Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Dumbledore’s Love Life

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Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

[Albus Dumbledore portrayed by Michael Gambon in HP films 3-5]

Image: Warner Bros (2003).

JK Rowling was in NYC’s Carnegie Hall last night, giving a reading from the last book in her literary sensation, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. During the question and answer session following this reading, she made a revelation about Albus Dumbledore that will no doubt outrage certain sorts of people, as if the witchcraft theme of the Harry Potter books is not upsetting enough for them.

Dumbledore was GAY! She has already made sure that the director for the penultimate film in the series, David Yates, was made aware of the truth about her character’s love life. But Rowling revealed this same truth to the public for the first time last night in Carnegie Hall, where she was giving a reading of her last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The revelation came during the question and answer session following the reading;

She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found “true love”.

“Dumbledore is gay,” she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago.


“Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” she added, saying Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down” and his love for Grindelwald was his “great tragedy”. [complete transcript from the question and answer session]

As author JK Rowling has often pointed out, her books are a prolonged argument for tolerance. By revealing Dumbledore’s sexuality, Rowling not only makes a strong argument for tolerance, but she also shows that gays can and are capable of working with children, especially as the headmaster of a school.

Of course, since the religious wingnuts hate her books for supposedly promoting witchcraft, I am sure that this revelation will no doubt make them wild with rage. But I am curious to know, does Rowling’s revelation change how you feel about Dumbledore? Does it change how you view Dumbledore’s affection for Harry?


  1. #1 George
    October 20, 2007

    That certainly makes more sense of the whole Grindelwald-Aberforth-Ariana saga.

  2. #2 Paula
    October 20, 2007

    Shrug. Makes sense to me. I never really thought about D’s love life at all, but after reading all the stuff in book 7 about D’s and Grindelwald’s relationship in their youth, I’m not surprised either.

    does Rowling’s revelation change how you feel about Dumbledore?

    No. He’s a great character whatever his sexuality.

    Does it change how you view Dumbledore’s affection for Harry?

    No, not really. I very much doubt he was in love with Harry.

  3. #3 MartinC
    October 20, 2007

    First Gandalf the gay and now Dumbledore!
    What is it about wizardry that attracts them!
    On a serious note I think this sounds like one big ‘Fuck You’ from Rowling to the religious right.

  4. #4 carolyn13
    October 20, 2007

    I never noticed it in the books, but I did wonder if the movie Dumbledore was gay. It didn’t change the way I viewed Dumbledore. I thought of it as an interesting interpretation by the actor and a nice political statement.

  5. #5 David Weinstock
    October 20, 2007

    In retrospect, it makes perfect sense. He never married, although he was successful, popular and powerful. There was the Grindelwald story in Book 7, which we know JKR was saving up from the very beginning, as it appears on Dumbledore’s Chocolate Frog card on the very first trip to Hogwarts.

    And then there were the purple robe and the high-heeled boots.

  6. #6 steppen wolf
    October 20, 2007

    It does not change my view of the relationship between Harry and his headmaster at all. There was a whiff of something interesting going on with Grindelwald in Book 7, and I am glad to see that I did not imagine it – otherwise, would that make me a perv? mmmm…

    In the meantime, I’d like to let you know that you’ve been tagged by the mutating meme:

  7. #7 david1947
    October 20, 2007

    5%? Isn’t that the generic portion of any random population selected on other bases that are gay? IOW, 1 in 20. And in this case, as is more normal, it makes not one whit of difference to the plot or the character’s behavior, only to a movie director’s attempt to fill in a back-story. There should be about a dozen more at the school. And it should also not be an issue, as for JKR it isn’t (except when it is made one for her).

  8. #8 Chris' Wills
    October 21, 2007

    I never thought about it.

    He just seemed like some unmarried male & female teachers I had who saw teaching as a vocation. Very good teachers and nice people, thoughts about their sexual preference never crossed my mind.

    Though it is sad that Dumbledorf lost his one true love.

  9. #9 D
    October 21, 2007

    I dunno…if she had really wanted a gay character, she could easily have added one. It seems a bit strained now, this gay Dumbledore thing. Then again the series has hardly featured a very diverse set to begin with, particularly given the demographics of Britain today.

    At least the books had the token Black guy, Chinese girl and Indian twins, in the text.

  10. #10 BikeMonkey
    October 22, 2007

    “At least the books had the token Black guy,”

    Dean? Kingsley? Lee? Blaise Zabini? which of these is the “token”? now true, I can only recall the one Black girl

  11. #11 Ian
    October 22, 2007

    It’s time for you Potter addicts to move up to the next level and start in on the Diane Duane “young Wizard” series.

    Enjoyable as Potter was, the Duane series is more satisfying and makes more sense (if any such stories can make sense!). And she’s written 8eight8 books!

  12. #12 Cecile Weekly
    October 22, 2007

    This makes perfect sense. I agree with George: It makes more sense of the whole Grindelwald-Aberforth-Ariana saga. Brilliant. I never thought of it before.

    I always suspected Lupin to be gay, until he got together with Tonks.

  13. #13 Jonathan
    October 22, 2007

    Oh, now I can’t watch Dumbledore in the movies without seeing shades of Michael Gambon’s ‘Oseary Dracoulios” character in “The Life Aquatic” 🙂

  14. #14 Edgar
    October 23, 2007


  15. #15 kim boone
    November 1, 2007

    anthony horowitz anyone?

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