Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dumbledore is Gay!

J. K. Rowling, author of the worldwide best-selling Harry Potter series, met some of her American fans Friday night and provided some surprising revelations.

In front of a full house of hardcore Potter fans at Carnegie Hall in New York, Rowling, sitting on the stage on a red velvet and carved wood throne, read from her seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," then took questions. One fan asked whether Albus Dumbledore, the head of the famed Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, had ever loved anyone. Rowling smiled. "Dumbledore is gay, actually," replied Rowling as the audience erupted in surprise. She added that, in her mind, Dumbledore had an unrequited love affair with Gellert Grindelwald, Voldemort's predecessor who appears in the seventh book. After several minutes of prolonged shouting and clapping from astonished fans, Rowling added. "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy."

While many gay fans were thrilled at this revelation, others were disgruntled at the timing of the announcement.

"I'm a gay fan and I'm not amused," Griet Verlinde, a 26-year-old psychologist from Belgium, said on the AfterElton.com blog, a site devoted to gay and bisexual men in the entertainment and media industries.

"Firstly, how very 'nervy' of her to out him after all the books have come out and it won't harm her sales," she wrote. "Secondly, not a single rumour of this in the books. Nothing."

Other commenters wonder if Rowling made the statement in order to generate controversy, publicity, and more money.

I don't think so. In my opinion, J.K. Rowling wrote Dumbledore's part with the idea in the back of her mind that he was gay. I think it's lovely that she didn't feel she had to make an issue of his sexuality and let him live his (fictional) life as a person in his own right, and not solely as a "gay person." Some readers are greatly amusing themselves by going back through the books looking for references to Dumbledore's homosexuality. Not me. Dumbledore is a great, rich character, who shows readers the power of love, and this new information hasn't changed that one bit.

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