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October 29, 2007

Ultra Goblet

“Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champion must write their name and school clearly upon a slip of parchment and drop it into the goblet” said Dumbledore …

“Finally, I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered into lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a magical, binding contract. There can be no change of heart once you become a champion. Please be very sure, therefore, that you are wholeheartedly prepared to play before you drop your name into the goblet.”

- from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling

Does anybody care to guess what kind of analogy I’ll be drawing from this quote? Something to do with entering an enormously challenging contest, perhaps? I swear, sometimes these pop culture comparisons just fall right into my lap.

But before we get to the announcement … are we all OK with the big news about Dumbledore last week? It was a little bit unsettling to me – not (to borrow a famous phrase) that there’s anything wrong with that – but rather, it was the seemingly arbitrary, postscriptive nature of the disclosure that somehow struck an unusual chord.

I mean, why weren’t we made aware of this all along? Why wait until now, after our relationship with the character has run its course?

Moreover, what’s to stop anybody else from going back and retroactively “outing” other beloved childhood characters from our past? After all, Bugs Bunny was a frequent cross dresser (and I’m a HUGE Bugs Bunny fan – unquestionably the best cartoon character of all time. I won’t even argue this.). C-3PO was overwhelmingly effeminate (and, come to think of it, quite affectionate toward R2-D2), Caspar the Ghost seemed awfully friendly at times, Batman and Robin spent an unusual amount of time together, and PBS never really clarified that whole Ernie and Bert situation. Who’s to say that all of them are in fact the characters we thought they were? All of a sudden, it’s like this huge cloak of ambiguity has been cast over my entire childhood. Yes, I worry about these things.

But I think what bothers me most about the Dumbledore thing is the missed opportunity to foster awareness. Over the course of seven years, the students of Hogwarts dealt with dating and romance, racism and class discrimination, betrayal and death, all in the context of their greater struggle of good against evil. We had mixed-race characters (Hermione) and underclass characters (Dobby) prominently featured – so why was there a need to be more secretive about the gay character? Dumbledore could have been a positive role model in the same way (even greater, really) those other two were – but his emotional identity now seems merely an afterthought in the development of an extrordinarily compelling personality.

Anyway … I had an announcement for this post, but I think I’ll change my mind. I’ll just let today’s post stand alone on the subject of Dumbledore, and come back once I’m a little better focused on the subject at hand.

(Which shouldn't really be a mystery by this point, anyhow ... I think we all know where this is headed.)


Thomas 10/29/07, 5:48 AM  

But very much unlike the Dumbledore announcement, yours does not come as a big surprise.

Good Luck in the lottery.

Deene 10/29/07, 8:02 AM  

congrats on submitting your applications - hope you get in. I always wondered about batman and robin myself. I thought it was just mean of jk rowling to make that announcement, she had every right to do so, maybe it's her way of incorporating diversity into her series.

Backofpack 10/29/07, 8:10 AM  

I have to agree with you Donald - it would have been good to have that incorporated into the series. It seems so "off the cuff" to hear it now - like there wasn't a lot of thought in it. Strange.

angie's pink fuzzy 10/29/07, 11:40 AM  

re: dumbledore, yes, off the cuff and would have been great to have been incorporated...but it's not like Rowling needed any additional plotlines.

and yay on entering the lottery. i'll keep my fingers crossed for you...

Dying Water Buffalo 10/29/07, 2:42 PM  

What was this I read that the last harry potter book was a metaphor for Iraq? did you hear that?

Dying Water Buffalo 10/29/07, 2:43 PM  

btw, donald, I think i remember reading that you did the catalina marathon, yet when i search your blog for it, nothing comes up. Have you done it? I might sign up for it... let me know :)

Matt 10/29/07, 3:03 PM  

Despite the obvious answer, let's go through a list of maybes:
1. Donald is finally entering the Spelling Bee
2. Donald is moving to Mississippi to combat illiteracy and eat BBQ.
3. Donald has filed a class action suit against Trump claiming that he stole his name "The Donald."
4. Donald has submitted his name and famed stories to J.K. Rowling in hopes she'll make a series of books about him.
5. Given his strange odd love of rap music, he's submitted his name to be the new rapper for 2 Live Crew's Reunion Tour.

Dante 10/29/07, 11:03 PM  

Love your rambling posts.

I've even learnt that when I see something new in bloglines from you as I surfing just before bed or finish time at work (shhhh), not to check it as I could be there a while.

We're hearing news of the fires down here, hope they're not near you, nor your nearby running retreats are suffering.

olga 10/30/07, 8:27 AM  

5 weeks to go, and we all know what the next year holds for each of us. Best to you!

Annette 10/30/07, 4:58 PM  

What? I guess I'm out of the loop, but I did not know this news. I'd say that Rowling is having difficulty letting go of the series, so she's still creating more to the story for herself and her fans. But, what do I know?

As for the announcement, c'mon, Donald, make it official! I mean, we're all dying to know what it is! :)

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) 10/31/07, 3:05 PM  

Stephen Colbert did a funny little things on childhood TV and movie characters who weren't out of the closet.

I think maybe Rowling's point is to make it like real life. Often you don't know until later. Does it really change anything. Trying to show how irrelevantly wrong bigotry and prejudice are.

My wife noticed that the Catholic elementary school she went to didn't care any Harry Potter books in the library. Too demonic. Like people who won't celebrate Halloween.

the Dread Pirate Rackham 11/1/07, 9:18 AM  

the first thing I thought when I heard that Dumbledore is gay, was

"so what?"

As in real life, I don't care. In my world, sexual preference has no bearing on a person's value.

but in retrospect yeah - I suppose it is kind of a cheat not to develop that aspect more fully in the books. Teach the children and all that.

I suppose that's my job as a mommy...

Taryn 11/1/07, 12:49 PM  

Very funny... thanks for the laugh today!

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