J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore and Grindenwald had ‘Incredibly Intense' sexual relationship


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/16/j-k-rowling-dumbledore-and-g.html


Reasons unexplained=not comfortable with homosexuality and will remain ENTIRELY off screen/in no books. JKR is trying to have it both ways, which great, I understand it’s a book for kids and she got enough grief from the Christian Right about them involving witchcraft, so having an out gay character is verboten. But please, just fess up that you aren’t EVER going there and stop with the pretense that Dumbledore is gay and had sex even once in his life. Just admit that that isn’t part of your world and stop trying to serve two totally different bases.


Heyyy… she’s been stealing my Gandalf/Saruman fanfic!


OK, to be fair—almost everything we learn about Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books is from Harry’s perspective. At which point would it make narrative sense for Harry to learn about how intense Dumbledore’s sexual relationship with Grindelwald was? My teachers certainly didn’t talk much about their romantic lives with me.

(Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the prequel movies so I can’t comment on those)


Yeah, having cake, eating cake… whatever.
I don’t think it matters.
I don’t think she’s hurting anything, is she?
The books could have been better in any number of ways.
They don’t interest me at all.
But they are what they are.
Whatever she says about them now, does it matter?



Are you willing to share that? Umm asking for a friend.


I admit I never read most of the books, and I’ve only seen about half of the movies, but is there much of ANY physical expression of romantic love, regardless of age or orientation, that’s described in any detail? Are there school kids getting frisky in those co-ed dorms?


Kids date and “snog” (make out) in the books. There are parents so relationships are implied. Kids have various infatuations and date. There are obviously parents and a couple adult relationships (the werewolf teacher lupin and his girlfriend/later wife/ Tonks). they go into Voldemort’s parents (his mom enchanted a muggle to force him to fall in love with her and who consequently got her pregnant) but Nothing explicitly sexual is described. None of the teachers seem to have relationships at all (edit: they mention snape having been in love with harry’s Mother - sorry spoiler alert - c’mon you’ve had plenty of time.)

From what I gather JK Rowling advises but isn’t writing the fantastic beasts films… I think… right?


So he’s gay, what’s the big deal?

What I don’t understand is how the relationship could work, or for D to even have any love or respect for a manipulative asshole (how I see G from watching the movie). Dumbledore might be a bit fussy, but he’s no pushover.


I think it’s less the latter (had sex) and more the former (is gay) of percysowner’s original response that is the issue. It is Rowling trying to have her cake and eat it too. Whereas she could have gestured towards LGBTQIA+ identity in the books with actual gay characters acting like a couple within the books themselves, she chose not to. This is despite depicting heterosexual couples quite a lot among the students and the adults.

Frankly, I’m inured enough to major franchises being “straights-only,” so it would be disappointing but fine to me. But the issue is when Rowling says stuff like this, because it implies that LGBTQIA+ communities should be satisfied with the pandering toss-out statements that Rowling makes, and that there is no intention to do more than wink and nod to these groups. It’s demeaning and insulting, and it would be better if she either depicted these individuals on-screen (since she writes the Fantastic Beasts screenplays) or in her novels, or if she would just dispense with the pretense altogether.


A passage relating to the “coed dorms”: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.reddit.com/r/harrypotter/comments/6qaxs9/boys_not_allowed_in_the_girls_dorm_rooms/


Hardly seems fair. She’s obviously not done yet. Her original audience for the books are now 28 years old (I read the first to my kids, and that’s how old they are now). Should be a fully sexualized book in the series coming out any moment now. The sex dungeons in Hogwarts. Slytherin is obviously totally into Dominance and Submission; Gryffndor: masochists, every one. Ravenclaw intellectual approaches to sex, which would include bondage, naturally. And Hufflepuff: furries, and pee play. And everyone loves Hagrid because he’s a giant.

Or maybe one could just accept the fact some of the things one writes about a book are backstory, not criticism. (e.g. the Silmarillion).


To the best of my recollection, there’s no explicit sexual relationships in the books or movies. But as you say, it’s implied. My thinking is that if you’re going to include a dimension for heterosexual relationships and you have characters that are LGBT but don’t include the same dimension for those relationships then that’s where it gets hypocritical. Consequently, failing to describe sexual relationships isn’t since no heterosexual relationships are describes, but failing to imply them by also including LGBT couples is hypocritical. It’s nice that she has this meta-textual motivation for her characters, but it doesn’t exist in the stories unless she writes it in. Which leads me to my next point…

What stands out to me there is the stark gender binary. Not only does Rowling’s universe have bathroom laws, they’re enforced by magical enchantment. Now, in Rowling’s defense, from what I know of her politics I don’t believe that’s intentional, but rather an omission due to a failure to consider non-binary genders when she was writing the passage. However, I still believe it’s worthy of literary criticism just as I would want any inadvertent prejudicial omissions in anything I wrote to be fair game for criticism.


Either that or the magical world is ahead of the muggle world, in that the magic allows each student into the bathroom that they identify themselves as being proper to go into. And, if there’s someone who doesn’t feel that either is correct, a third (correct) option appears, à la the Room of Requirement.


i’m okay if he’s gay, but not if he’s gay with a muggle. that’s just crossing the line! what’s next, sex with unenchanted objects? i mean really…



Maybe Dumbledore met Grindenwald when they were a lot younger, and just couldn’t resist.


That’s two questions.

1 Like

I agree, but maybe this isn’t so much a commentary than it is adding to the work. If I paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa, is that a criticism of Mona Lisa or more the creation of a new composite work - “Mona Lisa with Rockin’ Stache”? If I invent my own theory of why every colony they visit in Stargate SG-1 speaks English, then haven’t I created part of what the Stargate SG-1 artwork is, at least in my mental model of it?

I think JK is kind of giving us part of an outline of a book that will never be written.