British author J.K. Rowling. Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
British author J.K. Rowling. Picture: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

J.K Rowling faces backlash over Dumbledore, Grindelwald gay relationship reveal

By Carmelita Fredericks Time of article published Mar 19, 2019

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J.K. Rowling has faced backlash after doubling-down on her 2007 declaration that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, a beloved elderly male character, is gay.

Last week, in her comments feature added to the Blu-Ray DVD for "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," Rowling confirmed something fans have long wondered: Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard who's a friend-cum-rival, had "a relationship with a sexual dimension."

In the DVD commentary, Rowling says: "Their relationship was incredibly intense. It was passionate, and it was a love relationship. But as happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows, really, what the other person is feeling. You can't know, you can believe you know. So I'm less interested in the sexual side - though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship - than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationships."

Rowling published the first book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," in Britain in 1997. She wrote six more Harry Potter books before she outed Dumbledore, which she did only after the final novel was published. Just like this time, that revelation came not in the text, but in a 2007 question-and-answer session with fans, who broke into rapturous applause. She described Dumbledore not just as a gay man, but as broken, pathetic, unrequited, lonely, doomed.

The author is facing criticism for her often delayed comments on her characters' private lives, which are viewed as efforts to pander to a queer audience without manifesting those relationships on mainstream material, such as in the books or films.

One Twitter user wrote: "Well, as an "intense" homosexual, and a fan of her books, I've quite had it with J. K. Rowling piggybacking on LGBTQ+ folk because it's trendy to do so now, when she wasn't prepared to make the sacrifices and fight at a time when it wasn't so easy. Stop milking our rainbow (sic)"

While another said that he was "sad" that Rowling decided to bring sex into the wizarding world. He wrote: "[J.K Rowling] your the imagator of the wizarding world I'm a Nobody who am I to tell you what to do. I'm a fan and I'm sad that you brought sex into the wizarding world personally I don't feel that dumbledore is gay (sic)."

Rowling is yet to comment on the backlash.

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