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JK Rowling is wrong: Dumbledore is not Gay… or, Does not Promote Tolerance

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. 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. 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.



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    • felipe on March 18, 2009 at 12:58 am

    i understand what you say but she wrote the history is not something that really happenned she can do what she wants with the history even make that harry become an alien she just should have a reason and make it coherent and she has a reason to say that dumbledore is gay even though you dont like the idea and this coherent with the history, yes is truth,
    nobody though that dumbledure was gay because, how you say, we dont like to think about the sexuality of a 99 years old person…but he was young and the history of he and grindelwald is very convincent… you like it or not


    • Hermione on April 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I, personally, do not think that Dumbledore is gay. To me, it does not fit with the mental picture that J.K. Rowling has conjured of this heroic wizard. There is no concrete evidence in the books of his homosexuality. His friendship with Grindelwald is referred to as nothing more than friendship. If wanted, one could certainly invent a story about a love interest between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, but, by the same token, one could also invent a tale about Dumbledore’s love interest in Professor McGonagall. These two stories are just as likely as the other because neither of the two relationships are mentioned (or alluded to) in the text as anything more than friendships. I am not saying that Dumbledore’s homosexuality is not possible, but I’m not saying it is, either. Honestly, until I read the interview, I had not pictured Dumbledore with any specific sexual preference. In my mind, he is and will always be a brave, brilliant, and fatherly wizard who represented the greater good in the most real and true sense. He was a hero. I, for one, love him very much and appreciate everything he did on behalf of Muggles and the wizarding world. He also acted as a great teacher and friend to Harry Potter. I will hold Dumbledore in the highest regard possible for fictional characters. He truly was one of the greats. He was not given a sexuality in the books, and regardless of what J.K. Rowling says, brilliant author that she is, he will remain that way to me.

    • Anthony on May 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks Hermione! I agree!

    • Didi on October 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Im sorry Hermione , but how does Dumbledore being gay stop him from being heroic and brave? It doesn’t change anything . Apparently he loved Grindelwald , but he never acted on it . And he probably never even told him. I think it makes sense since they actually had a very tight bond and spent most of each others time around each other. Dumbledore never married and showed literally no interest in any of the women . It never focused on that in the books , but J.K Rowling made Dumbledore gay only because he loved Grindelwald. I think people are surprised by this because Dumbledore doesnt fit the gay stereotype. When really , you can fall in love with anyone . And I think it just so happened Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald.

    It really doesn’t change anything , because your sexuality doesn’t define you . Most certainly it did not define Dumbledore. He could have possibly been straight , but met Grindlewald and that was that. JK doesnt emphasis any of the love between them in the books because it might have been a bit awkward. Im pretty sure they were never a couple and Grindelwald might have been straight. Im not even sure if Dumbledore was gay myself , I think he was only gay because he loved a guy. He didnt seem like he was attracted to men , he just fell in love with one. I think its pretty simple. Dumbledore’s still Dumbledore.

    • Fowl on April 27, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Sexuality DOES define a person and their views specially if it is something that is different from the majority. People see themselves and their identity as to which groups they belong to homo groups are opposite the straight one, as a result in that sense he would have to think as of himself as different in those terms. It would also affect his thoughts,confidence and actions. Were Dumbledore gay he would be cold aloof and indifferent to Prof Mc gonagle and the Nurse, there is also the case about the unnamed muggle girl on the poster. He could also not be a truly fatherly figure for harry unless he thought of him as his own son or was not gay, he couldn’t be a fatherly figure if there was an option for a sexual relation between himself and harry( a boy.)

    Were he gay he could not be as teacherly as he is in the books or the movies. He would either have to be overtly loving as a father or have ???????????????? Further it’s just as possible to become depressed when betrayed by a best friend or a brother, a more sensible relationship between Dumbledore and Grindewal.

    JK Rowling lost all credability and respect when she wanted to make such an un Gay guy Gay.

    I don’t say that Dumbledor wasn’t asexual cause it’s not an actual condition

    • Tim on July 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Fowl, all I’m going to say is that you apparently know nothing about gay people.

    • Hades on August 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    From fowl:
    Were Dumbledore gay he would be cold aloof and indifferent
    Were he gay he could not be as teacherly as he is in the books or the movies
    A true LOL. In a name, Allen Ginsberg, please click Hades to learn something. You learn something about passion and teaching and being part of the “homo group” all at the same time.

  1. […] So, anyway, the article cites a blog entry I wrote some time ago when all this broke here:  https://sntjohnny.com/front/archives/103 […]

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