Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trust, but verify (revisited)

UPDATE: Author and HP friend John Granger has written an excellent post at his Hogwarts Professor blog. Please take the time to read it all. It's excellent! You can find it here.

Commenting continues at the post "Trust, but verify" and it's now rolled off the page so thought we would put a link up here in case you are following the conversation on that post. Check Dee Dee's recent comment as well. She brings up some very good points.

Also, here's the more recent post on the recent opinions of author J.K. Rowling here.

In addition, you may want to check out these conversation threads on the topic. Our good friends at "Sword of Gryffindor" and at Hogwarts Professor are hosting excellent table discussions, including comments from those who were at the Carnegie Hall event Friday night. Check it out!


Faith said...

hi BabyBlue:
I haven't read one HP book, yet, but now I am all the more eager to read them. Your comments and analysis seem very much a good rationale for JP to include Dumbledore as someone, who, as Leanne Payne would say, is "bent" towards a same-sex attraction.
My goodness, don't some of these HP fans and adorees who are now "sickened," "outraged," etc. know the whole ethos of British Public Schools?? I don't know they've all got their knickers in a twist. I think I shall begin reading The Sorcerer's Stone (I already have it) as soon as I finish the P.D. James I am reading.

Thanks for your reasoned and calm comments.


KJ said...

Baby Blue,

JK did not "spring" this on anybody. A reader asked about Dumbledore's opportunity to love, and JK responded. She did not make these characters up as she went along; she knew where she was going. In the past, when her readers have asked her a direct question, unless the response would have revealed too much about the plot, they have always gotten a direct answer.

Given the current "revelation", my admiration for Rowling's cleverness as an author is even greater than it once was. Those shocked by the revelation of Dumbledore's sexuality, a fictional character, I might add, take solace that he was apparently celibate his whole life, but as he was created in the JK's imagination, I'm not sure why one would assume that was the case, but good for JK for making it possible! Those pleased by the revelation are heartened to know that a much-loved and heroic character in a children's series is gay. The times, they are a-changin'.

If there are those who need to be fearful of something in the series, they might want to focus that energy on the fact that JK's revelation reveals that matters of sexual orientation are irrelevant in the big scope of things. Remembering that these are fictional characters, one reason they became so popular is because JK allows us to see them grow and change. The Dumbledore of his youth is not the humble man of King's Cross. No character is perfect (Well, maybe Lily.). Obsessive "love" is seen by gay (Dumbledore) and straight (Snape, Bellatrix). Those willing to give their lives for others include gay and straight. The reason Dumbledore's plan to defeat Voldermort is successful is because he believes Harry to be a better person than Dumbledore is in his ability to decline power and loves him for it. Sexuality is irrelevant.

In contrast, being inclusive of those perceived to be of the "wrong sort" by those in authority is seen as a value. Consider the characters of Lupin or the much maligned Sirius. Then, of course there's the matter of the house elves who are seen to be of little value, but are changed when seen as equals. I hope that morality lesson was not lost upon you.

Now, back to the real world, I notice sexuality, and expression of sexuality is not irrelevant in your point of view. One can apparently be a "gay activist", but not "Christian." It is assumed that "obsessions and idolatry" is at the center of homosexual "behavior." But perhaps even worse, you work harder to understand and explain a fictional character and his choices than you do to listen to the authentic, non-fictional witness of your brothers and sisters in the faith whom you dismiss sarcastically as presenting "idealized relationships...where everything is blessed and certainly not idolatrous." Greater compassion for a fictional character than for your brothers and sisters in Christ and for those not in the household of faith! This is a wonder of the likes I am unable to understand, and believe me, those outside of the church can understand it even less.

JK's writing is just another reminder that the next generation has come far in understanding biased and stereotypical thinking regarding matters of sexuality and exclusion. If that scares you, then you should be very afraid. However, I see it as a sign of hope as those that follow us will have other, far more important struggles to face from which the current state of affairs distracts.