Dumbledore ....

Discussion in 'The Rec Room (Sports and Entertainment)' started by michaeledward, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. michaeledward

    michaeledward Grandmaster

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    J.K. Rowling had a reading in New York recently. In response to a question from a young attendee, she informs us that Albus Dumbledore was gay.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/50787

    I don't know that it means anything, to anyone, but it is interesting.

    The religious conservatives were already displeased with the story because of the wizardry. I don't know that this will make much difference to anyone.
     
  2. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    She's making that up!





    You know that's funny
     
  3. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    :) Didn't she make it all up? I want to be a writer....
     
  4. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    This raises an interesting question: once an author has created a character and turned him or her loose upon the fictional world, to what extent does the author's private attitude and speculations about that fictional character require us to `sign on' to that attitude, or view, or picture, or whatever?

    Maybe JKR pictured AD as gay from the outset, and maybe she didn't. Not being a mindreader, I've can't imagine taking a strong view myself one way or the other on her intentions, or her candor; authors aren't immune to playing games of one sort or another with their readers, after all. But the point is, I think, that there's absolutely nothing in the structure of the narrative, at any point, which depends on AD's being gay, so far as I can tell. Look: suppose JKR said, `Oh, just in case you didn't know: Dumbledore was a vegetarian'. I cannot think of a single episode in the whole HP epic which depends crucially on this interpretation... or on him being a meat-eater. Does AD automatically become what JKR thinks about him after the fact?

    You can say, well, he is whatever JKR says he is, after all, she created him. But I don't think that follows. In the whole HP epic, AD's sexuality, or preferences in diet, or music, or any number of other things, play no role, are never mentioned, and do not, explicitly or implicitly, drive the story. What AD `is' is determined, in a very basic sense, by what the story itself shows him to be. And the story does not reveal his sexuality, any more than his attitude towards eating meat, or his love or hatred of jazz, or whatever.

    What I'm trying to get at is that there is a shared AD, the AD of the Harry Potter saga. And there's a private, personal, individual AD, the one that JKR conceives one way, and you conceive a different way, and so on. An author doesn't have unlimited rights to define a character retroactively, once they've put the pen down. At that point, the character is what the tale shows them to be. In anything outside the evidence of the story itself, as written, the author is just one more fan.
     
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  5. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Well, coming form a person who quotes Hermes Trismagestis in his signature, I'm sure you can see why AB would be gay. Think about all of the magi that were gender ambiguous or out right gay. As far as occult practices go, that sort of thing is part and parcel. Especially when you consider the unifcation of the male and female, left and right halves of the brain, humanity, the soul, etc...
     
  6. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    As Dumbledore was never linked romantically in ANY of the books, and she claims she isn't going to write anymore, a few questions spring to mind:
    So?
    Who cares?
    Was it the robes? It was the robes, there was nothing under the robes was there?
     
  7. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Or androgyenous or completely nonsexual. That's the point. Nothing in the narrative structure or the symbolism or anything else entails any particular view of Dumbledore's sexuality.


    But this passage would apply across the board to any practitioner of `occult practices' in the saga—i.e., the whole wizarding world. And clearly that's not the case: the are plenty of practitioners of the `occult practice' of wizardry who are emphatically heterosexual. So the mere fact that AD is a wizard can hardly constitute support for attributing any particular sexual preference to him, eh?

    What perturbs me about this kind of story is the logic involved in an author imposing a property on a character that has no roots at all in the narrative—in the storyline, the description, or the iconography. It leads, I think, to a completely untenable breakdown of logic if you go that route. For example: JKR says that AD `is gay'. But imagine that, a decade or so up the line, she reexamines the character and decides that no, he isn't necessarily gay at all, in fact (as she later decides), certain of his actions in the book suggest (to her, NB!!) that he's not gay. Maybe he's heterosexual, in her new view, or maybe he's asexual—remember, in at least one interview she describes Dumbledore as an angel. Whatever her new view of him, just what does this do to our view of what AD `is'? Is it that he was heterosexual/asexual/metrosexual/etc. all along? Or that he was gay as long as she thought he was, but once she changed her mind, he miraculously become retroactively ungay, like someone going back in time and changing the past by a single action so that the present becomes totally different as well? ....??

    The symbolism of Hermes, and the hermetic tradition HT wrote from, is way more complicated than the triple occult/sacred/gay imposes. I've no objection in the slightest to JKR entertaining her own private, fan's opinion of AD. But the character she created has his own existence separate from her after-the-fact gloss, and alternate conceptions of him, to the extent that that they are compatible in all respects with the stories, are equally valid.
     
  8. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    BTW, did you know that Dumbledore was based on John Dee.

    He is an interesting charactor in and of itself...
     
  9. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Is't true??? I didn't know anything about this... Rowling said something about this in some interview, I imagine?

    Interesting guy... a lot of scientists of the time moved between the scientific/rational and the hermetic/occult without any sense of contradiction—Isaac Newton most prominently, but Johannes Kepler and many others too. He actually came off luckier than he might have—with the kind of attention Dee attracted, he could have wound up in way worse shape. Giorano Bruno was a notable contemporary of Dee's, another pioneering scientist/astronomer with a taste for the occult, except he wound up getting burnt at the stake... it was a dangerous time to attract the hostile scrutiny of the religious establishment.
     
  10. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    What does it matter? Who cares?

    It's always interesting to see what an author thinks of her characters and to see how it informs the way she writes them. Did she think this affected the career he took, his interest in caring for others' children since he wasn't likely to have any of his own, his relation to his family and all that implied? I don't know, but it will make me take a second look at the books.

    As to Thrice-Blessed Hermes, Priest, Wizard and King, yep the symbolism is complicated. There's a lot of serious juju in transgression and even more in transformation and transcendence. Anyone wanting the quick surreal tour is invited to read Allan Moore's superb graphic adventure Promethea
     
  11. Clark Kent

    Clark Kent <B>News Bot</B>

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    J.K. Rowling says Dumbledore was gay
    By Rowan - Sat, 20 Oct 2007 06:44:12 GMT
    Originally Posted at: Nephrites Citadel

    ====================

    J.K. Rowling Outs Dumbledore
    by Natalie Finn
    Fri, 19 Oct 200709:17:22 PM PDT


    Quote:

    Albus Dumbledore took quite a few secrets with him to the grave. And it's possible that even he didn't know about this one.
    After helping Dumbledore's favorite pupil uncover a treasure trove of information about the Hogwarts headmaster in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,the final installment of her billion-dollar fantasy series, J.K. Rowling has pulled something new out of the pensieve:
    Dumbledore was gay.
    (What you just heard was the sound of conservative religious groups scribbling down one more reason to loathe the Harry Potter franchise.)
    "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling explained Friday in front of a packed house at New York's Carnegie Hall, where she capped off her first U.S. book tour since 2000.
    Which explains why the brilliant wizard was briefly blinded as a young man by the charm and skill of Gellert Grindelwald, his companion turned arch-nemesis who turned out to be more interested in the Dark Arts than a three-bedroom craftsman in Hogsmeade.
    After Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down," Rowling explained, he went on to destroy Grindelwald in what is considered in the wizarding world to have been the ultimate wand-toting battle between good and evil.
    That love, she said to raucous applause, was Dumbledore's "great tragedy."
    "If I had know this would have made you so happy, I would have told you years ago," Rowling said.
    If this revelation seems almost too whimsical, consider this: Rowling, who penned much of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in a café while living out of her car, can certainly be a bit cheeky, but it seems highly unlikely that she would try to put one over on a Manhattan landmark full of kids and other readers who have made her one of the richest people in England.
    While working on the sixth Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which focuses largely on Dumbledore and Harry's relationship, as well as the elder wizard's interaction with a young Voldemort, Rowling said that she slipped director David Yates an eye-opening note after noticing that there was a reference in the script to a girl in Dumbledore's past.
    There's no word yet on if this will affect Michael Gambon's character in the final two Potter movies, which are slated for release in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
    Dumbledore's sexuality has apparently been of great interest to bloggers and chat room denizens for years, with his history—and intimate affinities—becoming the subject of much debate and, ahem, original short stories.
    "Just imagine the fan fiction now," Rowling joked.
    Of course, one could always have shrugged off the lack of romance in his life, what with his hectic work schedule and his penchant for secrecy.
    And, as the scarred one learned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore could be quite temperamental, especially when protecting those he loved.


    http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=c2b40da2-2406-4e8f-bc89-6fc11d1b0e41&entry=index&sid=rss_topstories&utm_so urce=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_ topstories


    Read More...


    ------------------------------------
    Nephrites Citadel - SciFi/Fantasy/Anime and More!
     
  12. Brother John

    Brother John Senior Master

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    That's VERY interesting!!
    John Dee was VERY VERY interesting!!! The system that he and Kelly "Skry'd" from the Angels is both profound and confusing. Dee didn't even understand it....tried to alter it several times.

    Those who came after him understood it much better and put it to a much more practical use.

    Your Brother
    John
     
  13. Brother John

    Brother John Senior Master

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    I wouldn't be shocked to find that she did it as an intentional poke in the ribs for the religious conservatives who have such a problem with her and her works.

    Personally, I LOVE LOVE LOVE The books.
    My 9 year old son and I are reading them together, every night before bed.

    In the end, what does it matter what JKR entertained in her heart concerning a characters sexual orientation???
    It doesn't....
    except to JKR! :D

    No matter how you fold it, it's a great story!

    Your Brother (Who's STILL a Sci-Fi/Fantasy NERD)
    John
     
  14. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Wasn't the guy who played AD in the movies gay as well? Again, so what? It has no bearing at all on how the story is written because AD never had any romantic interests that were linked to the stories.

    JKR is going to write another harry potter book, but it is an almanac type thing where she wrote the backstory of all the characters in the books so maybe this was part of that backstory she used to create AD and it was just never in the stories themselves.
     
  15. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Ok, here's the deal. I'm not an expert in occult, everything I know, I know because a student of mine who just got his Masters of Liberal Studies by studying this stuff in detail. Here's what I can tell you. The most powerful magic is cast by people who unite male and female, left and right, black and white. The rest of the wizarding community are not as powerful as AB because they do not do this.

    If you look at the Harry Potter story, JKR makes a point of showing that Dumbledore does all of this. She ties all sorts of symbols to AB that make a pretty clear allusion to John Dee and Hermes Trismagestis. My guess is that JKR studied this stuff to some extent before she wrote the HP series. I find this interesting, because she could have wrote a story with wizards and made a bunch of stuff up. Instead, she decided to draw from real occult practices to write her story.

    IMHO, it adds another element to her story. It makes me want to read the book again and see what I can pull out with my meager knowledge of this stuff.

    I'm thinking about passing this thread along to my student (who is also a member of MT) and seeing what he has to say. I'm sure he could give us a lot better perspective.
     
  16. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Personnally, I feel that once books have been written, the interpretation is up to the reader. If the author wants to change that perception and interpretation, they should write another book, or should have written the book differently in the first place. In this case, it makes no difference what AD's orientation was. Although author's probably have their own idea of each character in their minds, that is the beauty of books, every person who reads them gets to create their own perception of that character.
     
  17. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    I understand this angle; one of the most eminent people in my university's Department of History is a cultural historian whose research focus is precisely on this point of sexuality and magic, and the role of sexual transgression&#8212;the overriding of socially mandated borders&#8212;as a source of magical power. I was on our College's P&T review committee for his promotion to Full Professor last year, and I wound up reading quite a bit of his stuff in preparation for the discussion of his case.BUT...

    ... it's important to recognize that that is not the only source of magical power. Consider Gandalf, a comparable figure from LoTR, and one who in many respects constitutes a model for Albus Dumbledore: an immensely powerful figure who has a quasi-paternal protective role for a much younger person who he yet must send into the most terrible extreme danger in order to... well, save the world, basically. In the course of that involvement, he can intervene, but only up to a certain point, and henceuses his enormous power guardedly. The final actions, on which the success or failure of the young hero's quest depend, must be undertaken, in the end, alone, supported only by his strength of will, character and willingness to sacrifice himself. Both Gandalf and AD literally die, in a certain sense, and return, in somewhat different forms, in the course of this quest. So what is the source of Gandalf's power?

    It strikes me as very unlikely that JRRT, a devout Catholic, constructed Gandalf as a gay character. We actually know a bit about him: he was a Mayar, one level of immortal being down from the Valar, and his power, as various bits and pieces of Tolkien's writing makes clear, came directly from the Valar themselves: he is a conduit, into the ordinary world of Middle Earth, of the radiant power that the Valar themselves possess, which Tolkier identified as being, ultimate, goodness on a cosmic scale. Interestingly, just as Rowling has done with AD, Tolkien explicitly identified his archmage `offline', so to speak, as an angel. The power of sexual boundary violation, of the sort you and Tellner were alluding to, is, so far as I've read&#8212;and again, it's not my area!&#8212;with magic of a kind rather different from what AD and Gandalf embody. They are classic types of the `white wizard' (whom Gandalf actually becomes, in LoTR); nothing that they do suggests the kind of uniting of opposites across socially defined bounds that what has always been considered black magic does. Voldemort, yes&#8212;that would make sense, in terms of hermaphrodism or other major violations of cultural norms (think about the Horcruxes, e.g.).


    But she can pick and choose the way in which the symbols and `decorations' of traditional magic are actually used. That's the great thing about being a writer who has the freedom of unlimited syncretism&#8212;you can make up your own story. So far as I can see, there was no actual linkage in the logic of the narrative between AD and any particular sexuality.


    That would be a very good thing, UpN&#8212;I'd be interested in hearing what he said! :)
     
  18. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    Im not supprised. He wore a dress.

    And if you look at his eyes, all heavy lidded and slanty, I bet he smoked weed too, just like Gandalf.

    Hehe.

    Sorry, I had to.

    Actually, I just don't see what difference this makes. It's like in Mallrats when Brody asked Stan Lee if the Thing's Penis was made of rock too.

    IMO It falls under the "um, do we really need to know this to enjoy or dislike the series any more/less?"
     
  19. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    This bumps into something that pisses me off... Pointless sex scenes. Whether it's tv, movies, or books, it seems like everything has to have sex scenes. Even if there's no real point in the story... I've been reading Ghost by John Ringo. There are 100 pages there that could almost be entirely eliminated; I don't see what they had to do with anything else in the story so far. Same way... I don't care whether Dumbledore was gay, straight, or bisexual. He wasn't dating students at Hogwarts. Who cares? At least she left it out of the books & movies.
     
  20. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Well, I don't think its pointless. IMHO, I think it adds an occult perspective to the wizarding world that makes the story a lot more interesting. The fact that Dumbledore was gay according to JKR adds some historical significance to the series. It draws on many traditions. All of this has me wondering whether or not JKR left us clues to all of this. I may even go back and reread them to see...123
     

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