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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Power of the Wand is Strong with This One

The Power of the Wand is Strong with This One

What does Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore want more than to vanquish the dark Lord Voldemort? The company of another man, apparently.

Recently, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling made headlines with her announcement that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore is gay. The revelation, as it as been called, has drawn a mixture of praise and criticism from “Harry Potter” fans and parents.

Some have called it a victory for the gay community that such a venerable hero of children’s literature should be of the homosexual persuasion. Others have questioned the message it sends to children. Yet no one seems to be asking the question that’s been on my mind. Was it really Rowling’s right to out Dumbledore?

Now, before you start your yapping that it’s her character and she can do whatever she wants, shut your trap for a second and hear me out. Rowling’s had seven books in which to let Dumbledore come out of the closet and she did not. Now Dumbledore has joined the ranks of George Michael and Larry Craig, exposed against their will.

Is that really the way to honor the memory of one of your most notable characters? Of course not, and now there will be the endless speculation as to Dumbledore’s motivation for spending so much time with the pubescent Potter, all alone in his tower with no one else around.

As for those who see this as any kind of progress for the image of the gay community, think again. Dumbledore, as a gay man, was anything but a role model. Here we have another stereotypical closeted gay man who kept his orientation a secret and was too afraid to share who he truly was. This only promotes the notion that homosexuality is something that must be hidden, as confused adolescents and teenagers are now given that message that even the most prominent literary hero of their era knows better than to come out of the closet.

In spite of all this, I still don’t buy Rowling’s assertion that Dumbledore is gay. I am a big advocate of reader-response criticism approach to literature. Literature is, by nature, open to interpretation; any high school English teacher worth the paper their degree is printed on could tell you that. What Rowling intends to do is amend the work she has already completed. Too bad I say. Rowling had years to choose how to write the “Harry Potter” saga, and she chose to leave Dumbledore’s sexuality untouched. Yet now, mere months after her final installment in the series hit the shelves she can’t stop tweaking and adding to her epic.

I understand that letting go of something that has been a huge part of your life for so long must be difficult, but seriously, let it go. At this point Ms. Rowling has no more authority to fill in the back-story than you or I. Her control over the series ended when she decided to send her transcript to the publisher. Anything beyond the words that are the page is solely her interpretation. It doesn’t make it so.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Dumbledore being gay, in fact in the limited exposure I’ve had to the series I’d even suspected he may be. He is not some cherished childhood figure for me. What really bugs me is Rowling’s failure to let the “Harry Potter” series go. Seriously J.K., it’s time.