OK, I came across this fact, divulged by author J. K. Rowling, as the news broke but honestly doubted the truth of it; after the confirmation by various sources, ergoproxy and I were at a loss as to what to do about it here. Then, finally, the video where it was broadcasted on the news, surfaced. We argued quite a bit on the implications, motives and what-not of the writer. At the end of our long debate, it was obvious: we just HAD to post the whole discussion and let the readers reach their own conclusions. So here it is:
Speedgrapher: OK, it’s official; I have lost any respect I had for J .K. Rowling.
ergoproxy: I must admit, it was quite irresponsible of her. If you’re gonna flabbergast us, why not make it part of the plot?
SG: Absolutely! I think what best illustrates this, is something I read in the newsgroups of www.sff.net, a portal for matters related to fantasy literature. To quote one of our favorite authors, Robin Hobb: “Character privacy! Characters reveal themselves in various ways as the author writes the book. There are some who insist on sharing everything. Others tell the author (and thus the reader) ‘I would never be so sharing with my friends. I'm not saying it in dialogue. Why are you telling everyone what I choose to keep private?’” [For the full text, check source]
EP: I guess the big question is: is this a big marketing ploy or an honest reflection of how she imagined the character?
SG: Either way, it’s unacceptable: Dumbledore has been the quintessential father figure, especially for Harry. This sudden statement, unfounded on whatsoever in the books, simply ruins our perception of the character.
EP: But how can you be sure there’s nothing there? It made ME want to go back and reread the books just to make sure (damn, good marketing after all!).
SG: Look, you know how I NEVER forget things, especially things I’ve read? It’s simply not there!
EP: WoW! Hold your horses Sherlock! It may be true that your brain is like a gargantuan sponge, but being a heterosexual male, I doubt your gaydar is that advanced.
SG: Say what?
EP: Well, we’re not gay; how could we tell? Those sorts of subtle hints simply wouldn’t register.
SG: OK, true enough. So… what…? It’s an inside joke just for the potential homosexual reader?
EP: Why not? Books are supposed to tell different things to different people. Everyone has their own point of view on stories and they empathize with different characters in different ways.
SG: However, a writer’s duty is to her story and characters, first and foremost. How does it serve the story for Dumbledore to suddenly (for us) be gay? You ask me, it is irrelevant at best, a disservice at worst.
EP: Bare in mind though, it is as yet not established whether the statement has had an impact on the book. [If you’re reading this and you have spotted something we haven’t, let us know by dropping a comment.]
EP: Admit it, Gandalf is also gay.
SG: ***CENSORED*** Seriously though, for the purposes of this discussion, let us assume that there is an equal number of heterosexual and homosexual readers (which I doubt, given that most are at an age devoid of sexual orientation). At least half of the books’ enthusiasts have met with gross disappointment at this out-of-the-blue revelation. It’s like learning you have been empathizing with a complete stranger.
EP: The issue of sexuality has been kept to a bare minimum, in all seven books. Therefore, even if Hagrid were a flaming transsexual, it wouldn’t be a matter addressed in the books. Nonetheless, Dumbledore’s homosexuality must have been an important element in how the author built his personality.
SG: I have no objection – indeed, no say – in how an author views or molds her characters. I DO object to an out-of-context statement, which potentially hurts her devoted audience.
EP: It’s true that the things I liked most about Dumbledore were not those I knew, but those I didn’t. I enjoyed the secrecy surrounding him, his charming mystique. But goddammit, if Voldemort knows, so should we!
SG: Well dear readers, now, so do you.
By all means, let us know what YOU think right here or e-mail us at:
ergoproxy & Speedgrapher
Since we took off on a literary streak, today we have a special for you, as this update will be double, premiering the promised Literary Section. Enjoy and do not forget to be back on Monday, for the explanation of “An Illusion of Sound” and more…!
Gothic Fantasy: The Memoirs of Prometheus
Act I: The Name of the Game
Part I: Welcome Home
It is horrible, this existence... One would wonder which is worse: losing one's soul, or losing one's humanity; humanity being mercy, compassion, the strength coming from one's own heart. My heart... what a shriveled and useless thing it has become, its metamorphosis robbing me of my strengths and skills and giving me other, terrible... capabilities.
How did it all begin...? Though still vivid in my memory are the good times and the times after, which makes it all the more painful, sometimes I tend to believe (hope?) that it was all but a psychedelic dream. Yet... as I look, at the dawn of each dying twilight, at my mirror and see that corpse-like pallor and the ice forming on the glass when I touch it, I know I've seen another unliving dusk. And my left eye... Where it once was, there remains only a black eye-patch and a perfect vertical scar, beginning at the hairline of my forehead and reaching just under my cheekbone; it emits a soft blue light, evident in the eyes of those meant to see it, marking me with Magic.
Almost only half of my actual years have I lived as a "normal" human, albeit one called "eccentric", "weirdo", "creepy" and other such well-meant epithets. True, I was fascinated by magic, faeries, myths and legends that made tolerable the everyday banality of my life. Though it turned out, there was much more to those things than just my fascination or my imagination...
It all started about 8 years ago. I was still at the age of sixteen, when the school organized a field trip to some paper producing factory. The factory was the least of my concerns; my mind, for the previous 2 weeks, had been full of a certain girl... It sounds childish (well, I wasn't all that old anyway), but that girl had enchanted me (I never learned how literal that may have been) and was the only one that would look deeply into my eyes and have me, in all seriousness, tell her all the stories I had read and made up (I prided myself on my storytelling at that time); never missing a word or a subtle detail addressed at her. Yes, I now know that was the essence of what is called "the magic of a child's dreams", for at heart, I was always just that, a child.
As our escorts led us through the various departments of the factory, saying this and that, I only became aware that someone was actually talking when I heard: "...danger of explosion and the consequent fire are averted". We were standing inside the generator room that powered the megalithic beast through whose intestines we'd journeyed during those last hours. At the time, I knew not why, but a sudden fear and uneasiness came over me as I looked at the signs depicting danger of electrocution, even more so at those warning of fire. I started panicking silently but of course, what with everyone looking dumbly at the generators, no one noticed. Inexplicably terrified, I searched with my eyes for Cynthia (that was the girl's name) and I saw her, standing the nearest possible to one generator, smiling at me, as the others proceeded. As the room emptied, we stood looking at each other still. She glanced at the generator, then back at me, a wide – even close to wicked – smile on her face.
Then I heard the deafening explosion, the sudden ringing, twisting and screaming of steel against steel and the roaring of great flames. I do not have much recollection of what actually happened, for in those instances of terror, events seem to speed by you and overlap with each other, in a haze of colors. What I do remember, is the upper part of the generator collapsing towards Cynthia and me throwing myself towards her, screaming her name – she was smiling – frantically. The flames stood in my way! I could not reach her in time! I roared like a wild beast for the flames to be gone – still she smiled – and the flames were gone. I reached her in time and covered her with my body, fully expecting the generator – she smiled ever more widely – to crush me. I prayed silently that my back would take most of the blow and spare her – she touched my face – her life. Then all went black and I heard her – was it her voice? – whisper: "You have been sleeping, but now you are awake."
Original Artwork by Lockie
Color by Speedgrapher
In that darkness, I saw wonderful and terrible images. A dark-haired woman, with a powerful, leonine body and wings forged of night, her name… Klymene? Then I saw Cynthia – or was it not Cynthia – as… nor woman, nor panther but the best of both?! Then, a court of light, wherein many wondrous creatures defying description resided. Most prominent were three silver-haired men, at the center of the court. One was very tall, wearing green and silver robes, his long hair in a tight ponytail, holding a black staff with what looked like a silver dragon's head sculpted on top. A weird device of metal and gems covered his left eye. The rightmost had streaks of golden hair enmeshed into his silvery mane – or was it the other way around? – and fine scaling seemed to cover his face. He wore the simple leather clothes of a woodsman. The one in the middle, he shone so brightly I was having a hard time looking at him. He was shorter than the other two, but he gave me the feeling of great wisdom; he wore silvery-white robes and a shining breastplate. He shone, even more so his warm smile, as he addressed the people – creatures? – of the court. Then he turned to me: "Welcome home..." he said. Welcome home...
"Welcome back", I heard, faintly at the beginning, then more clearly. Everything was a blur. I was in a shining place and started to think I probably died, when I saw the tearful face of my mother, very, very real and really close to mine. In fact, I was in a shining hospital room, the bright light of day entering through the open shutters. What kind of hospital is that pleasant ? I wondered. I hated hospitals. I tried to turn my head, but my neck would not budge. I saw my mother's face go away and a voice I did not recognize calmed her and reassured her. It resembled the voice of the man... nah just my idea, I thought. Then I heard the door close and footsteps coming towards me. I tried to move again, but nada.
"Stop trying to move. You're supposed to have a broken neck, a crushed back and an arm fracture."
What did he mean, I was "supposed" to…? I mean, I could not feel most of my body and sure as hell that generator fell on me.
"Oh, is it that bad? Where am I for instance? This place is too nice to be a hospital. Is it some kind of private clinic?"
For the first time – or was it not the first time? Where had I seen him? – I saw his face. He helped me sit upright and have a better look at my surroundings. It was indeed a most pleasant room, its walls painted white, mixed with just a hint of blue, giving it a calming air. There was the bed, a few chairs, and a bedside table with the most beautifully smelling (I wish things could still evoke such sensations for me) flowers in the whole world.
The man talking to me was barely 170 cm, broad and muscled it seemed, and probably well over 50 (actually, as I learned later, he was much, much older than that). His face, against all logic, bore striking resemblance to the luminous man in my dream. He too had a silvery beard and his long white hair was neatly tied and clasped behind his neck. In one of the chairs, I noticed a small-framed, cowled figure, waiting in silence.
He cleared his throat in amusement: "You… could say this is a sort of... private clinic, yes. But there are no expenses to worry about."
"How's that?", I asked suspiciously.
"Well..." said the man as he looked at the cowled figure, who then nodded. He approached and removed my neck brace and I started tingling all-over from the release of the skin. I rubbed it vehemently and, to my surprise, did not feel any pain at all.
"Stand up" said he.
"But my back..." I tried to object and he cut me short, though kindly.
"Try at least."
Well, one must do as the doctor orders so, bracing for the pain, I tried to get off the bed; to my surprise, I did so easily. When the pain came, it was more like one due to hard exercise after a long time. My legs and back were in perfect order, as was my "fractured" arm.
"Payment is due when you have to treat a patient and you, my young friend, are healthy as a bull."
Of course, he was right. There was nothing wrong with me except for a slight stiffness.
"But, ... the factory, the generator..."
"Yes, it all happened" he answered matter-of-factly. I was beginning to understand that something weird was going on.
"Who are you people? What is this place?"
"First and foremost, we are friends... Right Cynthia?" and the small-framed figure let the cowl drop, to reveal the hybrid Cynthia of my dream. I was awestruck and unable to speak. I just stared in amazed terror. "That aside, we are more than human, as are you now... young Magus! " and silvery
[To be continued...]