The author has stated that she enjoys writing Dumbledore because he "is the epitome of goodness." Rowling said that Dumbledore speaks for her, as he "knows pretty much everything" about the Harry Potter universe. Rowling mentioned that Dumbledore regrets "that he has always had to be the one who knew, and who had the burden of knowing. And he would rather not know." As a mentor to the central character Harry Potter, "Dumbledore is a very wise man who knows that Harry is going to have to learn a few hard lessons to prepare him for what may be coming in his life. He allows Harry to get into what he wouldn't allow another pupil to do, and he also unwillingly permits Harry to confront things he’d rather protect him from." In a 1999 interview, Rowling stated that she imagined Dumbledore "more as a John Gielgud type, you know, quite elderly and – and quite stately." During his time as a student, Dumbledore was in Gryffindor House. Rowling said in an interview that Dumbledore was about 150 years old. However, on her website, she states that Dumbledore was born in 1881, making him either 115 or 116 when he died.
On 19 October 2007, Rowling was asked by a young fan whether Dumbledore finds "true love." Rowling said that she always thought of Dumbledore as being homosexual and that he had fallen in love with Gellert Grindelwald, which was Dumbledore's "great tragedy"; Rowling did not explicitly state whether Grindelwald returned his affections. Rowling explains this further by elaborating on the motivations behind Dumbledore's flirtation with the idea of wizard domination of Muggles: "He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrustful of his own judgement in those matters so became quite asexual. He led a celibate and a bookish life."