I blogged on this last night but still have thoughts on the matter.
Rowling indicated that her series were one long conversation about tolerance and as I skim the blogs I wonder if this is what she had in mind, a top ten list of ‘signs’ that Dumbledore was gay.The joke of course is that there was no hint of the question in the books and the irony is that if this is a component in her discussion on ‘tolerance’ it is very likely going to backfire. Here are just a few items because I can’t post them all here…
10. The Room ofRequirement actually was full of Chippendales dancers.
*Kept secretly reciting the “wingardium leviosa” spell towards male student’s crotches.
So will that be a new phrase for saying someone is gay: “He’s a member of Dumbledore’s Army.”
I could have gone my whole life without that bit of information…. now I am going to sit here wondering if all those weird contraptions in dumbledores office were really just for ‘magic’.
And of course, more like that. See, the problem is that I think we were all quite content not imagining Dumbledore as a sexual being at all, perhaps in the same way that we don’t like to think of our 99 year old great-grandmother as being a sexual being. Perhaps that is not a fair attitude to have, but it is safe to say that up to this point, there has been nothing in the texts to suggest that Dumbledore’s sexuality is relevant in the slightest.
Up to this point, that is. As the link I have provided shows, we will now be looking.Â Either this piece of news actually informs the text somehow and we are justified in using it to help understand the series, or it is irrelevant and its only purpose in sharing it was to thumb her nose at Christians, not realizing, perhaps, that many Christians have supported and even defended her books. But if it is the case that now we’ll be looking, I don’t think that’s going to have the effect that Rowling desired. The dogs are out.
On that link above there was an interesting thought that I myself was pondering. It was in the comment section.Â Here it is:I never once thought he was gay, and I still don’t. He and McGonnigal did have a thing for each other. J. K. Rowling is wrong…even if she is the author.
I don’t know about the McGonnagal thing, but I did ponder how much an author can declare ‘truth’ outside of the framework of their written world, and also whether or not an author can asserts facts from the privileged position of Narrator and still be wrong in their assertion. I live by the motto that you have to Trust the Narrator, but I think literary critics would say that authors can in fact make ‘mistakes.’ To some extent I agree, especially when the story has passed into the public domain.
If Rowling now says, “Harry Potter is actually a space alien from the moon” should we accept that as true because she is the author? I don’t think so, though I can’t put my finger completely on why (I have some good hunches).
Other examples where a story teller has botched things might include the ending of that movie “Pay it Forward.” There is no reason why [SPOILER ALERT] the kid needs to die at the end. It is so sudden and capricious and unnecessary, it seems designed only to reduce the watcher to tears. In fact, that moment had come and gone for me and when the kid got whacked I was so stunned by the manipulation that I broke out laughing. In the real “Pay it Forward” the kid lives.
It is interesting to think about.