Home > of note > I guess I'm not an originalist.

I guess I'm not an originalist.

October 22, 2007

Because I largely agree with Dorf on Dumbledore’s sexuality.

I don’t think Dumbledore isn’t gay; it’s just that I don’t care. Harry Potter has never been about the inner lives of the adults he’s surrounded by. Sure, we get flashes of that—as when Mrs. Weasley faces the Boggart—but otherwise, it’s just not relevant. And it is particularly irrelevant when it comes to Dumbledore, who took great pains to separate himself and his own history with Voldemort from Harry and Harry’s experience with Voldemort.

So, while I respect Ms. Rowling’s declaration, I don’t necessarily buy it. I don’t disbelieve her—I just don’t buy that Dumbledore, as written from Day One, was always conceived as a gay character. I think Ms. Rowling has looked at what she wrote—and maybe looked at it a few years ago as she was wrapping up the series—and thought, Huh. Dumbledore could be gay. Much like writers of fanfic did after Deathly Hallows. (I hear the Dumbledore-Grindewald pairing was quite popular in fanfic.)

So maybe I’m really a textualist. If it’s in the text, solidly and without question, then it’s there, part of the canon. It has to fit in the four corners of the text, so to speak. Dumbledore’s sexuality never appears in the four corners of the text. Ever. He could be gay, he could be straight, he could be asexual, completely wrapped up in his work. There’s just no evidence anywhere in the books that Dumbledore has a sexual life. It’s just not in the character. Sure, Ms. Rowling and her readers can look beyond the text and explore her characters and their lives—inner, outer, and sexual. But that’s not canon.

Categories: of note
  1. October 22, 2007 at 10:58 am | #1

    he could be asexual, completely wrapped up in his work

    If I’d ever thought about it, this would ahve been my guess.

  2. October 22, 2007 at 11:52 am | #2

    i had the same reaction. it’s almost as if she’s doing it as a publicity stunt or to make some sort of statement. i just don’t buy it, really. sure, he could be gay, and that’s totally fine. but does he need to be gay? and if he IS gay, why did she have to tell us after the fact?

  3. October 22, 2007 at 5:37 pm | #3

    I’m with you. There’s nothing in the text to support or disprove it, because it’s completely beside the point.

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