Albus Dumbledore’s sexual orientation has been established as canon in the Fantastic Beasts film, nearly 15 years after J.K. Rowling first made the statement.
The Harry Potter author first made headlines in 2007 when she told fans at a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows event that she “always thought of Dumbledore as gay.” The Hogwarts headmaster’s sexuality has been a point of contention ever since, both among fans and pop culture experts.
Years later, Dumbledore’s sexuality is being discussed beyond Rowling’s Twitter account and passing remarks. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, starring Jude Law as the bearded wizard, makes numerous allusions to Dumbledore’s history with ally-turned-enemy Gellert Grindelwald (played in Secrets of Dumbledore by Mads Mikkelsen, who took over the role after Johnny Depp departed the franchise).
Dumbledore and Grindelwald sit down for tea and talk about their old times together and Grindelwald’s rise to power in one of the film’s opening scenes. Grindelwald and Dumbledore have a political difference of opinion, with Grindelwald wanting to exterminate all Muggles and Dumbledore strongly opposing this plan. After all, he says, the two men swore to work together to make a difference in the world.
Dumbledore says it’s because the students were too naive. I went along with it because I was in love with you, he continues. In a later scene, Dumbledore reveals to other characters that he was deeply in love with Grindelwald when they were both teenagers.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see a major studio film with a canonically gay lead character who openly discusses his sexuality. Fantastic Beasts, on the other hand, is not easily viewed as a giant step forward in terms of representation.
First of all, Rowling has never actually depicted Dumbledore’s sexuality on screen or in print, despite the fact that she has talked about it for a very long time. Since Rowling’s initial declaration in 2007, there have been five film adaptations and a Broadway play featuring Dumbledore, but not a single mention of his sexuality.
Dumbledore And Grindelwald Review Their Past Interactions At The Beginning Of “The Secrets Of Dumbledore”
When it comes to laying the groundwork for the dynamic between the two men, “The Secrets of Dumbledore” wastes no time.
Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp) have a tea conversation in the opening scene. Initially friendly, their conversation soon becomes icy. Dumbledore eventually admits to Grindelwald, “because I was in love with you,” that he supported Grindelwald’s schemes.
Dumbledore’s love for Grindelwald, and by extension his sexuality, is confirmed for the first time in any “Harry Potter” film or canon material.
Dumbledore repeatedly alludes to his past relationship with Grindelwald in “The Secrets of Dumbledore,” even calling their time together “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.” Grindelwald asks Dumbledore, “Who will love you now, Dumbledore?” after their final confrontation.
When Albus Dumbledore Was Confirmed To Be Gay
Since little is known about Dumbledore’s past in the Harry Potter series, and since he forms close relationships with several male characters, some readers and viewers of the Harry Potter franchise have speculated that the beloved Hogwarts Headmaster is gay.
In 2007, during a reading of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at Carnegie Hall, Rowling confirmed these assumptions when she was asked if Dumbledore ever fell in love. She responded that she “always thought of Dumbledore as gay,” and went on to reveal that Dumbledore had been in love with Gellert Grindelwald.
Dumbledore’s tragic story was compounded by the fact that the man he loved turned out to be a dangerous villain with terrible intentions toward both wizards and muggles.
Rowling revealed that an early draft of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince script included a line in which Dumbledore says he “knew a girl once,” and that she had to add a note in the margin to clarify that Dumbledore is gay.
Gellert Grindelwald Was The One Albus Dumbledore Loved
Ariana, Albus’s youngest sister, was attacked by a group of Muggles after they witnessed her performing magic, adding another layer of difficulty to his life. Ariana’s emotional wounds were so severe as a result of this that her powers only occasionally manifested in destructive or erratic ways.
Albus, his mother Kendra, his brother Aberforth, and Ariana all relocated to Godric’s Hollow after their father, Percival, was sent to Azkaban for avenging Ariana. Kendra’s death at the hands of Ariana’s unchecked magic after Albus’s graduation from Hogwarts made him the de facto head of the family.
Until Grindelwald showed up, Albus was feeling bitter, resentful, and trapped. The Dumbledores’ friend and neighbor, Bathilda Bagshot, welcomed Grindelwald into her home, and Albus couldn’t have been happier to find out that his new neighbor was just as smart as he was. Their friendship blossomed into love after Albus became enamored with Grindelwald’s studies of the Deathly Hallows and his theories of wizarding dominance.
What Fantastic Beasts Doesn’t Say About Dumbledore’s Sexuality And Why
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore addressed Dumbledore’s sexuality, a move that had been requested for some time by the affected community and the Potter fandom. However, it is never made clear in the film that Albus is gay.
Dumbledore’s statement that he “loves” Gellert Grindelwald is more of a coded message. So, why did the production company choose a so-so method of encoding the message? Warner Bros.
may have anticipated a problem-free global rollout. The film could have been banned in countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan if Dumbledore had provided a clear definition of his sexuality.
After the less-than-stellar success of the last two films, Warner Bros. probably wanted a more successful worldwide release, meaning that Dumbledore’s sexuality would have to be downplayed to hit these markets. It’s a shame that Hollywood thinks this strategy is required to guarantee that movies will do well overseas.
The third “Fantastic Beasts” film is the first to directly address Dumbledore’s sexuality since J.K. Rowling’s 2009 revelation that the character was gay. The Warner Bros.