Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why aren't there any gay characters in Harry Potter?

The thought occurred as I was reading the final pages of the Deathly Hallows on Sunday morning, there aren't any gay characters. As far as I can remember there isn't even a hint of same sex attraction throughout the many thousands of pages of prose J K Rowling has produced (although some have argued that the whole wizzard/muggle thing is really an allegory for the queer/straight divide).

Its not that I'm complaining particularly; after all if one is willing to accept wizzards and witches, you can probably stretch to hundred of kids being cooped up in a castle and their being no 'experimentation'.

However, imagine the evangelical reaction. The occult and buggery in a children's book? Now I would have paid good money to see that explosion.


Blogger Alex Wilcock said...

I wondered that, too (references follow that may suggest spoilers).

Shame, really, as first the ‘I hit secondary school and suddenly I feel different to everyone else’ does, as you say, score high points on the allegoratron… Then in The Prisoner of Azkaban, there’s Lupin, who very much comes across as the sympathetic gay teacher hounded by parents after being outed. Then that all evaporates when he gets together with Tonks. Now, I like both him and Tonks, and I’d have liked to read about them happy together, so I’d rather they’d been given more pages to explore that in the last book. It feels rather like one strand was lost and the alternative stifled.

10:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think when you consider the two following things, it puts Rowling's lack of gay characters into perspective:

1) Harry doesn't actually kiss a girl until he's 15. Don't know about many of you, but to me that seems about a year or so later than is currently socially expected amongst teenagers.

2) By the end of the Deathly Hallows, we still haven't even heard sex mentioned, let alone anyone actually having any.

This puts Rowling's lack of gay characters into perspective; it's not as if this is a perfectly accurate portrayal of real life and that gay characters are a single, glaring omission. Instead, it's just one of many real-life occurrences which are simply not mentioned in the book; i suppose she had to keep in mind that this book is bought and read by young and impressionable children, and i do not think the plot or any of the characters suffer from the omission. Besides, i think she lost the "gritty realism" battle with the whole magic thing, don't you?

12:32 am  
Blogger Tristan said...

Why should there be?

Especially given the lack of sex and really the lack of many relationships.

Why aren't there many other minorities? (although what did Aberforth do with goats?)

Nobody who had a disability (unless being very short it one) for example.

9:51 am  
Anonymous Simon (Biscit) Jerram said...

The story is told from Harry's perspective. While told in the third person, few scenes occur without Harry being there to witness them. Mostly if Harry doesn't know about it, we don't know about it.

I don't find Harry's experience of relationships that unrealistic, there are certainly relationships going on slightly but not quite totally beyond Harry's perception. It's just Harry is restricted to a crush from a distance, and only gets his first kiss years after everyone else.

In my own School, there were 1500 of us. I only knew of one gay, a supposed lesbian who was teased mercilessly, and it was only years later I learned which of my friends were gay. Sex too happened "off screen" to people who weren't quite part of my peer group. For all we know Dean and Seamus are an item, just not being very subtle about it.

In terms of disability, it's suggested other than death or injuries inflicted by strong magic, most things can be fixed magically. Beyond the few deaf comically deaf wizards, Mad Eye Moody with one eye and one leg would seem to be the one disabled character.

10:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex Wilcock, I interpreted The Prisoner of Azkaban in a way Lupin represents rather a discriminated ethnic minority (werewolfs) than a discriminated sexual minority.

12:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luna Lovegood could be a lesbian, though.

12:07 pm  
Anonymous lunartalks said...

No Catholics in Ambridge, either.

11:37 pm  
Anonymous j00j said...

This omission didn't really bug me until the end of the last book-- the epilogue, from one perspective, reads "and then they all lived heteronormatively ever after." Of course, it's not the only significant omission, as others have mentioned, nor is it the only uninspiring bit of bland "normality" in the epilogue (I wonder how many kids were kind of disappointed by how ordinary things turned out for Our Heroes?).

Re Tonks: If one were inclined to get a bit postmodern, one could read Tonks as not necessarily exclusively female-- Tonks can, physically at least, be anythink Tonks chooses. Whether Tonks identifies as anything other than female is, obviously, not in the text.


4:49 am  
Blogger Jonny Wright said...

New development:

11:42 am  

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