22
Oct
07

More Than Broomsticks and Skeletons in Hogwarts Closets

J.K. Rowling outed Albus Dumbledore on Friday. From the BBC:

She made her revelation to a packed house in New York’s Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her U.S. book tour.

She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago.

Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she saw the script carried a reference to a girl who was once of interest to Dumbledore.

She said she ensured director David Yates was made aware of the truth about her character.

There is a lively and thorough discussion going on at AfterElton.com. One of the major criticisms of the revelation is that it’s too late, and she should have been more forthcoming in the novels. I agree that her not revealing this fact before the publication of the final volume may smack of a cynical fear that sales might have been adversely affected. Religious zealots had enough to complain about with witchcraft (even though the characters clearly celebrate Christian holidays throughout the series), let alone the Gay Agenda. A scandal might have actually increased sales. Who can say? But clearly she was playing this carefully.

For a while I wondered (hoped?) if Harry might be gay. But it was soon put to rest. There certainly seemed to be some gay fodder with Remus Lupin, a character whose status as a werewolf inspired such discrimination against him, I thought for sure Rowling was making a statement about intolerance of homosexuality. But then she threw me for a loop when Lupin married and fathered a child with Tonks, a witch who surely could have been a lesbian. Lends credence to that common pitfall of American gaydar: Is he gay or just British? But I gave up on the notion that there might be obvious gay characters in the series.

Ultimately, though, I think the news about Dumbledore is good. If it’s true that she sent a note to the Half-Blood Prince director to … er, straighten out the script, it shows some integrity on her part. Makes me wonder what else just didn’t make it into the books. There is an opportunity in the two final films to make more of his relationship with Grindelwald, if even only visually and subtly. Let’s hope that Dumbledore’s official outing encourages the filmmakers to not ignore the subject and to treat it with some dignity.

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