Saturday, October 20, 2007

Harry Potter - a rant

For years Jews have been laughing at the Christian fundamentalists who thought that Harry Potter was dangerous and full of forbidden witchcraft and the like. But look whose laughing now...

At the beginning Harry Potter was harmless entertainment, and the worst that could be said was that it was bitul Torah.

Then as the series progresesd, and Harry got older and grew hormones, there were some pages that I didn't really want my kids to be reading. Unfortunatly by that time it was too late to stop him reading the last books in the series. (I know it is nothing compared to all sorts of things that kids watch on tv and movies and stuff, but he goes to a very frum school where nothing goes at all)

OK, then we got to the end of the series. Breathed a sigh of relief and bade farewell to Harry and the team. Or so we thought.

Today's news comes to make me question why we started with Harry in the first place. JK announced that Dumbledore is gay!

WHY? Isn't that just lashon hara for no good reason? (and if you want to tell me that there is no lashon hara against dead people, it must at least be motzei shem ra!)What is the benefit? Why do my kids have to question the whole book based on Dumbledore's sexuality? Couldn't she just leave the dead in peace?

I am not trying to say anything against gay people. I understand that they must feel comfort and support in having a role model in the head wizard. But was it really necessary? What was JK trying to accomplish that she hasn't already done?

OK, that's enough for my motzei shabbos rant. You can read the article here on the BBC

JK Rowling outs Dumbledore as gay

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay.

She made her revelation to a packed house in New York's Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her US book tour.

She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found "true love".

"Dumbledore is gay," she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago.

The audience gasped, then applauded. "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy," she said.

"Falling in love can blind us to an extent," she added, saying Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down" and his love for Grindelwald was his "great tragedy".

"Oh, my god," Rowling, 42, concluded with a laugh, "the fan fiction".

Fan sites have long speculated on Dumbledore's sexuality as he was known for having a mysterious, troubled past.

Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she saw the script carried a reference to a girl who was once of interest to Dumbledore.

She said she ensured director David Yates was made aware of the truth about her character.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell welcomed the news about Dumbledore and said: "It's good that children's literature includes the reality of gay people, since we exist in every society.

"But I am disappointed that she did not make Dumbledore's sexuality explicit in the Harry Potter book. Making it obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding and acceptance."

And a spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall added: "It's great that JK has said this. It shows that there's no limit to what gay and lesbian people can do, even being a wizard headmaster."

Rowling also did a brief reading from the seventh book in her best-selling series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as part of her Open Book Tour of the US - her first there for seven years.

She said she regarded her novels as a "prolonged argument for tolerance" and urged her fans to "question authority".

But she added that not everyone likes her work. Christian groups have alleged the books promote witchcraft. The author said her revelation about Dumbledore would give them one more reason.

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