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Old 10-22-2007, 11:23 PM
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Default Dumbledore is Gay

TORONTO - The aging "Harry Potter" wizard Dumbledore might as well have posed for the cover of "The Advocate" in a leather harness for all the controversy that's erupted over J.K. Rowling's recent revelation that he's gay.

While gay Potter fans around the world were rejoicing Monday about Rowling's outing of the kindly Dumbledore in New York late last week, others were miffed that she didn't make his sexuality more obvious throughout the blockbuster series and questioned her motives in doing so now, months after the final book was published.

"I'm a gay fan and I'm not amused," Griet Verlinde, a 26-year-old psychologist from Belgium, said on the blog, a site devoted to gay and bisexual men in the entertainment and media industries.

"Firstly, how very 'nervy' of her to out him after all the books have come out and it won't harm her sales," she wrote. "Secondly, not a single rumour of this in the books. Nothing."

Predictably, right-wing Christian groups in the United States have also weighed in following years of assailing the "Harry Potter" series due to its focus on witchcraft. This time, Rowling's alleged crime is making homosexuals seem normal and kind-hearted to young readers.

Scott Dagostino, managing editor at Toronto's Fab Magazine, scoffs at the naysayers, saying Rowling did a courageous thing by making it clear to stunned fans at Carnegie Hall on Friday that Dumbledore is gay and was once in love with Grindelwald, something he says was long suspected anyway by some canny Potter fans.

Potterheads have pointed to lines like this one, from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," as providing clues to Dumbledore's sexuality: "'You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me."'

"The thing I find amusing about the whole thing is that Harry Potter has been loathed by the Christian right from the get-go - they see it as indoctrinating children into witchcraft and evil - so saying that the headmaster of the children's school is a gay witch, that's pretty much their worst nightmare," Dagostino said with a laugh.

"I think she was being very funny and quite brave in not backing down from these people."

Dagostino said Rowling did nothing wrong in keeping Dumbledore's homosexuality subtle.

"Part of the theme of the books is the fact that the adult world is very secretive. Book by book, Harry Potter finds himself drawn into these adult machinations, and Dumbledore is presented as a man of great secrets, so this just adds one more layer to him," he said.

"J.K. Rowling is a smart enough woman that she knows if she'd waved the rainbow flag, it was just going to draw attention in a way that she didn't want; it would have taken away from the story and become a distraction. I think the way she's handled it is perfect."

But Verlinde finds the out-of-the-blue revelation to be suspect.

"The timing does indeed seem odd," she said in an e-mail exchange from Belgium. "Rowling said: 'Oh, Dumbledore's gay' in response to someone asking if he ever found true love ... my question is, would she ever have told us if that question hadn't come up? When? When it was time for a reprint, perhaps?"

Canadian children's author Eva Wiseman, who's nominated for a Governor General's Award for her book "Kanada," wondered why Dumbledore's sexuality was relevant at all in an adventure series of children's books about wizardry and witchcraft.

"If you have a character and if the fact that he's gay is important to the plot, of course you would mention it. If you needed it to make the book more relevant or advance the plot, then you would mention it ... but if it doesn't make any difference to the plot or it's insignificant to the story, then why bother mentioning it?"

Wiseman has her suspicions.

"Maybe she needs more money!" she said with a laugh of Rowling, who is the second wealthiest female entertainer on the planet, after Oprah Winfrey.
I was utterly surprised. I can't honestly see why she would mention this at this point in the Harry Potter franchise, with two movies still in the works. What do you guys think?
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