Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rowling, Potter, Dumbledore: Who Are They, Really?

Rowling goes to church...maybe she's a Christian?

Potter's character and story was rooted in two Scripture verses? *see below

Dumbledore is gay?

In a previous post where I reviewed the last book, I mentioned the significance of the Scriptures used in the story, and the similarities between Harry's sacrifical love in overcoming evil with good, and that of Jesus. It seems that Rowling was intentional in this similarity - you can read about it at this link Here are two quotes from that article -
*While Rowling said that "Hogwarts is a multifaith school," these quotes, of course, are distinctly Christian. The second is a direct quote of Jesus from Matthew 6:19, the first from 1 Corinthians 15:26. As Hermione tells Harry shortly after he sees the graves, his parents' message means "living beyond death. Living after death." It is one of the central foundations of resurrection theology.

*"They're very British books, so on a very practical note Harry was going to find biblical quotations on tombstones," Rowling explained. "[But] I think those two particular quotations he finds on the tombstones at Godric's Hollow, they sum up — they almost epitomize the whole series."

I have to say that I was very surprised to hear Rowling announce that Dumbledore is gay. Apart from Rowlings disclosure, no one could have proved that Dumbledore was gay, though some claim they wondered about it. Dubious, I think. And of course, now people are going back through and looking for hints that support this claim; the LA Times (10.23.07) ran an article on seven clues that Dumbledore is gay. Some in the gay community are claiming Dumbledore as their hero, praising Rowling for her courage to insert a gay man into such a noble and famous position of influence on young children; the LA Times (10.22.07) printed a story asserting as much (along with many other newspapers - see links at bottom of post). Some in the gay community are diappointed by this revelation - the timing and the thinnes of the character's gayness; and Christians opposed to the series anyways have another piece of ammunition to add to their arsenal of arguments.

Here's my take on it, on why Dumbledore is the ideal Christian gay man, and why the gay community can't claim him.
Dumbledore was chaste.
Dumbledore's love of another man was his downfall.
Dumbledore remained committed to chastity in his life, in his school; he committed to righting his wrongs and convincing others to overcome evil with good and love.

Rowling is clever, but I still haven't heard a good reason for why she made this announcement now. Some denounce her for cowardness in not revealing it before the final book came out, accusing her of crass marketing ploys. Others praise her savviness, recognizing that this kind of announcement made too soon could have hurt record sales. It seems that Rowling has known for awhile that part of her background character plot required Dumbledore to be gay, but it is also clear that his being gay was not part of the actual plot.

But since so much Christian and Scriptural influence is imbedded in both the plot and the characters, is it possible that Rowling introduced the most famous gay man in literary history that was chaste and apolitical - influenced by Jesus' singleness, betrayal, temptations, love of men, and willingness to live and die for others? Could it be that Rowling imagined a way for millions of gay men to follow the way of Jesus which includes -amongst many other things - choosing chastity on purpose? Did she create a character to inspire gay men to follow the royal law like Jesus, but to deflect focus from their sexual orientation and instead insist on overcoming evil with good and love for neighbor?

Things aren't always what they seem...

Here are some links on this story:

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