It’s Fine That Dumbledore Isn’t Explicitly Gay… For Now

3/17/2018

To me, Harry Potter will always be so much more than a story about a young wizard and his magical friends, growing up and battling evil in the magical world. Time and time again, both growing up and as an adult, these books have been there to comfort me; it’s like having a warm, welcoming hug from a cherished family member that I can keep safely tucked away on my shelf until I need it. I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t turn to one of my battered old copies of HP to get me through a troubling ordeal.

It’s the series that I turned to when my grandparents passed away, when I was little. It’s the series that helped me through depression in high school. It’s the series that helped me realized that there is nothing wrong with being different and going against the grain; in fact, there is something special about those who are able to do so.

To an extent, the Harry Potter series helped me to find the path to acceptance, in terms of my own sexual orientation, and to this day there are quotes that resonate with me in times of doubt. Like, “Never be ashamed! There’s some who will hold it against you, but they are not worth bothering with,” that help remind me to be proud of who I am, and that putting yourself out there for worthy causes is the best way to live your life.

I love these books, I love the characters, and I love the world they have created for us all to enjoy. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent on Pottermore, being sorted into my House (go Gryffindor!), figuring out what my wand was, exploring the updates about Ilvermorny and more. When it was announced that they were adapting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a movie series, it was as if Christmas came early; I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to explore a whole new realm of the Harry Potter universe.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment of the series; in my mind, I’ve totally separated it from the original series, which some people seem to have trouble doing, but this practice helped me enjoy and appreciate it as a worthy addition to the Harry Potter fandom universe. Of course, as soon as it was over, I was eagerly awaiting any news on the details of the next film.

However, when the details began to come out controversy swarmed the second film, for a number of reasons. First, the casting of Johnny Depp has sparked concerns and dismay amongst fans because of the domestic abuse allegations against him. It’s a tough pill to swallow, seeing a man who doesn’t embody the values that the original series taught us, playing such an important role; I’ll say that I was shocked to see that he is still attached to the project and definitely understand why fans have an issue with his continued involvement.

There is another group that has an issue with the character of Albus Dumbledore. After the original book series concluded, J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore was in fact gay, and what’s even more,  he was romantically attracted to Gellert Grindlewald, notorious evil wizard on Voldemort’s level, when they were younger.

Fans assumed that this meant there would be some romantic storyline in the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series, as the two young wizards would be facing each other for the first time in the cinematic world. At the very least, many of us thought Dumbledore’s sexual orientation would be mentioned as part of the ongoing storyline. However, director David Yates eventually announced that Dumbledore will not be explicitly gay in the next installment, much to the dismay of the fans (myself included).

However, after some reflection, I have come to terms with this creative decision, mostly because this is supposed to be a five-part series, leaving plenty of time for this part of the story to come to light and get the attention it deserves. In fact, I think this gives the writers more time to build the story of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, providing more depth and emotion to this backstory than is possible in just one movie, which already has a lot of moving parts and complicated relationships.

I think this is a prime example of having to wait for something good or exciting; just because it isn’t happening now does not mean that it isn’t going to happen. Even if it never did, which again I would be disappointed with, it doesn’t take away from the lessons I learned from this series while growing up. Dumbledore was an incredible character who is so much more than just his sexual orientation, so I think that if we as a fandom show a little bit of patience, we will eventually be treated to the story we have wanted to see for years.

 

Blaize Stewart
Blaize Stewart is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a BA in broadcast journalism and a MA in journalism. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and works as an influencer relations associate for a full-service influencer marketing agency called Faam and as an adjunct instructor at Robert Morris University. Additionally, he runs the LGBTQ+ blog Out Loud, a space for members to share their experiences and thoughts on current events and more.