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Oct. 21st, 2007

Here we go from the top

I predict that JKR's announcement that Dumbledore is gay is about to create a sexuality wank. Sure we're talking canon vs non-canon right now, but we'll move past that. As many people have pointed out, the tracks for a gay Dumbledore were pretty well painted in DH. The implications are potentially fairly clear, though I admit this isn't what I presumed about the relationship while reading DH. But I do often miss innuendo if it doesn't really move the plot along. Since Dumbledore's love interest is long done when we learn about it (what with Dumbledore so throughly dead and all) it doesn't really change what happened or how it happened. Whether Dumbledore loved GG and was hesitant to fight him for that reason or whether Dumbledore was very good friends with him doesn't matter too much. The outcome is the same and I think equally devestating for Dumbledore.

Now what do I think about Dumbledore's apparent gayness? I'm not sure its positive mostly because it seems to me that Dumbledore as a sexual being is completely slipped over in the book. Like most teachers at Hogawarts, Dumbledore's sexuality is completely over looked (makes sense since we are reading from Harry's perspective, but at he same time makes this relevation about Dumbledore's sex life a little akward, I mean we don't know if other teachers are dating, in committed relationships, or married let alone the gender of their partners and then boom there's Dumbledore's sexuality just out there randomly). It implies to me that having a gay character in a children's novel is only ok if their sexuality is left as ambigous as possible. Not that JKR should have created "the gay professor", certainly I don't want that either. But I feel like having implication there without just saying it or showing it is a little cheap. I think if GG had been a girl that Dumbeldore and GG would have kissed or instead of being called "thick as thieves" they would have been "dating". This isn't the case. There is just a shadow of a relationship shown that may or may not have been something more.

Of course in fairness, no one's love life in HP is very racey or well documented. JKR often skips over the relationship development phase. It goes from barely hinted at sexual tension into presto the characters are married/engaged/dating!! I suppose by these standards, Dumbledore's "relationship" is more detailed than others but also by these standard JKR refuses to just spit out the nature of the relationship. What is her motivation for such? Was she afraid to call Dumbledore and GG lovers? I mean Rita Skeeter is the one who "outed" Dumbledore's connection to GG, one would have thought that she'd include such a racey little tid bit.

Also, I wonder about what sexuality means in the HP world. I would tend to think that being publicly acknowledged as gay in our world would make it hard to be Headmaster of a school where essentially EVERY wizard in England has to attend. I would think that the same bigots who hated "mugbloods" would fear gays and lesbians. Seems to me JKR wanted to have diversity without dealing with the issues it may have caused in the wizarding world. But hey these are just a couple of thoughts.

It is possible that no one knew of Dumbledore's sexuality, I mean there would be no need for anyone to know, but I wonder about such implications when a figure as scrutenized as Dumbledore was can keep that kind of a secret for so long and can feasibly believe it would have remained a secret until his natural death (which could have been a long long time down the road).