J.K. Rowling has been making small changes to the Harry Potter mythos since she wrapped up the last book. Some of these changes haven’t meant or changed much but the one that has been the most divisive among fans is the revelation that Dumbledore was gay. This went over about as well as everyone could have hoped and plenty of people called Rowling out on the fact that it doesn’t count as representation if you have to tell people about it. When it was announced that Dumbledore and the man he was in a relationship with Grindelwald would be making the jump to the big screen people thought it was finally time to see the subtext become text. It turned out that wasn’t the case as the movie decided that extremely vague subtext was the order of the day. Rowling and director David Yates did an audio commentary (via Vanity Fair) and during that commentary, she assured fans that this was a real relationship even if there is basically no evidence up on screen.
“It was passionate, and it was a love relationship,” she said of the characters (played on-screen by Jude Law and Johnny Depp). “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.”
She went on to say that she wasn’t interested in the “sexual dimension” of the relationship but that it was the emotions that mattered.
She added that she personally was “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.”
No one is asking for an R-rated sex scene right in the middle of a movie geared toward a younger audience. You can show them being affectionate which is all fans were really asking for. That would be enough to make it actual representation instead just saying it’s there and then chickening out. Yates went on to say they are “suggesting” the relationship instead of just showing it.
“I was very conscious of wanting to try to suggest that Dumbledore still held this affection for Grindelwald,” he said on the commentary track. “There was not just regret, but there was still a love that existed between the two men.”
This does not count as represetation and no one should hand Rowling or Yates brownie points for this. They are still too chicken to show the actual relationship on screen in any real capacity. Maybe they will stop being cowards in the latter movies but we aren’t holding our breath.
Summary: The second installment of the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ series, which follows the adventures of Newt Scamander.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, directed by David Yates, will star Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, with Jude Law and Johnny Depp. It is out now on digital, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/DVD now.