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2007.10.21

Comments

Todd T

I have to agree with you Duane. That isn't at all how I pictured Dumbledore. This kind of revelation really does confuse and crush readers who have a different interpretation. I agree with your ownership assessment. Does any author really "own" their characters? After all, isn't the true character what we come up with in our minds? Isn't that what makes the book always better than the movie? I'm not suggesting that other people should be able to "steal" her characters and proffit from them, but to try to "correct" a reader's view of a character is a little...egotistical.

I have to wonder though why she chose to share this piece of info. It's not like she needs the publicity to increase sales. Is she angry at certain groups of people and this is her way of playing with them (e.g. Christians)? What about the other characters - I'm sure she has more detailed info on all of them in her mind. Seems to me she is looking for some sort of reaction from someone.

Thomas J. Wilson

I'm curious, Duane. If she had dropped the bombshell that She had always imagined Dumbledore to be dyslexic, or to have a lisp, or to be allergic to shellfish, or to be a closet Rush fan, would you have the same feelings? I mean, true, sexual orientation may have a much bigger impact on the development of an individuals personality, and thus the revelation of the information is much more telling, but still. . .this is the same sort of Character fleshing out that Tolkien did in his appendices. it makes for a MUCH richer storyline.

I also (and no indictment and judgement of your character is involved in this statement)wonder how much your fundamentalist background plays into your reaction to this? I mean, if she had revealed that Ron Weasly was adopted, or that Aunt Petunia secretly leaves dirty dishes in the sink when Vernon and Dudley are away for the weekend, would the reaction be the same? or would it be just another interesting factoid? As I said, I don;t judge your intentions here, but I DO recognize that sometimes old tapes keep playing.

I for one, was glad for it. I think it was a wonderful touch to take an already admirable character, who she did a wonderful job portraying his virtues and his flaws, and revealing this about him. I think it also does WONDERFUL favors for young people, who may be trying to find ways to integrate their sexuality into their lives.. .trying to find ways to have their sexuality be a PART of what defines them, not the totality of what defines them. One of the beefs that I have with much modern media about gay characters, is that their orientation becomes the SINGLE defining characteristic. I am not sure that is healthy or positive.

duane

well, by questioning whether my background is influencing my thoughts, you are most certainly making a judgment about my character, right?

But the point is that I was absolutely trying to avoid the discussion of the SPECIFIC character trait that was revealed post-publication. Your admittedly trite examples (the lisp, the shellfish, etc.) obviously wouldn't matter. The only one of your examples that would have elicited the same response is that if Ron had been adopted. This would have been a MAJOR development in the plot, and called into question his background, whether he was muggle-born, his relationship with another muggle-born, etc.

I must emphatically say that the issue I am posting about is NOT homosexuality...it is the idea that the author has added significant details to a character that do not appear overtly in print, which should have no more truth to them than if I stood up and made a similar claim.

As for Tolkien's appendices, That is a different matter. I would certainly not object to J.K. Rowling writing more books, perhaps about young Dumbledore, and, if she did so, writing whatever she wanted about the characters, so long as it didn't conflict with the original seven books. My problem is with the fact that she just sort of blurted it out in a public speech.

Again, this is just my opinion. Some may feel that her characters are her own, and she can do with them what she pleases. But I feel that once she created them, they sort of became ours, and they need to be treated with great care and responsibility. Unless, of course, she wishes to write additional volumes.

Thomas J. Wilson

"well, by questioning whether my background is influencing my thoughts, you are most certainly making a judgment about my character, right?"

Not in a bad way. . .not by a long shot. . .not any more than the recognition of MY background, and negative experiences with religion have an effect on MY reactions towards the whole subject ("those darned fundys, they always get freaked out about stuff like this"--not that I am lumping you into that category--not by a longshot). . .but i hear what you are saying.

I wonder how you feel about things like Tolkien's "unfinished Tales", where he elaborates more on different aspects of middle earth? These were not written to be published as "official canin" necessarily, but they were his comments (in a time of less widespread mass media) regarding his works. Do you see that as different? If so, how so?

I do hear your point, though. . .the question is "are the characters fixed in stone once the final page is published?" I would say not. I think there is plenty of room for a "director's cut". . .even if that just takes the form of "this is a detail about the character I never put into print."

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