21 October 2007

Rejoice!...For Dumbledore is Gay.

To talk about other things, Rowling has declared that Dumbledore was gay. I suppose I should celebrate considering how I had always rooted for the Sirius/Lupin, Sirius/James, Parvati/Lavender pairings as a counter to the more popular speculations about Ron/Hermione, Neville/Luna, etc. It is wonderful that there can be character with an 'alternative' sexuality and yet not be caricatured on the basis of it. But I somehow resent the fact that this declaration is being made now after all the books in the series have been published. Couldn't this have been put directly in the books? I am aware that the most common argument against this would be that the majority of readership for these books constitutes children and young adolescents. But this has not deterred Rowling to insert other such "unsuitable themes" before. If she can focus on things deemed very "mature" such as death, betrayal, racism, war, etc, why not homosexuality as well? Or is Dumbledore's sexuality to be taken as something only incidental to his person, serving no other purpose in the narrative? Besides, the very notion that a homosexual character doesn't fit into/is unsuitable for writing meant for children needs to be reexamined too. Are we saying that it is unsuitable because we are talking about something apart from the ordinary; something different from what we define as "normal"; something then that would condition kids the "wrong" way because it would lead them to see something "abnormal" in a normal way? Having said that, however, I must say that I still remain slightly fond of the series. I still am willing to settle for this incidental revelation about Dumbledore's sexuality instead of none at all. And I can only hope that critical work done on Harry Potter will take this fact into account much more than the books themselves have done.


Mike said...

I totally agree (awesome blog by the way!)--I heard that and I was like, awesome, but why didn't you say this before the series is finished?? It seems she only is making homosexuality into something that has to be detected (which I find extremely disturbing).

metaphysicallycomplicit said...

Thanks! It’s still mostly under construction though.

And yeah, I can see how the “detection” bit can be a major problem. Imagine people reading the series to look for Dumbledore’s ‘gayness’! *shudder*