Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Harry Potter and the author who wouldn't shut up"

In case you had not heard, R.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, recently said that Dumbledore, the "good" old wizard in the series, is gay. There is being lauded by some in the homosexual community as being helpful to the homosexual cause. See http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/oct/07102204.html.

I grew up as a big fan of fantasy, having read JRR Tolkien's words many, many times. Fantasy in which there is a clear distinction between good and evil can be helpful in shaping moral values. This is why fairy tales, with their clearly wicked stepmothers and clearly good fairies are actually good for kids to watch.

I have not read the Potter series--I really need to, because it is such a cultural phenomenon. There are those who see Christian values in the series, and others who warn strongly against pagan values and disturbing messages in the series. I do not know enough to properly comment on this right now. I do know some people who are close to me who are reading them, and I do not think that tuey have gone over to the dark side.

But Rowling's revelation that Dumbledore is gay is not good. It would be the equivalent of Christopher Tolkien coming out and saying that Tolkien said that Gandalf was gay. This would recolor the telling of the whole story, and in fact make the character's gayness the story. (Ironically, the actor who played Gandalf, Ian McKellen, is gay.)

Below is an interesting article entitle, "Harry Potter and the author who wouldn't shut up."

http://www.guidelive.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/stories/DN-rowlingcolumn_1024gl.State.Edition1.2292bdc.html I agree with the article's author--it would be best for Rowling to just let the books be and not to make anymore assertions about non-published aspects of the characters. This is treating a character in a book as a real person--sort of like saying at the end of a movie, "I wonder if they ever get together . . . " Of course, they didn't--it is a movie, and unless there is a sequal, the characters do not do anything that is not in the film!

I am disappointed that Rowling has taken the best-selling children's series of all time and placed sexuality front and center on to it. I pray that this is not used to promote homosexuality with kids.
Have you read the Harry Potter series? What did you think of it?

2 comments:

Charleen said...

I completely agree with Jeffrey Weiss, author of "Harry Potter and the author who wouldn't shut up." JK Rowling should not be saying Dumbledore is gay. This concept was not alluded to in the books. I have always disagreed with the critics of the books, because, for me, the books have a strong Christian undertone. Harry Potter, despite having a bad childhood with guardians who hated him, always stood up for what was right. One example that comes to mind was in the Goblet of Fire, when Harry and Cedric was competing and Cedric fell. Harry stopped and helped him up instead of racing past him for the win. Harry put others first..Hmm have I heard this concept before? "..."If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35. Harry always did the right thing and Dumbledore was his mentor helping him with his struggles. I'm sure she is just wanting more publicity, but as a fan of the books, I'm very displeased with this announcement. When I read the books, he was not gay, and in my mind, he's still not - nice try JK Rowling, but that scenerio doesn't work for me. Since he is a fictional character, I can imagine him anyway I want...and that's straight. Besides, if he was intended to be gay, as JK Rowling is now suggesting, he must of been fighting those temptations well, since again, it isn't in the book. Perhaps he has repented. So, however you want to look at it, Dumbledore is still a "good" fictional character.

James said...

Charleen,

Thanks for the insight on the Christian values found in the books. I know that many others have seen these themes as well.

Whatever Rowling's attempt, we must remember that good and truth can be found in most things. Paul, for instance, quoted a pagan poet in Acts 17 to make his point: "In him we live and move and have our being."

Certainly in fiction, we have every right to make these characters our own, and to accept or reject others' interpretations that go beyond the written page. That is the nature of fiction and reading, as each reader uses his or her imagination to "fill in the gaps."

Sounds like you'll be sticking to your own understanding of Dumbledore, as would I.

Thanks for the thoughts.