Saturday, October 20, 2007

Albus Dumbledore is...huh

Okay, some new Harry Potter canon from J.K. Rowling (Jo for us Potter readers): Neville Longbottom married Hannah Abbott, who became the new land-lady of The Leaky Cauldron (Hufflepuff-fan Sue Upton of the TLC website must be dancing with joy). James Potter gave financial help to his friend Remus Lupin after Hogwarts, since people didn't want to hire werewolves like him. Albus Dumbledore is gay.

Oh, Jo...you and your big controversial surprises.

This explains quite a lot. It explains why Albus' fondness of Harry is often mentioned in a malicious manner by the likes of scandal-loving Rita Skeeter. It explains why Albus kept on befriending Gellert Grindelwald, even after knowing his less than noble ambitions. Jo said Albus was in fact "in-love" with Grindelwald. Somehow this makes me feel that Aberforth's rage against his brother is a lot more justified than some might think. One might forgive Albus for the accident that led to his sister's death if he was merely fooled by the promise of power offered by Gellert as one ambitious man to another, because one might imagine such a temptation would be easily overridden by his love for his siblings. If it was only power that Albus wanted from Gellert, then he was definitely against Gellert on that fateful day when the Dark Lord-to be started attacking his brother. But can anyone imagine how Aberforth would have felt if he knew that the man attacking him was his own brother's man-crush? What could be worse than knowing, as you are fighting an evil man, that your brother might be worrying for his safety as much as (or more than) he is for yours? One thing's worse than that: seeing said man-crush kill your sister. Befriending a homicidal megalomaniac earns you the ire of people. Falling in love with him earns you a well-deserved broken nose.

According to the books Albus never bothered putting his nose back to normal. He blamed himself for the death of Ariana, and he suddenly showed an irrational fear of gaining power. He fought and defeated Gellert, and we could imagine that it was, not just a vengeful heart, but a broken one as well that led him to do this. We never see him love another person ever again, male or female. This is actually consoling to me at least. The Church teaches that "gay" men are only sinning if they act out their sexual urges, and that those who keep themselves chaste are not, in fact, guilty of the sin. Maybe I'll write more on that in another blog post.

I could only wish that the author used Albus's homosexuality only as a tool to give him a unique development as a tragic and initially flawed character, but that doesn't fit the facts. Jo, being the liberal sort of British Protestant that she is, most probably made Dumbledore gay as a way to show that she is pro-gay. She accepts homosexuality as a normal amoral thing, and she's happy that many of her fans treated her revelation as good news. Imagine that, the greatest wizard of the age loved, shall we say, his fellow man. The LGBT groups must be celebrating right now.

But you know what? I'll go and say I'm fine with what Jo did. After all she was only trying to be tolerant, and tolerance is the most important theme of the Harry Potter series, more so than Love. The morality found in the books is problematic at times, yes, even before Jo wrote the "darker" books. That's just what happens when you write about normal people. And for all the magic and wonder depicted in the books, the characters are all very ordinary people of the modern United Kingdom.

The Harry Potter series is a showcase of all the follies of man at present: ignorance, incompetence, greed, corruption, malice, promiscuity (homosexual or not), etc., whether from the "good guys" or from the bad. That's how it is right now, and Jo seemed hell-bent on portraying reality as it is, with her morally gray characters like Dumbledore and Snape as much as with her scenes filled with morbidity or those of meaningless death. Is that a good thing? Well, it definitely won't help in correcting the growing trend of fascination towards evil. What's the point of showing the dark side of life to people who already think the dark side of life is the only side there is?

But then this also serves as a wonderful challenge for a lot of ordinary decent people to make a positive difference to the world. We can all be like heroic Harry Potter, and we Christians even ought to be better than him. For all the flaws in Jo's personal opinions, she's gotten some things right: that the path towards a better world is in fighting for the truth, never giving up on what is good, and caring for everyone, and that it is up to us average imperfect men to carry out these ideals, just as they were carried out by a small band of such imperfect men almost two-thousand years ago, lead by one highly imperfect man, who was named Rock, and upon whom Christ built his Church.