J.K Rowling is an amazing woman. Pressure from fans. Pressure from people too religiously rigid to have any sort of an imagination. And pressure, no doubt from herself, to stay true to the story she'd written. Yesterday, when I heard the big news of her revelation at Carnegie Hall, I was thrilled. I admit that I sometimes, fleetingly, wondered if Dumbledore might be gay. As we learned more about him throughout the last two books in the series, it occasionally crossed my mind. By the same token, if one wonders about Dumbledore, then one also wonders about other characters. There are a great many adult characters in the Harry Potter series who seem to be single. Indeed, most of the professors at Hogwarts are, from the reader's perspective, quite unattached.
I have mixed feelings on this news. First, I'm thrilled that J.K. Rowling is so upfront and honest. Her honesty brings to light a new attribute to an already very dynamic character. It's great that she's willing to let us get to know Dumbledore even better than we did before.
On the other hand, I can see a great many people reacting poorly to this news. The far right already hates her books because of their use of magic. Right here in New Mexico, there were book burnings in which her books were thrown into a bonfire. And it happened at a church. Opening the door into Dumbledore's sexuality will, I fear, lead to even more such unacceptable behavior. I could see many groups fighting even harder to denounce Harry Potter now that a prominent character in the children's lives is gay. Never mind what we know about Dumbledore being an advocate for what is right, a good disciplinarian, a bad-ass wizard, and an all-around great guy.
Another thing I can see happening, and it no doubt already has happened, is people going back through the books and finding passages that can be viewed with double entendre, and questioning events that before they never thought twice about. This I find an even sadder thought. Rowling clearly thought it unimportant to publicly mention what is a very personal characteristic of Dumbledore, at the very least until after most fans have read the books. Had she not been asked, I doubt she would have offered up this information. She did this for one very strong, very simple, reason: it is of little importance to the story. Yes, it sheds some light on a few events, and it does add to Dumbledore's overall dynamic. But it has virtually no impact otherwise. To go back and "read into" certain parts of the books would be extremely disrespectful to the author and to the story, especially considering how respectful the author was to her fans and to her books.
I admire J.K. Rowling now more than ever before. Had I been in the audience when she made the big announcement, I would have been one of the first ones jumping up and applauding. Even after having read the entire series, all but the last installment multiple times, she continues to amaze me.