Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rowling outs Dumbledore

So the fantasy world-building of Harry Potter continues, even after the series is officially over. Here's some more back story (so enticing to those of us who just can't get enough). Although I'm not, personally, given to speculating overmuch about the sexual orientation of characters in the books I read if it's not an issue in the novel, it is interesting. And a bit sad, to think that among all the other burdens Dumbledore has shouldered in the course of his life - his sister, his relationship with his brother, Harry, his responsibilities, etc. - he's also had to live with a broken heart. Rowling said that Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down," and that his love for Grindelwald was his "great tragedy."

And here is a link to a silly, sweet article listing seven clues that Dumbledore was gay. I liked the part that said that "Even the most diligent 'Harry Potter' scholars found themselves caught unaware." And the anagram that can be made from the letters in Dumbledore's name. Too funny!

Here is the full transcript of her revelations, for anyone who's interested.

10 comments:

  1. Everyone keeps saying Rowling is brave for announcing that Dumbledore is gay. She isn't heroic, she's a coward. If she really wanted to make Dumbledore gay she would have written it into the story but she didn't. Taking a true stand on an issue is tough and I understand that making Dumbledore gay in the Potter series may have effected book sales, but if she's going to take a stand then take a stand. Making the statement that Dumbledore is gay without even writing the smallest hint doesn't cut it. All she's doing by making the statement now is lowering her credibility as a writer and insulting the gay community.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Poor Dumbledore - it really is sad to think he had to deal with a broken heart on top of everything.

    I don't think that revealing this after the series has ended makes Rowling a coward. I also don't think it makes her especially brave. I do think that it makes sense that this was something she always had in mind about the character but didn't reveal in the book directly because sexual orientation simply wasn't relevant to who the character was. In my opinion, it would have been more cowardly to forcefully include it in the books in order not to be accused of this later on. I loved what Neil Gaiman had to say about this - here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jensen - I wouldn't say that Rowling is brave for announcing that - it seemed more to me that it was part of the back story that she, for whatever reason, chose not to include in the book. Often writers leave out many details about their characters in an attempt to keep their books focused on what they feel is most important. The books are already enormously lengthy for their targeted audience - and they are really about Harry, after all.

    I was reminded of Jane Austen, who used to tell her family stories about her characters that she never, for whatever reason, included in the books or wrote down afterwards. I don't think this was about waiting till the books were out to mention it - I doubt there was a single thing Rowling could have done to discourage book sales!

    Dumbledore is one of the most tolerant characters in literature, as that second article I mentioned points out. In fact, it was a gay friend who emailed me the initial link, asking me if I was going to blog about it. He seemed delighted, rather than insulted!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nymeth - thanks so much for that link to Gaiman's comments! Very interesting. And I agree that it just wasn't relevant. But it's nice to know! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I definitely don't feel insulted by the "late" outing. I agree that the books were already super long and focused on other things. I think the bottom line is that Rowling's characters are still very much alive in reader's minds and hearts, and they will live on in various ways - like in the fan fiction that Rowling mentioned (her comment made me laugh!). Revealing Dumbledore's sexuality deepens the character and the Potter-verse...and I like that Dumbledore is such a strong, pivotal character. Sure, it would have been extra cool for this to have happened in the books. But I still think it's awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for weighing in, Devinoni - can't wait to see some of that fan fiction! :-)

    I will be curious to see if Rowling will be able to refrain from creating any other stories in the Potter-verse. I somehow doubt that she will!

    ReplyDelete
  7. My personal take on Rowling's announcement is that she can't quite let go of the Harry Potter storyline yet and may be itching to write more in the series, but along a different line now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That makes sense to me, Sassy Lucy! It must be hard to let go of characters you've lived with for so many years.

    ReplyDelete
  9. virginia galOctober 29, 2007

    oh I hope from Sassy's electronic lips to Rowling's ear, I would LOVE more in the series, even if Harry is perphial!! (and I learned to speel).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, you're a great speeler, VA Gal! :-D

    That would be fun, wouldn't it? We can only wait and see...and hope...

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!