The Happy and Gay Bumblebee

6:55 pm

“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”
--Albus Dumbledore
(in J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

Half-moon spectacles. Purple cloak. High-heeled, buckled boots. Blue eyes. Long and crooked nose. Sherbet Lemon. Long silver hair and beard.

The Harry Potter series is, undoubtedly, one of the finest tales a human mind so spun so far. Albus Dumbledore, the silver haired headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is one of the most wisest characters one can fancy.

Almost in every tale of magic, adventure and fantasy brewing from the rater ancient tradition of story telling, even the ones written in present day, there is present a character of the “Wise Old Man”. This culture could have emerged from the druid culture of ancient Ireland, but I’m in no mood to map out the family tree, so we’ll pass that for now. Astrix has Getafix, Lord Of The Rings has Gandalf and so on. Following this league, Albus Dumbledore is the one in the Harry Potter series. Like most of them, e is tall, thin, with ridiculously long silver hair & beard, and an unmatchable wit and sense of humour.

Dumbledore is one the characters I’ve always admired. He gives the sanest pieces of advice, in the most direct way possible. Here are some of my personal favorite things he‘s said:
1. To a well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.
2. Vernon Dursley: I don’t mean to be rude--
Dumbledore: --yet sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often.
But lets not go there…if I were to compile the quotes by Dumbledore that I like, the book thus formed would be almost as thick as the volume of Deathly Hallows.

My point is, that Dumbledore’s charm lies in his wisdom (and even though he isn’t exactly modest about the abundance of it, he isn’t vain either) and the simplicity with which he puts forth his points. Dumbledore hardly ever yells, scolds, shouts or even uses a cold tone. His voice is always its cheery best with elements of utmost truth and frankness, but, surprisingly, at the same time, without contempt (while telling Rita Skeeter in Goblet Of Fire that he had read the article where she had insulted him, he frankly told her in the happiest tone possible that he had found his description “enchantingly nasty”).’’

Dumbledore is the Wise Old Man, who knows everything, is undoubtedly the most respected person in the community, and incidentally, someone, people have trouble imagining as ever being young.

‘Albus’ means ‘white’ and ‘Dumbledore’ means ‘bumblebee’. I had read somewhere, long back, that Rowling wanted to name her genius a bumblebee because she could imagine him humming a tune whilst walking in the corridors of Hogwarts.

Last year, after the series ended and all the Harry Potter fans finally gave a sigh of relief, Rowling mentioned that this particular Wise Old Man was gay. She went on to say that when Dumbledore was a teenager, he had had a crush on--hold your breath--Gellert Grindelwald (yes, the same dark wizard Dumbledore defeated in 1945) and had a major hear break when Grindelwald became what he is known for.

People seem to have problem with this piece of Harry Potter update at three levels:
1. That the headmaster in a book read by small children is gay. Homosexuality, in itself, is (to a large extent) stereotyped, looked down upon and considered abnormal. And here is Harry’s headmaster--gay!
2. Dumbledore--the good guy--had a burning passion for Grindelwald--the bad guy. That is obviously very disturbing to most. How could he have loved Grindelwald? He’s evil! Harry now might aswell propose to Voldemort!
3. Nobody ever expected the traditional Wise Old man to have feeling of love and romance (even heterosexual). They are so old and so wise and so obsessed with guiding the hero to win the was of Good vs. Evil and hence, so beyond earthly needs of wanting to have a partner, that people automatically and even unconsciously thought of them as near asexual. (Imagine Getafix brewing up a Love Potion for his own interest!!).

Till that revelation about Dumbledore’s personal life, almost everyone had loved and respected that guy. After the declaration by Rowling, there’s been a general indignation. Even the people who are cool with this personal detail of Dumbledore, demand to know, why, in six books that he was alive, did he not tell people himself.

For my part. I DON’T CARE.
Did Snape tell us he had cherished an undying love for Lily Evans (and even in the end, its his memory that tells us)? Did McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout or any other teacher reveal anything from their personal lives? Do we question that?

When in Philosopher’s Stone, Harry asks Dumbledore what he sees when he looks into the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore replies, “I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks.” (Hands off to the great sense of humour!). Going on to explain to a startled Harry, “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist n giving me books.” This shows that people, even in the Muggle world, are always so busy choosing to look at Dumbledore as an intellect and nothing beyond, they turn a blind eye towards his personal desire.

Also, why in a series that is so obviously about the war between Harry and Voldemort and mainly Harry and his friends’ bildungsroman, should Dumbledore declare in the Start-of-Term feast that he’s gay. Its completely and utterly irrelevant.

I respect Dumbledore for his wit, wisdom and sense of humour. I still do. And I always will. And quoting Dumbledore himself, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

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