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Barb Szyszkiewicz, sfo

I agree--this was unnecessary to the narrative and smacks of pandering to a certain group within the larger population. Father Tobias hits the nail on the head here. Thank you for sharing his post and your insights.



I usually avoid spoilers like the plague because after I learn something crucial about the ending, I never get around to reading the book; and I've been doubly vigilant when it came to Deathly Hallows . . . but how glad I am that I learned this before I even looked around for a copy I could borrow!

Fr. Tobias is right. This kind of bait and switch--the substitution of honest characterisation with a sneaky agenda--is stultifying. I had sensed that something was a little off years ago, when she insisted that Order of the Phoenix had to be dark and answered her critics by saying that children should not be shielded from harsh realities, of which death is only one of many. Until now, however, I hadn't realised how twisted everything actually was. Who does Rowling think she is? Does she suppose her books are going to save children from brainwashing by their own parents or rescue the world from the intolerance of its traditional values?

I used to defend Rowling against all sorts of critics (all of us of the armchair variety, admittedly), until the very mention of her name would make me quote Voltaire to myself: "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." From this moment, however, I may just paraphrase what Jacqueline Susann said of Philip Roth: she's a good writer, but I wouldn't want to shake her hand.


I am puzzled by the reaction to Rowling's comment, and I wonder if those who feel so betrayed have read the last book. In it, Dumbledore is revealed to be emotionally troubled, struggling with the wounds of his past. He may be wise, but he's not whole, and it's revealed that the wounds of his past have affected his life, and even his mission: he's messed up inside, and his lack of spiritual health has affected his ability to help Harry, and even caused his own destruction.

In other words, in the first six books, Dumbledore seems to be a hero because he fights the evil "out there." In the seventh book, it's revealed that his real struggle is against the evil in himself: not his homosexuality (that's not presented as a struggle), but his selfishness and greed.

If Rowling had presented a spiritually whole and completely admirable character who also happened to be homosexual, that might reasonably be taken as support of the premise that homosexuality isn't a disorder. But she presents a character who is screwed up, but struggles to overcome the darkness in himself. I don't see a problem with a character like that, and if the message is that true heroism consists of that sort of inner struggle, then I agree whole-heartedly.


True enough, Abigail, but I'm just so ticked that we now have sexual themes introduced into a story that is non-sexual. JKR now seems to have added a filter to a story that will distract and undercut any other themes. It's the usual "in your face" element that overwhelms the most ordinary curiosity.

Every look, twitch and sigh is now laden with sexual angst. It's like saying that Lucy and Desi slept in twin beds because of some sort of sexual dysfunction. A complete non-issue then drives every joke until you cannot laugh any more.

Do second-graders really need that back-drop?


Yes, I see your point, Genevieve. And although I'm not bugged by the moral implications of her comments, I am really annoyed by the literary ones. What is in the book is in the book, and once it's published, she's done writing it. She has no business giving "revelations" about her characters, as if they had any life outside of the book she wrote. Even what she _intended_ is irrelevant; the only thing that should be said about characters in a book is what's actually in the book, even by--especially by--the book's author.


I was troubled by this for the same reasons as Abigail. It simply has no relevance whatsoever and, as you mentioned, brings sexuality into a story that is non-sexual.

I disagree with Fr. Tobias and the editor of the Leaky Cauldron, though. I don't think this revelation says anything at all about homosexuality or gay people. We have no evidence that any character in the HP universe knows about Dumbledore's orientation, and without that information there's no message. JKR's statement is akin to saying that homosexuality exists. We already knew that.

I'm also disappointed that this is now going to be Dumbledore's defining characteristic. He was a complex character who made mistakes and had plenty of interesting history to explore, but now he is simply "the gay Harry Potter character." Fin. That's a loss for literary analysis and the series as a whole.


Never read the books, but I'm concerned for every single chaste person no matter there age has to inform people that they are indeed heterosexual; unfortunately many young people will prove this by engaging in sexual activity that otherwise wouldn't be healthy for them. Imagine people losing their virginity or seeking sex on a semi-regular basis just to prove they are straight.

Michele PeaTE

I was upset too. This was reminiscent of a slew of movies in the 80's and 90's that had the 'good guy', 'seemingly celibate', and 'wise' gay character lurking in the background.In many cases it made a movie that might have been semi-innocuous fun rather problematic especially if you had teenagers and younger children asking to see it.

Of course these movies were part of Hollywood's hidden agenda - in this case making homosexuality acceptable. I don't know if people have noticed but recently a number of children's movies have living together without marriage couples.

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    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

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