Rita Skeeter Reports in Daily Prophet that “Dumbledore is Gay”

John is traveling right now and asked me to post this thread to give HogPro All-Pros a place to comment about the news reports that Ms. Rowling has said “Dumbledore is gay.” What do you think?

Some comments have been made already on other HogPro threads but I don’t know how to move them here. Feel free to re-post your comments if you want.

(Bob Trexler)

Comments

  1. Purely superfluous, as it played no part in the stories whatsoever. Other than his seemingly celibate nature, what does it add to the character? And where, precisely, is such a thing ever hinted at in the books? Honestly, it feels like Jo is pandering at this point, especially since the quote was something like, “I always thought of Dumbledore as being gay.” It is a vague enough statement that she has some wiggle room if it backfires, but enough definiteness to please the fans who like hearing it.

  2. FYI, my report from attending the event is now here.

  3. Scattered thoughts:

    One more point for Rowling as Faithful Post-Modernist Line-Toer. I read a lot of fantasy novels, and it’s practically obligatory to have a sympathetic gay character, whether the plot needs one or not.

    It makes me feel thankful for her earlier “Well, obviously Dumbledore is not Christ” comment.

    It also kind of explains something I found off-putting in “The Prince’s Tale”– the distance and unsympathy between Dumbledore and Snape. Where I had been expecting a close mentoring sort of relationship, Dumbledore was actually portrayed as rather off-hand and emotionally dismissive (yes, he cried when he saw Snape’s doe Patronus, but the point is that Snape’s ongoing devotion to Lily came as a surprise to him). This missing piece makes more sense of that. I may be wrong, but I don’t think it is very common for homosexual men to establish solid, trusting friendships with heterosexual ones.

    At least she didn’t name any other “crushes” besides Grindelwald. Dare we think that Dumbledore may have decided to live chaste and alone? Since he spent his career in a castle inhabited by Filius Flitwick and a whole lot of preadolescent and adolescent boys, I really hope so. Gah! I hate to think of the fan fiction this will spawn.

  4. Arabella Figg says

    The article about this can be found at MSNBC.com. Hope I’ve put this correctly: http://www.newsweek.com/id/50787

    It doesn’t bother me that Dumbledore is gay; actually, it explains a lot–DD’s infautation with Grindelwald and reluctance to fight him in ’47, his great sense of betrayal, shame and loss over the way Ariana died, his isolation, his singleness, his compassion, other things.

    What I do find unfortunate is this following so closely on her revelations of the Christian faith basis of the series.

    By this I don’t mean that being Christian and gay are mutually exclusive, when that is simply untrue, cruel and ridiculous. I mean that many conservative Christians, after Jo’s previous revelation, might have now felt safer to dip their toes in the Potter water, but will take issue with the DD revelation, fueling critcism over the series.

    And, Rita Skeeter-like, the mainstream media will make a big hoo-hah out of this and interpret it in ways they wish to, a la Lev Grossman, when they’ve completely ignored Jo’s comments about the Christian underpinnings.

    Nevertheless, DD being gay is in keeping with Jo’s postmodern writing.

    Am going to lie down with the kitties, I have a sore throat today…

  5. Well, the negative attack in rebuttal is sickening at best. I just checked my frontpage when I logged onto the internet and it said ” JKR outs the character Dumbledore, he is gay.” She supposedly did this at Carnegie Hall in front of thousands of fans. I of course do not believe it and would have to do further research, but it is the lowest. I don’t even want to think how low the media will really go with this.

  6. Thank you David and Helen for unscrambling my own scattered thoughts! I’ve been waiting for someone to put my feelings into words (my original posting is at the end of *Ms. Rowling Discusses Christian Content of Novels*) and you’ve addressed them quite nicely.

    Well, I don’t mean that I’ve sat in front of the computer screen since 7:30 this morning waiting for other postings! Mainly, I’ve been mulling over several points of discussion while pushing the vacuum and folding laundry…and actually came up with a few good ones…only to lose them on the way to the study 🙁 So much for the “older, educated mind.” I’m sure a few will resurface as I continue to write.

    Helen, I also thought Dumbledore was somewhat callous with Snape a good bit of the time until I read HBP and realized that both AD and SS were probably applying Occlumency in each other’s presence. Their conversations were so cryptic because we didn’t have access to the total picture until “The Prince’s Tale”, don’t you think? As for “solid, trusting friendships,” I would suggest that the strain between Snape and Dumbledore had more to do with the circumstances of their relationship rather than the orientation of their sexuality. Even so, with Dumbledore’s concentrated focus on grooming Harry for the final confrontation with/defeat of Voldemort, I don’t want us to be quick to presume AD to have reached a level of disinterest in Snape’s humanity. I think Snape’s doe Patronus spoke volumes about his love for Lily; Dumbledore’s tears said as much about his concern for Snape.

    Yep, I thought about the fanfiction, too. Mostly, I thought about the people who will jump on the Anti-Potter bandwagon and unfurl the biggest red flags they can find. I have to believe that those of us who have focused on the themes of sacrificial love, resurrection, redemption, and choice will continue to do so. Can you imagine the HogPro All-Pro discussions should JKR ever write a Harry Potter Encylopedia???

  7. Actually, I had a number of reactions – some towards Rowling, others towards Dumbledore
    Towards Rowling – definitely some annoyance, but not for the expected reasons. There is a part of me that is wondering if Ms. Rowling is allowing all this drooling attention to her every word to get to her. She has a lot of adoration and seeking-out heading her way. There’s plenty of danger in that.
    Also, why was it necessary to mention this at all? I understand her need to axe the reference to a female love interest addition in the movie, but I do NOT get the need to proclaim this to the world as if it’s some earth-shattering revelation that we all need to hear.
    Definitely plenty of anger: not specifically Dumbledore being gay, but about why she had to state it in an open forum with kids around. There are plenty of parents, myself included, who want to be the ones in charge of the timing of discussing sexuality with their kids. It REALLY, REALLY annoys me when anyone thrusts the issue out there, waving ANY sort of flag, and puts me in a position of having to explain things that I know my kids are not ready to process. Why are we as a culture so obsessed with publicly discussing sexuality in its various dimensions without regard to the context of the discussion?
    Exasperation: It’s been trying enough talking to conservative, evangelical Christians about the value of fantastic literature to express Christian truths, even if they contain words like “witch” and “sorcery.” Believe me, this is only going to make it harder to be heard. AND, it’s only going to place the “God hates fags” or “Harry Potter is of the devil” sort of Christians more firmly in their trenches, where they’re going to want to throw more condemning Bible verses at the world like stones.
    But also some sympathy: I think, in all this, JKR wants to be sure that no group can “own” her like their mascot. After coming out in another interview talking directly about the Christian content of the series, I’m not surprised that she would be very hesitant to ally herself too much with typical Christians.
    Reactions towards Dumbledore: Unchanged. Do we really think that D’s sexual orientation negates the overwhelming themes of the books? They’re still all about about death, resurrection, sanctification, and redemption – central Christian themes, expressed with central Christian symbols.
    There were other aspects about the series that bothered me, and I wish she didn’t include. As meaningful as the help HP got from Voldemort’s victims in Goblet of Fire and as that walk through the forest in the last book was, I still never liked the revisiting of dead people back into the land of the living. Those were elements that were PRESENT in the stories, and they didn’t repel me. Why would an element that isn’t present in the stories at all repel me?
    As a Christian, I believe that homosexual behavior is not natural nor tolerated by God. Nevertheless, there is no sin that is beyond the work of Christ on the cross. Furthermore, many Christians are “agnostic” about whether a person who is oriented homosexually is by necessity sinning BECAUSE of that orientation. Why would Christians come to the conclusion that a homosexual (real or imagined) cannot possibly be redeemed, become redeemed, or even be Christ-like in their words or actions?
    D’s character as a redeemed man is still totally believable and delightful, and this “news” doesn’t change my perception of him as a character. Like others, I’m not shocked with this idea of his being homosexual. It doesn’t necessarily jar with anything we already know about him from the stories. But I ain’t gonna share this with the kids.
    So, to sum up – I am still totally cool with Dumbledore, now as always. But I am not pleased with Rowling’s most recent behavior.

  8. Arabella,

    Hope you don’t come down with what I’ve battled with for the last two weeks. ‘Tis nasty fighting and Madame Pomfrey doesn’t have a handle on this strain of Upper Respiratory ailings! Juice, rest, and chicken soup!!!!!

    You wrote:
    “It doesn’t bother me that Dumbledore is gay; actually, it explains a lot–DD’s infautation with Grindelwald and reluctance to fight him in ‘47, his great sense of betrayal, shame and loss over the way Ariana died, his isolation, his singleness, his compassion, other things. ” I don’t believe these behaviors are necessarily exclusive to one’s sexual orientation as much as they are representative of a person who has experienced the consequences of misplaced priorities, misguided dreams, and the loss of innocent life early in one’s youth. I believe DD lived out the rest of his life in sacrificial service to the Wizarding world, attempting to atone for his earlier sins. Facing Grindelwald in ’47 was having to come to terms with what he would have become had Ariana not died; admitting he was flawed in his “greater good” ideology and bringing down one of the (technically) greatest wizards of the time. None of us want to face the demons of our past but they are the consequences of our choices that are ours to contend with.

    I am anxious to read John’s take on all this.

    Take care! We can’t have kitties in our house: the son-in-law is deathly allergic to fuzzy felines. We love ’em from a distance.

  9. sleepingdragons says

    I always thought that Dumbledore was a little effeminate: there was a scene when he wore a hat with flowers on it, wasn’t there? and also his interest in the needlepoint magazine in Slughorn’s bathroom. Anyway, this was just a feeling, not anything I knew more certainly.

    But, I must say that I don’t like it that she has made a point of “outing” him. It is true that all of the main characters in the book have a cross to bear: Harry is an orphan, Ron is poor, Hermione is muggle-born, Lupin is a werewolf, etc., etc., And I can see that for Dumbledore to have the “cross” of being a homosexual, would fit with all of the rest.. But, I really don’t think that this storyline belongs in a book that is so widely read by children, period. But most especially, it is wrong not to make some kind of statement about all of the implications of this. If she is saying that Dumbledore was an active homosexual (which she probably isn’t), then she is clearly moving away from traditional Christianity. If she is saying that he remained celibate, at least after the Grindelwald incidents, then she needs to make this clear. There are some really bad possibilities here that will and have popped into peoples’ minds: what was the nature of his interest in Harry, for instance?

    This is not making me happy. And no matter how I try to explain it to my children who are 12, 13, and 15, they are not too happy either.

  10. To me this comes under the heading “Too Much Information”. It adds nothing to the series and as david3565 said comes across as pandering. Unfortunately this just gives the blockheads against the books more to yell about.
    Sometimes I think it is well to remember scripture where it says “… for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God…”

  11. The fan fiction was already there if you knew where to look, so I doubt if that’s an issue.

    It does not bother me in the slightest that Dumbledore is gay, except I find it odd that Dumbledore was apparently in love with the Wizarding world’s version of Hitler, and Jo didn’t have the guts to say so point blank in the books, but did have the guts to say so bluntly in front of an audience months after the book came out.

    Fandom in general is going completely nuts. This from the Lexicion forum’s Dumbledore thread (no mention of slash was previously allowed on that forum whatsoever):
    “I am shutting this thread down until the other Hosts can determine what the Forum’s stance on this is. It is already causing some harsh words be exchanged, and the tone of the posts since yesterday has been significantly strained. Please be patient while we deal with this!”

    Good luck with that, kids!

    One thing I find interesting is that Jo said D/G was unrequited. Most fans took that to mean Draco/Ginny, because that is what the letters have traditionally referred to, but maybe it means Dumbledore/Grindelwald now? In that case, Jo might not have that much trouble with the normally anti-Potter people. Many of them may not like homosexuality, but find it a bit more acceptable if no one is actually getting any sex.

    LOL! I’m going to make some popcorn and sit back for the rest of the wekend, watching this show.

  12. globalgirlk says

    When I read the article I felt as though I had been slapped in the face, betrayed by a friend, etc. After all the debate about whether or not Harry Potter is good and okay for Christians this happens. Needless to say, I am not a happy camper. I briefly discussed the matter with my friend and her thought was interesting. Could J.K. Rowling have meant that homosexuality is damaging? I mean it ruined Albus’s life. Could it also be possible that Albus loved Grindewald in a way that wasn’t romantic? In the end, I like my friend’s idea. Although I know that I’ll get crap from people at church.

  13. Quite frankly, I am disappointed in this remark. The books were traditional and written with traditional symbolism, and no evidence appeared whatsoever to bring the reader to this conclusion except this post-book 7 remark. I think she did all her readers a disservice in making it. Nothing that JKR says can change how I view any of the characters now. Rita Skeeter never even outed him! My thoughts travel to Hermione and her fit of the giggles at the Quidditch World Cup when the trio was lining up to get water and she overheard the discussion about the wizard who had come wearing muggle women’s clothing because he wanted a healthy breeze around his privates. And Gilderoy Lockhart with his lilac robes, jaunty caps, curlers, and wanting to sell hair care products. I can smile here. But Dumbledore?? Nah!

  14. Oh dear, but then again–so what, big deal! My initial concern was not that DD might be gay, but for JKR: having come so far, why would she bow the knee to popular p.c. opinion? And why would she give those Who Must Not Be Named a good excuse to have a field day? (However, if the latter were to learn that DD was a CIA torturer and executioner, they’d probably have no problem with that.) Well, I’ll keep my opinions to a minimum. I’d just be sorry if, after her profession de foi, JKR felt the need to pander (wonderful word that–from Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde!) to public opinion.

    Big deal! So DD is gay. And here is the man that I and many others considered a monk, or tantamount to a monk, and the spiritual father of Hogwart’s students! Well, based on all the books, the fact remains that he was exactly that.

    Indeed, he could not quite grasp Snape’s love for Lily, and he was very much taken with Grindelwald’s person, abilities, and aspirations–so yes, he could have been latently or potentially gay.

    But one wonders if the relationship could have gone any farther than that. All the heterosexual romances in the Potter series are surprisingly chaste and refreshing to read. So, possibly DD’s homosexual relationship may have been a misdirected Platonic love. If it were any more than that, we don’t know–or want to know.

    The point is that whatever DD’s inclinations, he overcame them and, as far as we know, devoted himself to a life of celibacy and service to his students and ultimately to the Good (Think of Plato, Dionysius the Areopagite, and Boethius). He understood that he was an imperfect, sinful man and tried to correct his faults by honoring his mother and sister, serving his students, and fighting evil.

  15. bubbygirl1972 says

    I have to admit that this revelation through me for a loop. I can understansd it as a plot device, kind of in an adult book, but am not sure it’s appropriate for a kids book. Especially one that so clearly has christian themes and after she has openly discussed those themes. I don’t know it just doesn’t sit right. I still love the series but Dumbledore being gay just doesn’t feel right to me. I think I’m still in shock.

    maria

  16. sleepingdragons Says:
    “I always thought that Dumbledore was a little effeminate: there was a scene when he wore a hat with flowers on it, wasn’t there? and also his interest in the needlepoint magazine in Slughorn’s bathroom. Anyway, this was just a feeling, not anything I knew more certainly.”

    I saw those instances as the influence of alchemy. The man/woman being perfectly balanced. DD was an alchemist. Hagrid (also another example of the man/woman being) uses a pink umbrella, knits and wears a flowered apron. Hagrid is not gay though (remember Mdm. Maxine?).

    I agree with previous posters, way too much information! This falls in line with the hints of assisted suicide in HBP. And the only defense I can think of is that DD said that Harry was a better man than he was.

    I am disappointed that she dropped this bomb in front of children. I don’t know how old they were but as a mother I would think that she would have more respect for the parents of her child-fans. Shame on her.

  17. My first post at my own blog BabyBlueOnline.org was this:

    Fascinating revelation, though I’m not so sure this is good news to the activist gay community. Before there is celebration in the streets, they may want to actually read the final book in the Harry Potter series. We learn in Deathly Hallows that Dumbledore is not the kind and wise old man he has appeared to be throughout the series but is in fact a manipulator and schemer – and a very conflicted one at that. Is this an accurate representation of an archetypal gay person? Or is it a stereotype? As we’ve written here earlier, it turns out that Dumbledore was – as Jo Rowling has also stated – Machiavellian in his plans for Harry Potter. Even Snape is shocked by the revelation of Dumbledore’s motives.

    Deathly Hallows does allude that Dumbledore and Grindelwald engage in a deep friendship that is enmeshed and unhealthly. Everyone else is excluded. Their “breakup” leads to the tragic death of Dumbeldore’s little sister. Grindelwald becomes one of the most evil characters ever – on par with Voldemort (who later kills him) and again, I wonder how the gay community will feel about that. It is not an idealized relationship by any means, not like the idealized relationships I would hear about during hearing testimonies at General Convention, for example, where everything is blessed and certainly not obsessive and idolatrous.

    The article says this:

    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.”

    Before Christians jump at this news and take to the streets for different reasons, we should read the book as well. The “love” depicted in this relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore is destructive – it costs a girl her life and more. The 1940s wizard battle with Grindelwald parallels World War II and the atrocities committed by the Nazis. The name “Grindelwald” alludes to Grendel, Beowulf’s dragon representing evil (“wald” or “vald” is German for ruler – i.e. a ruler of evil). The context of the story in Deathly Hallows is that this relationship was destructive. The character of Grindelwald is unsavory from the very beginning, as though a tempter of evil – and Dumbledore is indeed tempted – a temptation that he lives with for the rest of his life. Is this the sort of literary portrayal the gay community would like to see attached to their image? I’m not so sure. Is it compelling storytelling? Yes, it is.

    Dumbledore went on to lead a chaste life, totally devoted to his role as headmaster (another typical caricature, by the way?) and to seeking the ultimate defeat of Voldermort. That was his whole life. In fact, Dumbledore reminds me very much of this guy. Just put a beard on him and you’ve got our guy. It isn’t what we are that matters, it’s what we do with who we are that makes the difference. That’s what Dumbledore also said – it is our choices that matter and show us who we truly are.

    That being said, I am very surprised that Jo Rowling would add the homosexual dynamic to the youthful relationship between the two titanic characters of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, for it reveals the inherent destructive nature of such obsession and idolatry, which – if you read Leanne Payne would tell us is at the center of homosexual behavior. It is quite a revelation indeed. Both of these characteristics – obsession and idolatry – were terrible character flaws in Albus Dumbledore (character flaws he readily acknowledged, I might add). Harry Potter’s heart was pure and his love for Ginny (who later becomes his wife) was exemplary – it encourages him and makes him whole, quite a contrast to what Dumbledore knew in his relationship with Grindelwald. I am just surprised Jo Rowling would want to open up that can of worms.

    Later, in response to one of my commentators, I wrote this:

    I wrote it response to the comment of Dumbledore as the mentor to Harry Potter:

    We learn in Deathly Hallows – after six books – that Albus Dumbledore in fact is NOT the best “mentor to the prototypical adolescent.” This revelation to Harry is devastating – Dumbledore’s infactuation with Grindelwald – now in all its complexities – caused the death of an innocent girl’s life, a death that haunted Dumbledore for the rest of his life. In fact, in Half-Blood Prince, when Dumbledore has the horrific visions in the cave, he is reliving that period of his life with Grindewald. This is not the positive remaking of a myth for the gay community. I would encourage those who are calling this a triumph to read the book first then make your case. Harry has to “break” from Dumbledore during the course of the seventh book and he has a huge confrontation with the “dead” Dumbledore in King’s Cross near the end of the book (sorry, spoilers, but what can I tell you?). Dumbledore is all about choices and he chooses not to live out his same-sex attractions, he instead choses a celibate life, which is what evangelicals preach.

    The character of Albus Dumbledore is not the stuff of children’s fiction – you will not find Rowling’s characters in Narnia, though you might find them in Charlotte or Emily Bronte or perhaps Jane Austin and Charles Dickens. And sometimes, even William Shakespeare (Hamlet anyone?). Dumbledore is a tragic figure who makes better choices – but I’m not sure they are the choices advocated at this time by the leadership of the Episcopal Church.

    At the same time, am I comfortable with putting this piece of information to young children? I’m not so sure about that – and in that way I might argue that Jo Rowling was reckless last night. We’ll see. I know she’s received a lot of criticism from gay activists for not creating an “outed” gay character in the books (there was a lot of speculation about Remus Lupin but those speculations were finished in seventh book as well – you sure could have read between the lines on him, if you know the books – but that was not to be). I can imagine the criticism she’s received because I’ve seen the expectations in the HP reading communities. Lupin was ostracized living a sublife because he was not accepted by the wizarding community – the analogies were all there. But in the final book we see that was not the case at all, talk about a twist!! If you know your Potter you will know what I’m talking about.

    That Albus Dumbledore, the eccentric, celibate bachelor headmaster of a British school who liked candy and socks is a caricature again of the quintessential English Boarding School. But Dumbledore’s inner world is far more complex, and again – perhaps not the one the gay community would like to have as a champion. That is one of the spoilers, one of the BIG SURPRISES of Deathly Hallows. I am surprised that Jo Rowling would want to do this at this time, but there we are. If we’re going to raise up the standard of Albus Dumbledore, then its all of him. He is fascinating, make no mistake about it. One of the big surprises in the final book is that the one who was most devoted to keeping Harry safe was not Dumbledore after all – but someone else we would never have expected or have known the reasons why (though some of us did guess!).

    Contrasting the heterosexual relationships with the one homosexual “relationship” (and it’s not clear it got that far, actually, since Rowling is saying it was unrequited) in Harry Potter is still in line with the Christian view. We are all born in sin, evil exists, and we have choices about what to do with what we know.

    Dumbledore made his choice. Is it the standard by which gay activists would follow? I don’t think so. That he reveals whether Christians truly love people, gay or straight – yes, that’s a point. We can see by how people respond to this whether its the orientation or the actions that matter (and this goes for all sides).

    Like I said, this is a fascinating development, but if we’re going to discuss it, we would need to argue our points from the text. I will be interested to see – from the text, and not outside the canon – how this revelation will be handled.

    I am not sure if Rowling should have sprung the news as she did, but my guess is because she has received criticism regarding the absence of gay characters in the series and with the characters that were “in question” turned out not to be so. But I don’t know why she decided to do it now, at this point. She’s not the only one to have speculated about Dumbledore, I might add. But what she did reveal about him in Deathly Hallows was far more shocking then even what she said last night in Carnegie Hall. And that’s why people should read the final book before deciding to celebrate or not.

    ZR

  18. I believe that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends each enjoying and reveling in their talent and brilliance one short summer while Grindewald stayed with Bathilda. What was that….about 2 months? Really a short timeframe. Nothing in the text supports the remark JKR made at all. I’m certainly sorry JKR made it.

  19. I was so happy to hear about this! It’s about time Christians like Rowling speak up for gay rights. I deeply respect her for being forthcoming with the news. She said it in front of children, but who cares? The whole book series, and Christianity itself is about love. I believe that love is love in God’s eyes, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. It’s about time Christians are exposed to this good news. Rowling has always been painfully honest, espcially to children, who don’t deserve to be lied to and live in a “fantasy” world.

    We know that Rowling is more of a “liberal” Christian, so this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. There are many great arguements out there about homosexuality and the Bible. It’s not as “black and white” an issue as many think. I am just very proud that Rowling is not only a champion of Christianity, but a loving, accepting form of Christianity. I don’t believe she was making a negative statement about homosexuality in the book. Both homosexual and heterosexual couples go through relationship struggles and heartbreak, as Dumbledore did. Conversely, she’s making the point that perhaps the most powerful and loving wizard in world was gay, but that shouldn’t change how we perceive him, how we treat him, or how we love him.

    I honestly don’t care anymore how the fundamentalists twist her Christianity. We all know that you can’t please them anyways. Let’s just be content that she wrote 7 excellent books that championed the love of Christ and nondiscriminatory love in general. Three cheers for J.K.!

  20. JohnABaptist says

    Well! Lady Joanne is bound and determined to bring out the true interpretation of her work even if it kills us all!

    Before going all Abanes over this, I hope the HogPros will consider that at no point in the seven volumes does Lady Rowling appear to advance the homosexual agenda any more than she has advanced the occult agenda.

    I think that she is attempting with this pronouncement to attract our attention to the fact that, for the Christian seeking a stable faith relationship, such a relationship based solely on Dumbledore (the Old Testament presentation of the Messiah) would be as unproductive as that of a union between two men. I do not currently have any understanding of what Grendelwald represents, but I feel certain that the symbology of characterizing that relationship as a homosexual attraction will become obvious.

    Furthermore it throws a spotlight on the contrasting relationships symbolizing New Testament theology. Those between Harry and Ginny (the Church as Bride and Christ as Bridegroom) or Ron and Hermione (Jew and Gentile united within the New Covenant) as being more natural and productive than were the corresponding OT relationships–Salvation through descent from Abraham (blood purity), exclusion of the gentiles (the mudbloods), the morality of sacrificing for the Greater Good (John 18:14 shows Caiaphas drawing on this Old Testament “wisdom” to justify the crucifixion), and many other theological doctrines that are totally reinterpreted in the coming of Jesus.

    It is this doctrinal shortfall that Dumbledore apologizes to Harry about in the Kings Cross interlude. This failing to be equal to the task of bridging the gap between God and man. The failure that required God to request that His only begotten Son volunteer for a suicide mission to punch a bridgehead across the gap of separation and deliver a New Testament and seal a New Covenant. Dumbledore was apologizing for the weakness in the former Word that demanded the latter Word contain a Cross.

    I owe John an explanation of why I see several major characters being parables of scripture passages. Everyday personifications that allow those who are “ready to receive” to see an elucidation of a parallel scriptural truth; while those who are “not yet given to understand” will none the less carry away a valuable principle. One that may take root and flower into understanding at a later time. My explanation, unfortunately, does not boil down to an easy blog length post. Nor am I fully able to verbalize what is, in many places, now only a feeling.

    I am still working it John, I promise–there are many peacocks on this fence! And they refuse to turn into turkeys! I’ll keep grinding, because I think it is critical for a full understanding of all that happens–now more than ever.

  21. I am just back from Lexington, VA, and Parents Weekend at VMI (not to mention a wonderful talk and stay at Washington and Lee Thursday night). Thank you, Bob, for posting this thread so the All-Pros could respond before I returned; I hope to post on this subject tomorrow night but it may be Monday before I get to it (it won’t be hard to write, friends — it’s just that Mary is still in Virginia so I am mom/dad until she returns!).

    Until then, I ask you to do three things.

    First, read the transcript from the Q&A session and the exact phrasing of the question, her initial response, the audience reaction, and her further comments. The whole thing is available at The Leaky Cauldron, and, though there are a host of transcription errors in detail, it sounds accurate: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/indext.php

    Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?

    My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] … Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extend, but he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that’s how i always saw Dumbledore. In fact, recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying I knew a girl once, whose hair… [laughter]. I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, “Dumbledore’s gay!” [laughter] If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!

    Dr. Amy Sturgis, who was there, remembers the question being expressed this way:

    http://eldritchhobbit.livejournal.com/175955.html

    Question: The next question was asked by a teenager who prefaced her question with thanks to Rowling for inspiring her to have ambitions, and to care, and to be herself against overwhelming odds. She did not go into details, but it was clear she had faced a difficult personal struggle, and the books had been a source of strength for her. It was a very poignant and serious comment, and both the questioner and Rowling seemed very moved.. Then she asked if Dumbledore ever had the chance to fall in love.

    Answer: Rowling replied by saying that the young lady who asked the question deserved an honest answer. Rowling always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. It excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent, but he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix with Voldemort, he was drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. That’s how she saw Dumbledore. Recenty she read the script for the sixth film, and the writers had Dumbledore saying to Harry, “I knew a girl once, whose hair….” She had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, saying “Dumbledore’s gay!” When the audience laughed and applauded, she said, “The fanfiction, eh?” She also joked that she would have mentioned this earlier if she’d known the audience would react so positively.

    Second, I’d urge you to read the long thread on this subject at http://www.SwordofGryffindor.com. revGeorge, reyhan, Sandra Miesel and more very thoughtful people have already checked in on this subject — and some other folks have aired their opinions, too, to give us the full spectrum of ideas! One that mentioned me by name, that is, “one that called me out,” reads:

    http://swordofgryffindor.com/2007/10/19/rowling-dumbledore-was-gay/#comment-242944

    # Shaunna Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 2:33 am

    Yeah, I was shocked when I heard what Rowling said. I was not expecting that. I want to know what John Granger has to say about this. He defends her books against Christians who hate them…Now what will he have to say??? I would hate to be in his shoes right now. “Um….well…..yeah…” What COULD he say! “Take in all the other Christian points throughout the series, but ignore that minor detail.”??? I can’t wait to hear his comment.

    It’s coming, Shaunna, stand by…

    And, third, review what I have written about Ms. Rowling’s work as a postmodern writer. I have given quite a few talks on the meaning of Deathly Hallows since the end of July; neither Ms. Rowling’s comment Friday night in New York about her “thinking of Dumbledore as gay” nor her “Christian content” comments Monday in LA have changed my opinion that the single most important keys to unlocking the series finale are the combination of her postmodern themes and her Christian artistry. I’m delighted by her Carnegie Hall comments because no one will be able to speak on Deathly Hallows again, if they aren’t just talking to advance either a culture warrior or radical PC ideological position, without addressing the two keys in tandem.

    More later! Thank you, Bob, for posting this thread, and thank you, Travis, both for your kind words and for the challenging SoG forum.

    John, late to bed

  22. AHS, thanks for your report … it put everything in perspective especially as the AP article going around was written with a Qwick Quote Quill.

    All in all, it didn’t really affect me one way or the other, once I saw her answer in context. She had a backstory for the character… but there was nothing about his sexuality in the books at all. He was very “real” as were most of her characters. Real, flawed, human. She didn’t preach, one way or the other… she just wrote the character.

    The only things she came close to preaching about were The Awful Distorting Press (Preach it, Sister!), How Good a large and loving family who puts people before money is… and about the saving power of Sacrificial Love. And in the end, how “for the greater good” can lead to some evil stuff, sadly. Those who lose their life will keep it, and those who are control freaks end up in control of nothing (good and bad guys both!)

    I’m sure those who claim JKR for their own, or despise her as an undesirable … from every possible camp… will all continue to tear at her based on this… yet it was very unsurprising to me, and taken in context… doesn’t change anything.

  23. Those who are struggling to comer to terms with this, ask yourselves, would you have cared if she gave us another piece of information about him? No. As fans we want to know all as can about the characters. It’s been some time since Jo has been able to talk so freely. If you are uncomfortable with the fact that Dumbledore is gay then I find that sad. Here I was thinking Christians were starting to embrace all walks of life…

    We didn’t have to know this nugget of infomation but it is a big part of Dumbledore’s character outside of the books. Had we found out about anything else, other people would not have minded. I have a feeling that people do have an issue with this character being gay. It is who he is. It isn’t unnecessary to me. I want to know all I can about Jo’s world. I won’t refuse to any information just because it’ll make it harder trying to convince the funder mentalist fools that this series has Christian overtones (Seriously anyone who couldn’t see them must have been blind, or very ignorant) and I won’t dismiss it due to any homophobic feelings I harbor (I have none as I am open to all walks of life.)

    I would have LOVED for Jo to have added this into book seven. I highly doubt it would have stopped people from buying the book. This WAS the final Harry Potter. And it would have been brilliant so have seen an author make such a strong stance with a controversial issue. Alas we find out now. Better late than never. I am happy Jo has included various walks of life into her wonderful series.

  24. I will continue to enjoy the books for their own merit, but I would be lying if I said her foolish revelation does not cast a pall over the character of Dumbledore in my mind. I don’t read homosexual fiction, that is my choice, but Rowling has foisted such a view of Dumbledore upon us after the fact, a sort of “gotcha” that is really beneath her.
    Consider that we can point to all the great Christian elements in the series, but those of us who believe homosexuality is immoral will no longer have solid ground to stand on when that argument is brought forth against the books. There was no good reason for her to ‘play’ with this subject, it does not appear in the books, and only after the fact does she reveal it. She is either cowardly about revealing the subject in her story, waiting until after she sold the books and finished the series, or she is playing politically correct games, either way it is a sad reflection upon her, and a slap in the face to her Christian supporters.
    There are some subjects that allow for no ambiguity. Homosexuality is a fact of life, but it is a choice as to whether or not to portray characters who fill the role of mentor, father archetype, and wise man archetype, who previously is a non-sexual character model, to take such a character and use him as poster boy for the gay agenda–and you can argue against that label, but how do you think Conservative Christians will view it?
    Rowling did not just make our job as Christian supporters more difficult, she may have made it impossible.

  25. My initial reaction was the same as my reaction now. Why reveal something that wasn’t in the books and had no relevance to them? It doesn’t add anything to the story. And it just causes dissension in the Harry Potter community, not to mention that it gives the Harry Haters more reason to attack the books.

    Part of my disappointment is that I’ve spent the last 8 years defending Rowling and HP to all sorts of parents, so I was particularly happy that she acknowledged the Christian themes. And then she throws this in.

    The difference is that the Christian themes were part of the story–many of us saw it (and thanks to John, understood it much better). But to have Albus be gay doesn’t add anything now that the books are done. If it was that important to our understanding of him as a person then the hints or facts should have been part of the story. But they aren’t there. I went back this afternoon and re-read most of the portions about Dumbledore in DH. All it says is that he and Grindelwald became friends quickly because they were both highly intelligent, gifted and shared political plans. That, to me, doesn’t indicate a gay relationship. It is possible for two people of the same sex to have a close friendship that’s just a friendship.

    jaminers, I think you have missed clio’s point. Yes, JKR said this in front of a lot of children (and now that the press has picked it up, it’ll be hard for any child to avoid hearing it), and you asked “who cares?”

    A lot of parents care. I remember when my daughter was 9 she came home all excited with the news that her friend’s sister (age 16) was going to have a baby. So we had to have a discussion about why it was not a good idea to have a baby at such a young age when the girl wasn’t married. And of course my 6 year old overheard enough so that I had to have the same conversation with her. So I find that I’m a bit angry with JKR at the moment for doing something so irresponsible and disrespectful where children and their parents are concerned. As a mother of three, she should have known better.

    The rest of the questions and answers for the evening were interesting, related to the story and quite insightful. But of course, the press only picked up this one, which they seem to be distorting quite nicely just as Rita Skeeter would. (Speaking of Rita–if this info was so important or obvious, how did Rita ever miss it?)

    I will say though, that Zoe Rose makes some very good points. I had noticed that the one relationship she mentions (even if it’s after the books are done) is not happy or rewarding or long-lasting. The relationships that are happy are all heterosexual. However, her reaction to the audience makes me wonder if she sees that she has not done any favors to the gay community either.

    Pat

  26. Thanks so much, Elmtree01. I agree wholeheartedly with you. The article is a perfect example of the Distorting Press. Well said indeed! To be honest, I’m quite appalled by the reporting of and reaction to the news.

    Just to clarify, for those who did not read my report: Ms. Rowling didn’t come on stage with the purpose of making this announcement. She said she was willing to answer any question, and many of the questions dealt with the characters’ lives that we did not see described in full in the text, including the love lives of three different characters: she was asked specifically about Neville’s, Hagrid’s, and Dumbledore’s loves (or lack thereof). She explained about Dumbledore’s love of Grindelwald, and compared it to the tragic love of Bellatrix to Voldemort, only in response to one person’s question about whether or not Dumbledore had ever been in love. The individual who asked the question prefaced her query with a very poignant comment, and Ms. Rowling responded, as I understood it, very honestly, with what I thought was tremendous generosity. I think she was completely serious, but this point, like many others she was asked about, did not require inclusion in the books (although there are allusions to it, for those who look – I found it to be quite fitting and unsurprising, as well). That was the entire point of the Q&A: people didn’t ask about things she had already spelled out completely in her fiction. They were asking her to fill in the gaps, as it were. It was very clear throughout her answers that she knew her characters – their back stories, their future lives, their symbolic meanings – in great detail. To be honest, I also thought her comments about Molly Weasley, and perhaps even Draco Malfoy, were at least as provocative and thought-provoking as the one about Dumbledore.

    From what I can see, her point was taken out of context, and furthermore, stripped of its larger meanings (how Dumbledore could be blinded to Grindelwald’s evil plans by his love – something that is a recurring theme about Dumbledore; how Dumbeldore’s love paralleled Bellatrix’s; how powerful Dumbledore’s ultimate faith in love must have been, considering his own early, bitter experience), by the way the press has reported it. As you said, “she didn’t preach, one way or the other… she just wrote the character.”

    Again, your comments were beautifully put, Elmtreeo1. Thank you.

  27. Robert Trexler says

    Rowling’s Harry Potter books are not simplistic, nor are her characters. I have read many shocked responses to Dumbledore’s homosexual disposition. Some Christians felt betrayed, fearing the taunting of opponents who have rejected the books on other grounds. Some feel Rowling was giving gratuitous information, harmful to young readers. Others have attributed motives to Rowling’s disclosure – motives ranging from anger towards the religious right or her presumed desire for publicity or her not being able to “let go” and allow readers to interpret the books for themselves.
    After 24 hours of reflection, I have decided I am grateful for Rowling’s disclosure. Yes, it makes my job more difficult as far as being an “apologist” for the moral value of this series. But nothing worth doing is easy. And, basically, that is why I am grateful for this added burden. It requires us to dismiss our simplistic mindsets and be more honest with the facts.
    First of all, as others have mentioned, Rowling apparently did not choose these questions ahead of time. There is a context to the question asked and a context to the answer given. Rowling does not indicate whether Dumbledore’s “gay” orientation is anything more that an erotic attraction beginning in his teenage years or whether he ever engaged in a physical “relationship.” That he did have this orientation is not gratuitous, since Dumbledore’s behavior in the book is made more understandable in this context. Rowling herself explains that Dumbledore’s distorted love was a “tragedy.”
    Second, there have been objections to Rowling’s disclosure as an infringement upon the parent’s role as the primary educators of their children and the ones who should decide when and how to explain such things as homosexuality. I will admit Rowling has opened a can of worms, especially given the forum in which it took place. However, Rowling has not really done more than admitted an empirical fact – – that there are homosexuals in this world (and the Wizarding World) and they can have both admirable and unadmirable qualities. Parents are still free to explain what they believe about homosexuality to their children. And if they are deemed too young, then the parent merely gives an age-appropriate answer to them. In this I think Rowling has given a good example when she said to the teenage girl who asked the question, “I think you deserve an honest answer.”
    Third, I thought of some disturbing stories in the Gospels having to do with one of the most despised group of people to religious Jews at that time – the Samaritans. Jesus makes these people the heroes in several places. Think of the 10 lepers who are healed – only the Samaritan leper comes back to thank him. Think of the “good Samaritan” who helps the man who was beaten and robbed while the priests and scribes walk past. Think of the Samaritan woman at the well – who, in addition to her status as a despicable Samaritan, was also unworthy due to her being a woman, and doubly unworthy as being a woman living an adulterous life. Jesus chose people who were considered unapproachable and unredeemable to highlight a particular virtue in them and to highlight that the love of God goes beyond our human range of comfortableness.
    So, rather than saying of Rowling that she succumbed to “liberal” or “postmodern” influences, I would say that she has once again shown her integrity in being honest in terms of what it means to be human and what it means for humans to have mixed motives. Shouldn’t it bother Christians more that Dumbledore is “Machiavellian” than that he has (or had) a homosexual attraction? As readers reflect on the Harry Potter stories we are forced to come to terms with the complexities of human existence – and the more we struggle with these issues, the better we will be for it.

  28. Poster boy for the gay agenda? I don’t see that. And I don’t understand people’s extreme reactions to this news as though Dumbledore was being made such a “poster boy”

    I’d be far more troubled by Dumbledore’s control issues, by his thinking he COULD still control life and death with his desire to pass the Eldar Wand on to Snape by Snape killing him… and while that led to much discussion, it’s not caused nearly as much reaction as this bit.

    Rowling did not promote a gay lifestyle. She didn’t portray a gay romance. She didn’t have people, hetero or homosexual, boinking in the hallways. She had a character, a flawed one, with many serious issues… who also happened to be gay (something in the backstory that helped her write the character, not a part of the story that we read).

    I honestly do not understand the outcry. It seems out of proportion to what was said.

  29. After reading further in this thread, I think ZoeRose is right, that the gay community should be sure to completely unwrap this “gift” JKR has given them before celebrating.

    It’s a difficult subject to discuss at this time, in our culture, because the prevailing meta-narrative not only automatically places the Noble Outsider mantle on the homosexual, but conflates the idea that a person with such inclinations is valuable and worthy of love with the idea that there should therefore be no hint of censure at any kind of physical expression of those inclinations. And the one thing does not necessarily follow from the other.

    With this new information about Dumbledore, we’re given the figure of a boy with inclinations toward his own sex, whose first experience of infatuation ends disastrously. Now of course in the books, this particular temptation is not mentioned, but the temptation twinned with it, the temptation toward earthly power, is… and we know that Dumbledore decided he could not be trusted with it; his reaction was to withdraw, and chose a career where he would not be subject to that continual temptation. Is it too much of a stretch to suppose that he took fundamentally the same approach to intimate relationships, whether sexual or not– to distance himself? A couple of times Dumbledore describes himself as a loving person, but that to me has a bit of a “doth protest too much” ring about it. People who really are loving just go ahead and do it; they don’t talk about it. I can see Dumbledore as having decided not to risk another erotic disaster, to live chastely, to do his best to lead a virtuous and worthy life– and such a life necessarily includes love for one’s fellow humans, in its phileo, storge and agape manifestations, if not necessarily eros. So Dumbledore did his best, but always struggling in opposition to that little inner voice saying “betternotgettooclosebadthingswillhappen” And thus we get a Headmaster making an all-out effort to be benevolent, who ends his life generally loved and admired, but with no close friends. So yes, a tragic figure, but still one deserving sympathy and admiration. Which of us, after all, doesn’t have to figure out how walk a pilgrim way that is rocky with our own brokennesses?

  30. First, JK saying “Dumbledore is gay” does not say whether she is pro- or con-, it just says what he is. She says NOTHING about his behavior (and knitting doesn’t make one gay!). I don’t think we are supposed to make a judgment on her or on the books because of something she “imagined.” Dumbledore is a fictional character and the books are make-believe, after all. So we have to treat them as such.

    That being said, I do agree that it adds nothing to the story except to reveal that in the writer’s mind the character was more complex than she led on. JK reveals through her comments that she is a bit like Dumbledore, too–more complicated–and that one must be careful of assuming things or taking things at face value. It was probably unnecessary for her to reveal what she did–and obviously something provoked her to say it that we may never be privvy to–and who knows? Perhaps she is kicking herself today about it, since kids may now come up to her and say “that’s gross,” as the intended audience probably thinks ALL sex is gross if they are the ages of 7-13!

    I for one am going to take a deep breath and MOVE ON. I still love the stories and will recommend them to others. But they are JUST stories, and we have a greater, truer love Story to tell others, anyway.

  31. I am a fan of the Harry Potter books. I am not a member of the cult of Jo Rowling. I do not have to try to justify every stupid thing she says and I do think this was stupid, one of many stupid things she’s said. And it was unnecessary, as I do not buy that she was asked a question and had to answer it in this way. Even if she had always pictured him as gay, she could have just said, “No, he was never very lucky in love” or “No, he was attracted to someone once, but it didn’t work out and left him disillusioned.” She could have said, “No, he never found requited love, so he devoted himself to other things.”

    There’s no reason I can see for causing such an uproar at this point, and coming up with this in front of an audience containing children, whose parents were probably not prepared to deal with this on the spur of the moment. We DO have to deal with the complexities of human existence, but when it comes to our children, we need to have time to think about what we want to say regarding tough issues whenever possible. I do not think the reaction was out of proportion to what she said, because I think it was something that did not need to be said in that setting, in that way. She had to have known that this would overshadow everything else that she’s been saying. How could she not?

    I used to go out socially with a gay man, who was a high school teacher. In the 70’s he could have been fired on the spot if anyone had figured out his sexual orientation. He was a good and faithful friend and I wished him no harm, although I felt he was putting himself in a difficult position that I didn’t agree with. I had no problems with attending certain functions with him as a friend. If people wanted to make something else out of it, that was fine with me. I’m not just being homophobic, or supporting the Harry-haters on this point. I’m just saying that I too think Jo’s made life very difficult for a lot of people for no good reason.

    If she wanted to talk about people who were unapproachable, she could have changed how people saw Slytherins, giants, werewolves, or house elves, among others. She didn’t have to base her message of tolerance on something with sexual connotations.

  32. Why is this such a huge matter?

    I like in Topeka … home of Fred Phelps and his obscene protesters who have been making nuisances of themselves at soldiers’ funerals. They regularly picket at many of the churches here — including the one to which I belong.

    Sadly to much of the homosexual community Fred Phelps and his family cult (I refuse to acknowledge him as a minister or his group as a church; they can claim these things but that doesn’t make it so) ARE the Christian position regarding gays and lesbians. I know a number of people who agree that Fred is basically right, conceding that perhaps he does go rather overboard with it.

    So Dumbledore was envisioned as a gay man all along by the author? That revelation neither surprised nor fazed me.

    Does this contradict the Christan content of her work? Not in the least. I know too many gays and lesbians who have struggled with faith and sexual orientation to say that homosexuals cannot be Christians or are sinners in a particular way in which the rest of us are not. I also know the Scriptures and contexts and details of translations well enough to know that this matter is nowhere near as clear cut as post-Freudian English translators have made it seem.

    Is it an embarrassment for parents? Perhaps. But, like I said, I live in Topeka. I had to explain things to my kids when they were 10 and 8 and we were moving here. If the kids are old enough to read Harry Potter, they’re old enough to be discussing matters of sexuality.

  33. I was not surprised, which reminded me how the series often does a good job of portraying real life. I _was_ surprised to see the big fuss with shocked responses. Just a moment, folks: do you not realize that people you know personally, such as teachers you’ve had in the past, happen to be gay (or latently gay, or whatever) and simply not advertising it to you? Unless you have met only a handful of people in your life, it doesn’t sound realistic to assume that the spectrum of everyone you know, except of perhaps a few conspicuously ‘out’ examples, can’t possibly include anyone with that characteristic.

  34. I, like others, did find Rowling’s “revelation” about Dumbledore rather odd, and have been disturbed by it. But I have been helped by the comments on this board as I try to understand the consternation I felt when I first heard the news.

    Like many, I fail to see what this revelation truly contributes to our understanding of the character. But obviously Rowling thought the information rather important, stating that she always thought of Dumbledore as gay, and implying that this provided an important matrix through which she developed the character. She further described how she thought this character trait so vital that she rather urgently corrected a screenplay of the upcoming HP movie which suggested that Dumbledore had had, in his past, romantic feelings toward a woman by attaching the marginal note, “Dumbledore’s gay!”

    Owing to this, I am not convinced that she intended to suggest that Dumbledore’s homosexuality consisted in only a fleeting attraction to Grindelwald, and that he thereafter throughout life suppressed that inclination, or that the failure of his and Grindelwald’s relationship implies some sort of critique of homosexual relationships. Some have focused on how Rowling portrayed the Dumbledore-Grindelwald relationship as “tragic.” But, I think for Rowling, Dumbledore’s attraction to Grindelwald was tragic not because it was homosexual attraction or owing to any inherent defect with homosexual relationships, but because, blinded by his attraction, Dumbledore fell in love with the wrong sort of person: a malignant person. The same tragic consequences could just as easily occur with misdirected heterosexual attraction: there is no difference.

    Given how her Dumbledore revelation was received and her immediate response, then, I suspect that Rowling sees nothing wrong with homosexual relationships per se; minimally she holds them as morally indifferent. Likely she, like many others in the churches today, considers Christianity and affirming homosexual practice as wholly compatible. That is, of course, her prerogative.

    I suspect we will learn more in the coming months. I will be very surprised if Rowling isn’t asked (or plied with) more questions about Dumbledore’s sexual proclivities or the history of his love life.

    What troubles me most profoundly, however–and some of the comments here have allayed my fear somewhat–is that the Harry Potter series is marketed and directed to children. And I fear that Rowling, by her revelation, whether intentionally or not, is subtly advocating and normalizing the practice of homosexuality in the minds and hearts of millions of young readers–with all the personal consequences that practice can imply. What’s done is done. And her work itself will continue to stand on its own. I remain convinced that it is a great fictional work that has positive ethical and theological value. But I find this whole situation and the partisan spirit it has evoked to be unnecessary and disappointing.

  35. Arabella Figg says

    PJ, thanks for the kind words and wishes. I’m not getting worse, good sign…kitty therapy.

    I’ve read the Leaky Cauldron transcript, Travis’ SoG piece and Amy Sturgis’ eyewitness report. I agree, there were many compelling things discussed at Carnagie Hall.

    May I gently remind everyone that the needlework pattern book DD was perusing was Horace Slughorn’s? Of the yucky Slug Club select-group-of-students fame?

    And of Gilderoy Lockhart, narcissist extraordinaire, who would have abandoned Harry and Ron to death, to save his reputation and vanity.

    And the Dursleys, who tormented and abused an innocent child for 10 years simply because he was different.

    And Bellatrix who showed her “love” for another by torturing people…and repulsivley enjoying it.

    Who says a gay person can’t be a fatherly, wise mentor? Or show love apart from their sexuality? Or that this revelation shows how flawed DD was? The books are filled with flawed, selfish, dangerous, vain, aggressive, mean, lying, insensitive, egotistical people. And I can be or am all of those things and more.

    Rowling has written a complex series with complex people. I have a feeling the unpacking of this nest of Russian dolls has just begun. Thanks, Robert, Travis, and Amy. I really look forward to John’s further unpacking.

    Now if I can just unpack Mrs. Fleasley from the lounger so I can rest awhile…

  36. JohnABaptist says

    Actually Arabella,

    I agree with your observation that a far greater range of active evil is portrayed in the books than anything introduced by the obviously passive, with respect to the narrative, sexual alignment of Dumbledore.

    But because every tiny detail is so intricately interwoven in the Potter Saga, I must point out that when you say:

    “May I gently remind everyone that the needlework pattern book DD was perusing was Horace Slughorn’s? Of the yucky Slug Club select-group-of-students fame?”

    The needlework pattern book actually belonged to the wife of the couple whose house Horace had “appropriated” in their absence. An inattention to detail by your normally hyperattentive self that I can only attribute to an excess of cough syrup and chamomile tea secondary to your current infection.

    Otherwise, your post was spot on.

    And isn’t it great to get back to picking at nits rather than running around in mystified panic?

    Get better soon, and may the kitties not catch what you have.

  37. Didn’t need to know it and I, too, find it inappropriate information for a childrens series. I agree with you, Jayne1955, in that she could have answered the question just as truthfully by giving any one of the answers you suggest.

    I believe Ms. Rowling may end up regretting this revelation. Every future interview she gives is going to zero in on this piece of information and it will simply become tiresome.

    Provoking thoughts on the topic, ZoeRose, and I echo your thoughts Eeyore.

    “I confess myself dissappointed” – LV

  38. I have (on the thread following John’s excellent essay) commented upon the theology of Albus Dumbledore in view of his youthfull falling in same-sex-love, plus his later theology of the two grave stone Scripture quotations. In the seven books this together requiers the normal Christian status of having all sins forgiven by the Lord. That is the basic theology of this debat, I think.
    But what about the historicity? Youngster Albus Dumbledore met Grindelwald some 90 years before he met Harry, that means some time around A. D 1900. By that time C. S. Lewis was two years old. And the cultural climate of his youth can be studied in his autobiography «Surpriced by Joy». It shows that teenager Lewis was very well informed about that sort of homosexuality, pederasti, which left its strong mark on British boy schools (whith that terrible pupil hierarcy of theirs).
    But Hogwarts was not a boys-only-school. So I don’t find it equally natural to imagine an environment of homosexual impulses surronding Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Especially in that remote countryside village of Godric’s Hollow: How do two homosexual (?) youngsters fit into that picture? Somehow homosexual acts tend to be a very urban city thing?
    So I have a historical and geographical problem with the more «gay» interpretation of this information. But I have no problem with the idea of two youngsters being very, very close frinds, discussing politics and philosophy day and night for two intensive months, and feeling same-sex-attractions very strongly between them all along the way.
    Next: What about the psycology? The homosexual orientetion may, I believe, origin in childhood and/or teenage lack of masculin and fatherly role model(s). That may perhaps be the result of Dumbledore’s father being in prison, but only if he used to be emotionally remote also before prison, or if Albus was a very small child when he disappeared. The revenge tour of the father was on the other hand a very «masculin», no: a bit too masculin, way of acting –?
    Albus must at 16 be pictured as admiring the masculinity of Grindelwald, more or less together with his «masculin» political philosophy. The two things may have been felt as one and the same. And yes, it is possible that this may have been felt as same-sex-attraction, falling in same-sex-love. But the next step in the homosexual developement is to try to intensify this experience in sexual direction. It is not impossible to picture that, too. But is it equally probable? I am not so sure.
    So I tend to think that both time history, remote village location and developement psycology may more likely be interpreted as arguments in favor of only the first step: Same-sex-attraction only.

    Yours: Odd Sverre Hove
    Bergen, Norway

  39. Arabella Figg says

    Dear Odd Sverre Hove, I always enjoy your very thoughtful comments and evaluations. You have a way of looking at things which, to me, contributes greatly to the conversations here. Perhaps this is partly because you have a non-American perspective.

    Luscious Badboy wonders about Norweigan kitty treats…

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