Regarding Dumbledore and the boundaries of Harry Potter

I’m sure you’ve heard that J.K. Rowling has outed Dumbledore as gay.

I find it amusing, but beyond that I have no strong opinion on the subject. However, there are people over at Making Light who do. The comments there are a good read (to read the ROT13-encrypted comments, try this bookmarklet) and highly informative, as always. I now know more about slash fiction that I knew before.

The question of the relevance of an author’s statements outside of the text is not an easy one to answer, but I tend towards considering it relevant. I am not saying I find it completely uninteresting to think about what one can or cannot read out of a text, but it typically has little to do with the story. The things people tend to want to find or not find in the subtext inevitably are political, and to me that quickly gets, well, boring. But then I would say that as a straight white male, wouldn’t I.

And perhaps I am slightly contradicting myself but adding that I am much less amused by Rowling allegedly saying Harry Potter is a Christian allegory. I am glad I finished the Potter books before hearing about that. I’ve never read the Narnia books, but the movie was pretty much spoiled for me because all the hullabaloo over the Christian allegoricness. Part of my brain kept trying to decode what was going on as potential Christian propaganda.

Anyway. At the time I write this, none of the commenters in the Making Light thread seem to have considered this possibility: What if the work of Harry Potter is more than just the text of the 7 Harry Potter novels? What it if it is not just expressed in the medium of the novel? Wouldn’t Rowling’s remark then become canon? What if the ambiguity is part of the work? Where does the work end? I admit that this doesn’t sound like something J.K. Rowling would do, but still, I find it an interesting set of questions to ponder.

Comments 2

  1. =j wrote:

    Are you kidding? Every epic fiction writer wants to compair themselves to the Bible. The thing is still being read thousands of years after it was first written. Some are more heavy handed with their allegories than others (yes, I’m looking at you, Eddings).

    Posted 29 Oct 2007 at 8:49
  2. vlummi wrote:

    maybe of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

    Posted 06 Nov 2007 at 10:55