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JK Rowling Confesses Dumbledore Is Gay

Whether it was JK Rowling coming clean or creating a media firestorm to whip up the Christian Conservative, in New York she revealed to a reading group that Dumbledore is gay.

Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald [a bad wizard he defeated long ago], and 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 extent, 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

Via Guardian.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

17 Comments

  1. Gina
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 10:05:28

    When I first saw this in the news I was disappointed. Not by the gay “admission” (although can a FICTIONAL character ‘come out’ ) OR by the Christian Conservative link. I do not begrudge anyone their right to their own sexual and religious orientation – but does it really have a place in Children’s literature.

    Is this relevant to anything? Was there any moment in the books were this would have mattered in the least? Does it add something or take something away from the character – the FICTIONAL character – who was part of the backbone of the Harry Potter series?

    The only thing this statement has done – for me – is take a little of the magic out of the books. The fantastical world she spun in such great and stunning detail should not ever had had to concern itself with any of its characters sexual orientation – they were to busy saving the world from HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED of course, to care whether their Headmaster fell in love with a man, woman or one of the Centaur in the Forbidden Woods.

    If your beyond the movies and have finished the books you know this is just propaganda – but I’m not sure to what end. I may never understand why she made this statement but I will rethink delving into any future books / series she comes out with.

    I don’t need any hidden meanings in my favorite past time casting their ugly shadows. Let a good book / series stand on its own. If it’s got a message, let it come out in the tale. Not long after the ending.

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  2. Gina
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 10:07:34

    Not sure where that weird little smiley face came from in my post but if it can be removed someone tell me how.

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  3. Janine
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 10:35:52

    Gina, I went in to edit your comment and didn’t see any smiley face code there, just the parantheses next to the single quote. I put a space between them, and that got rid of the smiley face but now you have an extra space. I don’t know if you like it better, but I think that if I take it out,the smiley face will return.

    This is odd, but it happened in the Forbidden Shores review comment thread, too.

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  4. Gina
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 10:55:56

    Better a space, then the smiley, at least in this post.
    Thank you!

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  5. Shannon
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 11:58:00

    Call me cynical, but my first reaction was now that the book series is over and there are no more romantic arcs/friend or foe/will Harry die questions floating around to keep interest in the movies and gazillion dollar merchandising crap high, it’s a way of putting Harry back in the news.

    All the people who tried to have the book banned based on the “black magic” angle and failed will try again—along with a whole new anti-gay crowd—on the basis of the lead male “mentor” role being homosexual. Book banning begets press which begets dollars.

    Nobody was talking about Harry Potter yesterday.

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  6. ToriForte
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 12:17:02

    Harry Potter isn’t strictly “children’s literature,” and anyhow, Dumbledore being gay isn’t actually in the books. Rowling has always had very clear backstories on each of her characters, though much of it never makes into the books. I don’t know whether or not it’s a ploy to get back in the news, and frankly, I don’t care. I don’t think it’s something she just made up for attention, I’m pretty positive Dumbledore has been gay all along and we just never knew.

    Also, I’m just really fed up with the lack of tolerance in our world today. Why does Dumbledore being gay cast an “ugly shadow” on anything? I don’t know that anything gets me angrier than this kind of ignorance. You know, people are entitled to their own opinions, sure… but that doesn’t mean their opinions aren’t ignorant and intolerant.

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  7. Robin
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 12:23:58

    Call me cynical, but my first reaction was now that the book series is over and there are no more romantic arcs/friend or foe/will Harry die questions floating around to keep interest in the movies and gazillion dollar merchandising crap high, it's a way of putting Harry back in the news.

    I have the exact same thought. Apparently the 400 page suit Rowling filed against an Indian festival’s lifesized replica of Hogwarts Castle died on the vine. If she had really wanted this to be about diversity or acceptance of gay characters, why wait until after the series is over to offer this detail? I’m not knocking the idea that characters “speak” to the author, but several of the examples given of this phenom lately have struck me as out and out commercial manipulation, not a reflection of creative commitment.

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  8. Karen Scott
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 12:58:44

    What Gina said.

    Call me cynical, but what was the point of outing Dumbledore, if not to make headlines, and garner attention. It’s not like she’s writing anymore HP books is it?

    If one could accuse J.K. Rowling of being an attention whore, that’s what I’d call her.

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  9. Wandering Chopsticks
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 16:10:15

    Actually, one of the articles I read said it came out b/c Rowling was reading the script for the 6th movie and they had a scene about Dumbledore’s past loves. Rowling crossed it out, and wrote that he was gay.

    She’s always had back stories to all the characters in her head, and I think she’s planning to write an encyclopedia to fully-flesh out what didn’t make it into the series.

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  10. Caroline
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 20:08:24

    I thought it was in response to a direct question about Dumbledore’s love life (does he find true love, or similar). What’s an author to say, if asked point blank? Dumbledore is her creation; he can be anything she wants him to be, and if people want to know (which they obviously do) I don’t see how it’s attention-seeking to answer honestly. I have yet to meet an author who doesn’t know way more about her characters than she ever spelled out in the book.

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  11. Francois
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 08:15:35

    I agree with Caroline, and in addition enjoy finding out titbits of information about characters that didn’t make to the final version of the book or whatever. Far from an “ugly shadow”, this actually makes an aspect of the books much clearer to me.

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  12. sherry thomas
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 08:22:21

    Same here, agreeing with Caroline. I believe that was in answer to a direct question about whether Dumbledore ever found his true love. Yes he had, once. And yes he lost him. I think it adds a lovely poignancy to the character.

    I don’t know JK Rowling at all, but I was under the impression that she did not enjoy the publicity part of her success. And if there ever was a franchise that didn’t need any more publicity, that would be the HP series.

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  13. Dave
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 11:11:44

    Why was it even mentioned? Of course it would cause media attention. That’s the only reason it was mentioned. Not even a factor in the story. Probably just using her podium of success to call attention to an issue she feels is important. Those who focus on such issues actually take away for the enjoyment of the story.

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  14. Gina
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 13:38:03

    ToriForte – if you had read my comments in their entirety you would have seen that I do not begrudge anyone their personal preferences, be it their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs.

    I do however begrudge a well known, popular, successful author with plenty of reason to be proud of her accomplishments blantantly stirring up a media frenzy for herself by using such a volatile subject.

    It just sseemed so unnecessary, so staged, that I had to ask – does this have any bearing on the story?

    Maybe I don’t think like everyone else but I’ve read the whole series, and with each movie I re-read them to “refresh my memory” and I never once thought about what Dumbledor or Mr. Finch or Hagrid or any of the other adult characters were doing behind closed doors.

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  15. Ann
    Oct 23, 2007 @ 18:27:16

    I was struck by the statement that:
    “The fantastical world she spun in such great and stunning detail should not ever had had to concern itself with any of its characters sexual orientation – they were to busy saving the world from HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED of course, to care whether their Headmaster fell in love with a man, woman or one of the Centaur in the Forbidden Woods.”
    If it is true that the sexual orientation of the main characters is irrelevant to the purpose of the books, then readers shouldn’t have been told about Harry’s crush on Ginny, Ron and Hermione’s flirting, or any of the other heterosexual relationships in novels either. I think that Gina is assuming that sexual orientation means only “non-normative” sexuality–homosexuality–and not considering the many times that sexuality appears in the novels as an integral part of life and growing up. JK Rowling apparently thought that sexuality was important to her characters, and having seen only heterosexuality in the books up to this point, it’s nice to know that she considers other lifestyles for her fictional creations.

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  16. Julie Leto
    Oct 24, 2007 @ 06:31:47

    Wow…homosexuality is a personal preference, huh? A “lifestyle choice.” That’s the crux of the argument? That means a lot of us can’t agree because a lot of us believe that homosexuality is genetic–But that’s an argument for more learned people than I.

    But to say that the HP storyline does not depend on a character’s sexuality shows a distinct lack of understanding of the series as a whole.

    So much of what happens in the stories happens because of LOVE–including sexual love. The fact that Voldemort cannot feel love is CRUCIAL to the books. The fact that James & Lily fell in love is HUGE. The fact that Lily died to save Harry is HUGE. ALL of Snape’s motivation–all of it–stems from his very intense love for Lily Evans Potter. Lily’s eyes, people. Lily’s eyes.

    I won’t even get started on Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermoine and how innately important their sexuality is to the story lines. I mean, sexuality doesn’t mean sex on the page.

    The fact that Dumbledore is gay does not change anything within the text itself, but since another major theme of the novels (and no, they aren’t just children’s books and haven’t been since the third book!) is prejudice and acceptance, it does add a layer of poignancy.

    And lastly, JK Rowling did not, IMO, do this for publicity. She answered a direct question put to her. The story about the movie script is true. I would have had less respect for her had she not revealed this about her character because she was afraid of backlash or of people calling her a publicity hound.

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  17. Francois
    Oct 24, 2007 @ 06:33:47

    Good lord. The thought that just saying a character is gay would provoke a “media frenzy” makes me laugh. Surely the days when just being gay is quite such a volatile subject are long gone? The interest is because it is a character readers love and thought they knew all about – and whaddya know, the author knows more about him than we do! It is hardly like its an unlikely detail anyway – if he had been married or something then I might have been shocked at this news, but as it is – “Oh. Well that makes sense of a few things.” Shame she didn’t make it clearer in the books (though it appears like it might be slightly clearer in the films). The world of Harry Potter is a bit stereotypically white, middle-class and hetero. Still, what can you expect from a series based at a boarding school? Kids lap up stereotypes.

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