Ok, I’m a week late. But in case you hadn’t heard… Here’s what JK Rowling actually said. This all happened at NY’s Carnegie Hall which JK Rowling was visiting part of the Scholastic’s Open Book Tour Sweepstakes. This approximate transcription is from The Leaky Cauldron, one of the major Harry Potter fansites.
The question was: Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?
JKR: My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] … Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that’s how i always saw Dumbledore. In fact, recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying I knew a girl once, whose hair… [laughter]. I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, “Dumbledore‘s gay!” [laughter] “If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!”
Some people are critical of the announcement. Some have outright negative reactions. Some search for new meaning from the series. Some are fans of Rowling but not of her boy hero. Some Lolcats were horrified. But most of the opinions I’ve read and heard boil down to one statement (paraphrased from my First Amendment Law teacher): “I never thought of Dumbledore as *anything*”. And it’s true. And for me, that’s what makes her announcement both cool and melodramatic. It is a great thing that *it doesn’t matter that Dumbledore is gay*. And in that same vein, why did it matter to her as a writer? Anyhoo, that was my fluff for the day,
“On a scale of tragic deaths, Dumbledore‘s ranks somewhere below Sirius’s and slightly above Charlie Brown’s aunt drowning in Lake Erie on a fishing trip.” A very funny letter to JK Rownling after Book 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).
PS: A totally off-topic gamer rant about silly people who name themselves Dumbledore on Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG)’s like World of Warcraft (WoW).