In their respective genres, Yoda and Albus Dumbledore are considered the wisest and most powerful beings in their somewhat magical professions. Yet with all of their wisdom and power, each of them not only let the biggest threats to “good” come to power but also taught them the tricks of their trades. What were their motivations for letting evil rise?
From the moment the audience meets Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the character is reckless. He antagonizes a Dug, Sebulba, who in no uncertain words tells Anakin that he will kill him. He brings absolute strangers to his home without telling his mother that they would be having company. He even scavenges for parts, which he steals under the nose of his master, Watto. This slave boy has no sense of self-preservation.
Master Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn finds Anakin on the run down planet of Tattooine. Anakin Skywalker, then a ten-year-old boy, wins a pod-race, which essentially brings the Jedi Master enough money to fix his broken down Naboo-ian Space Ship. When Qui-Gon Jinn presents Anakin before the Jedi Council for consideration to join the Jedi Order, Yoda attempts to read the boy’s future. Yoda explains that the boy’s future is clouded. The Jedi Council agrees at once “the boy will not be trained.” Qui-Gon Jinn argues that Anakin is a person that a prophecy claims will bring balance to the force. After the battle of Naboo Independence from the Trade Federation, Obi Wan Kenobi decides that he will honor the promise he makes to Qui-Gon Jinn while the master is dying after a duel with Darth Maul. In a dramatic turn of events, Yoda tells Obi Wan that the Jedi Council agrees with that the boy should be trained as a Jedi against Yoda’s reservations and recommendation. The audience is left to speculate that the reappearance of the Sith accounts for the reason behind the Jedi Council’s reversal.
In the book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore uses the pensive to show Harry his first meeting with Tom Riddle, or Lord Voldemort. Before being taken to Riddle’s room, Dumbledore first meets with the head of the Orphanage in which Tom Riddle has lived since his birth, Mrs. Cole. Mrs. Cole, under the influence of some heavy gin drinking, informs Dumbledore of some strange going-ons surrounding Riddle. She suspects Riddle of hanging a rabbit that belonged to a fellow orphan with whom Riddle had had a run-in. Further, Mrs. Cole tells Dumbledore of her suspicions that Riddle had tortured two other orphans during an outing to the sea shore. Dumbledore is then taken to meet with Riddle in person. The eleven-year-old Riddle refuses to talk to Dumbledore because he believes that Dumbledore is a doctor [psychiatrist] that Mrs. Cole has brought in to have a look at him. Dumbledore uses a Freezing-Fire Charm on Riddle’s cabinet to convince the boy that Dumbledore is a wizard. The burning cabinet reveals objects that Riddle had stolen from fellow orphans. After this demonstration, Riddle is quick to believe that he is also a wizard. He tells Dumbledore that he can control people and make them hurt if he wanted to. Riddle also reveals that he can speak Parseltongue, meaning that he can talk to snakes. After reliving this encounter in the Pensive with Harry Potter in tow, Dumbledore states that he did not know that he had just met the evilest wizard of all time but had resolved himself to watch him carefully. Dumbledore chooses not to tell his colleagues about his concerns about Tom Riddle.
Both Yoda and Dumbledore express concerns about the pupils they take on prior to the pupils attending classes. Yoda is insistent that Anakin Skywalker’s future is clouded and should not be trained. Though the exact reasons for the Jedi Council reconsideration of Anakin is unclear, the Jedi Council overrules Yoda. The one consistent value that Dumbledore has is his willingness to allow second changes, or his belief that people can change for the better. However, the fact that Dumbledore keeps his suspicions from Headmaster Dippet is disturbing. At the time when Tom Riddle was getting ready to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Hogwarts), Dumbledore would have been well served to inform the headmaster. As headmaster, Armando Dippet had the right to consider Tom Riddle’s worthiness to study at Hogwarts.
In conclusion, Yoda and Dumbledore made very different mistakes. Yoda showed solidarity by not fighting the Jedi Council about Anakin Skywalker’s inclusion into the Jedi Order. Yoda may have found keeping the Jedi Order at peace in a time of adversity more important than pressing the issue of Anakin clouded future. Dumbledore chose to act on his own by not revealing his reservation about Tom Riddle to others. Dumbledore did a serious disservice to the school and the wizarding community. The fact of the matter is that the only person responsible for his / hers actions is that person. Neither Yoda nor Dumbledore are responsible for what their pupils had become.