Author J.K. Rowling told a crowd at Carnegie Hall that Albus Dumbledore—the headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter books—is gay. The outing came in a question-and-answer session on Friday. A young fan asked if the solitary Dumbledore would ever find true love, and Rowling replied, “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay.”
What the commentators said
“Clearly this is the most exciting news in basically ever,” said New York magazine’s The Water Cooler blog. “We are kind of goofily proud of Rowling for springing this on an entire generation of kids and think this is the kind of out-of-left-field move that people might still be talking about 50 years from now.”
How could the world not have known? said Andrew Sullivan in his Daily Dish blog at TheAtlantic.com. “Let’s run a gay check, shall we? No known female companion ever. Brilliant in school.” Dumbledore also was “extremely attuned to and horrified by cruelty.”
Some fans had “speculated about Dumbledore,” said Bert Archer in the Toronto Globe and Mail. He never had a relationship with a woman, and had “a mysterious, troubled past” that included a very close childhood relationship with another wizard. Some fans said the news left them confused, but the crowd at Carnegie Hall “cheered,” and gay activists said “the biggest outing in the entertainment industry since Ellen DeGeneres” had advanced cause tolerance tremendously.
“Tolerance? Really? For who?” said the blog RedState. Rowling obviously has no “tolerance for readers who have beliefs different for hers.” The author obviously figured she couldn’t win over parents who didn’t agree with her, so she decided to “work on their children” by “creating an endearing story” to lure them in, and "then pulling the rug out from under the readers later by revealing some disconcerting facts about a beloved character.”
Authors don't have a duty to tell the unwritten secrets of their characters, said Rebecca Traister in Salon.com. They don't even have the right.
If Rowling wanted Dumbledore to be gay, said Lev Grossman in Time.com's Nerd World blog, "why didn't she just write him that way?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- 10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2014
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The GOP must try to win over African Americans
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
Subscribe to the Week