Monday, October 22, 2007

J.K. Rowling Outs Dumbledore

I'm sure many have now heard the interesting comments by 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling over the weekend that her character, Dumbledore, in the Potter series has always been gay. This is a stunning development and one with many cool implications.

I will admit, I haven't read all of the Harry Potter books. My partner is much more of a devoted fan, and I'm sure this revelation will please him. I have seen and loved all of the movies in which the character Dumbledore has been played by actors Richard Harris (who passed away in 2002) and Michael Gambon (pictured).

It's obvious why Rowling would have had difficulty revealing that Dumbledore was gay earlier. The 'Harry Potter' books were originally marketed for children. Most of those fans have grown up with the series, the first book published in 1997. The seventh and final book, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' was released this summer with much fanfare. I'm sure most devoted readers will now have little difficulty accepting that their beloved Dumbledore was actually queer the whole time.

There has always been something magical about how Rowling used a children's book series to explore some very non-Christian ideas. I've always suspected that Rowling might have been partially motivated to write this series in order to help dispel the negative connotations so-called 'witchcraft' has had in mainstream Western culture for centuries. She has also stated one of her main goals was to encourage her young readers to "question authority" and think for themselves.

We have long seen many Christian extremists attack the 'Harry Potter' series. This revelation that the headmaster at Hogwarts has always been gay will give them more reason to hate it. And more reason for me and many others to love it (I was raised Catholic, by the way, although today I like to call myself religiously 'open-minded.')

It will be interesting to see how the remaining two films yet to be produced from the Harry Potter books will treat this revelation. Personally, I don't care if the movies make explicitly clear that Dumbledore is in fact gay, as the author now says. I'd be happy with a funny wink or some other slightly feminine gesture that makes subtle reference to it without giving it away completely.

Suddenly, Daniel Radcliffe's recent nude appearance on a London stage in the play 'Equus', to be soon repeated on Broadway, takes on a whole new significance.


Anonymous said...

I'm more at a loss to figure why the heck it matters what Dumbledore's orientation is...

Anonymous said...

How would a loving glance at Harry by Dumbledore have anything to do with the fact that the elder teacher is gay unless it is most decidedly NOT appropriate!!!

If it were fatherly and had nothing to do with Dumbledore's sexual orientation or sexuality or Danielle Radcliffe's "budding" in any way shape or form it could be appropriate.

Matt Guerin said...

Of course, any lustful glances would be inappropriate as long as Harry Potter remained a student of Hogwarts. Not suggesting anything otherwise. But of course once Harry graduates, the rules could theoretically change. ;-) Sorry if my joke didn't go over well.