Posted in 365 Days of Blogging

Day 105: Rowling loves queer baiting.

I remember reading the last Harry Potter book and coming to the section that described Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship and just waiting for it to explicitly say that they were dating or in love. I remember being ready to settle for it to say that Dumbledore simply had a crush on him and it was entirely one-sided. I just remember waiting for it to explicitly say that there was something other than friendship there.

It never happened though and it left me feeling kind of… blah. It felt unresolved. Like that relationship wasn’t explained the best way it could have been.

Then when Rowling came out later to say that Dumbledore was gay, it felt like a cop-out almost. Like she could have made this explicitly clear in the book but she chose not to. She chose instead to beat around the bush and then claim later that it was proper queer representation. I’m sorry, but it really wasn’t and still isn’t.

We also all know, or should know at least, that Elphias Doge was head over heels in love with Dumbledore and had been ever since they were in Hogwarts together. The signs were definitely there.

They planned to go on a world tour together and when Dumbledore couldn’t go because his mother had died, Doge made sure to write him letters constantly.

When Dumbledore died, Doge wrote a long, heartfelt, and achingly emotional obituary for him in the Daily Prophet.

He became fiercely defensive of Dumbledore when Rita Skeeter, or anyone for that matter, dared to slander his name in front of him. Just go back and read the section in Deathly Hallows where Harry, Elphias, and Muriel are all sitting at a table discussing Rita Skeeter’s “biography” on Dumbledore. The way he defends Dumbledore, you can tell there’s a love there that goes way deeper than friendship. Whether that love was returned, I have no idea. But I do know that he loved Dumbledore.

Then there’s the script for Cursed Child. If that’s not a Albus/Scorpius fanfic, I don’t know what is. When they first meet, she has them babbling at one another like they’re meeting their first crush. They spend every moment possible with each other, and when they’re forcibly separated by Harry, they “gaze longingly” at each other across a staircase.

Once again the signs are definitely there, but it goes nowhere. Instead she has them develop crushes on girls seemingly out of nowhere with little to no development. She did the same thing with Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. Both of them were so painfully obviously queer coded, and yet they ended up in a “straight” relationship.

Maybe we can give her the benefit of the doubt and say that all of these characters (sans Dumbledore because she came out and said he was gay) were bisexual. Fine. That still doesn’t make it proper representation.

This form of queer bating is an unfortunate habit with Rowling. I’m only scratching the surface of the queer baiting mess that was littered across the Harry Potter series. It would’ve meant a lot to a queer kids to see someone like themselves represented in the stories they loved. Instead all they got was a tease and then the same old mess. They deserved much better than what they got.

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I'm a simple single mom living a complicated life.

9 thoughts on “Day 105: Rowling loves queer baiting.

  1. Why would she state an old man’s *sexual* taste in a children’s book? It was 2007 at the time and even if she wanted to, I doubt her publishers would have let her. The world wasn’t as LGBT friendly then. Elphias acted as I would act were Dumbledore my only childhood friend. And Scorpius and Albus are so hooking up in the slytherin dorms xD

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    1. Here’s the thing, being gay isn’t just about who you have sex with. It’s about who you love. Seeing as how love was a major theme (some would say the over arching theme) of the books, it would be very important to state just who Dumbledore was at one point in love with (Grindelwald).

      She didn’t even have to say the word “gay”. She could have simply put a line in the last book where Dumbledore said something to the effect of “Grindelwald? I loved him.” She could have simply had him sign one of the letters from Dumbledore to Grindelwald with the word “love”. She chose not to do that. She chose the queer bait route instead.

      The same goes for Elphias Doge. She could have had someone say love blinded him when it came to Dumbledore. It is painfully obvious Elphias loved Dumbledore fiercely and it would have been an amazing thing to see that represented in the book. There are millions of queer kids across the world who would have benefitted greatly from seeing that type of love, queer love, represented as a good and normal thing in those books.

      On the comment about Albus and Scorpius, once again, being gay isn’t about simply “hooking up”. It’s about love too. We need to separate from this idea that being gay or bisexual is only about sex while being straight is about love. Queer people fall in love too and this is something that needs to be shown in young adult literature.

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      1. Thanks you so much for this response. I saw red when I read that comment, and would not have been able to compose such a superb answer. People drop bombs like this so often, casually disregarding or completely unaware of how hurtful they have been. You’re reply was spot on ❤

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      2. I agree with Sara Beth. It is honestly very baffling to hear someone say “you can’t talk about sex” when 1. this isn’t about sex and 2. there are approximately 24 million m/f pairings in the series.

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  2. although I agree that the publisher could have a problem with it, if JK Rowling wanted to explicitly include queer love in the books, she would probably have gotten what she wanted, because she is JK fucking Rowling and she had already made them millions. And it’s not about anything sexual either. I’m sad she didn’t include this, but I can’t be mad at her because then I would have to be mad at all authors who didn’t include LGBT+, black, disabled, and so on characters in their books. Yes, HP lacks representation but I don’t think Rowling actively avoided to represent any group of people. She just didn’t, which is a shame, because like you said, it’s very important for queer kids to feel like every sexual orientation is valid and normal since they’re young.

    Now, about scorpious and albus: somehow, i got the idea that the end of cursed child was a reference to ron and hermione’s relationship (but this can all be in my head). I like to imagine that scorpious goes to the ball with rose and then albus throws a tantrum out of jealousy just like ron did when hermione went to prom with krum.

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