Dumbledore is what now?

Apparantly Dumbledore is gay. Seriously.

JK Rowling “. . . made her revelation to a packed house in New York’s Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her US book tour.

She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found “true love”. “Dumbledore is gay,” she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago.

Well, call me old fashioned, but I think if it’s not in the book, it’s not in the story. Did anyone think Dumbledore was ‘playing for the other team’ when they read the books? No, didn’t think so. So, can an author radically revise aspects of a published story by adding verbally later on key information?

Well, they can – and Rowling has – but I think that’s a king-sized cop out. If it’s in black ink on white paper, it’s in the story. If it’s not, it’s not.

As to the nature of the information – that Dumbledore is gay – I suppose it doesn’t mean anything really. It’s a fact of life that a certain percentage of the population is gay. Anyone living in the real world knows that. Unless I missed something in the books, at no point are we told there are no gay people in Harry’s world, so why would we presume otherwise?

Some critics have given Rowling a hard time because this aspect of the character didn’t come out more prominently (or at all) in the books and films – I’d guess they would have liked Dumbledore to have a gay lover ensconced at Hogwarts, to make a point. But isn’t this a children’s story, albeit one that appeals to adults as well? Did Rowling wuss out of showing Dumbledore being gay? No, I don’t think she did. I think it was totally irrelevant to the story, and it would have been fairly offensive tokenism to concoct such a subplot merely to be politically correct. Don’t you think?

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