J.K. Rowling is trending on Twitter, and it's because of comments she makes during an interview feature on the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Blu-ray.
The comments concern the nature of the relationship between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). Famously, Rowling revealed after the conclusion of her Harry Potter novel series that Dumbledore is gay. She later added that he "fell in love" with Grindelwald.
"Their relationship was incredibly intense," Rowling says in the new interview, according to the Radio Times. "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.”
On Twitter, her comments have been greeted with a slew of tweets poking fun at the "TMI" element to Rowling's revelations. Warning: some of these tweets are pretty out there.
At the same time, many tweets being shared make a more serious point about Rowling's tendency to make her Harry Potter universe more inclusive, but only retroactively. The writer's comments about the "sexual dimension" of Dumbledore and Grindelwald's relationship might have been greeted more warmly if they were backed up by actual scenes from the films.
"Complex character development over time matters, but so does representation," Refinery29's Sesali Bowen wrote as The Crimes of Grindelwald opened last year. "Giving marginalised groups the chance to see themselves and their identities represented on screen did not have to begin or end with Dumbledore. Just as there are a plethora of cultures represented in Fantastic Beasts, so, too, can there be more than one person who is not straight. My issues with Dumbledore aside, The Crimes of Grindelwald needed a gay scene because it’s the right thing to do."
Obviously no Harry Potter fan expects to see a Dumbledore-Grindelwald sex scene – Fantastic Beasts is a family franchise, after all. But Rowling's comments might feel less hollow if the films featured even a single brief moment signposting the romantic relationship between the two characters.
People on Twitter want Rowling to know that actions written into her screenplays might speak louder than words spoken in a Blu-ray bonus feature.
I would LOVE some actual gay representation in the HP universe. But JK Rowling is not giving us that. There’s a difference between Dumbledore being gay and there actually being even the slightest sign of that, and her just,, saying he’s gay.— JustBeingCelinda (@Celinda_Burbach) March 17, 2019
She could have just written in the books that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were lovers. She could have included one letter from Dumbles to Grindelwald in Skeeter’s bio signed “Love, Albus.” But no.— Rhysdux (@Rhysdux) March 17, 2019
Rowling wants the credit for writing representation without bothering to write it.