Oct 24, 2007

[Books] So Dumbledore's Gay...Now What?

Flickr: jahansell - dumbledore and lockheart
dumbledore and lockheart
by jahansell.

When J.K. Rowling shared Harry Potter secrets at Carnegie Hall last October 19, 2007, one of the most striking revelations from the talk was her announcement that Albus Dumbledore was gay, much to the delight of the assembled crowd. Given the positive response at the time, Rowling was beyond pleased and remarked, "if I'd known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!"

But she didn't, and there's something in that for sure. As much as I love the Harry Potter series, I can't help but feel that with the end of the last book, Rowling is continuing to milk the series for all it's worth. It's a tad convenient to throw in a statement like this for now with the last book safely released and the last 2 movies bound to be created and will continue the commercial success of the franchise instead of earlier on when it might have had more impact. As a out and proud gay man myself, I'm still not 100% sure about how I feel about this announcement.

Of course the news has been met with mixed reactions. Many are pleased, especially those who write slash fiction involving many of the Potter characters while others are naturally against it even more. Groups like the religious right were of course against the series long before, denouncing it as a pagan showcase of sorts and some going as far as declaring it was tied to the Christian devil. Phooey.

Today I came across this TIME Magazine article by John Cloud poses a different reason to be displeased with the announcement. What's interesting is that he doesn't take the side of the conservatives but instead shows why Dumbledore isn't quite the gay role model science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts should be looking for.

Ultimately, he does have a point. What we've just established is that Dumbledore is not quite a hero for queers across the world since he was a man who chose to remain in the closet rather than be open about his sexual nature, if this was truly the case. Sure, originally it was a children's book but towards the end many of the scenes were not meant for children alone. The characters had grown up so why couldn't Rowling take a stand for diversity by having any of her characters be openly gay in the same way she tried to address ethnic diversity just by describing characters to be diversely black, white, Asian, etc.

While I don't expect everyone to agree with his point of view, however it makes for a read worth Digg-ing at the very least.

No comments:

Post a Comment