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Sunday, October 21, 2007

J. K. Rowling Throws the Slashfic Writers a Bone

Well J. K. Rowling has confirmed that Dumbledore was gay, and you know something is very strange when the sexual preference of a fictional character is a major story on CNN. I'm just saying. . .

I just hope things go well for the headmaster of Hogwarts. After all, we all know how badly things went for Tinky Winky when he was outed. I can only hope that we have grown a little more tolerant as a culture since then.


Steve Buchheit said...

It'll be yet another thing for the social conservatives to rail against. "Not only is she promoting witches and magic, but she has stealth gay characters that are subverting our youth and indoctrinating them..."

You know, that kind of argument.

I don't know, maybe we could have some more outings and see if we can get many of the social conservative heads to pop from such revelations. "Max, Max from Where the Wild Things Are is gay?!! And a cross-dresser (come on, you always knew that with his monster outfit, didn't you?) But I read that to my children...(Pop!)."

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to figure out why a fictional character that never has sex needs to have a sexual orientation at all? Since he's never having sex in the story, what difference does it make if he's straight or gay? Why would that be of any importance, especially in a children's story. Sounds to me like some narrow-minded liberal trying to shove their viewpoint down everyone's throats just to try to get a reaction.

If it was actually integral to the story I could understand why it would need to be revealed, but it has absolutely no bearing on the story.

So typically liberal - "if you don't think exactly like me you must be wrong, therefore I will shove my point of view down your throat until you submit to my way of thinking."

I say it's okay for Dumbledorf to be gay, but if it's such an important point that it needs to be "revealed" then work it into the story. And sex of any kind; homo, hetero or with farm implements doesn't belong in books targeted at children. So again, why does it matter what Dumbledorf's sexual orientation is, unless it's just a way to further someone's political agenda? -Michelle

RobRoy said...

Well, first, orientation is a lot like bathrooms in fiction and fantasy: we rarely (if ever) see them being used, but they're there anyhow. Second, Rowling was asked a specific question regarding the character, and gave a specific answer. To me, it seems like she's pushing her thumb into the Christian Right's eye just for kicks, but perhaps it is of import.

Rowling did reveal that it had bearing (though peripheral) to the story in his relationship with Grindelwald, and that we was particularly blinded because of his feelings for the other wizard. Maybe that's not peripheral after all. One of the charges laid at Dumbledore's feet was that he delayed in confronting the other wizard for some time.

I'm not certain that the "typically liberal" attitude you cite is any different from the "typically conservative" attitude. But maybe that's just me. But the "Harry Potter" series was not altogether a "book targeted at children". Although the undertone of that comment seems to be that there is something wrong with gay characters in children's literature.

S Andrew Swann said...

I believe anonymous Michelle was saying that sex, not sexual orientation, didn't belong in children's books. . .

I suspect one of two things is going on.

1) Rowling is having fun with people who take Harry Potter and/or fictional characters' sexual preferences way to seriously.

2) She just works out much more detail of her background than ever makes it into the book, and Dumbledore's orientation was important enough for her to know to write the character, but didn't rise to the level of "needs to be stated in the story." (This is not uncommon, I know a hell of a lot more about my characters than I bother to bore the reader with.)

Judging by the fact that it seems to explain a few of Dumbledore's actions in the story, I'm leaning toward the latter explanation.