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It was October 2007 when Harry Potter fans had their world rocked by the revelation that Albus Dumbledore, the wizard we’d known for years as the headmaster of Hogwarts, had a huge secret. “Dumbledore is gay, actually,” Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling nonchalantly told a fan during a Q&A session at New York City‘s Carnegie Hall, responding to a question about whether the wizard had ever loved someone. She then went on to describe the Dumbledore Grindelwald romance that fans have pondered for the last decade.
We’ve known the basics of this Dumbledore Grindelwald romance for years now — that the two wizards were childhood friends before the latter chose the dark side of magic and became Voldemort’s predecessor, and that this was Dumbledore’s “great tragedy.” But Rowling has recently shed more light on the pairing.
According to Rowling, speaking as part of a bonus feature on the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Blu-ray disc, the Dumbledore Grindelwald relationship wasn’t just an emotional or platonic love; it was sexual.
Here’s what Rowling had to say about the Dumbledore Grindelwald relationship:
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.
You can’t know, you can believe you know.
So I’m less interested in the sexual side — though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship — 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.
David Yates, director of The Crimes of Grindelwald, adds, “This is a story about two men who loved each other, and ultimately have to fight each other. It’s a story for the 21st century.”
Last year, in advance of the latest Fantastic Beasts film’s release, LGBTQ fans were upset that it would not explicitly feature the homosexuality of Jude Law’s Dumbledore character. In fact, many have long criticized Rowling as well for her “revelation” that Dumbledore was gay only after the books were completed, which frankly does nothing for LGBTQ visibility in the Harry Potter universe.
But Jude Law himself gave fans some hope in January 2018 when he hinted that future films might explore the character’s sexuality, and perhaps even tackle the Dumbledore Grindelwald relationship. (In these films, Grindelwald has been portrayed by Johnny Depp.)
Whether fans will ever get to see a Dumbledore Grindelwald love scene on the big screen is highly doubtful. But at this point, Potter fans seem willing and able to take what they can get.