Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dumbledore is Gay, and Authority is Not to be Trusted

So tonight was The Night with J. K. Rowling. I'm pretty tired right now, and perhaps rather inebriated, so I'm going to keep this short. No promises on a longer post later, but we'll see. If you haven't actually read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, well ... at least one horrid spoiler follow.

The obvious highlight of tonight's event was the question-and-answer session. The questions were all picked ahead of time, and were largely plot-centric (which meant that questions relevant to writing process/style such as the one we submitted were right out). As much of the internet already knows by now (I'm such a slacker, going out for chocolates and wine afterwards instead of writing a blog post immediately), one of the most interesting answers was in response to a question about Dumbledore's past. A general meme with the questions being asked was "I'm such a big fan, your books have had such a big impact on my life, here's my question." The person (a young teenage girl, if I remember correctly) who asked about Dumbledore actually phrased these compliments fairly well, talking about how the books had taught her a lot about relationships. She then asked, since Dumbledore is such a champion of the power of love, "did Dumbledore ever find love?" Rowling's response was essentially, "Well, since you've been so honest with me ... I always saw Dumbledore as gay." This was followed, of course, by a huge applause and lots of cheering; and, of course, the idea that this wonderful (even if fictional) role model that so many people have come to know and love is *gasp* not straight is fantastic. As far as the Harry Potter plotline is concerned, however, it is also relevant: apparently Rowling thinks of Dumbledore as having been in love with Grindelwald, which is why he was so devastated when he realized Grindelwald's true nature... and then was so reluctant to confront him later in life. Another of Rowling's comments on this revelation: "Wow, if I'd known people would be so excited by this, I would have mentioned it sooner," and "Oh my god, the fanfiction now."

I found another exchange to be particularly interesting not so much because it was enlightening, but because Rowling delivered a particularly juicy quote. The question had to do with whether or not the Death Eaters were influenced from history by the (obvious choice of) the Nazis. Rowling basically kind of avoided the actual question, but she did say, "You should question authority and you should not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth ... the entire series is a prolonged argument against intolerance and bigotry." Very well said, Ms. Rowling.


Anonymous said...

Who decides which books get press (Gay-promoting Harry Potter) and which get censored? After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever (especially for books).
Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
America Deceived (book)

Blake Stacey said...

Is that the same Steven Jones who believes in "nano-enhanced thermite"? Hey, he's been trying to censor the "directed energy weapons" and "mini-nuke" conspiracy theories, so he ain't no saint either!