Thursday, October 25, 2007

More on J.K. Rowling's outing of Dumbledore

Author J.K. Rowling (pictured) is reportedly stunned by the enormous reaction she has received since 'outing' her 'Harry Potter' character Albus Dumbledore as gay.

Some have praised her move as a step forward for gay recognition (myself included), while others have criticized Rowling for not making Dumbledore's sexuality clearer in the books. Many have cynically argued Rowling's revelation is merely a publicity stunt designed to garner new attention and lay the groundwork for some kind of upcoming 'Harry Potter' encyclopedia.

Personally, I doubt Rowling is after greater book sales. Potter readers had long speculated about Dumbledore, noting he had a mysterious, troubled past. Now I'm sure many fans will re-read the seven books looking for additional signs of Dumbledore's orientation (as if they needed another excuse to do so). Rowling has defended herself by pointing to a quote in the final book in which the character Dumbledore describes the intense feelings he used to hold for rival wizard Gellert Grindelwald, "You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me..."

In a funny way, this public outing of Dumbledore is similar to how most young people discover the queer tendencies of many of their own high school teachers. I remember many teachers in my high school who seemed to be a little different, but of course nothing was ever admitted. Even today, many queer teachers keep their private lives secret from their students. The truth tends to come out afterwards. Potter fans, having grown up knowing and loving Dumbledore, are now discovering the truth about him in a very similar way.

I don't doubt Rowling's motives. She has said recently, "It has certainly never been news to me that a brave and brilliant man could love other men. He is my character. He is what he is and I have the right to say what I say about him." Good on her.


knb said...

What is odd to me, is what the media is doing here.

She was simply asked, "why didnt he have a partner, a love interest?"

She answered honestly. Surely anyone who consumes books must know that they create their characters out of whole cloth and believe and understand their story. Screenwriters do that too.

Dissenters, get over yourselves.

You strive for a social order that existed many years ago and was rightly expunged.

Read is my only advice.

James Bowie said...

hi, two things,

1. Teachers' pritave lives should remain private from their students, irregarding the details of those private lives.

2. I'm an avid Harry Potter fan, and I never clued into Dumbledore having any sexual relations with anybody, male or female.

The whole thing about Grindelwald is not how I would have interpreted it. Grindelwald was talking about conquering the muggle world for their own good. He wanted to employ magic as a state function to produce greater utility. That's the idea that inflamed Dumbledore - magical socialism. I admit it sounds pretty cool, no?

It's her character, so she can say what she wants. Never in the books though is there ever anything concrete about a Dumbledorian sexual encounter. If he was gay in his secret unreported life, fine, but that's not part of the books. Or maybe I missed the part where he and Mad Eye sojourned in the Room of Requirement.

What remains telling is that Dumbledore's sexual orientation is somehow newsworthy. So Dumbledore kisses boys - isn't there a war going on?