Yesterday, a misleading article claimed that the next Fantastic Beasts film instalment would ‘avoid’ Dumbledore’s sexuality…
In the world of offence, people were quick to tweet Rowling abuse and take insult that Dumbledore’s sexuality would be erased.
What they’ve missed is that it was Indie Wire that used the word avoid. Reading the article, director David Yates said in an interview that his sexuality would not be explored ‘explicitly’, then went on to say that Dumbledore and Grindelwald loved power and each other.
Two years ago, Rowling said in an interview that Dumbledore’s sexuality would be explored.
But all of that has been forgotten, and Rowling has supposedly erased all LGBT storylining because she is ‘homophobic’ and ‘out of touch’.
Apparently, the Harry Potter franchise does not include gay characters, and only has straight people. Are we forgetting that the whole argument here is that Dumbledore is a gay character and apparently that won’t be represented? Not once has it been said that will not be represented. People have read headlines and made assumptions on a script that has not yet been filmed or read or seen.
Are we also forgetting that Harry Potter has A LOT of characters, and not all of them have relationships defined or written down – meaning that, quite possibly, someone like Mundungus Fletcher could be gay, too?
Sexuality does not define us. It’s important to us, yes. We do need representation in films, novels and mainstream media. We are getting it. Films like Love, Simon will see a main character be a gay young man. Looking for a gay storyline in everything defeats the point of storytelling. In the real world, there are people who don’t have gay friends. There are people who don’t have straight friends. Sexuality is a lot more complex than just straight and gay.
Let’s not forget that the Potter novels were marketed to children, and the first was published in 1997. The last book was 2007. Sure, adults enjoyed these novels: but looking for serious, overbearing sexuality storylines in stories like this is preposterous. Only recently, attitudes have changed, and people are seeing more representation. Back when Harry Potter was published, that was sadly less popular. Arguing that there is no representation in those novels is not needed. It doesn’t hold its ground. It’s great that times are changing, but not everything has to placate LGBT storylines.
I write this as a gay man. Growing up, I would have enjoyed seeing LGBT representation. But the fantastic thing about the Potter books was the ability for imagination; I like to think Charlie Weasley is gay.
Demanding that Dumbledore has a gay romance in the second film of a five film series is naive. It shows that people do not understand storytelling or character development.
You see, how would you feel if you watched the next film and straight away Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald? No doubt you’d be moaning about how gay relationships have been stereotyped, and how it doesn’t work that way.
Because it doesn’t. Fans that read Deathly Hallows need to know one thing: it wasn’t insta-love. Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship was developed over mutual desire for ultimate power – the romantic element came through friendship and spending time together. Dumbledore fell in love. Grindelwald, in my personal opinion, seemed only capable of loving power.
Paying attention to the first Fantastic Beasts film, Grindelwald’s relationship with Credence suggested to me a desire for a man. Grindelwald is a corruptive, manipulative and dangerous character. He sought out Credence’s weaknesses and exploited them. Their relationship was rather intense, but in the end Grindelwald threw Credence aside when he no longer had any use to him. Isn’t that wholly possible for Dumbledore, too?
To have a character like Dumbledore defined by his sexuality would be an insult. The man is complex. He’s secretive. He’s thoughtful. The second film will explore Dumbledore’s formative years.
Do gay people not remember what it was like when you didn’t know who you were? I know I do. I didn’t accept who I was or what I liked until I was 19. When I was 21, I actually felt comfortable to say I was gay, rather than bisexual. My point is, in some people it takes time to accept who we are, and to realise who we are. I would much rather see Dumbledore discover who he is, and realise what he is feeling for Grindelwald, than be thrown straight into the middle of an intense romantic relationship.
Let’s also not forget that Grindelwald did not reciprocate 18-year-old’s Dumbledore’s feelings. We’ve been there, too, as young men falling in love. Inevitable heartbreak is just that: inevitable.
J.K. Rowling is a skilled storyteller that focussed on character development. Have trust in her ability to properly tell Dumbledore’s story. We will get it. And the outcome will be a lot better than it being thrown in to placate fans.