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MBunge

Rowling's comments bring to mind the idea that great writers (and I think she has to be considered a great writer, at least within the fantasy genre) are like great athletes. They both put in a tremendous amount of effort perfecting their skills, but what ultimately separates them from the not-great is something even they don't understand and can't express.

Mike

Stu

You know what I was thinking? That the Harry Potter books needed more flashbacks with the Pensieve, and maybe more newspaper articles and letters for characters to find and read, to adequately explain every facet of every character.

This is really a missed opportunity on Rowling's behalf. She could have had a much more fleshed out book, if she'd only come up with this earlier.

Ken Houghton

Uh, the parallel with Knowles's A Separate Peace was actually obvious on the first read-through.

And citing McMegan on things "[Rowling] forgot to put in" is laughable (especially when dealing with The Price of Magic, since the entire series revolves around that, starting with the Opportunity Cost of going to Hogwarts, particularly for Muggles--think telling the world that Harry goes to St. Brutus's, for instance; or the choice after Hogwarts of having to live in a world where most of your peers don't know what the purpose of a rubber duck is--not to mention that the presence of Squibs (Filch, the neighbor, etc.) makes it clear that magic is A Scarce Resource, in the same way that water or sunlight is.

I'll specifically address the questions later, when I have a chance actually to look at the books; for now, suffice to say, the "revelation" wasn't surprising.

sfmike

1. Using only evidence from the texts, show that Dumbledore is queer: Absolutely no evidence I can think of pointing in one direction or another, but that's also part of the character's narrative arc up until the very end. Dumbledore is a Wise Old Soul who is also a tortured Mystery Man and finding what that's all about is part of Harry's quest for knowledge.

Part Two: Show how Dumbledore's sexuality is important to the themes/narrative: It wasn't, which is probably why the fact wasn't in the books themselves.

And that brings me to my last question, another two-parter. Do the Harry Potter books support this much critical attention and if they are why are they worth it? Yes, definitely, and I'd say for the political subtexts alone. It's hard not to read about the Deatheaters without thinking of the Bush/Cheney regime and their worldwide partners in crime.

merciless

Andrew Sullivan answers part one like this:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/10/dumbledore.html

As far as part two goes, I don't think Dumbledore's sexuality matters at all (except that it makes me happy). My guess is that Rowling just wanted to give a big fat middle finger to all the fundies who rail on about her books being the work of the devil (and now they're REALLY howling).

Your point about the first generation of the Order is interesting, though. One of my problems with the wizarding world as Rowling wrote it is that they're, for the most part, lazy and naive. Their gifts have made it possible for them to become eccentric children who couldn't tie their own shoes without magic. My theory is that, when Voldemort came to power, they just didn't know how to fight, what to fight, or when. When Voldemort entered the Potter house, James didn't even have his wand in his possession. Neither, apparently, did Lily. And they knew they were marked.

Harry, who was raised by the worst sort of muggles, knew at least how to take care of himself. If he'd been raised by wizards, he'd have been a goner like his parents.

Ken Muldrew

"Which is the real Apocalypse Now? The movie that was released thirty years ago or Apocalypse Redux?"

Seeing America getting schooled by the French 30 years ago just wouldn't have worked. Now, however, it is delicious. But I'm still not ready for that weird surfboard scene.

Violet Mannion

I was having a talk with my friend Irene the other day. I asked her what she thought on the matter, and she said, "Oh my gosh! It all makes so much more sense now!!!"

I kind of just looked at her and nodded. "Sure.....Except...no, not really."

It brought fast and major publicity back to the books, a series which just ended and won't get much attention until
the 6th movie comes out. But all the same, I thought it was completely unnecessary.

Perhaps it helps with the "fan-base", it makes homosexual fans more interested and adoring of the series. The thing is, many of them probably already were, for the simple reason that they're good books.

Perhaps it was to get back at people who shunned the series already on the basis of it being devil-worship and the like. But if so, this wasn't a recent major news story, just an ongoing kind of thing. You think she'd pull a stunt like that while she was getting penalized for it. ("it" being devil-worship or antisemitism or anti-catholicism or something sac-religious)

It is very much like the apple painting.... I like that analogy. I think that announcing something like that to the viewer of the painting would end the mystique behind it. Take away from the fun or the element of awe and wonder. Instead of telling a story and wondering what happened to the boy, it shows a very obvious picture and leaves no chance to read between the lines.

It reminds me of The Little Prince, actually. The scene, near the beginning, where the Little Prince is unhappy with the sheep drawing until the pilot simply draws a crate, which pleases the Prince because he can imagine what kind of sheep is in there.

The only thing that "makes sense" about his character now that he's apparently been gay all this time is that he never got married. And the only reason we suppose he never got married? J.K. never mentioned it. Would it have been remotely important to the plot? Probably not. And then again, she never mentioned any of the teachers' personal lives, save for the friendship Dumbledore had with Grendewald and his siblings. So, by that logic.....Professor McGonagall is therefore a lesbian. And Professor Binns (history of magic) is heterosexual, and Quirrell must've been as well. Not to mention Filch, who, for all we know, may have been madly in love with Mrs. Norris, anyway.

Really, the only two 100% definitely heterosexual teachers that come to mind right away are Hagrid, who had a crush on Madame Maxime, and Snape, who was in love with Lily.

Maybe when he looked into the mirror of erised, what he really saw was an intense and passionate session with his old buddy Grindewald. And then again. Maybe he just likes wool socks. It could've been 1001 things.

And then there's the whole "let's assume they're gay because they were good childhood friends". Therefore, Sirius and Peter are also gay, James and Lupin are most likely bisexual, and Harry and Ron...well. Let's just claim she didn't detail every night they spent together in the Gryffindor common room to enough extent to satisfactorily prove them "straight".

Dumbledore's coming-out-of-the-closet was completely irrelevant to the plot, and I think his character was better off without it. I could see one of the other characters, perhaps....maybe his brother. But Dumbledore is supposed to be a wise old man, or, perhaps by the 7th, wise old fool. He's a mentor to Harry. I'm not saying gays aren't smart, or wise, i'm only saying it seems to clash with his character stereotype. (trying hard to word this without offending anybody, it's difficult. lol.)

I'm not against a gay-Dumbledore, i just don't see the point. (the point that is, artistically or for good writing.)

---- oh, and on the subject of Lupin's lycanthropy. It never crossed my mind that it could be an allusion to being homosexual. I always thought- and still do- that the idea being conveyed in that case was more of a "personal-demons" kind of situation or battle.

Jim

Rowling said the reason Dumbledore's sexuality came up was because one of the movies was going to depict him as once having a crush on a girl. So she corrected the director, but didn't need to make his sexuality explicit in the Canon.

Violet Mannion

Correction for clarification purposes:

"And Professor Binns (history of magic) is heterosexual, and Quirrell must've been as well." <<--- supposed to say "homosexual".

And another thing I believe I forgot to mention:

I like that she added a gay character to the books, but she should've actually written it in, and made it a character that makes sense. Or at least, more sense than Dumbledore.

Kyle Bosby

"Maybe she plans to. Maybe she's going to do what Tolkien did with Middle Earth and write her own Silmarillion that will give us the entire mythology behind the Potter books."


Just like to point out that the Simarillion was written BEFORE the rest of the Lord of the Rings books, so your anology does not work.

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