It's official: Dumbledore is gay
I'm confused. Speaking to a packed Carnegie Hall in New York on Friday night, J.K. Rowling "revealed" that Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is gay. (And, in fact, that Professor Dumbledore was infatuated with Gellert Grindelwald.) But why didn't Rowling mention that Dumbledore is gay in any of the seven Harry Potter novels? After a heptalogy of speculation by fans, she now lets the wizard out of the closet during a book tour? Can you do that? I suppose if you are J.K. Rowling you can do what you like, but surely literary characters (and their personality traits) exist on the page. It seems pointless to invent significant chatacteristics for characters and reveal them to the public after the book series is complete. Peter Tatchell, while welcoming the outing of Dumbledore, asks why Rowling didn't make his sexuality explicit in the novels. Good question. Was she nervous about a possible backlash from some conservative Christian groups who were already unhappy about what they saw as the glamorisation of the "occult" in the children's series?
Incidentally, while at the Edinburgh Festival this year I caught a glimpse of "Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Potter Experience". It's a kind of Reduced Shakespeare version of all the Potter novels, and it's terrificially good fun for the entire family. Sustained laughter all the way, even from the non-Potter-heads in the room. Let's see if Jeff and Dan do a quick rewrite now to include a gay character when they bring their production to this year's Belfast Festival.