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Dumbledore is Gay? What is a Christian to do with Harry Potter?

Yesterday I was given this link here with a discussion by Rowling about the Christian elements in her books. Today I was given this link here with Rowling talking about Dumbledore being gay. I quote:

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling said of Dumbledore’s feelings, adding that Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down.”

Dumbledore’s love, she observed, was his “great tragedy.”

The end of the article concludes with this comment, which cites Rowling but doesn’t quote her:

Not everyone likes her work, Rowling said, likely referring to Christian groups that have alleged the books promote witchcraft. Her news about Dumbledore, she said, will give them one more reason.

Now, I am not one of the Christians that has opposed Rowling. In fact, I’ve been very supportive, noting that there are definite Christian themes in the books that seem to be deliberate. I wasn’t under any illusions. I knew we’d ultimately have to wait for her to speak to the issue. For example, in this post on my forum here I say:

I have long believed that there were Christian themes percolating in the books, a belief that led me to accurately predict the fates of Snape and Malfoy (apparently unredeemable characters in the books). How intentional and deliberate Rowling was when exploring these themes I won’t speculate upon because that is something that she herself is in the best position to answer.

I also wrote a much lengthier article more fully describing why I think some Christians are muggles and some Christians are ‘Ministry of Magic’ types.

So I am about as sympathetic as a Christian can get to the Harry Potter series. Her announcement of Dumbledore’s sexual preferences strikes me as bizarre and almost spiteful. Others I have talked to can’t seem to fathom it. I mean, even if in Rowling’s mind Dumbledore is gay, anything remotely hinting to that never surfaces in the books at all, does not show up in the movies, and exists only as ‘back story’ material. There is no reason to mention it at all. It doesn’t inform a reading of the books that I can tell, and I’ve read them all about five or six times each. So what’s the point of it? It almost comes across as though she is trying to stick it to Christians. Perhaps she is unaware that some Christians actually have approved of her books?

A revelation like this one almost makes me wonder if the paganism and witchcraft in the stories really are more than mere backdrop. Working from the documents themselves, I can’t see that. Will Rowling undermine in her ‘back story’ antics everything she accomplished in the series itself? It would be ironic to say the least.

Needless to say, I will be watching Rowling even more closely than I already have. I hope she takes the time some time to explain why on earth she felt that Dumbledore’s sexuality was relevant in the first place, let alone why she felt compelled to mention it.

In the meantime I have to put up with bloggers such as this, this, this, and this. Not cool. And this. Ok, that one is kinda funny. I guess this one is, too. I guess I agree with this one and this one.

The note that Evangelicals will be annoyed that you see in the original article and some of the blog entries fail to take into account that there have been Christians who have supported her. I wonder if that is a bridge I smell burning.

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    • on October 22, 2007 at 3:19 am

    I am only posting to give one opinion. I doubt wholeheartedly that Ms. Rowling was spiting anyone. She gave that tidbit about Dumbledore, just as she gives tidbits about all characters to “fill in the blanks” for her fans. She has mentioned, on occassion, that she looked forward to being able to do just that. Now that Harry’s story has it’s “definite conclusion”, she is free to tell us the details of other characters that shaped the story without ruining the details of Harry’s life. No spite intended, likely just a characteristic of Dumbledore she has been keeping in her mind all along. Remember, these are HER characters that she has had as a part of her story for many years. I doubt she cares to change them to spite anyone- especially knowing how much she loves them all and poured her heart into each of them.

    • Anthony on October 22, 2007 at 7:06 am
      Author

    Hi Naviti,

    Thanks for your comments. I will just say to all of your points… “Perhaps…. perhaps…” 😉

    I will be watching for Rowling herself to address the matter.

  1. I’m not entirely sure what you mean when you say that you “have to put up with bloggers such as this…”

    I’m re-reading my blog entry and failing to see what is in it that you would find so troublesome. I can only assume, based on the rest of your comments, that you’re upset with some of the commenters in that thread who mentioned that this will just give some Christians more reason to hate the books. I have to ask, however, how is that statement in any way wrong?

    Sure there are plenty of Christians who don’t have a problem with the Harry Potter series just as there are plenty who accept the Theory of Evolution or a woman’s right to choose an abortion if she feels its necessary, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Christians out there who will seize on any excuse they can find — real or imagined — to rake Harry Potter over the coals with. Your support of the series notwithstanding.

    • Anthony on October 24, 2007 at 11:00 pm
      Author

    Hi Les, thanks for posting. Honestly, I don’t remember why I linked to your site. I feel like that was forever ago. I remember that I was reacting to some sites that seemed to be ‘gloating’ but can’t remember if your post was one of them.

    I wish I could give you a better answer. I guess that means I have to apologize for listing you when other bloggers would have been better examples of irritants.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog!

  2. “Her announcement of Dumbledore’s sexual preferences strikes me as bizarre and almost spiteful. ”

    Spiteful? Boy, you really must have a bug up your ass about homosexuality.

    • Anthony on January 22, 2008 at 8:33 am
      Author

    No more than you do about God, God/Biscuits.

    This wasn’t just about homosexuality. Note, even homosexuals are on the record as not being happy about it. They think that if Rowling had really wanted to throw a nod to homosexuals then she would have had Dumbledore ‘come out’ in the series itself.

    This sort of post hoc insertion by the author just seems weird.

    As for my personal views on homosexuality, I’m a Christian who holds to the authority of the Bible. Of course I’m going to object to homosexuality. I object to other things as well, such as pride, lust, stealing, and murder.

    If Rowling had come out and said that Dumbledore was actually a serial killer, would you have said I have a ‘bug up my ass’ about murder?

    • fieahce on June 24, 2009 at 10:53 am

    How in the world is she trying to stick it to christians? How unbelievable ignorant.

    Someone asked if he would ever find love > she answered that he was terribly let down by Grindelwald or whoever that is. It happens to be a male character, so it was only right to mention Dumbledore is a gay character.

    Question > Answer > Explanation. Can a christian fathom that?

    LMAO @ people thinking it’s some sort of dark agenda. Sit down.

    • Anthony on June 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm
      Author

    Unbelievably ignorant? One wonders what knowledge has to do with it. It reminds me of the Princess Bride: Inconceivable! “I do not think the word means what you thinks it means.”

    I wish you wouldn’t have wasted my bandwidth on such a worthless comment. If you have something substantive to say, then say it. You know the old saying, “It is better to be quiet and have people think you are a fool then to speak and remove all doubt.” Thanks for giving us a real life example.

    Peace, yo.

    • fieahce on June 25, 2009 at 8:53 am

    And in that whole comment you wrote… Not ONE reaction to the rest of my post. Worthless.

    • Anthony on June 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm
      Author

    Why would I react to your post? You come to my blog and the first thing you do is say rude and arrogant things? What did you expect to have happen when all you do is show yourself to be a jerk? You wanted to be taken seriously?

    Seriously?

    Dude, wake up to reality. If you act like a bully and a jerk then expected to be treated like one.

    If you want a fair reaction to the ‘rest’ of your post then I invite you to re-phrase or restate your post in a way that loses the insults. It should be common sense to realize that I wouldn’t want to waste my time replying earnestly to someone who doesn’t present himself as one with common courtesy and decency. So don’t whine if you don’t get an earnest reply.

    Feel free to re-present your criticism. If you can do it respectfully, I’d be happy to respond to it.

    • John on August 4, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Considering this to be an attempt to spite Christians strikes me as rather egocentric. Honestly, the post seems to suggest that because you ‘forgave’ her for writing about witches she owes it to you and other liberal Christians not to say anything else you’d disagree with… the fact is, she wrote about wizards because it was an interesting narrative setting and she made Dumbledore gay either because it fit her conception of the character or, from the way she revealed it, it just emerged ‘organically’ (eugh, forgive the pretention) as the character developed.

    The fact that certain people are offended by (a) the occult and (b) homosexuality probably crossed her mind and was considered irrelevant to telling the story, but suggesting she inserted those aspects just to piss you off is simply arrogant.

    On the other hand, personally I thought the outing of Dumbledore was a bit spineless, and poor storytelling – she didn’t include it in the books, thus avoiding that controversy, but revealed it in public thus getting all the kudos for progressiveness she would have for writing it. If it *was* a jab at oversensitive Christians, then all I can say is that anyone offended by the reported homosexuality of a fictional character desrves all the offence they can get.

    • Anthony on August 4, 2009 at 9:06 am
      Author

    Egocentric? Arrogant? Do you people even read?

    And I can’t remember the last time I was described as being a liberal Christian. Methinks that you are leaping to conclusions and not reading very carefully.

    The point of the post ties in fairly well with your last paragraph which makes me think you didn’t bother to read my post.

    Honestly truly, if you folks don’t have the decency to actually read my post, please don’t bother to comment on it.

    Others I have talked to can’t seem to fathom it. I mean, even if in Rowling’s mind Dumbledore is gay, anything remotely hinting to that never surfaces in the books at all, does not show up in the movies, and exists only as ‘back story’ material. There is no reason to mention it at all. It doesn’t inform a reading of the books that I can tell, and I’ve read them all about five or six times each. So what’s the point of it?

    WHAT IS THE POINT OF IT? The possibility of spite is given… softened with the word ‘almost’ in both cases. Get it? Since it seems to be irrelevant- and you seem to agree- then what was the point? Good grief. Some of you people are really sensitive. You need to grow a skin.

    PS, if she has since explained herself, I’d be happy to be pointed in the direction of her explanation.

    It’s been a long

    • Alex on December 21, 2009 at 12:37 am

    She mentioned it because someone asked. How is that trying to spite anyone…? I think it gives whole new depth to Dumbledore’s character. Either way, how do you hint at something like that? Throw glitter and leather pants on the guy?

    • Danielle on August 9, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Did you think j.k may have felt it inappropriate to discuss sexuality in a children’s book, but wanted to allow fans of the series to know more about the character and therefore did it in public rather than write it into the book. Obvious signs have been there from the beginning such as Dumbldore’s wild sense of fashion, wearing bonnets at Christmas and asking Slughorn for knitting magazines. Though she didn’t dwell on these points, they have always given a minimal indicator of his sexuality.
    Harry Potter is about learning to accept people no matter what they are, where they come from, and what they believe in. So what if Albus was into men? Did you hate Luna because she believed in nargles? Did you hate Hermione because she was muggle born?
    I highly doubt you would insult someone for wearing clothes of mixed thread, or that you sleep in a different bed as your husband while you are on your period. Don’t pick and choose what you believe in the Bible.
    I personally don’t think it means men can’t be gay anyway, but that’s a whole new conversation…

    • JMW on November 7, 2011 at 1:36 am

    J.K. Rowling is “spiting” Christians by outing Dumbledore?

    If that’s true, then she’s spiting my 6th-grade teacher from my Baptist Christian school by including a Ginny/Dean romance, because my 6th-grade teacher believes (along with Bob Jones University) that interracial marriage is sinful because the Bible says “each according to its own kind.”

    Really. Your defensive reaction is uncovering exactly what J.K. Rowling is fighting against: hatred and fear of other people built off of ignorance. If her series was one long plea for tolerance as she claims, it seems she almost got there with you, only to have you fail at the final big test.

    You need more of God’s love in you. I dearly hope one of your kids isn’t gay.

    • Anonomizz on December 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I always heard about some Christians thinking JK Rowling wrote to spite them. Fact is, she didn’t.
    After this whole debacle many of my friends, who had grown up with the series, either went, “Oh, makes much more sense now,” or “Ha, told you he was gay,” then moved on. When an immature teenager can deal with sexuality in such a way, it makes me question the maturity level of some adults. He’s a fictional character, who gives a damn if he’s straight/gay/bi/pansexual/vansexual or a hermaphrodite? His sexuality is merely one aspect of his character. Should JK have made him come out in the book? Perhaps. But it is her book, after all.
    And honestly, she did leave a few hints here and there, but didn’t dwell on them. How is this spiteful? So what if it wasn’t in the movies? She made them edit out a few things on Dumbledore’s behalf by pointing out that the character was in fact gay.
    And it is arrogant to assume she wrote this in even a remotely spiteful way. Because you are assuming she is writing specifically for Christians.
    Peace out.

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