Friday, November 9, 2007

Blah Blah... Dumbledore is Gay.... Blah Blah...

I'll admit that I've been somewhat out of the current events loop since hubby and I turned the cable off a year ago to save money... But I hear snippets every now and then from the women I sit near in the office, random online news sources, and Giovanni and Kim on the way to work in the morning.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket So, through the grapevine, I've heard that JK Rowling has declared in an interview that Albus Dumbledore is, in fact, gay. Fine. This makes sense to me, and not only have I read all of the novels (most of them 5 or 6 times) but I also studied the series in depth for my senior thesis as an English Literature major. The only disappointment I feel about this latest subject of contention is the uproar it's caused amongst parents, conservatives, and holy-rollers everywhere. (Ahem - aka: those whose heads are so far into one anothers' busin---- Let's stop there before I go off on a tangent that I won't be able to escape from.)

People seem to be overly concerned with: (And do you see a theme here?)

  • How will this affect my child?
  • How soon will I have to have the "sexuality" speech with my ten-year-old when he/she hears about this?
  • Why is Rowling saying such things? I thought these were childrens' books?!?!?

First of all, let me just say that I understand the worry that parents feel regarding their children and reading material. Kids have to grow up way too quickly these days. However, it does seem that parents are neglecting to recall one very important thing about the Harry Potter series.... Not all novels featuring children as main characters were meant to be read by children.

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier is a fantastic example. Main character = young boy. This is apparently a troubling equation for most people who get their knickers in a twist when the book also features sexually-loaded excerpts and psychological drama unsuitable for a child's eyes. Newsflash: Authors (artists, remember?) should not have to limit themselves to adult characters because parents don't understand the concept of reading a book before their child does. Nonetheless, Cormier's novel is one of the most commonly banned books in the United States.

Of course, there are parents who read books before they hand them over to their children. In my humble opinion, these people should have no gripe with Rowling. The common question (usually squealed disbelievingly in the author's general direction) is something to the tone of:

"How could you allow your novels to become so increasingly more violent, gory, and dark as Harry grew older?? Don't you realize that young children are reading these books?"

Rowling pointed out in an interview that the first novel, which was allegedly responsible for an incorrect first impression of the books to come, BEGINS and ENDS with violence. One of the first ideas that the reader encounters is a child violently orphaned by a man (wizard) whose pure-blood-only outlook on life closely resembles that of Adolf Hitler. Harry's parents are both violently murdered when he is a baby - his mother, right before his very eyes seconds after she pled for his life and sacrificed herself in an attempt to save him. How does this send the wrong first impression? I certainly couldn't tell you, and Rowling doesn't seem to know either.

The moral of the story is:

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is NOT equal to

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I'm just sayin'....


  1. This is the first time I am reading your blog and i find your writing very succint and're absolutely right about the dumbledore thing.there is no rational reason why this thing should blow up into a scandal!its funny because people take offence when an author says that a she had always thought a particular fictional character to be gay!news channels speak the G word in hushed whispers lest they should be accused of being lewd...
    great article.its strange that none of the children had a problem.
    dumbledore is still a hero!
    P.S-i wish i could do a literatre major!

  2. you know, what strikes me most about this post is the extremely apt conclusion you've drawn- that books that feature children aren't necessarily for them.

    also, though I can understand that there are adults who find it hard to talk to their kids about homosexuality, there is an equal need for children to grow up with a full understanding of these things.

    and though I love Roald Dahl and am a big fan of his children's books and short stories alike, I find that even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and some of his finer stories have elements of a morbid, dark side.

    But I believe that children, if guided through these books can develop a more wholesome view of 'good' and 'bad', and it's a parent's job to do it.

    *sighs*. I often write terribly long comments. Forgive me.

    I've read a lot of posts on this topic, and yours is one that offers a new take altogether, so very nice indeed.


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