death Eaters at Hogwarts than mentioned here, but these were not named or described in detail.

  • Alecto Carrow
    • come to the astronomy tower;
    • mocks Dumbledore;
    • witnesses Dumbledore's murder;
    • can avoid Prof. McGonagall's curses;
  • Amycus Carrow
    • come to the astronomy tower;
    • mocks Dumbledore and witnesses his murder;
    • misses Ginny with his torture curses;
    • is paralyzed by Harry several times;
  • gibbon
    • conjures up the Dark Mark on the Astronomy Tower to lure Dumbledore to Hogwarts;
    • is accidentally hit by a killing curse from fellow combatant Rowle;
  • Fenrir Greyback
    • goes murderous on Dumbledore when Draco hesitates to kill Dumbledore;
    • is held back by a spell from Yaxley to attack Dumbledore;
    • witnesses Dumbledore's murder;
    • tries in vain to tear Harry's face apart;
    • attacks Bill Weasley and inflicts severe bite wounds on his face;
  • Draco Malfoy
    • assigned to kill Dumbledore;
    • disarms Albus Dumbledore;
    • lets himself be persuaded by the wandless Dumbledore not to kill him;
    • witnesses Snape murdering Dumbledore;
    • is ordered by Snape after Dumbledore's murder to disappear with him and the other Death Eaters;
  • Professor Snape
    • is brought in by Professor Flitwick to strengthen the defense of Hogwarts;
    • shocks Professor Flitwick and tells Hermione and Luna to take care of the passed out;
    • kills Albus Dumbledore;
    • flees with Draco;
    • the tumult of the battle can happen completely unmolested because the fighters on both sides considered him to be one of their fellow fighters;
    • is followed by Harry;
    • can anticipate and block Harry's curses through Legilimacy;
  • The tall blonde (= Thorfin Rowle)
    • throws curses about;
    • hurts nobody, but destroyed a lot with curses that missed people;
    • accidentally kills his mid-eater gibbon with a killing curse that narrowly missed Lupine;
    • sets Hagrid's hut on fire;
    • wants to kill Harry, but is whistled back by Snape (Harry belongs to the Dark Lord himself);
  • Brutal looking Death Eater (= Yaxley)
    • holds Fenrir Greyback back when he tries to attack Dumbledor;
    • is paralyzed by Harry;