Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumbledorothy

as portrayed by the late Richard Harris

as portrayed by Michael Gambon

First, the news:

JK Rowling Outs Dumbledore As Gay
(excerpts from BBC news website)

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay. She 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.

The audience gasped, then applauded. “I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy,” she said.

“Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” she added, saying Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down” and his love for Grindelwald was his “great tragedy”.

“Oh, my god,” Rowling, 42, concluded with a laugh, “the fan fiction”.

Fan sites have long speculated on Dumbledore’s sexuality as he was known for having a mysterious, troubled past.

Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she saw the script carried a reference to a girl who was once of interest to Dumbledore. She said she ensured director David Yates was made aware of the truth about her character.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell welcomed the news about Dumbledore and said: “It’s good that children's literature includes the reality of gay people, since we exist in every society. But I am disappointed that she did not make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit in the Harry Potter book. Making it obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding and acceptance.”

And a spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall added: “It’s great that JK has said this. It shows that there’s no limit to what gay and lesbian people can do, even being a wizard headmaster.”

Rowling said she regarded her novels as a “prolonged argument for tolerance” and urged her fans to “question authority”. But she added that not everyone likes her work. Christian groups have alleged the books promote witchcraft. The author said her revelation about Dumbledore would give them one more reason.

* * * * *

My reaction?

I’m happy that an author of a series as extremely popular as the Harry Potter franchise (books and films) has made clear that one of her most beloved characters is gay. Too bad she didn’t made it explicitly clear in her books. I guess from her “I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy” quote that she played safe. Understandable then that she waited until the last book made a gazillion dollars before she made her revelation.

Still, as a fan of the books, I didn’t raise an eyebrow when I first heard the news. So? I said to myself. It didn’t exactly change anything in the series. In other words, Dumbledore’s being gay is a non-issue to the character and to the plot of the whole series.

However, I again feel slightly peeved that Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down” and his love for Grindelwald was his “great tragedy”. Sigh. How come one of the most popular gay characters in literature would have his great love as his great tragedy too? Can someone point out an extremely popular gay character who has an okay love life (I’m willing to settle for “okay” instead of “happy” or even “exceptional”) and who doesn’t end up dead?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

err is adan from zsa zsa zaturnnah considered extremely popular? hehe

joelmcvie said...

Ada (not Adan) is not world-wide popular.

Q The Conqueror said...

Does Frodo and Sam count? Or Legolas and Gimli? After all, they sailed to the sunset together.

Still trying to think of one that's out.

yuriki.kun said...

would the smurf's count?

joelmcvie said...

Q: Frodo and Sam don't end up together; Sam even marries someone else. I feel that the Legolas/Gimli homoerotic connection was just played up in the movies; on the original page, they were just as close as Aragorn was to them. :-)

YURIKI.KUN: Uhm... if the Smurfs were gay, anlungkot naman. Hahaha!

Nelson said...

Well, dinedma naman nila si Smurfette, di ba? She was created by Gargamel para pag-awayan siya ng mga Smurfs. Hindi nangyari. So she just became their token faghag. he he