Well, this is interesting.
J.K. Rowling has outed one of the main characters of her best-selling Harry Potter series, telling fans in New York that the wizard Albus Dumbledore, head of Hogwarts school, is gay.
Speaking at Carnegie Hall on Friday night in her first U.S. tour in seven years, Rowling confirmed what some fans had always suspected — that she “always thought Dumbledore was gay,” reported entertainment Web site E! Online.
Rowling said Dumbledore fell in love with the charming wizard Gellert Grindelwald but when Grindelwald turned out to be more interested in the dark arts than good, Dumbledore was “terribly let down” and went on to destroy his rival.
That love, she said, was Dumbledore’s “great tragedy.”
“Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” she said.
The audience reportedly fell silent after the admission — then erupted into applause.
I must say, while the evidence was unmistakably there—it was pretty damn blatant—I didn’t really take it into account when thinking about the last two books in the series. And one of my biggest problems was how incredibly out of character the young Dumbledore was revealed to have acted. I felt that was a tremendous mistake on Rowling’s part, designed to add depth and complexity but in reality merely tarnishing yet another hero, so that in the end there was no one unambiguously heroic—hell, by the end, I barely thought there was anyone truly likeable. Certainly not Harry and with the revelation that (SPOILER!) Dumbledore had at least temporarily flirted with, essentially, magical Aryanism, not even ol’ Albus, greatest wizard of all time and kindly father figure.
Ah, but love? Love can make us out wildly out of character and leads oh so many of us to do things which are incredibly stupid and frankly inexplicable later. Why, just look at the normally quite rational and brilliant Top Management and her one glaring blind spot as regards love.
I still think the series sadly and unnecessarily flawed. But I’m certainly more than willing—happy, in fact—to admit it may not be quite as disappointing as I’d previously thought.