Dumbledore was an excellent strategist and powerful wizard. Many said the only one Voldemort truly feard. Dumbledore always had a plan in motion.
We know that Dumbledore never revealed his plans straight up and usually manipulated the conversation exceptionally well. Was he manipulating and using everyone, Harry included, to reach his goals?
Did Dumbledore use Harry
We think that Dumbledore didn’t use Harry. He tried to help Harry understand his situation and do what’s right to win the war and defeat Voldemort.
After the big reveal in Snape’s memories, we learned that Snape believed Dumbledore used Snape and Harry to win the war.
Snape tried to keep Harry alive for years because he thought he was doing this for his beloved Lily, and Dumbledore let him believe that. And in part, that was true.
But on the other side, Dumbledore was preparing Harry to meet Voldemort in the final battle because of the prophecy. Snape didn’t understand Dumbledore’s point because he wasn’t privy to all the information.
The prophecy was foretold, and because Voldemort believed it, he started a chain reaction. The only way to stop it was for Harry to face Voldemort, but he couldn’t do it unprepared.
As Dumbledore states to Snape, Harry had to come to terms with it, and that’s why Dumbledore couldn’t tell Harry everything at once. Harry had to figure it out on his own.
And when the realization dawned on Harry that Dumbledore entrusted him with finding and destroying all the Horcruxes because he was going to die anyway, Harry understood that it wasn’t because Dumbledore used him.
It was because Dumbledore was a great strategist and sometimes had to look at his plan with a clinical eye. Harry already had a death sentence, so there was no need to put someone else in danger.
Did Dumbledore Betray Harry?
After Dumbledore’s death, Harry was lost for a long while. He read all the bits of gossip in Daily Prophet, and he wasn’t sure whether to believe them or not.
Some of the information he didn’t know before, and although he thought asking Dumbledore personal questions would be impertinent, it hurt Harry that he never asked and will never have the opportunity to do so. Every time they spoke, Dumbledore was talking only about Harry.
He had thought he knew Dumbledore quite well, but ever since reading this obituary he had been forced to recognize that he had barely known him at all. (…) No, they had always discussed Harry, Harry’s past, Harry’s future, Harry’s plans…
As we all know, Dumbledore always had a plan, and he didn’t want to tell Harry about his painful past because this was irrelevant to the plan. The time was running out, and the priority for Dumbledore was to make sure Harry had all the information he needed to defeat Voldemort.
Even after Harry learned what Dumbledore told Snape about Harry’s imminent death, Harry understood that this was his destiny and didn’t hold a grudge against Dumbledore.
We think that given different circumstances, Dumbledore could form a friendship with Harry and eventually share some of his past with the young wizard. But as it was, we could say that Dumbledore didn’t betray Harry. He only tried to help him understand Harry’s future.
Did Dumbledore Plan Harry’s Death?
Dumbledore definitely had a plan, but that plan was not Harry’s death. Although he knew that Harry must willingly go to meet his end, it was not Dumbledore’s intention. It was the prophecy.
The prophecy said that “neither can live while the other survives.” By Dumbledore’s reasoning, the prophecy implied that Harry needs to die for Voldemort to die as well.
Dumbledore knew (or deduced) that Harry needed to die, and he tried to prepare Harry (and Ron and Hermione) for the coming events.
Dumbledore was teaching Harry how to hunt and destroy Horcruxes (pieces of Voldemort’s soul) to make sure that when Harry is ready to die, he is the last one, and then Voldemort can be defeated for good.
Dumbledore was really good at manipulating people using their weaknesses and strengths, and he did so to Snape to keep him motivated to do the right thing, but he didn’t use Harry. Not in the negative meaning of the word.
Dumbledore tried to prepare Harry as much as possible to face Voldemort once and for all and to make sure the dark wizard never rose to power again.