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Thread: For the Harry Potter Fans.

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    For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Apparently, Dumbledore Is gay. It stinks of an author trying to get attention to me, but I don't know. I haven't read the books. Its not that I think they would be bad, its just that 1 I don't read many books and 2 If I read a book it usually has something to do with history. Is this fact really that important to the books? If it is, then its a different story, but if it isn't, why is it so important that she tells kids about it. Kids have to learn about tolerence, but I've always been one to believe that if you have to point out things like this, you put them under the spotlight thus causing people to treat them different. That is supposedly the opposite of what you want to do IMO. I believe not in tolerence (because that to me means putting up with something that you find irritating. I've never liked using the word in this context. Personal pet peave I guess), but in equality. Sorry, I got carried away. Don't want to turn this into a political discussion. Rant over.

    I just have a hard time believing that this is relevant to the plot. The only thing I see this possibly being is character development, but if that was important, why wasn't this made clear earlier? Just curious how the Potter fans feel about this. Don't need to know if it stands against you moral values or what ever, just if you believe that it was relevant to the story. I just want to know wether you think the author just wants to create the controversy, or if she truly believes it to be a relevant point. Maybe this should have been a poll.

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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    As I started reading the article I didn't like that she's mentioning this now, it really isn't relevant to the books. However I've heard the Rowlings has huge files on her main characters with information that never made it into books just so that she can consistently reflect the motives and actions of the characters, so it doesn't surprise me that she would have been thoughtful of Dumbledores sexuality when writing the books. And I actually think it gives an interesting insight into his character. I think it will make the books more interesting to reread.

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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Is it really that significant how the author views her characters? One of the joys of reading a novel is that it engages your imagination and you make the characters your own through the way you see them. My impression of Dumbledore will not change regardless of a writers attempt to inspire tolerance after the fact.

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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    There was nothing in the books to suggest Dumbledore was gay, not even his relationship (as a young man) with Grindelwald, which readers don't even learn about until the last novel. As clearly outlined, their friendship evolved due to shared interests and power seeking.

    I'm sad that the author said that. It really has nothing to do with the Harry Potter stories and surely adds nothing. And if he was, why not bring it into the story in an effort to help young readers to understand it better... or at all, as I'm sure many young readers have no idea what it means to have a crush on the opposite sex, much less what it means to be gay, though I know I wouldn't want my child to hear about it from a novel geared toward children (though for the life of me, I can not fathom a 6 or 7-yr old child enjoying these books due to the intricate, hard-to-read language and the difficulty of the names, but obviously they do).
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    IIRC, she's writing a Harry Potter encyclopedia. I'm sure there will be a lot of background info on everything imaginable and this will be explained in more detail.

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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    I found that one of the more charming elements of the book was the fact that none of the professors seemed to have any real social lives outside of their interactions with one another (and the occasional nefarious dealings of Snape and/or the drunken antics of Hagrid). There wasn't a single professor (male or female) at Hogwarts that was married, none of them ever mentioned having kids (that I can recall), and they all appear to live at Hogwarts year round, etc.

    I always thought the reasoning behind this was twofold --
    1.) Because the stories were really about Harry, Ron and Hermione and the other characters they came in contact with were more to advance the plot than to really be character studies of their own, and
    2.) Because it reflects the view of our teachers that we had when we all were little. I can only speak from personal experience, but I had absolutely no idea what happened to my teachers when they left school. It never even occurred to me that they went home to families, had kids of their own, etc. It wasn't until I got a little older (say, jr. high) that teachers started to be real people, independent of their "teacher" status. Even in high school, though -- I can count on one hand how many teachers I knew anything more about than their name, what subject they taught, etc.

    It wouldn't bother me to find out that Dumbledore is/was gay. I certainly don't believe it has any impact on the plot of the books at all. If the author would've wanted the audience to consider the sexuality of Dumbledore, it would've been made more explicitly known to the readers. What would really bother me is if people start to spin this into a Dumbledore-Harry thing and try to deconstruct their relationship in an attempt to show anything other than friendship and respect. That violates the spirit of the books, IMO.
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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    It actually has a huge effect on the story. Not on the plot, per se, but on the psychological underpinnings of the story and the books' themes. Dude killed Dumbledore's sister. Being blinded by love is an enormous recurring theme in these books, and with this being the case, it does everything in explaining why Dumbledore made some of the decisions he did, why he was blinded to the obvious good and right at times. It's hard for me to understand why people might ignore that. If Grindelwald had been female, everyone would be falling all over themselves with the realization of how much that love story affected Dumbledore's decisions (if they hadn't already picked it up on their own). That whole Dumbledore backstory doesn't come up until Book 7, but it's at the crux of the whole series. It's the reason Harry's life happens the way it does.

    I see no reason for this to have been mentioned in the books. Not because of reasons of sexuality and explaining to children and all that (although I do see that aspect, though I wish I didn't have to), but because Rowling is a good writer and doesn't have to spell out everything for us. But in retrospect it makes a ton of sense, it sheds a lot of light. And Rowling is notorious for the extensive background development she does for her characters, so that coupled with how much sense it makes leaves me no doubt that she knew this all along (ie. it's not a publicity stunt).
    Last edited by vaticanplum; 10-22-2007 at 11:37 PM.
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    I guess I just didn't read into it quite that deeply. IMHO, it's just as understandable to believe Dumbledore and Grendelwald were just close friends, until they both became too greedy for power and dueled it out.

    I really don't read all that into the previous books, even in hindsight, and I'm certain that a young reader wouldn't.
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    I find it a bit disingenuous for her to come out now that all the books have been written and out the door. I'm not suggesting she doesn't have plenty more money to make, but she runs a risk announcing something like this before she's finished. She didn't mind keeping it to herself all those years. Now she's open with it.
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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamBoone View Post
    I guess I just didn't read into it quite that deeply. IMHO, it's just as understandable to believe Dumbledore and Grendelwald were just close friends, until they both became too greedy for power and dueled it out.

    I really don't read all that into the previous books, even in hindsight, and I'm certain that a young reader wouldn't.
    No, but these books aren't just for young readers. They're works of literature. That is the whole point of literary analysis, to understand stories on a deeper level than what is simply spelled out, and authors often elaborate on subtler points of plot or character after the books are finished. And good books often have explanations on more than one level, especially books that are purported "children's" books. The Narnia books can be read and understood by children, but they have completely different themes and levels of understanding for adults.

    The Harry Potter books are very intricate and clever books, I would not be surprised if they are studied at the high school and/or college level at some point (if they're not already).
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    Being blinded by love is an enormous recurring theme in these books, and with this being the case, it does everything in explaining why Dumbledore made some of the decisions he did, why he was blinded to the obvious good and right at times.
    Good point, VP. Your perspective makes sense.

    And there are college classes that examine Harry Potter as literature. I remember seeing one a year or so ago in Mizzou's course catalog.

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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    No, but these books aren't just for young readers. They're works of literature. That is the whole point of literary analysis, to understand stories on a deeper level than what is simply spelled out, and authors often elaborate on subtler points of plot or character after the books are finished. And good books often have explanations on more than one level, especially books that are purported "children's" books. The Narnia books can be read and understood by children, but they have completely different themes and levels of understanding for adults.

    The Harry Potter books are very intricate and clever books, I would not be surprised if they are studied at the high school and/or college level at some point (if they're not already).
    I definitely agree with this observation. In fact, like I stated in my initial post, I find it hard to believe that some young readers could even enjoy these books because of the writing level.
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    No, but these books aren't just for young readers. They're works of literature. That is the whole point of literary analysis, to understand stories on a deeper level than what is simply spelled out, and authors often elaborate on subtler points of plot or character after the books are finished. And good books often have explanations on more than one level, especially books that are purported "children's" books. The Narnia books can be read and understood by children, but they have completely different themes and levels of understanding for adults.

    The Harry Potter books are very intricate and clever books, I would not be surprised if they are studied at the high school and/or college level at some point (if they're not already).
    I'm glad I can get a better understanding of how the books are percieved by the readers. Like I said, I have never read the books and have always percieved them to be written for kids because of the history behind them and the fan base seems to be at least equal part kids. I think they are great works by a brilliant writer just because of the amount of attention they have gotten. You don't get that just by being a fad as I would have probably said these books were a couple years ago. However, I don't think we will know their true impact until years after the fact. These books inspired tons of kids to start reading.

    I don't want to discount any of that.... But my cynical side knows that when some people start getting attention, they want more. Especially when they haven't had any before. People, by nature, have a hard time with that. It is just odd to me that if she didn't want to make it a point to make it clear in the books, why would she want to make a big deal of it after words. The part of literature that is so great is dissecting characters and forming your own opinions. Let your readers form their own conclusions. Why did she have to tell people that he was gay. Let them figure it out. It would have been said by some that he was gay, then debated. It is part of what is fun about literature. Two people can take two different views from the same text. Who really wants the characters to be completely explained to them. It takes away the fun IMO.

    The cynical side of me wants to lean toward that she wanted to create intrest in her book by more people. She is definately playing up the fact that some churches don't like her work, and her revelation is something that is going to stir that demographic more. Why does she want that controversy? IMO it could be that she is trying to make her books apear more taboo than they really are. Taboo spikes intrest. Also sparks debate. It almost seems like she has created a cult-like following. It can't be a lesson on tolerance, otherwise she should have not said anything. That would mean that it isn't a big deal. She made it a big deal by making it a point to reveal it IMO.

    On the other hand, she is very into her characters. Maybe she wanted to make sure her work wasn't misinterpreted. I know its fun to read and interpret literature on your own, but if I write a story, I don't know if I could stand people coming up with conclusions other than the one I tried to portray.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Well, we can't possibly know her true motives, that's true. However, this is not the first time she's released a bit of backstory on her characters. She's been doing it constantly since the last book came out, in fact, and this is the first tidbit that I've heard referred to as a publicity stunt. She was notoriously secretive about all the research she did on her characters during the writing of the books, while making it well-known that she was doing it. Now since the series is done, I think she's let it all come out (so to speak). As someone mentioned, she's talked about an encyclopedia for months. This is just one of many tidbits she's released.

    I don't see how she could possibly generate more "interest" or money than she already has. But, even if that is her motive, it doesn't change the fact that this new information, along with much other information she's released, still makes a lot of sense and sheds some new light on the story. What do I care what an author's motives are if the work is good?

    On the other hand, she is very into her characters. Maybe she wanted to make sure her work wasn't misinterpreted. I know its fun to read and interpret literature on your own, but if I write a story, I don't know if I could stand people coming up with conclusions other than the one I tried to portray.
    The general rule of thumb in any kind of art is that once it's finished and given to the public, it doesn't belong to you anymore. It's subject to whatever interpretation and experience the members of the public bring to it. So if you write a story, just write it as well as you can and trust that your meaning is clear enough that people will catch it through their own glasses. In that sense, Rowling's comments are just fun. Had she not mentioned this, someone would have picked it up and at least theorized it at some point, because as I said, it just makes too much sense in context to be completely missed. As I said before, they shed extra light on interpretation, but the stories stand without this or any other fact. For those who love interpretation and analysis, though, it is nice to know.
    Last edited by vaticanplum; 10-23-2007 at 04:49 PM.
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    Re: For the Harry Potter Fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I don't see how she could possibly generate more "interest" or money than she already has. But, even if that is her motive, it doesn't change the fact that this new information, along with much other information she's released, still makes a lot of sense and sheds some new light on the story. What do I care what an author's motives are if the work is good?
    All points taken, and very valid. I'm just playing devils advocate.

    One thing about the above quote though. There a some people out there who don't read the book because the genere doesn't appeal to them... Like me. I would never argue that they aren't great pieces of work because they are. What I will say is I was never interested in the characters, the plot, or anything about the book before this. Since I have considered reading the book just to see why this was important. There are plenty like me I'm sure. To you, it doesn't matter because you loved the books. To people like me, this is the type of thing that spark intrest in the book. Not the book itself, but the debate surrounding the book. I want to know what all the fuss is about. The thing about people is they always want more. Money, fame, attention, whatever.

    The part of me that says people are good says that she just wants you to understand the characters better. I'm very glad that you are able to share your POV. You have really changed my opion about the subject because at first I was inclined to believe that it was more to spark debate than anything. That is just the side effect of politics and the people involved in the entertainment today. I tend to have a cynical view on famous people. I hate it, but you almost have to.


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