Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumbledore is Gay

"The British author stunned her fans at Carnegie Hall on Friday night when she answered one young reader's question about Dumbledore by saying that he was gay and had been in love with Grindelwald, whom he had defeated years ago in a bitter fight."

So if you thought witchcraft upsets the religious right, just wait! Let the games begin! Actually, lets hope for another "Meh" response. Various bloggers wait to see if Potter foes go nuts. See this CNN article for more information or search for "Dumbledore is Gay" and "blog" for what appears to be universal approval. I think she's just messing with people, and I find it quite entertaining.

"You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me"
While on the topic, it's interesting to note that one of the few things in role-playing games that's generally frowned upon is open displays of sexuality. Not bathing is totally cool, but talk of sex is a no-no. Gay characters, openly sexual characters, and even men playing female characters are generally issues that make people unfomfortable. It's a little unfortunate because as most players are men (or boys), how they play those characters reveals a lot about them.

For example, I've noticed that most men usually play female characters "Madonna-Whore" style. They're either saintly paragons of virtue and kickass (they always kick ass), or they're slutty rogues in spandex (I admit unconsciously tending towards the latter). I'm not sure if it's because RPG's only pick up traits when they're exaggerated or this is the best our feeble male brains can come up with. The third model is playing a character with the "M" changed to "F" on the gender line of the character sheet with no difference at all. Boring!

Despite all this, there have been a couple RPG books about sexuality, including The Book of Erotic Fantasy and most recently, Naughty and Dice. Naughty and Dice sells quite well, and about half the time to women (unheard of). The Book of Erotic Fantasy was controversial enough for Wizards of the Coast to modify their D20 gaming license:

Due to the recent addition of the "quality standards" provisions in the D20 System License, Valar Project, Inc.'s D20 license has been revoked for use with Book of Erotic Fantasy, effective immediately. The company announces today that Book of Erotic Fantasy will no longer be published as a D20 product, instead Valar Project, Inc. will be applying the Open Gaming License (OGL) to the game.
In general, sexuality, especially homosexuality, seems to bring reality into a game that's mostly known for escape. Even in evil campaigns, most players draw the line at rape. Murdering and rending souls can pass muster, but some issues are best left in the real world. I prefer "low fantasy" myself, scrounging for a copper piece to buy a piece of bread for the day, but as one gaming friend told me: "I do low fantasy all day long. That's not how I want to spend my free time." My guess is that some people may feel the same about issues of reality entering their fantasy novels. Then again, as one blogger pointed out, by the age of 12-13, most kids know if they're gay, and Rowling now provides them a touchstone in her novels.


  1. So far, of the games, I've played, there haven't been too many occurences of touching upon issues found in reality... but then again i've only been trying this stuff out for less than a year... so far i've encountered games where the other PCs and/or DMs just mostly seem to be power playing... their focus is on stats and loot rather than story and lore... and i don't have too much of a problem with that... if I was playing World of WarCraft on a computer... how I totally wish for a DM to spring upon my party some issue dealing with possibly contraversial themes... and whats with the price of mints these days?! 10 cents? thank chuthlu for my 10% off coupons...

  2. It would be one thing if Rowling had wanted to write the character of Dumbledore as being gay. For her to come out and make such a pronouncement after the series has ended is utter BS and purely a move to get publicity.

    Hey, J.K. - you're a writer. If you want Dumbledore to be gay, then you needed to write him as gay. Dumbledore is assuredly not gay. J.K. Rowling is assuredly an ass.

  3. My wife, who follows this a lot closer than I do, tells me that he *was* written as gay and that during filming one of the screen writers wanted to write some blatantly heterosexual dialogue for Dumbledore and Rowling had to correct him.

  4. Once the books were published, the characters belong to the readers.

    I would feel the same way if she were to announce that the Weasleys are actually tall, blond, Nordic types - perfectly within her power to do as the creator while creating, silly to try to impose after the fact.

  5. Thanks for writing this.