Dumbledore = Gay

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Time’s Gina Elliott was present at Carnegie Hall for Rowling’s appearance there. The full transcript is up at The Leaky Cauldron:

The question was: Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?

JKR: My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] … Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that’s how i always saw Dumbledore. In fact, recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying I knew a girl once, whose hair… [laughter]. I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, “Dumbledore’s gay!” [laughter] “If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!”

Jo also said after revelation: “You needed something to keep you going for the next 10 years! …Oh, my god, the fan fiction now, eh?”

My feeling about this is that it’s a lot less surprising than the headlines make it sound. I’m pretty sure it crossed my mind once or twice while I was reading — there’s always been something very confirmed about Dumbledore’s bachelorhood. (I think subconsciously the connection was hurried along by the fact that Gandalf — the proto-Dumbledore — is played in the movies by the gay, and very out, Ian McKellen.) Though I suppose it would have been just as logical to have him carrying on with Minerva McGonagall after hours. After all, if memory serves, the sex lives of the Hogwarts faculty are left almost totally blank? And who knows what really goes on in the Room of Requirement?

Bottom line, good for Rowling for making the courageous and politically progressive choice to out Dumbly-dore. But I find something a little frustrating about her continuing to muck around with the books after she wrote the final words. If she really wanted Dumbledore to be gay — and Neville to marry Hannah Abbott, &c., &c., &c. — why didn’t she just write him that way?

Update: way more insightful piece here, from my colleague John Cloud, who is also a huge nerd.