Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Rainbow Flag Appears to be Drooping

OK, let me just say it up front, since I’m sure I’ll be accused --- no, I’m not homophobic. I’m not anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-anything-that-is-not-a-typical-nuclear-family-with-two-point-five-children-one-dog-and-a-minivan. I had a gay best friend in my 20’s and spent more time dancing in gay bars than straight ones. Some of my favorite co-workers have been gay. I *liked* the purple Teletubby; I thought Will and Grace was hysterical; I have lots of George Michael downloaded on my iPod, I have gay friends now; and a few of the best parents I know are gay. So,ok? We clear there? I have no problem with the gayness.

Why, then, am I so disappointed in the recent announcement by JK Rowling that Albus Dumbledore is gay? That he [quote] “fell in love with Grindelwald [a bad wizard he defeated long ago], and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent, but he met someone as brilliant as he was and, rather like Bellatrix, he was very drawn to this brilliant person and horribly, terribly let down by him." [end quote]

First of all … what? Excused Dumbledore? Excused him from what? For falling in love with the wrong person, or with a person who turned out to be completely different than what Dumbledore thought he was? I mean, that pretty much fits the bill for the majority of the human race at one point or another, so why does he need to be excused for it?

You know how I want to remember Dumbledore? I want to remember him as being the greatest wizard ever known. I want to remember him as a brilliant, kind, wise, empathetic, good-hearted, astute, prudent, almost-father-figure. (Yes, I know he's imaginary --- I just really loved him.) Gay or straight, I don’t care. But why are we bringing it up NOW, when the story is done??? I don’t understand --- How is his sexual orientation even remotely important here?

I’m sorta confused. Was there a story line or plot line I missed? Whether Dumbledore was gay, straight, trans-gendered, asexual, or worked nights as a Chippendale dancer --- what does it even matter? I would have been equally disappointed if she had blurt out that he was from the Wizarding equivalent of stereo-typical-Mormon-Ville and had twelve wives, or that Madame Hooch had a husband and four kids at home we never got to meet, or if she had mentioned after the fact that Professor McGonagall was a hooker who wore leather boots and a saucy bustier under that black robe of hers ---- Why does it matter? It changes nothing of the story, it’s not relevant, or significant to anything that happened, and as long as she’s not writing any more books, why put out new information at this point?

She obviously wasn’t opposed to developing relationships throughout the books --- there were quite a few hetero-relationships that occurred during the series -- Harry and Cho, Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermoine, Hagrid and What’s-Her-Face, the Giantess, Tonks and Lupin (although seriously, did her name have to be *Nymphodora*??? That’s a little inappropriate, isn’t it?) Bill and Fleur, etc, even the mention of the unrequited love Snape felt for Lilly. If she had wanted to work a gay relationship into the story for Dumbledore, fine. I WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE WITH THAT. It’s certainly not that amid all this yin and yang-ness I begrudge one measly little homosexual relationship ---- it’s that there WAS NO relationship in the book for Dumbledore at all, so why does this have to be mentioned now? I feel a little bit like I’ve been tricked. I had finished reading the books, and mentally put everyone in the place I felt they belonged at the end of the story. JKR ended book 7 with a nice little synopsis that was very satisfying for people like me, who like their packages tied up neatly at the end with shiny bows. My middle name is “closure” and I thought I had gotten it. Now? Not so much.

Now, I need to revise my opinions and beliefs about Dumbledore because he is not the person I thought he was. Not because I like him any less, but because now I like him *differently*. I had never given one minute’s thought to his sexuality. Why would I? It didn’t matter. It wasn’t even on the horizon --- at all. Not even a SPECK on the horizon! Now, this changes things. Now, as Kellen and I prepare to begin reading The Prisoner of Azkaban together, having just finished The Chamber of Secrets last week, I can no longer sit back and just enjoy them with my son. I’ll be hyper-analyzing the story, looking for hidden meaning in her words, searching for clues that I missed the first ten times I read the book. Clues that will help me understand Dumbledore, (who is, in my opinion, one of the most freaking awesome characters ever invented in literature) a little better.

So, see? I’m not happy that he’s gay. Because this means more work on my part. I told you, I’m not homophobic. I’m just lazy. And as far as I’m concerned, this is all wrong because it means I’ve got to start thinking again. Geez, I hate that.

32 comments:

Abi said...

I read it slightly differently. That 'it added to his horror' probably means that he was even more horrified when Grindelwald showed himself to be bad than he would otherwise have been; he put him on a bit of a pedestal because he loved him.

Does this make more sense? It's more what I would have expected J K Rowling to say...

abi said...

Also, how bad would he have felt at having to defeat Grindelwald? It certainly explains why he waited so many years before engaging in that particular battle.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, Kristie. What the heck does it matter now??? What the heck did it matter wile the books were being written and published?? Who the heck cares???
Susan in MN

Clara Zimmerman said...

I agree with you, Kristie. I do not remember one single solitary time that we readers were lead to think he had a love interest. So, why now? What the hell is that about? I also pictured him as a gentle, dear, fatherly soul; I was crushed when he died. I cried and cried.

abi said...

Didn't somebody ask if Dumbledore had ever been in love, though? She simply answered a question which had been asked. It could make for a more interesting re-reading. Certainly when one knows that Snape loved Lily Evans, there are some interesting bits which make more sense on re-reading.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie this is my first time leaving a comment. I love the blog. Anyway, I think I read that in making the movie they were trying to incorporate a relationship between Dumbledore and a women. That is when J K Rowling had to step in and correct them about Dumbledore's sexual orrientation. Im with you and like to think of him as just Dumbledore, not gay or straight.

Sam

Anonymous said...

I had the exact same thought! What the heck difference does it make now???? So what!
Christa Frantz
www.caringbridge.org/visit/zacharyfrantz

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

As soon as I read her comments, I thought of you and wanted to talk to you about it. I am in such agreement with you. I haven't read them all but feel like what does it matter?

DeAnn said...

Amen to this post! I had to de-lurk to respond. I totally agree with you. My husband announced Dumbledore was gay this morning after reading the news and I was in denial. Not because I'm anti-gay, just because it changes things. I also agree that he is an awesome literary character. I'm just getting over Snape being good and now this!

jbaj said...

You expressed my thoughts exactly! Why throw this in NOW!

Cate said...

Yep. My thoughts exactly. What does it matter? It doesn't really add to the story. And why now?

Publicity machine, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Y'all crack me up!! This is FICTION you know.

Jeri from Hawaii said...

Amen, Sister. Why now? Like you, I couldn't care less if someone is gay or straight...but to hear about it after the series has ended just doesn't feel right. I loved Dumbledore then and I still love that wonderful wizard now...it's just JK Rowling I am a little disappointed in.

Lisa said...

Hi Kristi. I think this has only come to light now as a result of a question asked. Shortly after the Hallows was published JK did an interview that is published on Mugglenet in which she answers lots of questions. The amazing thing is that she knows the answers...she has invented whole lives for these characters beyond and before the contents of the books. She said Dumbledore was Gay simply to answer the question posed...but I too am now starting at book 1 to look for even a hint. If you can't find the interview I'm talking about where she answers a lot of questions I'll be happy to email it to you. Love and Prayers for you all.

Kati and Bessie said...

Amen. That's all I have to say.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Christie-
Dumbledore's love intrest (or lack thereof) were never mentioned - so why should we care? Why mention it now? Don't wast brain energy looking for clues either b/c I have read each book at least 3 times and its never mentioned....
Elizabeth (I don't have a blog)...

Stephanie said...

I'm with you, Kristie. Totally!!! I couldn't believe it when someone told me at church yesterday....read it for myself this morning. Amen to your post!

Stephanie said...

Ooooh -- just had a thought...in Rita Skeeter's book about Dumbledore she makes a comment to the effect of Dumbledore having almonst an unhealthy interest in and relationship with Harry. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't the point of your post, but just so you know, Mormons don't practice polygamy; they have one spouse only. Even in stereo-typical-Mormon-Ville.
–Melissa, resident of S-T-M-V

lizinsumner said...

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling a bit "disgruntled" over it....aside from my personal feelings toward homosexuality, which I won't even reveal....it just seems that, to me at least, coming in so late and after the fact (with the books all written and published and read, for pete's sake!!) - well, it just seems slightly opportunistic, and contrived, and "agenda pushing", you know?? And that to me seems like an abuse of power and fame. Because, like everyone is saying - it just isn't freakin' germaine to the stories, or to anything, at this point! I guess I'm just disappointed.....

Andrea said...

See, and for me, I loved Dumbledore's character so much that it doesn't matter to me one way or the other, nor does it change how I viewed him. It may answer a few more questions surrounding his hesitation to actually duel Grindewald, but like you said, it doesn't matter now that the story's done that this information comes out. But really, to me, it doesn't matter at all, because there was so much more depth to Dumbledore in so many other ways that it's just one more facet of who he was. Okay. More information.

I do question a little bit though that if it wasn't a big enough deal to spell out in the story, why mention it now that the story is done? Is it just another way to keep HP fans guessing and wanting more? Setting herself up to really *not* be done with the series? Sounds to me like a bit of a publicity stunt, though why they'd do it makes no sense to me.

Sandie in MN said...

I am probably the only person who just can't get into the Harry Potter thing.. but my opinion (from the outside) is JKR just needed a little more attention- maybe she was feeling let down after the book series ended?

Maybe if she explained it prior there would have been book bans, etc. in schools? Does that still happen? This way, it really doesn't matter anymore, but she is able to get it off her chest that that is how she envisioned her character.

Cheryl Vincent said...

Wow Kristie, you seem to have hit a nerve with your readers. Who would have thought the sexual orientation of a fictional character would have brought out such passion!
Personally, I preferred to think of Dumbledore as asexual. Above the common-ness of all the rest of us. Plus, it's a bit disturbing to get the visual of Dumbledore and anyone, male or female, knocking boots, so to speak.

Anyway, I came here (several weeks after the fact) to let you know that I certainly DO remember our evening at Chili's. It is a memory I will hold in my heart forever. You have no idea how close we came to staying in that night, and I am so very, very glad that we went.

Hugs to all,

Cheryl

Amy said...

Okay, probably will get totally flamed here, but I have never read HP, had no interest in it, and haven't encouraged my CHILDREN to read it either. Now I'm glad I didn't.

And Dumbledore and Harry???? Next thing you know, JKR will reveal herself to actually being Michael Jackson!!!!!!!! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I've never read HP -- jsut not my genre. My daughter loves it, however. And my guess as to why the author is now talking about this -- why else -- to sell more books!! Perhaps she's trying to get the gay/lesbian community interested in buying her books. All hail the almighty dollar!!

Anonymous said...

Ok, where the hell have I been? Cause I didn't hear about this at all, and now I too am confused and may have to go back and re-read to analyze Dumbledore a bit more closely. I never even thought about his as hetero or gay, he just was. Strange that she would bring this out now with the series completed....

Trish
Leesburg, VA

jadine said...

I am of the I-don't-care-who-you-
choose-to-love camp (as long as you're not hurting anybody, etc.), but this 'revelation' bugged me.

I have always thought of Dumbledore as being sort of non-sexual; a kind but strong patriarch/mentor.

You know how some lame stories/movies tidy everything up with a *surprise* and unlikely event/ending? Like oh-it-was-
all-a-dream, or the-dude-isn't-
really-dead-and-now-he's-back-
to-save-the-day?

That's kinda how I feel about this proclamation that Dumbledore is gay. It adds a dimension to his character after-the-fact (yes, a little hyphen-happy today...but that's because there're no options for underlining, bolding, or italicizing) that makes me feel like I was tricked when I read the story.

It's not a huge deal, and it seems sort of silly to me, but it bugs me a bit.

I think I just feel a little tricked.

The Running Girl said...

I wondered the same thing - why announce this information now - now that the books are over. Does it really matter? It didn't change the story, so just let people see Dumbledore however they see him.

Briana

Bec said...

Okay Kristie, I'm totally feeling you on this one, so I HAD to comment. When Ryan mentioned this to me the other night (because he likes to read the news stories on line at night) I totally didn't believe him. I couldn't understand what the POINT is of giving us this information now. Why??? It's over. I love reading and re-reading these books and Logan's even read them all now. What am I supposed to tell him when he hears about this at school?

I've never said or even thought anything bad about J.K. Rowling, but the only thing I can come up with here is that it it is a complete and total PUBLICITY stunt!! Why else?? It puts Harry Potter right back into the headlines again and will probably lead to more book sales. But WHY? So more religious groups who didn't oppose the Harry Potter books before to now have a problem with them. Not that their right - but their opposition just creates more publicity, and you know what they say about publicity.

It just throws me off, because now I don't *know* a character I thought I knew and have to read the book all over again.

(And why does he have to be 'gay' to excuse his love for Grindwald? Whether or not he is gay, he can still be deceived by the love he has for a best friend, can't he??)

Thanks for letting me vent. Ryan kind of rolled his eyes, since he's never read any of the books. I feel better now just reading what you wrote and knowing that I am not alone in not knowing what to do with this information!!
Becky

Lisa said...

Hi there...longtime lurker here and this drew me out of lurkdom. To just be blunt, I am gay and still found this to be so ridiculous and unnecessary...I heard it and, truthfully, it annoyed the piss out of me. There's just no point to this sudden "announcement" and it felt like yet another person was riding the coattails of the whole "gay is the new trendy" thing to get/keep their name in the news. Controversy sells. Yeah, a good, resounding "blech" was about the best I could muster up. So, if your rainbow flag is drooping, so's mine and that's just impossible. :-D

Mrs. N said...

It's all pretty obvious in book 7.