I recently read an article by MuggleNet about the whole controversy surrounding JK Rowling’s decision to not have Dumbledore waving a rainbow flag whilst parading down Canal Street, the gay village of Manchester, in the next movie instalment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. This isn’t the first I’ve read on the topic as it seems to be wreaking havoc on all corners of the internet and I am really struggling with a minority of the Potter fandom’s anger towards Jo with all of this Dumbledore’s love life in Fantastic Beasts business. Now before you all get your pitchforks out, no I am not some homophobic barbarian from the 1800’s, I love love in all it’s forms so please do read on.
The stories of the Wizarding World are not love stories, Harry Potter isn’t a love story and Fantastic Beasts isn’t going to be either, we’re not going to find them in the romance section of our favourite bookstore because love just isn’t the issue here, therefore, our beloved character’s sexualities are not an issue either. Dumbledore’s sexuality even being a cause for cyber-rioters and internet warriors everywhere kicking up a storm is just bizarre to me, now please don’t think I’m ignorant. The fact that such a pivotal character to both franchise’s is gay is a huge deal, I get that! But his sexuality just shouldn’t be at the forefront of this movie or of his story just as McGonagall’s and Umbridge’s (to name a couple) sexuality wasn’t, for all we know Umbridge could have been a lesbian and McGonagall bicurious but we never delve into that because it doesn’t drive the narrative, it doesn’t benefit the story and it just doesn’t make any difference to these character’s traits and personalities.
I think it’s fantastic that Dumbledore, the greatest most powerful, respected and loved wizard in the story is gay, what an amazing representation for the LGBTQ community. You couldn’t get a cooler fictional guy to represent. But his sexuality isn’t his story. His romantic history does not define his character just as mine and yours doesn’t. You wouldn’t go into a job interview and declare your sexuality because it doesn’t define who you are. You wouldn’t meet someone new and say “hey I’m Jack and I’m gay” because that friendship would likely end as soon as it started, not because Jack is gay but because that’s a bloody weird thing for Jack to begin his friendship with, I’m very sure his new pal doesn’t care if Jack likes boys, girls, both or neither. His new pal wants to know what Jack’s passions are, what makes him laugh or cry, what makes Jack, Jack! Jack’s sexuality doesn’t tell his story and neither does Dumbledore’s.
Dumbledore’s focus has never been love, that has been made clear to us throughout the Harry Potter series, more so towards the end when we learn a little more of his friendship/partnership/enemy-ship with Grindelwald and his passion for power. Dumbledore has never been your regular guy. People are getting mad because of course we see the Golden Trio fall in and out of love and eventually end up getting married and having babies and living happily ever after etc and because we’re not going to see Dumbledore have these same mundane trials and tribulations of life in his younger years in The Crimes of Grindelwald but Dumbledore isn’t your average mundane human, I doubt he has time for falling in love and wanting a cozy family life. He doesn’t hold the same values as our young Golden Trio. He strives to be the greatest he can be, which is evident by all of the extra titles and names he has after his own name. You don’t get all those accolades by having childhood sweethearts and great love affairs.
Dumbledore doesn’t have time for a boyfriend, I bet he barely even had time for a lover so it’s unrealistic (is it ironic to say a fictional scenario is unrealistic?) to expect Dumbledore’s love life whether he is gay, straight or anything in between to be of any great importance to his character’s narrative because I highly doubt he would have considered it noteworthy. Dumbledore’s sexuality and love life isn’t his story. The sexuality and love life of anyone in the Wizarding World franchise is not the story. The story has always been about the fight between good and evil, nothing more, nothing less.
We’re not here to see Dumbledore have some great love affair, we’re here to see him kick ass!
As a side note – I do agree there should be more representation for LGBTQ community throughout the series, more so in the Harry Potter series as realistically you wouldn’t find many people who are openly gay during the timeline in which Fantastic Beasts is set because it wasn’t even legal to be gay during that time, so in hindsight, perhaps if JK Rowling wanted Dumbledore to be gay, she should have written that into his snippets of backstory that we see in Harry Potter’s narrative. Anyway, I’m still hoping she will write and release The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore by Rita Skeeter and maybe then we’ll know more. Maybe we should start a petition for her to write it!
As always, thank you so much for reading. It’s a bit of a touchy subject I know but it’s a big topic for discussion at the moment and I just felt I needed to put my 20pence in.
P.s. I thought the quote used as my title was apt for this post, let me know what you think!