Tag Archives: Jacqueline Wilson

The Dumbledore Problem: A Post about LGBTQ Characters

‘…recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying “I knew a girl once…” I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, “Dumbledore’s gay!” [laughter] If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!’

There’s a sticky situation one runs into when writing LGBTQ characters. So you want to write some non-heterosexual people into your story, whether to reach out to an abysmally underrepresented minority (which really isn’t such a minority, not that the media would have you think so) or to look cool and hip and fresh by being inclusive or to lay out fish hooks for the slash fans. The question then becomes, how does one write in gay characters while making them characters and not just gay?

I name this post after the case of Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series (really, should I have to spell that out in this day and age?), as his acclaimed author simply let it drop one day that the character was in fact homosexual, expressing it as Word of God rather than having it come through in the books themselves. This inspired an ovation from some and outrage from others, and academic eye-narrowing from all sorts of angles about the nature of this decision.

Was J.K. just pulling the factoid out of her hat after the books as a cheap attempt to seem inclusive and an ally? This seems to be a question still floating around. One argument is that there was absolutely nothing in Dumbledore’s characterisation that indicates he was gay, which would have saved J.K. Rowling conveniently from any obtrusive moral guardians while the books were still being published. The counterargument is that of course there wasn’t any evidence of Dumbledore being gay, because, well, people don’t actually come with neon signs announcing their sexuality.


Am I sensing a cop-out, or a legitimate representation?

Continue reading


Filed under Fun with Isms

Young Minds on Paper: Alex Reads Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson

I sometimes wonder what is more difficult; creating a fantasy world and making it feel real, or writing about reality and making it believable.

Jacqueline Wilson is sort of passing out of the public spotlight (I have a hard time finding her in bookshops, anyway) and that makes me sad, frankly, since she’s such a stellar addition to the world of YA and children’s literature. You read her writing and it is one of those rare, beautiful and slightly shocking instances where you forget that you’re reading a work of fiction. It feels real, unprocessed and unvarnished.

She’s got a knack, that’s what it is, a critically acclaimed knack. You read the stories her characters are telling you and it’s not the words of an adult writer that enter your consciousness but the words of the characters themselves, whether they’re fifteen or nine, rowdy or introverted, or whatever wonderfully written hell they’re going through. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Alex Reads