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Harry Potter for snobs

Weighing in on the controversy over whether or not you-know-who is you-know-what, The New York Times cultural critic Edward Rothstein makes the reasonable assertion that “it is possible Ms. Rowling may be mistaken about her own character.” He goes on to say that “Ms. Rowling may think of Dumbledore as gay, but there is no reason why anyone else should.”

While this seems to be consistent with Rowling’s own views on the matter – all she said in the first place was that she “always thought of Dumbledore as gay” – Rothstein’s clear-eyed insight is nevertheless buried amidst an elaborate exegesis of the Potter oeuvre – at the end of which he rules that Dumbledore is decidedly not gay:

There is something alien about the idea of a mature Dumbledore being called gay or, for that matter, being in love at all. He may have his earthly difficulties and desires, but in most ways he remains the genre wizard, superior to the world around him.

Elsewhere, Rothstein places Dumbledore in the canon of other a-sexual wizards.

The master wizard is not a sexual being; he has shelved personal cares and embraced a higher mission. And if he indulges in sex, it marks his downfall, as it did, so legend tells us, with Merlin, the tradition’s first wizard, who is seduced by one of the Lady of the Lake’s minions. Tolkien’s wizards — both good and evil — are so focused on their cosmic tasks that sexuality seems a petty matter. Gandalf eventually transcends the physical realm altogether.

Well, excuse me, but “blahbitty blah blah” to you, too. While Rothstein takes obvious delight in his pseudo-intellectual take on Harry Potter, it leaves this Quillblogger cold. Jeez, grown-ups can be such bores.