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Harry Potter Author “Outs” Dumbledore: Why Should It Matter?

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Every major news organization from The New York Times to Time Magazine is going to press this week with the news that J.K. Rowling has declared Hogwarts’ headmaster and Wizard Dumbledore was gay!

Poor Jerry Falwell must be turning over in his grave, as his fellow arch conservatives and Bible beaters scramble to get the Harry Potter series of books banned from public libraries. Falwell had a fit over Teletubby’s Tinky Wink”; can you imagine if he’d lived to see this?

I anticipate (and expect) the hyperventilation from the religious right, but there’s also the far left to deal with in this situation. I expect they’ll be protesting that Rowling should’ve outed the Master while he was still alive, and within the pages of her books instead of as an afterthought. The absence of that important part of his life from the Potter series makes poor Albus appear to be ashamed of that integral part of his character.

I, on the other hand, think it was classier for her to do it at Carnegie Hall, and in the company of fans. After all, it’s the fans' reaction to the news that’s more important than the shallow screams from people who don’t even know, nor have even, read the books.

In Harry Potter’s world it was about as necessary to announce your favorite color, left or right handedness, preference of car or favorite book, as it was to announce your sexual preference… which is as it should be. Rowling hadn’t made the announcement to raise an issue; she was merely answering a fan’s question as to whether Dumbledore, a believer in the prevailing power of love, had ever fallen in love himself.

Her answer was both simple and eloquent: "I always thought of Dumbledore as gay." She then went on to explain that Dumbledore had once fallen in love with Gellert Grindelwald, and had suffered when his intended became a powerful dark wizard.

Much to her delight, the audience applauded wildly at the announcement.

As a writer myself, I know that it’s necessary sometimes to let your audience get to know and love a character before you begin exposing everything about him. It’s better to let them think that a character is a trusted friend and ally than to come right out and expose them as a double agent for the “other side” in the first few paragraphs.

In conclusion, I’m glad she did it this way. Had she outed him in her books, they’d never have been as successful and beloved as they are now. It’s about time that people in general learn that homosexuals aren’t all pedophiles who chase little children to “recruit” them into their ranks.

Most of us have to announce it to people, or they’d never know…

As is the case for good Dumbledore.

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About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Jet,

    If Rowling’s series of books survive the coming tumultuous times, it will be necessary to publish a compendium of additional facts about the characters that were not included in the seven novels and her books about magical animals and quidditch.

    Dumbeldore’s preference for his own sex would have to be included in this compendium, along with what Harry Potter wound up doing for a living (being an auror) and other details that have emerged and will emerge from readings and lectures given by Ms. Rowling.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Indeed Ruvy, I’d expect it to be a best seller!
    …Jet

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    heyas Jet…good to *see* ya!

    for Ruvy…JK is currently working on a compendium of all that kind of stuff, a supplemental to the series

    mebbe i should get around to reading these…eventually

    for Jet…and anyone else who enjoys a maestro…

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Thanks for contributing Gonzo, it’s good to be back (we’ll see how long that lasts) ;-)

    Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    All you guitar lovers-follow the link in Gonzo’s comment 3-I can’t stop playing it!!! Thanks Gonzo!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    glad ya liked it , Jet…

    try this one out….

    heh

    Excelsior?

  • Che

    I am in complete agreement with you Jet. I think Rowling handled it just fine. There are always things writers know about their characters that aren’t obvious in the books. When she was asked about his love-life, she told the fans what she knew. Dumbledore was a powerful wizard and a kind, protective, strong and ethical man (sure he had faults but he also learned from his mistakes). Good role model for gay and straight alike.

  • Sonny D

    I don’t know what the big deal is. Any adult should have figured that out when the book told the history of Dumbledore and Grindelwald. If kids didn’t get it, what difference did it make? It didn’t have anything to do with the story. For the adult reader, it added a little depth to the character of Dumbledore. I can’t believe so many people acting like it was a bit surprise.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Amen Che

  • Sonny D

    Oops, that should have read “big” surprise.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Indeed Sonny.

    On a personal note, I was kind of torn as to tell people up front or not.

    You get to know someone really well, you get to like each other as friends and the moment they “find out” they’re gone like you were some kind of lepper or something.

    Now I sort of strike a balance that seems to work.

    Thanks for contributing and the encouragement.
    Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    No problem Sonny, I’d read it as “A bit of a surprise”…

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Woah, just realized this is my 80th article published on BC!!!

  • Sonny D

    Jet: The “friends” that would disappear weren’t really friends you would want to keep anyway, were they?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    No indeed Sonny, no indeed. Unfortunately you can’t tell who they are unless you bought a program in the lobby before entering the theater.

    … but then how fun would that be?

  • Edward Finley

    Uh…hello? Dumbledore does not exist. He cannot therefore, be gay.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    In the minds of millions of fans Ed, he does exist, therefore…

    Jack McFarland on Will and Grace is a fictional character, does that mean he isn’t gay either???

  • Wee Nur

    Harry Potter, itself, is, kinda, gay.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I’m sure he’s glad you think so…

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    That was meant as a compliment, wasn’t it Wee?
    {:^P~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “If Rowling’s series of books survive the coming tumultuous times,”

    you must be joking. this series will be around as long as there are books

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    From your mouth to God’s ear EB. I’m pretty sure it’ll blow over rather quickly…

    …was that a pun?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well, found this Article form Time magazine on the topic…

    the author, a gay man, wants Rowling to put Dumbledore back into the closet…somehow disappointed that the venerable olde coot never outed himself

    now, here i had Thought that Dumbledore had chosen celibacy for his own Reasons..possibly wizardly…but it was his choice…and as the Headmaster for a children’s school, why should the topic of his sexuality ever be a topic at the school?

    also, do note than JK has never said other adults didn’t know he was gay…we only know that in the environment of the school, it was not a well known subject…

    just a Thought and a link to share on the Topic…

    Excelsior?

  • RC

    Someone once said that we’ll know that homophobia isn’t an issue when they start making movies with gay characters instead of about them… the fact that Rowling only brought this up to keep a level of clarity in the film and for her readers is a step towards acceptance.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    That’s true RC. We look forward to that day. It’d be comparable to when blacks stopped playing maids and limo drivers and became regular people in entertainment back in the 60’s. Like when Kinch was the radio operator and second in command on Hogan’s Heroes, instead of the “Black” radio operator, or Uhura was just the communications chief.

    Gays would just play regular characters who just happened to be gay, but it was never really spoken or explained. Someone would just go home in the story line and kiss their lover hello, and go on like straight couples do, and their whole existince in the plot had nothing to do with if they were homosexual or not.

    sigh…

    You know, a true test of if your a homophobe would be to have someone point out a perfect stranger to you and say “He’s Gay!” and you suddenly “see” all of the stereotypes in him of a “fag”. Then you’re told he wasn’t and you feel dumb for letting your prejudices color your opinion without meeting them first.

    Kind of like someone in Germany saying person they didn’t like was a Jew, even if they weren’t, and everyone seeing the stereotypes.

    I’m starting to babble aren’t I?
    alas….

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Excuse that last, I didn’t mean to go on and on…

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Anyone know why it takes so long for a posted comment to appear?

  • Sore-Cerer

    So is Dumbledore a medium or a large?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    While I’m sure that’s a very good question my friend, I doubt that he’s into size queens…

  • Samantha

    While I have nothing against the gay or lesbian community I do have an issue with Mrs. Rowling’s choice of timing to announce such a prestigious development of such an influential character.

    I thought waiting until her publicity had died down (with the seventh book being published last July) to announce such an obviously controversial factoid was in the least tacky if not a bit avaricious.

    Also, I felt it was unfair to so obviously limit the demography of her wondrous novels. (Some people will be offended and hoping to preserve and protect the morality of their children will limit their children from the pleasure and learning experience of these novels.)

    If only Mrs. Rowling had simply wrote this in her novels there would be less of a scandalous air around our poor headmaster and wider acceptance of his sexuality. Those people that disagreed with such knowledge could simply put the book down and those that could accept it could continue to read in peace. But now that Mrs. Rowling has waited to expose Dumbledore’s “preferences” lovers of the novels are forced into turmoil of internal moral conflict.

    I was introduced to the first Harry Potter novel when I was but a mere third-grader and have continued to read them all the way up to the seventh book as a junior in high school. That’s over half of my childhood!!! Now I find that I am questioning everything about it: Is Sirious a pedophile? Is Minerva a lesbian? And was Dumbledore’s reason for trust and his frustrating passion of keeping Severous Snape around due to a secret affair? I am afraid that I won’t be able to relay as much faith in a book’s characters ever again, for I love, trusted and looked up to Professor Dumbledore only to find out he seemingly lead an entire life out of the lime-light that I was completely unaware of. This saddens me a great deal that I will never be able to think of Dumbledore the same again along with any other fatherly figure or major role model.

    However, I’m sure Mrs. Rowling had a perfectly acceptable reason for announce such news in the fashion she chose. I can only hope this does not limit to many children’s learning experience or growing fondness of literature.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    My dear Samantha, I’d only to read your first sentence, to know that it and you to be a liar, and was proven right.

    You are obviously the kind that minds everyone’s business but her own, and takes great joy and pompousness in considering yourself the community “moral yardstick”, pronouncing what is “acceptable” of all you survey.

    I hope your proud of yourself, but please be careful you don’t get a sunburn from having your nose so far up in the air…

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    While I did love the article, I’m really over the freakin’ MOON that you’re back, Jet.

    :)

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    As long as my eyes and heart hold out anyway. Thanks much Mike. I’m on coumadin therapy for congestive heart failure, and I was bored trapped here in my penthouse…

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dear Fresh Comments freaks: There’s no need to reprint your comments 3-8 times. The delay is the spam filter keeping out unwanted spammers.

    Wait about 30 seconds. It’ll print out…

    Really!

  • http://www.globaltestmarket.com Jensen

    I found an interesting survey that discusses Rowling outing Dumbledore, its definitely worth a look.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Jensen, in the end it doesn’t matter one way or the other what a survey says. Rowling created the character and can dub him anything she wants, regardless of public opinion, be it gay, left-handed or a reformed druid…

  • tradamerica

    Rowling’s tardy claim reveals her implicit contempt for homosexuals.

  • tradamerica

    Hmmm, I see the heterophobes are “out” tonight – name calling as usual.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dear, Dear, the is a reason by they call it rough trade you know!

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Part 1- HEADLINE: Daniel Radcliffe has multiple gay sex scenes in his just released film!

    PARK CITY, Utah-Before, during and after the Sundance Film Festival premiere of “Kill Your Darlings” on Friday night (January 18), all anyone could talk about, so it seemed, was Daniel Radcliffe’s sexual escapades.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Part 2-Maybe it was because this erotically charged Beat Generation drama represents the 23-year-old’s most high-profile film since he graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Or, perhaps, it had something to do with the fact that in “Darlings,” he plays the poet Allen Ginsberg and spends a fair amount of the film making out, having gay sex and masturbating.

    But here’s the thing: Radcliffe is totally cool with all of it and he doesn’t understand why so many others aren’t.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    This whole-comment rejection problem is assinine

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Part 3-“It’s interesting that it’s deemed shocking,” he told MTV News. “For me, there’s something very strange about that because we see straight sex scenes all the time. We’ve seen gay sex scenes before. I don’t know why a gay sex scene should be any more shocking than a straight sex scene. Or both of them are equally un-shocking.”

    That Radcliffe has such an enlightened perspective on these matters is no surprise, considering the Brit has been an outspoken proponent of gay rights, working closely over the years with the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on crisis support and suicide prevention.