In 2015, the Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling famously declared that she has always thought Dumbledore as gay while working on her novels.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’, the newest film in the Wizarding World franchise, sheds some light on the alleged relationship between the Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), and hints at the fact that future films will include a more in-depth overview of the character’s relationships, especially in their younger years.
However, in a recent interview with The New York Times, Jude Law stated that the plot of ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’, and the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise in general, is not explicitly about Dumbledore’s sexuality, and that the character’s sexuality ‘does not define him’, however, his relationship is, in fact, a ‘defining element’ of who he is, and what he is all about.
Jude Law also stated that the aftermath of Dumbledore’s tumultuous relationship with Grindelwald has left him ‘reeling’ and that he has ‘packed his heart in ice’. Alongside J.K. Rowling and David Yates, the film’s director, Law has agreed that the details of Dumbledore’s past will be revealed slowly, and that they are not ‘going to reveal everything at once’.
J.K. Rowling is known for her unhurried plotlines and surprising her readers with details about the characters. However, she has been previously criticised for queerbaiting as she has not included any explicit statements about Dumbledore’s sexuality in any of her past works, be it novels or films.
Recent criticisms include the fact that her hinting at Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship is a ‘crass, half-hearted’ way of pleasing the majority of her fans, without threatening backlash from those fans with conservative views who would disagree with Dumbledore’s sexuality, and that the film fails to show the relationship to the audience, and instead, bluntly states that they are ‘more than brothers’.
It is important to remember how difficult it is to include every minute detail in a film which runs just over two hours. Film scripts, especially for films whose plots are to span across a whole series, are written so that the audience is not told everything from the get-go to keep them coming back to see future films.
In the words of Jude Law, the world should ‘bloody well’ be ready for a gay children’s icon like Albus Dumbledore.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is released in cinemas now.