The author J. K. Rowling affirmed that, although there were sexual elements in the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, she is not interested in showing that in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. The interview was given to the mini-documentary Distinctly Dumbledore, available at the digital editions and the Blu-ray of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
“I’m less interested in the sexual side than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationships”, she said. “It was passionate, and it was a love relationship. But as happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows really what the other person is feeling. […] This was the part of ‘Potter’ that I was most interested in revisiting because the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore is key to making Dumbledore, Dumbledore”, she detailed.
“I’m less interested in the sexual side than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other”
– J. K. Rowling
Rowling revealed that Dumbledore was gay in 2007, right after releasing the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. During an event in New York, the author was questioned by a fan if Dumbledore, that believed in the power of love, had ever been in love. The answer was straight: “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was”, she said, referring to Grindelwald’s desire of having the Wizarding community dominating the Muggles – a story that is being telling at the Fantastic Beasts‘ franchise.
In 2008, Rowling gave an interview to a journalism student and detailed Dumbledore’s sexual identity. “I had always seen Dumbledore as gay, but in a sense that’s not a big deal. The book wasn’t about Dumbledore being gay. It was just that from the outset obviously, I knew that he had this hidden, his big secret is that he flirted with the idea of exactly what Voldemort goes on to do, he flirted with the idea of racial domination, that he was going to subjugate Muggles. […] “He’s an innately good man, what would make him do that? I didn’t even think it through that way, it just seemed to come to me, I thought, ‘I know why he did it. He fell in love.”
Rowling said that the character’s frustration was so big, that he simply stopped trusting in his ability of judgment. “He fell in love and it utterly, this great champion of love which he is throughout his life, was made an utter fool of by love, and he lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrusting of his judgment in those matters so became quite asexual. He led a celibate and a bookish life.”
The actor Jude Law, who plays Albus Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts‘ franchise, showed a similar vision about the character’s life. “There’s a sense of loneliness to it, a terrible loneliness, an isolation. I think he’s separating himself, and almost imprisoning himself at Hogwarts”, he said, also in the mini-documentary Distinctly Dumbledore.
Translated into English by Paola Galiano
Edited by Aline Michel