Abendroth Blutjager's Guide to Harry Potter

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Outing of Dumbledore, part one

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days you'll know that Jo answered a fan question about Albus Dumbledore's sexuality. Yes, Albus Dumbledore is a gay character.

With all the theorists, like myself, wandering around and spouting off about how Harry must or must not be a horcrux, Harry will or won't time travel again, Snape and Irma Pince are or are not related, and Snape always loved or never loved Lily..... Ah, well, I'm surprised I never saw a theory about Dumbledore's sexuality. There's loads of slash fanfic, and many of the stories have Dumbledore as gay, but these are not theories, just others' imaginations gone wild. I'd considered the possibility of Dumbledore being gay myself, from time to time, but I didn't think Jo had the literary balls to include a homosexual in this acclaimed children's series, so I never made any real theory about it.

Damn, I wish I had....

So, now that Albus Dumbledore has been removed from the broom closet, let's go back and consider all the clues that at one time or another made the idea cross my mind. Of course, now that I know it's for real and not a fleeting figment of my imagination (or a matter of getting confused between Jo's novels and some slashfic I read on Sycophant Hex or something) I can also go looking for the clues I missed.

Our first clue comes from Albus Dumbledore's very first appearance. Yes, he apparates to Privet Drive and what does the narrator say about him that seems really out of place? It's not his robes or cloak, no, because we expect wizards to wear robes and cloaks. It's not his long hair and beard; we expect those too, after all he's the Gandolf-like figure of the story. It's his shoes, or to be more precise, his high-heeled boots. Why would this be unexpected? Well, when I first read it I was struck by the oddity. No one else is described as wearing high-heeled boots... and he's tall already without them. I passed it off as "he's old and eccentric." I figured he's wearing a fashion he grew up with, sort of stuck in the past. However, one major fact was still bugging me about those boots... they went out of fashion for men back in the 1700's, still quite some time before Dumbledore was born. But as they say about fashion, everything old is new again, so perhaps he's being fashion-forward, not a clueless old fart.

The oddness of the boots is reinforced by the mention of how he's unwelcome, from his name to his high-heeled boots, to paraphrase. I wrote it off as an eccentric wizarding thing -- his high-heeled boots are unwelcome because they are indicative of his wizardness. But no. They are indicative of something the Dursleys and their ilk would find just as horrid. Dumbledore isn't just the epitome of wizarding life, with his long hair, long beard, robes and cloak. He also represents a non-magical alternative lifestyle, homosexuality, and since he's not particularly flamboyant, his high-heeled boots could be a subtle clue.

Next, I'll post about his robes and cloak. Yeah, I know, we expect him to wear them... but purple or covered in bright patterns? Again, another discussion of things I originally passed off as mere eccentricity....

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