Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dumbledore's Sexuality - Does it Matter?

Written by Shiggins

He's gay!

Yes, if you don't know yet, it was established long ago and confirmed canon by Harry Potter author herself, JK Rowling, that Albus Dumbledore was homosexual. Recently, the director of Fantastic Beasts 2 has announced that although Albus will be making an appearance in it, played by the fantastic Jude Law, his sexuality will not be addressed whatsoever. And since everyone on the internet has been speaking about it, I figured I might as well discuss if this is a big deal or not.

Still my favourite portrayal of Dumbledore to date.
The first point to focus on should be the reveal of Dumbledore's sexuality, which did not occur until after the final book was released. The response to this reveal ranged from anger from right-wing Christian groups, including Mission America, to eye-rolling shrugs who claimed she was just doing it for the obsessive fans, and finally those who praised her for what many seemed as quite a bold move to make in mainstream fiction.

Personally, as a reader of the books and viewer of the films myself, my response was; "Oh, that makes sense!".

I wonder if there is a reason that Albus wears blue in the prequel series, when he wears red in the Philosopher's Stone. Hm? There isn't a reason? Well, Tumblr can find one, damn it!
You see, while never explicitly stated, the books did often make sure to let the readers know that Dumbledore and his relationship with Grindlewald, a former friend turned archenemy that Dumbledore had to defeat, was more than just simple companionship. Choosing Grindlewald over his own family, practically idolising him, talking about him in his old age with dreamy nostalgia... There were definitely signs that he wasn't telling us the full story.

Regardless of your opinion in this matter however, it is canon. And that brings us to the next topic; Does it matter if Dumbledore is gay in the context of the story? Not from a political standpoint, but from a narrative one.

In Harry Potter, the story is about Harry and his friends as they take on Voldemort and his underused cronies. Dumbledore is the wise headmaster who teaches Harry and bonds with him, like a modern version of Gandalf teaching Frodo, and we both know there are many more comparisons to be made between Gandalf and Dumbledore. In the main series, the focus is on Harry. Dumbledore is not the focus, and he doesn't have any character arc because... well, he's an old man who has already gone through all his arcs. He exists to help Harry, and any parts of his backstory is told in snippets, but it works because the story focuses where it should and everyone plays the role they should.

So in the context of Harry Potter, Dumbledore's sexuality means as little as Professor Sprout's.

Well, Albus certainly had some... unique tastes.
In Fantastic Beasts however, we are meeting the younger Dumbledore during one of the backstories we were hinted at during the Harry Potter books. This means we are dealing with a character that is almost vastly different to the older one, as he is still going through a character arc. Hell, he's not even the headmaster yet! Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to about his sexuality... until we realise which arc this is!

Fantastic Beasts 2 is called "The Crimes of Grindlewald" and, if the title didn't give it away, has Grindlewald himself as a major character, the main antagonist. Unless some major rewriting of Harry Potter canon is going to take place, then this film series will be telling the story of how Dumbledore took down Grindlewald and that Newt Scamander will somehow be involved with it. And as we all know, the most important factor in any rivalry is the emotional connection of the relationship.

Is he... trying to be the owl?
We loved seeing Voldemort fight Harry because of the hatred between them, with the incident in which Voldemort killed Harry's parents and Harry destroyed Voldemort's legacy being the initial cause of what would be a long and arduous journey for the duo. If this connection was gone, they would just be two faces bashing against each other until one of them fell down. Without a connection, you might as well have literal chess pieces be your heroes and villains.

The emotional connection in the case of Dumbledore vs Grindlewald is a fascinating one, and one that I feel could surpass the Harry vs Voldemort one if done accurately. This brings us back to the initial question of whether or not the sexuality is important...

In Harry Potter, no.

In Fantastic Beasts, yes.

The movie series would be missing out on a huge opportunity to ignore the romantic element that these two characters surprisingly shared, as Dumbledore's motivations could range from ultimately complex to beautifully simple. Maybe he wants Grindlewald to be good? Maybe he's just bitter that Grindlewald never loved him back? Or maybe Grindlewald does love Dumbledore as well and he wants them to be a couple together, ruling the Muggles? Could the time period itself be a factor in this, since it was a very different time with different principles? The options given just by having Dumbledore's heart yearn for him are too good to ignore, and the Fantastic Beast series should address it eventually.

What is that beautiful thing in the background? Not the man, but the super-telescope-thingamjig!
Do I think the exclusion of Dumbledore's sexuality is a politically-driven decision by the director/writers/producers to refuse to acknowledge the homosexual canon? Not at all. It's far more likely it has been excluded because of overseas box offices, with many foreign countries refusing to come into the 21st century and be open-minded.

We are just on the second of a five film franchise, and we should never rush these decisions. In the future, I hope to see Dumbledore confess his love for Grindlewald and reveal that he is in fact the power bottom we all know him to be. For now though, I'll gladly wait. There is so much in this next film to see and so much to learn. As a fan of this franchise, I'm eager to wait. I'm excited to wait. I just don't want Fantastic Beasts to ignore such a perfect opportunity for drama and suspense.

If you were planning on boycotting this film or you've spent the past few weeks rolling your eyes and saying "it doesn't matter", then I hope this article has at least influenced you in some way. I've said my thoughts, and now please tell me yours by commenting below!

On a final note, where's that prequel about the Marauders? The potential is there! I would write it myself if I got the offer!

Look what I got for Christmas!
Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on or go to his tumblr page


  1. The think that irk me to no end ,is the main story didn't hint at it , seven books and eight movies . Then there is the matter that it is children story , which you can say introducing gay character will increase diversity , but why is it a teacher and not a student , especially with the relationship between harry and Dumbledore , that rise questions ; was he interested because harry was the boy who survive or romantic interest , which send us in to the murky area of pedophilia . This why I don't care about Dumbledore relationship , and i agree they shouldn't bring it in the next movies .

    1. As mentioned above, there was hints whenever Dumbledore's history with Grindlewald was discussed. It was never explicitly said.

      A children's story can have homosexuals in it. A perfect example is Paranorman, or Korra. Children don't care about sexualities and prejudices.

      Dumbledore cared for Harry as a student, as shown multiple times in the past. Just because he's gay doesn't make him a paedophile.

  2. 100% agree with the 2nd and 3rd point , but the first point is the problem , jkr was so round about when it came to Dumbledore sexuality and the hint can be explained in multiple way , this is why many was angry with jkr , because everyone
    Was already invested with the character in certain way (the traditional way) contrast that to snap and lily .

    A good way was to just say "his lover Grindlewald.." or something
    But i have to say the relationship between Dumbledore and grindlewald should be involved if it was important to the story ( i guess there argument to that )
    But i am very upset with the way jkr handled the issue .

    1. So its not the use of the sexuality, its the reveal? I get you with that. Personally, I wasn't bothered too much but I can see why it annoys some people.

      Thanks for reading!