Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oh boy. Here come the wand jokes...

J. K. Rowling said yesterday that a crucial character in her Harry Potter novels, wizard and longtime Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, was gay. This explained, she said, the stormy relationship between Dumbledore and another wizard (Grindelwald), and Dumbledore's complete lack of female companionship.

Her announcement was met with "gasps and applause" from the audience in New York City, to which she replied jokingly, "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy." She noted that many fans had suspected this, to the point were they had written quite a number of explicit scenes written Dumbledore. Rowling laughed and said, "Oh, my god, the fan fiction...!" (No doubt a lot more such fan fiction revolves around Harry and Ron, but let's move on...)

While it is true that she never wrote anything explicit about Dumbledore's sexuality in the series, the series did not deal with much in the way of anyone's sexuality, straight or otherwise. And while it is also certainly true that Rowing waited until all seven novels were complete (and she became the first billionaire author) before making her announcement, it was still completely voluntary and the announcement may still negatively affect her.

Leaving aside philosophical questions of the extent to which traits not explicit in the text can be ascribed to a character, even by the author, this is a remarkable statement on Rowling's part. Putting at least a little money where her mouth is, she has said in no uncertain terms that she strongly supports gay rights. And I suppose all those muggles who always thought the Harry Potter series was kind of "gay" can feel vindicated too ;-)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to say I really never thought about it. Good for her. I'd sort of suspected Professor Mcgonagall was a lesbian, but that might be the women's college experience...

This will of course delight the nutjobs who want to ban Harry Potter books, but don't all classics eventually make it onto the banned list?

-Seventh Sister

The Law Talking Guy said...

Sorry, Dr.S., but this strikes me as a load of crap.

JK Rowling already sold a gazillion books, made billions of dollars for herself from the books, made a half dozen movies, and has no plans to do more. The religious right has already condemned her books in the USA, if that mattered to her. So, she risks basically zero by her strange statement about Dumbledore now. It would have been a courageous statement a decade ago, but then her books would not have been purchased.

Philosophically, I also think it ridiculous to say that a character has traits not revealed in a text. It's rather like saying that the fifth movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony is really jazzy. Or that Rothko's bluescapes are actually only small parts of larger red murals that never got painted except in his mind.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Do not make the perfect the enemy of the good. It would have been wonderful if she had indicated this earlier. It is still good that she says so now.

As for the risk Rowling takes by discussing Dumbledore's sexuality now, you are of course correct that it is not as great as it might have been since some in the religious right have already condemned her. But as you have reminded me on other occasions, Christianity in America is a diverse spectrum of thought. Now, Rowling will surely lose a larger portion of that spectrum. And unfortunately, it probably won't stop there. Alas, we must remember that homophobia is hardly exclusive to the religious right.

As for the philosophy of it... Although Dumbledore's sexuality was not explicit in the text, it was at least somewhat implicit, for the reasons Rowling explained. Delving into the unwritten psychology of characters has a long history in literary studies. Some would argue that not even the author can be, er, authoritative on the matter. But so long as there is some basis in the text, most people will be satisfied.

USWest said...

I must be dense because I didn't see anything implicit or explicit in Dumbledore that would mark him one way or the other. He was a wise man, too busy with the bigger picture to be distracted.

I agree with LTG on this one. I think it is a crock. And I don't think she is done with the books. She has said her next set will be for adults. Now, I am not assuming that the next set will be Harry Potter books, but who knows.

I haven't seen Rowling's comments nor have read any analysis of the book that would indicate a gay character. But if this "implication" about Dumbledore is being drawn because he was uncoupled, then that would lead me to much larger concern - the case of false logic. So since Dumbledore wasn't married or dating in the book, he must be gay. Is that what we are saying here? If you are a woman with a guy friend who hasn't hit on you, people start saying "he must be gay". My sisters never married and people ask me if my sisters are gay. Come on. I find the implication of all this quite disturbing. It would mean you'd have to partner to prove your orientation. That's just wrong.

USWest said...

One more thought, this reminds of the time I got kicked out of French class in college because the Prof insisted that "The Little Prince" was a sexual allegory about pedophilia. I told him that consistently applying Freudian interpretations to literature not only showed an amazing lack of true analytical ability, but that it told me more about him than about the literature.

Raised By Republicans said...

US West! You kill me! I can totally picture you telling this guy he's a perv.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Just to be clear, it was J. K. Rowling herself who said that Dumbledore was meant to be gay. And she cited a few instances in her books where she said that explained a few things that had been left open.

I heard she was writing a new series of books for much younger children, actually.

Dr. Strangelove said...

As far as I'm concerned, what it comes down to is this: things being what they are, Rowling has surely made more enemies than friends by making this announcement. Does anyone wish to claim otherwise? Does anyone truly believe this will have a net positive impact future sales?

I think she cares more for her reputation than for the money, at this point. At the very least, it is gratifying that she cares more for the good will of those who support gay rights than of those who oppose them. But I prefer to be less cynical... I think she wants to help support gay rights, plain and simple. And for that, I applaud her.

USWest said...

That's well and good, Dr. S. She can support gay rights all she wants. But I have a hard time accepting that you take a perfectly well developed character, and suddenly decide he's gay. It's irrelevant to the story and really to the character. So if she wants to support the gay movement, she should write a book that does so rather than saying, "oh I added two lines of text to book 7 and now Dumbledore is gay. Actually, if I were gay, I would be a bit put off. According to reports, Rowling was asked if Dumbledore ever fell in love and her response was, "he's gay." So I guess gay people don't fall in love? And falling in love is a very human and non-sexual act.

I think the quote that summed it up for me was, from Canadian children's author Eva Wiseman:

"If you have a character and if the fact that he's gay is important to the plot, of course you would mention it. If you needed it to make the book more relevant or advance the plot, then you would mention it ... but if it doesn't make any difference to the plot or it's insignificant to the story, then why bother mentioning it?"

All said, it is a wonderful break to argue over something like this for a change than whether Turkey will invade Iraq or if Fred Thompson is a decent candidate.

RBR, yes, it was pretty funny until I got to then end of the hall and realized that he was the only French prof in the school and French was my B.A. program. Then the panic set in.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Actually, Rowling said clearly that Dumbledore had been in love. You misheard.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Well, if every billionaire author feels free to retroactively proclaim any aging and sexless character "gay" because they had no obvious heterosexual relationship, then Stonewall was worth it. Or not.

Daring would have been making one of the students gay - any of them. And actually showing it in the text.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Rowling said the issue of Dumbledore's sexual orientation came up several months ago when she was reviewing the script for the upcoming sixth movie. The screenwriter had added a passage where, in some context Rowling did not specify, Dumbledore reminisced about past women in his life. At the time, Rowling wrote a note to the director explaining that Dumbledore was supposed to be gay, so this had to be excised from the script. (There were no past men in his life. The character who would be the "love of his life," Grindlewald, was not revealed until Book 7--and at any rate that was an unrequited love.) I add this only to point that it is not entirely a retroactive statement on Rowling's part. And I will say again that the lack of female companionship was not the only evidence in the text. But your cynicism is duly noted.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm not just cynical. I'm annoyed too. If you're going to make a stand for gay rights or puff yourself out about diversity and tolerance, be honest. Don't just make the totally non-threatening lovable old duffer gay. Make Harry gay. Or Ron Weasley. Or anyone else for that matter who is actually sexually active. I suspect that the current "gay thing" for Dumbledore is partly as a reaction to the total lack of gay characters anywhere (and to the white-on-whiteness of it all). I mean, it's hard to think of any other prominent teen drama these days with no gay characters in it and exactly one non-white person I can think of (Cho). And the really nasty muggles like Dudley are fat, in case you were wondering about whether fat people can ever be virtuous. It makes Dawson's Creek look "with it" by comparison. In the Harry Potter series, Fleur is what passes for diversity. And Harry Potter is, by book 7, plainly a teen drama.

By the way, I LOVED the Harry Potter books. They are magical in every sense of the word. But we should be realistic about their shortcomings. Also, the dog-latin bothers me, but that's for another day. Harrumphh.

Anonymous said...

and followed by the activation of GABA B receptors (which are indirectly coupled to K + channels). NMDA receptors contribute little to the synaptic response because of their relatively http://buyviagraonlineauviagra-au.com#8,9783E+53 buy Viagra au rip up Run DMC's '' Back From Hell '' beats for the '' Docta D version ''. another strong release. CASH CREW: My In Sense Is Burning/The http://buyviagra100mgcostviagraonline.co.uk#6267 buy viagra uk 687 All these factors leading to facial wrinkling can be taken care of in one shot if we can find a way to raise the Collagen production in our body itself

Anonymous said...

days after the start of prednisolone treatment, and after a cumulative dose of 2.3 g . Colinical examination of the knee showed nothing abnormal. The pain subsided within few http://buyviagraonlineauviagra-au.com#1,5948E+33 buy Viagra au divided by height in metres squared (W/H²). Using data from the health and lifestyle survey shows that a lower proportion of the older age groups have a http://buyviagra100mgcostviagraonline.co.uk#6715 Viagra 100 mg You will discover that the added pressure of the turn on will actually slow you down, not speed you up

Anonymous said...

Forget about the fears and triggers lumigan cost No doubt about it
Are you wondering exactly how they work? Well read on and we will explain how these diets work cymbalta Usually that person drinks or drugs himself/herself to death after a desperate period of loss, bitter disappointment, or environmentally induced depression
This is because people put great importance in their oral health female pink Viagra Both mice and humans share the same gene configuration as far as the SIRT1 gene is concerned
There are several methods for determining the yeast infection causes and once they are found you can begin to make, not only the symptoms go away, but get rid of the causes as well cheap iressa Eating protein will increase the nutrition and overall health of your body╩╝s muscles
3 Detrol Your blood pressure can be kept at optimum with minerals like potash

Anonymous said...

According to studies, carcinogens are found in foods that are baked and grilled lumigan Chantix, the most popular of the medications, made $846 million in 2008
Each case of ADHD is different and requires different treatment methods cymbalta Commentary and archival information about great depression (1930's) from The New York Times
However, the only way I can play the game is if it's put on the easiest possible level Viagra for women pills These foods include proteins from poultry, lean meats, omega 3 fatty acids found in fish such as Salmon, organic berries, nuts, vegetables with bright colors, legumes, peas, etc
Fortunately, there are more benefits than disadvantages associated with bodily cleansing iressa It is much easier, however, to get the high levels you need by using the cheap and easy to find lysine capsules
It's about learning to dance in the rain" AnonymousThis is a story that needs to be told Price for Chloromint pharmacy However, as you approach the age of 70, blood pressure normally starts rising again

Anonymous said...

13:13)? That's not surprising, since God is love (1 Jn cheap lumigan ConclusionPanic attacks are very nasty and scary and nobody wants to be experiencing them so if you suffer from this disorder, please don't think that it is something that you need to learn to live with, it isn't
Intensive research into understanding why this is so has been underway for some time cymbalta price Maternal Depression—Making a Difference Through Community Action: A
I always believed it was of average size until I met her female pink Viagra So you need to keep up your muscles
However, overcoming body fat takes commitment and a willingness to change cheap iressa They'll say if you can't do an exercise with perfect form, you must stop and/or lighten up the weight
However, too much attention, combined with the effects of a poor diet, pollution, air-conditioning and central heating, can mean that your hair becomes the bane of your life rather than your crowning glory Buy Exelon without prescription Expecting results immediately: In many cases the first week or two of really watching what you eat and lowering your calorie intake combined with a regular workout program will yield you some fast results

Anonymous said...

2 viagra uk online Stress is definitely not going to assist your health I know some plastic surgeons who actually recommend this after surgery cialis uk Blend this mixture for two minutes and put it in a airtight container and put it in the refrigerator

Anonymous said...

Discount propecia http://www.vmworld.com/thread/88473 Cheapest propecia over the counter
No rx propecia Buy propecia Sale for propecia