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J.K.'s surprising revelation about Dumbledore

by David Haber

Just a little over a year ago, on August 2, 2006, J.K. Rowling made a statement at her reading in New York City, at Radio City Music hall, that was big news and related directly to what we talk about on this web site. Well, tonight she's done it again. This evening, again in New York City, this time at Carnegie Hall, J.K. Rowling dropped a bombshell on the Harry Potter fan community.

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Reader Comments: (Page 11)

I wish Rowling hadn't said this. 1. Dumbledore was a very private man who did not reveal things about himself. His sexual preferences, and many other things about him, were nobody's business. It was disrespectful to his character to "out" him. It would have been more consistent with his character to have said nothing, and just let people wonder or draw their own conclusions. 2. Rowling said this in a crowd that included children as young as seven, who now have parents who have some uncomfortable explaining to do, to pre-pubescent kids who are not really old enough to understand , and who should be entitled not to have it sprung on them before their time. At Hogwarts, children gain knowledge and responsibility as they grow older and reach certain milestones. It's a big issue when Harry has to be told things before he is mature enough to handle it well. They don't have sexually precocious children in the books, and no headmaster of Hogwarts would be in favor of that. This circumstances of this revelation lacked dignity and wisdom, and was inconsistent with the books. I think Dumbledore would object strenuously.

Posted by karen from california on October 23, 2007 11:48 AM

Why not? Tolerance towards diversity is present in all the books.

Posted by Hyppocrates Smethwick from Italy on October 23, 2007 12:01 PM

Karen, while realizing that these are fictional characters, still we attribute a great deal of reality to their lives because JKR drew complex, reality-based characters. The fact that this was never mentioned throughout the series supported the fact that "Dumbledore was a very private man who did not reveal things about himself. His sexual preferences, and many other things about him, were nobody's business." And so, Jo never really mentioned it or drew undue attention to it.

And, yet, I believe that she has given us clues though, of course, we were focused on other things and perhaps didn't see them as such. As someone above stated, Dumbledore's clothing could have been a clue: his purple suit (noticed by Harry when he commented, "Nice suit, sir"); references as far back as SS that he wore high heeled, buckled shoes. Although, I have to admit, I passed that off as a quirk of older wizards.

In ly Hallows, I found it odd that Rita Skeeter's book contained a chapter devoted to Dumbledore and Harry Potter: the unhealthy and even sinister relationship between the two. Knowing Rita, it just seemed like the kind of sensationalism she would use to promote her book. But, now in hindsight, was it really a clue?

Posted by Hannah from Los Angeles on October 23, 2007 1:01 PM

For the first five books, I had an inkling that Dumbledore was , but as soon as I read the sixth, I knew for sure. Why? Because of the purple suit that he was wearing when he first met Tom Riddle at the orphanage. Don't ask me why that did it for me; it just clicked somehow.

Being that ity has been a trait that I've associated with Dumbledore for quite some time, it didn't come as much of a shock, and now that it's been confirmed, I really don't think it changes anything about the books. Not for me, anyway; I still find them just as incredible. It disappoints me, however, that so many of my friends have taken to trashing the books (which makes no sense, because Dumbledore being wasn't ever really mentioned in the books, and why is his being a bad thing, anyway?). It'll be interesting to see how many "devoted fans" turn out to be not-so-devoted after this revelation. I, of course, not be one of them.

Posted by Emily from Ottawa, Ontario on October 23, 2007 2:15 PM

well that was a surprise. but i suppose dumbledore had alot of secrets...

Posted by jeanette from Almond, Wisconsin, USA on October 23, 2007 3:39 PM

I don�t know if Dumbledore was . I believe that Rita Skeeter cast a spell on JK Rowling. "The life and lies of Albus Dumbledore" goes on.

Posted by Clio from venezuela on October 23, 2007 3:53 PM

It doesn't surprise me. When you meet someone in the real world, you don't always know what there prefferences are. Also the books were told from harry's point of view. She did a real good job of telling the story. This doesn't mean that I agree or disagree, but it kind of shows us what we don't know about even our best of friends at times. Just because someone is, doesn't mean that we know about it.

Posted by eragon on October 23, 2007 5:22 PM

I don't know what JKR was thinking. She surpassed all expectations in writing an incredible 7th book. Her books were "safe" for kids--meaning that they could read them without the constant bombardment of sexual innuendos that we are constantly trying to guard our children against. Every child is entitled to an innocent childhood, without having sexual issues hanging over their heads. Why in the world do they need to know this about Dumbledore? Like it or not, JKR has responsibility because of her huge influence with a vast aunce. As a former school teacher, she should know better. For me, my children, and virtually everyone I have talked to, Hogwarts has lost much of its magic. The world of joyful escape has become the world we were trying to escape from.

Posted by Lynne from San Francisco, CA on October 23, 2007 6:09 PM

I would like to express my thoughts again after reading the comments thus far. I still believe when you read a book, you perceive the character and their individual characteristics as only you imagine them to be. The beauty of reading is using our imaginations. We all know that the greatest wizard, Albus Dumbledore, is a fictional book character, therefore the perception that he is or not, is irrelevant to the HP story.

Now having said that, in the spirit of debate or fun, let me comment as others have done. If one is to re-read various passages in the books, one can perceive or interpret many meanings. For instance, I ask you, "what did Dumbledore see in the Mirror of Erised"? Now, that JKR has stated that she always thought of him as , this coming after book seven was published and read by many. I want to believe that he saw his family (as Harry did) together and whole. However, didn't Lockhart say something like "books can be misleading"?

Posted by James from UK on October 23, 2007 6:39 PM

First, I want to congratulate every single person posting on this site. The tone here is so much better than at another web site I've been visiting.

I was extremely disappointed in Jo Rowling's announcement. Dumbledore's clothing and his love for Harry aren't clues that he is . Fudge has a lime green bowler hat, for Pete's sake! There was nothing weird about his love for Harry. Fathers (and mothers) love their sons and daughters very deeply and I believe Dumbledore thought of Harry as a son. I liked that Dumbledore was great friends with Grindelwald. A man as intelligent as Dumbledore would be very lonely and need a friend who was an equal, a bit like child geniuses. I think that a man such as Dumbledore would be incredibly hurt and shocked that his friend was such a nasty piece of work. I just don't think Dumbledore is --no matter what Jo Rowling says! It's true we are all excited to find out cool things about the characters, but I really think she should not feed us any more information like this. I like books and I really like the images that good authors create. I also like the images that I create in my own mind. If the community wants to imagine Dumbledore is --whatever, but when asked "Did Dumbledore ever have a love?" Jo should have given us her "Mona Lisa" smile and kept her lip zipped.

I also agree with Karen who spoke earlier that this announcement was disrespectful of Dumbledore himself.

Posted by amberclear from Oklahoma on October 23, 2007 7:41 PM

The only thing that bothers me in all the discussions I've seen is that a lot of people are acting like JK went out and called a press conference to out Dumbledore. She didn't. JK was asked a direct question and she gave a direct answer. This is something she has done numerous times before, often divulging tidbits of information about characters beyond what she actually put into the books.

Given his (let's face it, utterly over-the-top) campiness, Dumbledore being is hardly a shock. Dumbledore, like most of the Hogwart's faculty, was a bit of an ivory tower intellectual and , straight or indifferent his romantic history wasn't a significant aspect of stories which were, of course, written to revolve around Harry. Like Professor McGonagall and the other teachers, Dumbledore is a strong presence in Harry's world, but the story doesn't center on him. So his romantic history doesn't play in the story. This, incidentally, is what led to someone asking if Dumbledore had ever been in love. The question was pertinent because no answer was to be found in the stories, just like the answers to the question of whether Hagrid ever married.

Posted by Daniel from Philly, PA on October 23, 2007 9:42 PM

Frankly, it didn't affect me much. So what if he was ? It's not as if he did anything bad (he didn't do anything to Harry in the Weasleys' closet in HBP...)

However, I wonder how the screenwriter take this new information into consideration for the 7th movie.

I would just ignore it, though.

Posted by AtelierGal on October 23, 2007 10:18 PM

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