The above video is in my opinion one of the greatest and most iconic scenes in any movie ever. It is the opening of the first Harry Potter film if you don't already. Maggie Smith plays Professor McGonagall and the late Richard Harris plays Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts and a key figure in both the Harry Potter books and films. He is a wizard, He is more than 150 years old. He has a dark past, a scar which is perfect map of the London underground and is rather fond of lemon drops. He is what you get when you take a genius, a lunatic a general, your crazy uncle and your grandfather and roll them into one.
Richard Harris played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. Sadly he died of Hodgkin's disease leaving Hogwarts was left without a headmaster. Fortunately the role was recast and Michael Gambon portrayed Professor Dumbledore for five of the six remaining films. While the character remained largely the same and scripts stayed true to the books (for the most part) Gambon's Dumbledore was not a carbon copy of Harris's. Gambon gave off a slightly different energy and had a different sort of physical presence.
Here is the first scene Gambon appeared in as Dumbledore.
As you can see the face of Dumbledore changed significantly with Gambon. The funny thing is, as young child and fanatical Potterhead I hardly noticed at all. My Dumbledore was never an actor on the screen. My Dumbledore was a sort of mixed up hybridization of Harris and Gambon's portrayals plus something altogether other which I created as I experienced the books and spent hours daydreaming about the wizarding world.
While it is sad that Richard Harris died and his replacement became necessary I think it's fitting that a character as complex as Dumbledore should quite literally have more than one face. Throughout the series he is seen by various characters as among other things an old fool, a godlike figure, a powerful enemy, a loyal friend, a trustworthy adviser, a hero, a corrupt liar, a martyr, a murderer and a giver of second chances. No one in our world or Harry's truly sees the same Dumbledore. I think it would have been incredibly interesting to see Richard Harris battle Voldemort or defend Harry at his hearing but at the same time he would almost certainly had some of the edge which Gambon brought to the character. Both Gambon and Harris find something in the headmaster that's one hundred Dumbledore but also not entirely what he is.
That's exactly how it ought to be. Dumbledore is never just one thing, No one besides J.K Rowling has him figured out. He was a brave and heartbroken man who knew all to well what the pursuit of power can do to people and believed in clever words and kindness before acts of violence and evil. He was the greatest headmaster Hogwarts ever had. I'm thankful for everything he's taught me.