Monday, 22 October 2007

Harry Potter and The Death of Imagination

You've finished your 'epic' fantasy series, all seven books.
You've made tons of money off 'em, a lucrative movie deal, and have captured the imagination of kids all over the world.
What do you do next?

Simple, try to make MORE money capturing the attention of the gay community by announcing that one of your most revered characters is a homosexual, of course.

JK Rowling outs Dumbledore as gay

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay.

She made her revelation to a packed house in New York's Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her US book tour. She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found "true love". "Dumbledore is gay," she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago.

The audience gasped, then applauded. "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy," she said.

"Falling in love can blind us to an extent," she added, saying Dumbledore was
"horribly, terribly let down" and his love for Grindelwald was his "great tragedy".

"Oh, my god," Rowling, 42, concluded with a laugh, "the fan fiction".

Oh yer gods. It's not just the fan fiction that Rowling should be worrying about. One thing is for sure, one can never look at the books in the same way again.

IMHO, Rowling should have bloody kept a dignified silence on the whole subject, not because it's 'bad' to have your character be gay, but because it just spoils the fun for readers who like making up their own conclusions and imagining what certain characters are like in the books they read (of course, I don't even see why the question of Dumbledore's sexuality should be relevant at all in the first place. Not like it adds anything extra to the story after all, it's a bloody children's fantasy novel, fer gawds sake).

You see, the impression one has of a character plays a BIG role in the enjoyment of a book. The magic of books is that you don't really need to EXPLAIN everything in detail - you just sort of made things up in your head, guessed and imagined your way through the books. You could sort of guess that Aslan is something like Jesus in The Chronicles of Narnia, but it was up to you whether to actually take that view of the character and stories. If you did, fine, but that doesn't mean that everyone who read that book took the same views as well.

This is exactly why I think that although the LOTR movies were awesome, they also took a lot of imagination out of the books, because people would be reading about Legolas and instead of imagining in their minds what the elf looked like, they would see Orlando Bloom instead.

Same thing there. With this announcement, Rowling has changed the entire perception of future readers of her book regarding Dumbledore. Where before, fans could imagine whatever they wanted of Dumbledore, whether he was gay or not, whether he and Professor McGonagall had a 'thing' going on, or heck, just dispense with the whole sexuality thing and take him as an omnipresent Gandalf/Obi-Wan type father-figure; now they only have one possibility.

And armed with this new knowledge, possibly the only imagining that readers will be doing is stuff like:
  • "Hmmm, so is that why Dumbledore is so protective of Harry all along?"
  • "Is that why Dumbledore likes to be alone with Harry so much?"
  • "Should Michael Gambon act more effeminate in the next movie?"
  • "So THAT'S why Dumbledore wanted those socks!"
  • "Is that why he is so good with his wand?"
  • "Could something that happened in the past be the reason that Tom Riddle hates Dumbledore so much?"
  • "If Dumbledore was smittened with the 'bad wizard' type, does it mean he likes it rough?
  • "If Dumbledore is gay, could Professor McGonagall be a lesbian too? She IS single and always hugging Professor Trelawney after all..."
  • "Was Dumbledore 'fond' of Snape as well?"
  • "So is Dumbledore the receiver or the receivee in a relationship?"


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