In my first blog, Peaceful Ponderings, I wrote about the newly realized homosexuality of one of today’s most beloved fictional characters – Professor Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame:
What you may or may not have surmised yourself has been officially admitted: Professor Dumbledore of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is, in fact, a homosexual! Author J.K. Rowling announced him as such at a book reading in New York yesterday to astonishment and a round of applause from her audience. She was almost surprised that fans did not interpret this themselves from her Harry Potter series that came to an end this past summer.
“‘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” (“JK Rowling outs Dumbledore as gay,” BBC.com, 20 Oct 2007). I, for one, did not see this written or even hidden within her texts, and was surprised to hear this admission. Perhaps it’s time to re-read the series and add that new aspect into my interpretation.
To be sure, many opponents of Rowling’s books are going to come forward against the author’s latest liberal slant, those of the religious right particularly. Even those who are not of the conservative sway may wonder what Dumbledore’s sexuality has to do with the rest of the content of the Potter books, especially considering that it is Harry Potter who is at the forefront of them all. The more I think about it, however, the more I take a liking to the headmaster’s “outing.”
Rowling stated yesterday that “she regarded her novels as a ‘prolonged argument for tolerance’ and urged her fans to ‘question authority'” (BBC.com). These are wonderful aims for a fiction series to have and I commend her for that. However, if she really wanted to argue for tolerance of sexual orientation, she should have made her gay character, well, more gay!
I am not the only gay rights activist to think so. Peter Tatchell, a gay rights campaigner, complained, “‘I am disappointed that she did not make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit in the Harry Potter book. Making it obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding and acceptance'” (BBC.com). I could not have said it better myself.
Evidently, readers were supposed to gather that Dumbledore’s old foe, Gellert Grindlewald, who he killed only after becoming his bosom-buddy for many years, was the love of his life. Supposedly, his unrequited affair that became a tragedy scarred the headmaster to the point that he never loved again, which is the reason we never read about any other of his romantic relationships.
I’ll end this post by welcoming Dumbledore to the community. I’m glad he’s out of the closet and able to move forward with his sexual identity. We’re proud to have you!