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If Dumbledore loved Grindelwald, who loved McGonagle?

10/20/07

Dumbledore out of the closet

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, forgetting that the cardinal rule of authorship is to let one's work speak for itself, told an audience at Carnegie Hall that Dumbledore was gay. According to CNN, when Rowling was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds "true love," she replied "Dumbledore is gay," to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling said of Dumbledore's feelings, adding that Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down."
Poor Prof. McGonagle. I had long hoped that she and Dumbledore were secret paramours, or at the very least, "friends with benefits." Am I the only one who wanted these two to get together?

And why pin down his sexuality at all? I would
think that a man of Dumbledore's vast experience, great wisdom, elevated consciousness and his belief in the supremacy of love could easily be bi- or ambi- or poly-sexual. He could be the Henry Miller of Hogwarts!

(Although, now that I think about it, given Albus's helpless attraction to power, perhaps there
was a bit of dominance and submission going on in the Hogwarts's dungeons?)

And what of his relationship with Snape? All
along, while Snape longed for Lily, did Dumbledore desire Snape (and if so, why didn't he make him do something about his hair?).

Questions, questions, running through the mind of the concerned young adult today..." -- Frank Zappa.

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4 comments:

Christine October 21, 2007 at 11:25 PM  

I always thought of McGonagall having a kilt-wearing, whisky-drinking, rough-and-tumble, "if it's not Scottish, it's crap!" kind of husband.

Or, at least, many many many cats.....

Lila Hanft October 22, 2007 at 4:48 PM  

Hmm, I like it. Thighs as big as tree trunks and a gruff whiskey-mellowed voice.

The Scottish husband, I mean. Not the cat....

Anonymous October 23, 2007 at 8:51 PM  

the truth is, the announcement is great for 3 reasons: first, it helps open the text and illuminate facets of it previously unexplored for those who continue to read and re-read... it makes the text a living thing. Secondly, it advocates tolerance in the sense that readers were able to develop feelings for dumbledore prior to gaining knowledge of his sexuality, which, in this world, might have been a deterrent for some from seeing how noble and good a character he is. And lastly, the christian right is insane and bigoted, and this should make them smile.

Lila Hanft October 24, 2007 at 2:16 PM  

This should make the Christian Right smile, or this should make us smile because it will make them foam at the mouth?

When she announced Dumbledore' sexual preference, Rowling made a joke about all the fan fiction that will follow. Fan fiction is, as the name implies, expansions on a popular text, television show or other narrative written by fans rather than the original author.

Readers and writers of fan fiction do feel as though "it makes the text a living thing" in an entirely different way that literary critics usually mean (they mean that the text has multiple levels of meaning that are exposed by rereading, or that the text is immortal in some way, and will stay "alive" -- that is, relevant -- long past their publication date.

Traditionally, fan fiction focuses on sexual relationships which don't exist in the original text -- or exist only in a subtextual, between-the-lines sort of way. The most famous fan fiction of this sort are the Kirk/Spock erotic romances (most of which are written, btw, by heterosexual women).

At least one gay commentator has rejected Dumbledore as a poster child for gay life. First, Dumbledore's character is sexless. Second, Dumbledore doesn't come out as gay on his own steam. Two books after Dumbledore's death, Rowling outs him for her own purposes.

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