liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,
liz_marcs
liz_marcs

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Dumbledore is gay. And you're surprised why?

It seems my entire FList is a-twitter because JKR in answering a young fan's random question in a Q&A confirmed that yes, Dumbledore is gay.

Which...is the least surprising revelation ever. It's a revelation that's on the order of: "The Pope is Catholic. Film at 11."

Am I the only one who thought it was obvious in Deathly Hallows? Because I thought it was pretty obvious when the business with Grindelwald was discussed — and I'm pretty sure that Elphias Doge (Dumbledore's best chum in school and the reporter who wrote Dumbledore's obituary) was in a relationship with Dumbledore pre-Grindelwald as well.

What especially clinched it for me was Rita Skeeter's nasty little jabs about Dumbledore's relationship with Harry in Book 7 — although she was insinuating much the same thing in Goblet of Fire, albeit to a far lesser degree and only after it became clear that Harry wasn't going to be a cooperative interview subject.

I mean, c'mon, Rita Skeeter practically accused Dumbledore of pedophilia, a classic homophobic jab used against gays by religious wingnuts the world over. Look at the language JKR put in Rita Skeeter's mouth. It's ugly, and it's vicious, and it's hurtful, but most importantly, we've all heard it before.


from Deathly Hallows, p27
"Oh yes," says Skeeter, nodding briskly. "I devote an entire chapter to the whole Potter-Dumbledore relationship. It's been called unhealthy, even sinister. Again, your readers will have to buy my book for the whole story, but there is no question that Dumbledore took an unnatural interest in Potter from the word go. Whether that was really in the boy's best interests — well, we'll see. It's certainly an open secret that Potter has had a most troubled adolescence."


I know there are others, but the above quote always stayed with me because that pretty much told me Dumbledore is gay right there. The other revelations pretty much confirmed it for me.

And how sad is it that I figured it out based the coded (and I would argue, inflammatory) homophobic language used in the book? Am I the only one who picked up on that ugly strain? God knows everyone picked up on the racism inherent in "mudblood." How did people manage to overlook Skeeter's sheer assholery as well?

Sorry. I guess I'm floored that people are surprised.

I can understand, by the way, why people are upset that it wasn't made more apparent (sort of like Ableforth's "fondness" for goats was made eye-bleedingly apparent), but at the same time I can see how it would've been hard to get it in.

Harry, as has been established over and over and over again in the books, is pretty clueless about relationships between adults. Professor McGonagall could've been having it off with Professor Flitwick and unless Harry walked in on them mid-thrust or they got married, he'd have zero clue.

I mean, sure, Dumbledore's sex life wasn't discussed, but outside of Hagrid (who was an actual friend as opposed to a mentor or teacher), none of the professor's sex lives were discussed.

Unfortunately all of the books are told in a third-person limited POV: Harry's. And only Harry's. There are a lot of things that seemingly come out of the blue (such as Tonks's and Lupin's relationship) simply because Harry has no clue as to what's going on outside of Hogwart's walls.

It's a tough balance, I think. On the one hand, yes, I can see why people are complaining that this side of Dumbledore could've been drawn out more. Yet, do you wave that flag for Dumbledore when you don't wave it for anyone else? Or do you treat that side of him in the same manner that you would treat all the other teacher-mentor figures in Harry's life?

[Yes, yes: There is the Snape exception involved here. But Snape is pretty much in his own category because, in a lot of ways, Snape's fate is tied so closely with Harry's. In many ways, they're opposite sides of the same coin.]

At some future date, I suppose (I hope) the need to strike that kind of balance will be considered a quaint consideration. Obviously, that time is not today, but maybe someday...

Personally, I think it's good that JKR came right out and said it, since it appears that people did need to hear it.

But I'm still surprised that anyone is surprised.
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