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Harry Potter: "Dumbledore Is Gay"





AftershockVibe
Whoa there! Before I get banned for trolling... Wink

BBC News wrote:
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay.

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

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7053982.stm


So what do those of us who have read the books think? Does this make sense in the way you saw the character? Does this affect your interpretation of the storyline any way or is it a non-issue?

Furthermore, what do the cynics among us think of the timing of this announcement? Pre-film publicity seeking perhaps? Or now the books are finished does Rowling feel she has ideas she would like would like to tell the world?
Urban
He's dead so.. Who care Rolling Eyes

(But now I know why he was protecting Rogue!)
HollyK
I think it adds a little new depth, and explains him a bit more, such as how he was blinded to Grindelwald. It definitely would be good to add it explicitly in his history in the 7th book. It's not really an issue to me.
Shewolf
"well, good for him", my first thought after reading about it. I could not really care less, and I had sort of known it for a long time, so it really does not matter. I still like him as a character, and I guess none of Rowling's sectet knowledges can change that.
Obake
It actually made the ending of the series a little better for me. I resented the fact that the story seemed more about Dumbledore/Grindlewald than about Harry--I still do--but knowing this aspect of the backstory made it make more sense to me. I'd always regarded Dumbledore as kind of potentially gay, but I think that about half-to-two-thirds of the Hogwarts cast, so it was a nice surprise to find that at least one of them can now be considered canonically so.

Of course, what would have made it even nicer would be for this have come out actually in the series, instead of in the middle of a tour after all the books were done.

I don't think it was publicity-seeking on JK's part--I mean really, nothing Potter-related needs more publicity than it's already automatically going to get. And the next movie isn't due out for ages yet, is it?
Nameless
Why does anybody case about the intended sexuality of a character in a series which has ended and had little to do with the plot in any case? That is the question.
Urban
But seriously, Dumbledore wasn't gay or hetero.. It's not a principal character so it's not important to know if he was gay or not. We don't need to know that to understand some part of the story.. We can't say "Oh! Now I understand why Dumbledore had a bear, he was gay!!", just a pointless information.
Obake
Well, since there are so many people asking why it matters...I'll try to explain why it matters to me, at least.

First, I'm a fan. Duh. Any extra information about the characters is going to be of interest to me, and Dumbledore was one of the big three I wanted to read about when I started in on the series. Why would I care if it's not in the books or if the series has already ended or if the character in question has died? The portion of plot this would have affected is 50-years-old backstory anyway. But if it's from the author's mouth, it can be considered canon, and duly be skittered away for fic-writing purposes.

Second, I'm a slash writer--and in Potter fandom, I was around relatively early (if you know Fanfiction.net's history, I was post-Cassiegate, pre-NC-17 strike), back when we had to argue and justify ourselves to het-shippers and other Concerned Parties. So even though I never really sailed on any Dumbledore 'ship, there's still a certain amount of vindication that goes along with knowing that actually, the canon could Go There, and just did.

Third, I don't think it actually has no bearing on the plot. At the very least, it takes young-Dumbles from being a smug self-satisfied git to being a smug self-satisfied git who is also blinded by a rather foolish young love. It makes his reluctance to battle Grindlewald more comprehensible, and it makes certain other scenes in the books a little more poignant (I'm thinking especially of the Mirror of Erised in Philosopher's Stone--"I see socks", my bum). As I said, not no bearing; just a very little.

I still would have preferred the idea to have been introduced in the books themselves, but how could it be done, exactly? Canonically, Dumbledore was extremely reticent about any of his personal life. Perhaps Rita Skeeter outs him with an even racier expose? Doesn't quite work, does it? And would it even matter in the context of the wizarding world?

Last, I do have vested interests: I'm gay, and I like it when gay characters pop up in stories I'm involved with. Even better when the fact of their being gay isn't the driving plot point or character trait for that character (leads far too often to tokenism/stereotyping/cliches/cardboard characters/any-or-all of the above).

What we have in Dumbledore is a figure of respect and authority in a massively influential book series that a generation of children and teenagers have basically grown up with. He's considered maybe a bit odd, but he's not by any stretch stereotypically queer. He's a powerful, wise man: a kind of father figure to the main character, a leader, politically influential, and trusted with the charge of hundreds of children each year. It's important news just because of that. How many other queer characters are you aware of, who are influential and respected in their communities? Who could be considered role-models by other characters or by people reading the books/watching the show? My little rainbow flags, they are a-wavin'.
TurtleShell
Obake wrote:
Well, since there are so many people asking why it matters...I'll try to explain why it matters to me, at least.

First, I'm a fan. Duh. Any extra information about the characters is going to be of interest to me, and Dumbledore was one of the big three I wanted to read about when I started in on the series. Why would I care if it's not in the books or if the series has already ended or if the character in question has died? The portion of plot this would have affected is 50-years-old backstory anyway. But if it's from the author's mouth, it can be considered canon, and duly be skittered away for fic-writing purposes.

Second, I'm a slash writer--and in Potter fandom, I was around relatively early (if you know Fanfiction.net's history, I was post-Cassiegate, pre-NC-17 strike), back when we had to argue and justify ourselves to het-shippers and other Concerned Parties. So even though I never really sailed on any Dumbledore 'ship, there's still a certain amount of vindication that goes along with knowing that actually, the canon could Go There, and just did.

Third, I don't think it actually has no bearing on the plot. At the very least, it takes young-Dumbles from being a smug self-satisfied git to being a smug self-satisfied git who is also blinded by a rather foolish young love. It makes his reluctance to battle Grindlewald more comprehensible, and it makes certain other scenes in the books a little more poignant (I'm thinking especially of the Mirror of Erised in Philosopher's Stone--"I see socks", my bum). As I said, not no bearing; just a very little.

I still would have preferred the idea to have been introduced in the books themselves, but how could it be done, exactly? Canonically, Dumbledore was extremely reticent about any of his personal life. Perhaps Rita Skeeter outs him with an even racier expose? Doesn't quite work, does it? And would it even matter in the context of the wizarding world?

Last, I do have vested interests: I'm gay, and I like it when gay characters pop up in stories I'm involved with. Even better when the fact of their being gay isn't the driving plot point or character trait for that character (leads far too often to tokenism/stereotyping/cliches/cardboard characters/any-or-all of the above).

What we have in Dumbledore is a figure of respect and authority in a massively influential book series that a generation of children and teenagers have basically grown up with. He's considered maybe a bit odd, but he's not by any stretch stereotypically queer. He's a powerful, wise man: a kind of father figure to the main character, a leader, politically influential, and trusted with the charge of hundreds of children each year. It's important news just because of that. How many other queer characters are you aware of, who are influential and respected in their communities? Who could be considered role-models by other characters or by people reading the books/watching the show? My little rainbow flags, they are a-wavin'.


I think there's another reason why we'd care, too--although I'm right there with you on a lot of your points.

It just says a lot about JKRowling's process, so it's a fascinating fact. Rowling says Dumbledore was gay? I think that's perfect. It reveals something about Rowling as a writer--she likely has a LOT she could write about that would have nothing to do with Harry at all, stuff that never made sense to include in the books, that only she would care about or know. I'm sure she spent ten years consumed by this stuff. Most good authors would probably know a lot about their characters that no one else would, their histories, their thoughts. Rowling probably spent a lot of time contemplating the private lives of the characters in a way that would exceed that even of the crazed fans, which is saying something.

And I'm glad D. was gay. Like, personally I'm glad. I never contemplated his sexuality much one way or another... It never occured to me until now to care. But I think it makes sense with his character and it endears him to me a little more.
nivinjoy
what matters much....if he is gay or not doesnt matter much...The pleasure in reading the Harry Potter books is not affected by those statements....
Crazy_Canuck
Obake wrote:
What we have in Dumbledore is a figure of respect and authority in a massively influential book series that a generation of children and teenagers have basically grown up with. He's considered maybe a bit odd, but he's not by any stretch stereotypically queer. He's a powerful, wise man: a kind of father figure to the main character, a leader, politically influential, and trusted with the charge of hundreds of children each year. It's important news just because of that. How many other queer characters are you aware of, who are influential and respected in their communities? Who could be considered role-models by other characters or by people reading the books/watching the show? My little rainbow flags, they are a-wavin'.


I'm the OP on a thread here called "I've never read Harry Potter ... am I alone," so I really have no basis to comment, but I will say this: I'm deeply fascinated and inspired by the process of writing fiction. Authors create characters, and the more real those characters are to them, the more fully realized they can be to the reader.

The bottom line is, better characters equal better fiction, and that is never a bad thing.

So, bravo to JKR, and bravo to you for seeing this character as a role model for an entire generation of readers who, having embraced Dumbledore prior to learning this information, will now possibly have their minds expanded just a little further.
desertwind
Who cares?
silvertailsfox
Well, I don't think it's a publicity stunt. I think JK Rowling made him gay a while ago. I heard they were actually going to give Dumbledore a romance (kind of) in the fifth movie and JK Rowling simply told the director that couldn't happen because Dumbledore was gay.
It certainly opens up a lot of possibilities in regards to fanfiction...
Patriot Players
First off, silvertailsfox is correct in is their assumption that Rowling told the writer/director there could be no romantic interest for D, at least, not the one they were going for!, due to his homosexuality.

Secondly, I agree wholeheartedly with most of the other posters here. D's sexual orientation has no true importance to the plot of the book, or the storyline itself. Rowling most likely felt that the orientation helped to characterize D, and was an easier write. Therefore, no one should be opposed to the Harry Potter series based upon that one teeny tiny little detail. While I wouldn't classify D as a "secondary" character, he's not the focal point of the book either.

If there was ever a critisism of Rowling to made, it was the way she killed off (SPOILER)
Lupin and Tonks, but I digress...

In all seriousness, there's nothing wrong with someone being gay. It's not like it's a disease! (Sorry, that's my aggravation at high school jocks talking...) So, in conclusion, D being Gay is neither here nor there. Not crucial to the plot, not offensive to the general public.
blinx
Well he was always talking about the importance of love. Ha.
Urban
blinx wrote:
Well he was always talking about the importance of love. Ha.


He was more talking about the importance to have a good relation with your friends and.. hetero can say the same about the importance of love, no? Rolling Eyes
blinx
Ha, yes, I completely agree. It was an important part of Dumbledore's character. It's why it was significatn when he began to ingore Harry...
duskraider31
Obake wrote:
Well, since there are so many people asking why it matters...I'll try to explain why it matters to me, at least.

First, I'm a fan. Duh. Any extra information about the characters is going to be of interest to me, and Dumbledore was one of the big three I wanted to read about when I started in on the series. Why would I care if it's not in the books or if the series has already ended or if the character in question has died? The portion of plot this would have affected is 50-years-old backstory anyway. But if it's from the author's mouth, it can be considered canon, and duly be skittered away for fic-writing purposes.

Second, I'm a slash writer--and in Potter fandom, I was around relatively early (if you know Fanfiction.net's history, I was post-Cassiegate, pre-NC-17 strike), back when we had to argue and justify ourselves to het-shippers and other Concerned Parties. So even though I never really sailed on any Dumbledore 'ship, there's still a certain amount of vindication that goes along with knowing that actually, the canon could Go There, and just did.

Third, I don't think it actually has no bearing on the plot. At the very least, it takes young-Dumbles from being a smug self-satisfied git to being a smug self-satisfied git who is also blinded by a rather foolish young love. It makes his reluctance to battle Grindlewald more comprehensible, and it makes certain other scenes in the books a little more poignant (I'm thinking especially of the Mirror of Erised in Philosopher's Stone--"I see socks", my bum). As I said, not no bearing; just a very little.

I still would have preferred the idea to have been introduced in the books themselves, but how could it be done, exactly? Canonically, Dumbledore was extremely reticent about any of his personal life. Perhaps Rita Skeeter outs him with an even racier expose? Doesn't quite work, does it? And would it even matter in the context of the wizarding world?

Last, I do have vested interests: I'm gay, and I like it when gay characters pop up in stories I'm involved with. Even better when the fact of their being gay isn't the driving plot point or character trait for that character (leads far too often to tokenism/stereotyping/cliches/cardboard characters/any-or-all of the above).

What we have in Dumbledore is a figure of respect and authority in a massively influential book series that a generation of children and teenagers have basically grown up with. He's considered maybe a bit odd, but he's not by any stretch stereotypically queer. He's a powerful, wise man: a kind of father figure to the main character, a leader, politically influential, and trusted with the charge of hundreds of children each year. It's important news just because of that. How many other queer characters are you aware of, who are influential and respected in their communities? Who could be considered role-models by other characters or by people reading the books/watching the show? My little rainbow flags, they are a-wavin'.


I dont know about Rowling coming out with this though. It sounds like she was looking for even more publicity for her book and found it. To a kid it does not matter if Dumbledore was gay, so why bring it out. If it was such a big plot piece or vital to the story, why not include it in the book. I think J.K. Rowling was scared of a backlash against Harry Potter and played it safe by releasing the info.
TurtleShell
duskraider31 wrote:
I think J.K. Rowling was scared of a backlash against Harry Potter and played it safe by releasing the info.


hmm, well maybe. but I think that it would have been enormously distracting to reveal a bombshell like that in the middle of all the voldemort/harry drama. JK Rowling would have had to try pretty hard to slip in something so big and off topic without derailing her other story lines. None of the books were about sexuality or romance. Even the smaller, universally acceptable romantic story lines were barely addressed. For example, I think a lot of us were waiting for the big Ron/Hermione romance to blossom, but Rowling left most of that unsaid. The same with Harry and Ginny.

Basically, I don't think that relationships were on Rowling's agenda, which would have made a revelation of that magnitude about Dumbledore even more misplaced. What were the readers to do with that information?

It seems obvious that Rowling just knew her characters so well, she also knew things about them that had nothing to do with the books.
amicalindia
What about Voldemort?
Why Dumbledore protected him in hogwarts?
Was Grindelwald interested in dumbledore or his sister?
even prof. mcgonagall has lesbo traits....???
and last question : Dumbledore was guy..but top or bottom?

come on men....just enjoy the series...dont go in to all these stupid questions
Obake
duskraider31 wrote:
I dont know about Rowling coming out with this though. It sounds like she was looking for even more publicity for her book and found it.


I still think that it's impossible for the Harry Potter books to get more publicity than they already do, and I don't think that J K Rowling is the type of person to go looking for it--some of the people surrounding her, perhaps; Warner Bros. people who still have a stake in the movies, publicists, people whose job it is to keep the ball rolling and the cash flowing. But Rowling herself is now one of the richest women in the world, and I just don't hold that she would announce something like this out of, basically, greed. Anything she says about the Harry Potter books is treated as news--I've seen recent news articles treating stuff that she said years ago as if it was a revelation.

What it seems like is, she was asked a question that no one had apparently thought to ask her before, and she answered honestly in a way that few people would have expected. It's unlikely that anyone had sat down with her beforehand and said, "Right, and if a question like this comes up...just to add some spice to the mix, you understand...how about you say one of the characters is gay? Everyone else has a gay in the cast lately, and we'll make another mint!"

It has absolutely nothing to do with whether it was a big plot piece (it wasn't) or vital to the story (again, not). Rowling was just answering questions about her characters, and let slip a bit that she hadn't included in the books because it wasn't necessary. Every author has stuff like that--the story you actually write is almost always smaller than the story you plan--and, if you've ever been to an author Q&A, it's often things that aren't quite said in the books that fans seem to niggle at. So I don't believe this was intentionally "brought out" or "let slip" at all.

I don't think that it matters whether it would matter to kids or not (and actually, there are certain kids to whom it may matter a great deal--the gay ones, f'r instance). By the last Harry Potter book, the main audience for the series had grown up a lot--it's been more than seven years since the first book, remember; there are people who would just about have grown up in the time since they started reading. And there is, by now, a sizeable adult audience in addition to the younglings the books are supposedly written for. So it makes sense for Rowling to be thinking in more adult terms about her characters now than she maybe did when she started out.

I agree with Turtleshell here:

TurtleShell wrote:
Basically, I don't think that relationships were on Rowling's agenda, which would have made a revelation of that magnitude about Dumbledore even more misplaced. What were the readers to do with that information?


Even to the extent that Rowling was writing about relationships, she had a focus on the younger members of the cast (because they were who the story was about, and they were the ones her readers mainly identified with). It just would not have made any sense to try to bring Dumbledore's sexuality into the main plot of the books.
phpjsfan
Dunno what's the big deal here... but I must confess I'm not that big a fan anyway.

I've read the first book, and seen the first three movies. I'm impressed with plots, they're more like symbology textbooks for beginners. I don't know much about Dumbeldore till now, i guess his character gets 'expounded' in the subsequent books. I'm planning to read them all sometime.

But the point is - what if a character is gay? will it affect the plot in some way? has it, till the final book? calling a press conference to announce that a character is gay seems like petty publicity-mongering to me...
desertwind
Huh! Big Deal. Who cares?
Obake
phpjsfan wrote:
calling a press conference to announce that a character is gay seems like petty publicity-mongering to me...


It would be, if that's what happened. What happened was, J K Rowling was on a tour, doing Q&A with fans, and someone asked her whether Dumbledore had ever been in love with anyone. She replied, much to the astonishment and apparent approval of the crowd, that she'd always thought of him as gay, and that he'd had unrequited feelings for Grindlewald.

She was just answering a fan's question. It's got to be such big news purely because other people have made it so (self included, I'll grant you).
tennispro9911
I don't see what the big deal is. I don't think it matters. It doesn't change the book. I loved the books but I'm not going to go through and look for references to it. I don't know if JK Rowling should have revealed it but it is her right to do so.
megwings
Dumbledore being gay didn't change the character at all - it's been the first reference made by Rowling as to any romantic life at all as far as Dumbledore goes, though, so it's still going to cause a ruckus.
Ecthelion
I don't see what is relevant about this.

What's the big deal? Why would we even care about it. The books are good, and I couldn't care less about the old wise man being gay or not. Wouldn't make a difference.
takashiro
That's impossible! A mistake? Question
TurtleShell
what's a mistake?
sondosia
I really agree with Ecthelion. Who cares? This fact is clearly irrelevant to the story, or else Rowling would have worked it into one of the novels. It's just how she views the character. Whenever people read, they always have their own mental images of what the characters look and sound like, and the same goes for details such as this one. It's really not worth making a fuss over.
Shift
I never even really considered his sexuality; to me he always just seemed like a figure of wisdom and power.
Derek_Nicolas
I still don't like Harry Potter.
peeters
i think she just wanted (some more) publicity
georgeodowd
I wonder about all these posters continuing to say, 'who cares?'
I've seen quite a few very valid reasons to care.
I think what it comes down to is that some people are going to care, while others are not. Just because you might find this tidbit irrelevant doesn't mean it can't mean a great deal to others. The people I see causing the most ruckus are the ones saying, 'who cares?' Smile
xavax
It all seems like a publicity ploy. His sexuality has no bearing on the story, and there are no hints to it in any of the books (possibly excepting the last one...).
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