Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumbledore is Out

J. K. Rowling made history again by not only inspiring more kids to read than all the Louisa May Alcott and Hardy Boy books put together, but by outing a much-loved character posthumously when Hollywood prepared to cast Albus Dumbledore in a heterosexual hue.

Apparently, unknown to this Potter fan, there has been talk for years about Dumbledore’s orientation, something that I’d never particularly thought about--he seemed above corporeal questions of heterosexual versus homosexual, he seemed beyond passion and into a spiritual sphere that encompasses universal love a` la Jesus Christ or Big Bird.

But having read the books multiple times (except for the last, which I await on tape for my leisurely listening pleasure instead of speaking it rapidly while our youngest slept), I should have considered that Albus was more interested in women in a courtly manner, than in a lusty one, and that his male friendships seem to be his most passionate ones.

Rowling’s explanation of outing Dumbledore, that the script for the Harry Potter 6 film had Dumbledore referring to a woman he fancied and she wanted to set the record straight (so to speak), let us also into the subtle secret that Dumbledore’s error regarding the nature of Grindelwald was the blindness caused by love, not merely bad judgment and youthful folly.

After all, haven’t many of us fallen for a bad hat or two? I know I have.

J. K. Rowling, during her American tour, told audiences that the entire series could be read as a “call for tolerance.” I would go farther, that the tolerance she called for Giants, Werewolves, and Prisoners of Azkhaban, is also the acceptance and equality she asks for House Elves, Awkward boys and Loony girls with strange jewelry. I know that is one of the reasons the series spoke to me, an awkward loony girl grown up into a weird-ish woman in a persecuted minority (as an atheist, not a lesbian--that’s far more acceptable), and to every adolescent and kid who thought they were the only one who ever felt that way.

Go Jo.

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