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.