Monday, October 22, 2007

One Wonders: Dumbledore's Unrequited Love

Last Friday evening - October 19th - while appearing at Carnegie Hall, J. K. Rowling, the super-wealthy authoress of the Harry Potter series, revealed to audience members that Albus Dumbledore, the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was, in fact, gay. Fans also learned that he had had an unrequited love for one of the series' bad guys, Gellert Grindelwald, which was, in Rowling's words "his great tragedy."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWhile right-wing Christians are flipping out about the likelihood of literature transforming kids not only into witches, but gay witches - if only it were that easy - and certain gay rights activists are criticizing Rowling for not outing Dumbledore sooner, I would like to ask a different question:

As the Potter story has unfolded, we have seen Albus Dumbledore unfold from a kindly figure of authority to a person of truly saintly stature. Was it his unrequited love, or more specifically, recovery from that experience which led him to develop such strong, almost unassailable character?

Like most of us, I have experienced the torture of unrequited love. I met my first love when I was 9 and he was 10; I came out to him at 16 and he didn't return the favor. Instead, he remained in the closet until well into his 20s.

I chart my own journey of self-actualization to that one lightning bolt moment when I realized that much of my character developed in reaction to this all-consuming love for someone who didn't love me back. At the moment I started loving myself all the old pain went away. After all, if I loved myself, how could I resent the forces that shaped me?

I'm still far from being a saint, but I do love myself at last. I also realize how much more I could have accomplished in my first 30 years if I had loved myself all along.

Anyone else had any experiences parallel or contrary?

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