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Innerbrat
Advancing the sum total of human knowledge and endeavour!
In which I disagree with everyone. 
20th-Oct-2007 01:42 pm
hp, sw
So, Dumbledore is gay, is he?

This is not awesome. There is no 'hoo' to my very dry 'whoo.'

I'm in the minority on my friendslist here, but I'm not happy with J.K. Rowling right now. She threw me a bone, and it was a chewed, meatless bone, and she expected me to be content with it. I think I'd rather have no bone at all. You see, Dumbledore isn't just a gay. Oh no. He's a closeted gay. Closeted by lifestyle (he's a very famous wizard and there were all these biographies and obituaries and not one said 'he liked the bumsex') and by narrative (seriously, it's not that hard to just mention it. Once.)

I'm all for taking authorial interviews as canon, but it's not really, is it? In ten years time, are people who read Harry Potter going to remember or care what is said in interviews? Not really. Canon is in fact a narrow definition, constrained in this case by the books and the movies. Anything outside of that is nice, but in the grand scheme of things, it does not count. The wizarding world has already been shown to be sickening heteronormative, what with all the cute little nuclear families and divorce, bastards and other such unsavoury happenings occurring only among the dark wizards. This nice new revelation only enforces this. Dumbledore likes men, we're told, but We Don't Talk About That Kind of Thing. It's much more acceptable to talk about his brother's bestiality, for Bob's sake. We can only assume that Aberforth's goat friend was female. And don't get me started on the genetic link Rowling has inadvertently implied by making her only gay character the brother of another sexual deivant.

In an ibarw post I can't find the link for, someone talked about a fantasy author who claimed that 'all members of my fantasy race are black, but they don't mention it because everyone is.' That wasn't enough for that blogger - there was nothing to identify with. You can't just paint characters and call them 'people of colour' and expect chromatic fans to identify with them. Similarly I, a queer Harry Potter fan, feel no more affinity for Dumbledore than I did yesterday. He doesn't count because at no point in the novels did he deal with or even acknowledge this part of himself. It's forced into the background.

I'm reminded of all the lesbian friends of that woman on the train. You can be gay, but you can't talk about it. Closeting in general makes me twitch. Yes, it's no one's business,  but it shouldn't be hidden. It's made worse that Dumbledore is a role model: someone to emulate. His sexuality is hidden and secret and therefore he is ashamed of it, and so should you be.

I'd much rather she hadn't said anything at all, actually.
Opinions 
20th-Oct-2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Thinking about it, yes. Nny's point was that she thinks JKR was doing this after the fact so that People Wouldn't Stop Buying The Books; I suppose JKR would argue that his sexuality has no bearing on anything in a story, particularly not a children's story, but I can't help thinking this is a bit of a bloodless sop to people who are still fans of her work (I don't, btw, count myself among that number).
20th-Oct-2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
I disapprove of Pandering to Bigots for the Sake of Money, anyway.

If it has no bearing, she didn't have to mention it at all, I think. And considering how sexuality and love are a Major Theme in the books, I'd like to see her acknowledge that all forms of love are OK.
20th-Oct-2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
I'd kind of assumed... along with half fandom, that he was after the last book, anyway. (Not to mention the stereotypically flamboyant wardrobe, but I doubt that was really intentional.) I mean, it's just Harry/fandom!Draco set back a hundred-odd years, really, without having to mess up the neat little ending with Ginny. I agree it feels gratuitous to have nothing explicitly stated in the books - even in a negative way, because you know if it was a taboo in the wizarding world, Rita Skeeter would have been aaaall over that. Yeah... it just feels like she was trying to be too subtle, and it came off vaguely tacked-on. At least, I hope it was, because in general my opinion of JK is higher than that, and I'd like to think she wasn't being so negative. Rather that she just had no idea to handle what she meant. *Shrugs*

Leaving the text as it was would have worked for me.
20th-Oct-2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
There were hints that some people considered his relationship with Harry 'unhealthy', weren't there? And, alas, that is the sort of shit with which gay teachers often have to deal.

Debi - as regards canon, I believe Rowling has said there'll likely be an encyclopaedia/sourcebook/companion-type thing, using a lot of the worldbuilding stuff that never made it into the novels. Dumbledore's sexuality may well be recorded for posterity in that.
20th-Oct-2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
Dumbledore isn't just closeted--he's ancient and asexual. He's gay-in-theory. If he was going to have sex with anyone, which he never does, it would be a man. How relevant and interesting. Yes.

Dobby is also gay! And... the Hufflepuff table. And the Sorting Hat. The Williow is gay!
21st-Oct-2007 02:25 am (UTC)
Haha! Exactly. And he and his ex-boyfriend are both safely dead.

Was he his ex-boyfriend? I'm not clear on whether she meant they were both gay and actually in a relationship, or it was just a one-sided crush on Dumbledore's part.
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
"...I'm okay with someone not being defined by who they sleep with."

I completely agree. I know I don't start conversations with, "Hi, I'm Caleb and by the way I'm gay." I'm just a normal guy who likes films and novels and hanging out with my friends and happens to sleep with men. I don't tell people I'm gay because I don't feel the need to, but that doesn't make me ashamed of it. If they ask, yeah, I'll tell the truth. Maybe if Harry had asked Dumbledore would have done the same.
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, Dumbledore's sexuality doesn't have anything to do with the plot of the stories. In order to work it in, JKR would have to have deliberately wrote a scene whose entire purpose was to out Dumbledore. Given that virtually all scenes in the book were with respect to Harry, it probably would have been inappropriate, gay or straight. I mean, aside from the pressing issue of evil wizards trying to kill them and enslave humanity, Dumbledore is still Harry's teacher and when is it ever appropriate for a teacher to talk about their love life to a student?

I suppose they could have insinuated it when talking about Aberforth and Dumbledore's strained relationship, or what's-her-face the wizard tabloid reporter could have been a huge bitchy hag about it and outed him in a newspaper, but Dumbledore being as gay as all outdoors doesn't have anything to do with Harry Potter and Voldemort.

Ron Moore (the guy who does the new Battlestar Galactica) mentioned this situation. Someone asked him if any characters were gay in Battlestar Galactica and he said "Well, I dunno... probably". Then he went on to explain that homosexuality is something that he did want to explore with some characters, but there was the problem that there wasn't really an appropriate way to do it, without doing "The Gay Episode", which would have been shoehorned into the plot for its own sake. And as a writer, he didn't want to tackle anything like that for its own sake. Of course, how convince that is given how much damn humping there is in that show I leave to you, but the overall point is the same. It would kind of be a disservice to the issue to take a detour to the issue for its own sake, rather than find a way to talk about about it in the context of the overall plot. And at that point, he didn't quite know how to work homosexuality in relation to killer robots chasing after the last remnants of humanity across the galaxy while said humans look for an ancient homeworld that may or may not exist.

The same could be said for Harry Potter. How does Dumbledore's homosexuality relate to the story in context? The thing is, that it wasn't in the context of the stories that it was revealed. This detail came up because Harry Potter fans LOVE to ask about minute details that may or may not have anything to do with anything, like Harry Potter's grandkids or if Hagrid ever got married. Or what was the backstory of a character who was only mentioned once as a name at a Sorting Hat ceremony... and if said character got married and has children and if those children go on wizard adventures with Harry's kids. It's a fannish thing to do and Rowling was throwing out a detail that never got into the books, because someone decided to ask about it.
20th-Oct-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
You might think, given everything else Rita Skeeter did, she would have outted him for this scandal. If not for the "horribleness" of being gay, then for loving a "bad man" like Grindelwald. I can easily see her twisting that. The things you do for love, etc.
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
Fucking word.

To everything.
20th-Oct-2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
Now this is something when I read I had two thoughts really.

1. Why is this even noted?

2. Wha huh?

Now to the first I agree with your assessment that it not only makes him closeted gay, but that Rowling really does go into "My heroes are pure and nice....don't mention anything about Aberforth and his goat love."

To the second, for me it was that because it never made mention. Ever.

When they are going into all the slimy details of Grindelwald and Ablus, they never once even possibly hint that there was something other then two best buddies. Not once. Hell, even when Dumbles is actually being frank and upfront with Harry, he never even gives an emotional hint of something, anything, deeper between him and Grindelwald. For me this is chalked up to even worse writing then I took Deathly Hallows to be.

So really it comes out of left field to go "He's into the pink side!!!" with nothing in her writing that would give anyone a real hint. I could give a better account of Pettigrew being gay then Dumbledore.
20th-Oct-2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
When they are going into all the slimy details of Grindelwald and Ablus, they never once even possibly hint that there was something other then two best buddies. Not once. Hell, even when Dumbles is actually being frank and upfront with Harry, he never even gives an emotional hint of something, anything, deeper between him and Grindelwald.

EXACTLY. She HAD the opportunity there, at least how I see it, and she didn't take it until AFTER the book is published.

The more I think about it, the less impressed I really am.
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
So much yes. Everyone else on my flist seems to be squeeing, but it's noce to know there are other people who are Not Impressed.
20th-Oct-2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
I am SO with you on this. Why make this pronouncement at all, with essentially no textual support? Did JKR just make it up on the spot?? And if so, why bother?
20th-Oct-2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
You don't know me, but I very much agree with you.
(Deleted comment)
21st-Oct-2007 05:03 am (UTC)
I dunno, I think she's implying it pretty heavily:
(From a very cute 8 year old girl): In Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore said that his brother was prosecuted for practicing illegal charms against a goat. I was wondering what those charms were that he was practicing? (Audience is hysterical and Jo is biting her lips, stifling a laugh)

Um… how old are you??

Eight

(rolling her eyes…struggling to find an acceptable answer here)…He was trying to find ways to… keep a goat… clean? Curly horns? Um… that’s a joke that works on a couple of levels. As you know, Aberforth does have a strange fondness for goats, which, if you’ve read book 7, came in very useful to Harry later on. A goat.. a stag… if you’re a stupid Death Eater, what’s the difference? That is… my answer to you.


That was immediately before the "did Dumbledore find true love" question.

It's like, the goats thing was funny as a throwaway joke but DUDE, seriously. I agree with innerbrat, bestiality jokes are OK but gey people are too controversial?
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is pretty much exactly how I feel. And I feel horrible for not being as thrilled or excited about it as the rest of my friends, but. Yeah. It's great the Headmaster of Hogwarts is gay, but to have mentioned that ANYWHERE in the books would have been... a lot lot lot more accepted.

Not to mention like, a million other things I find wrong with it. I just. I want to be happy, but in this day and age, we should be getting a lot more than "the loveless, closested, DEAD old man was gay, but no on talked about it."
20th-Oct-2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure the details of his sexuality not being made explicit counts as him being closeted, unless there were a character just like him but straight who's sexuality was made explicit. As it is, I think people can look at the Dumbledore-Grindewald relationship in the books and see a hell of a lot of subtext, and know that it's there with authorial intent.

And mostly, I just feel like it opens a door. Like maybe the next time the author of a popular mainstream series primarily targeted at children decides one of their characters is gay, they will make it explicit in the books. And I'm more excited about potential door-opening than about Dumbledor himself being gay.
20th-Oct-2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
Exactly, yes. *agrees succinctly with Jez*
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
Of course not. Link away!
20th-Oct-2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Sing it, sister.
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