Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumbledore's Closet Mates

J. K. Rowling has outed Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster (snicker, snicker) of Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter novels, as being gay. In hindsight this is forehead slappingly obvious. Here was an elderly bachelor whose calling in life was teaching young wizards how to control their wand. And not to give away any spoilers (and the Harry Potter Spoiler Free Period has long expired), but Deathly Hallows (which I reviewed here) has a very touching and even more tragic backstory on the tale of Dumbledore's one true love (which wasn't Harry and calls into question the whole relationship with Snape).

The reaction has been mixed, mostly lining up against Rowling for revealing details outside the canon of the printed works. I defend her on the grounds that she had to stop a line from getting into the next movie that would have been untrue to the character. Still, I am uncomfortable with having to reveal the sexual orientation of a character where it plays no significance to the story. Besides we shouldn’t be spreading rumors about the deceased (and that WAS a spoiler).

Normally I eschew outing celebrities against their will, but this revelation has made me wonder about other fictional characters. I did a survey on ambiguously gay comic strip characters earlier this year, but there are some characters in popular movie and television series that I wonder about just a little.

Scotty – While wishful thinking fans literally invented the slash fiction genre with their Kirk/Spock fantasies, Scotty is the one that seemed married to the ship. He always had some excuse to tend to the warp cores while Kirk ran around chasing every skirt in the quadrant. I’m no Star Trek: TOS expert, but I’m not sure our favorite engineer ever got some trim that wasn’t related to the navigational systems.

Chewbacca – Making fun of the prissy ways of C3P0 is just too easy, but we shouldn’t confuse effeminate with gay. When it comes to a big hairy critter, nobody is a bigger bear than Chewey. His unrequited crush on Han is what kept him on board the Millennium Falcon and saving the galaxy’s ass more than once. While the non-canonical Holiday Special hints at a family life, can you really tell Wookie genders under all that fur?

Starbuck – I mean Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series with Dirk Benedict, not Kara Thrace from the remake (not that that wouldn’t fulfill some fantasies as well, but I think we have too much on screen evidence of Kara’s proclivities). Between the blinged-out uniforms and the feathered hairdos, Apollo and Starbuck would have looked as home in Studio 54 as they did in a Viper. It doesn’t help Dirk’s case that he went on to be “Face” on The A-Team. Talk about typecasting.

Gabrielle - There isn’t even subtext here. The blatantly Sapphic trysts on Xena: Warrior Princess became a running joke. I just needed an excuse to Google a picture of ReneĆ© O'Connor so that this post doesn’t look like a complete sausage-fest.

Pikachu – The love between a Pokemon and its trainer dare not speak its name. Pikachu! I call you! A closet case.

For more suspect fantasy characters see this post on Cup Of Joe or the thread on ExtremeSkins (the fact that this is a football message board worries me just a little).

BlatantCommentWhoring™: What otherwise innocuous characters have been hiding in the closet?


Anonymous said...

When I did that comedy show in New York, I had to do a lot of research on Internet slash fiction (don't ask), and let me tell you the Han-Chewie stuff will blow your mind.

Needles said...

I'm pretty sure Scotty did have at least one significant liason, and was shown squiring unamed female yeomen on at least one other occasion. The significant liason should be easy to find, since it was a major plot point. One occasion could be a coverup, but two confirms his orientation.

I wonder if anyone will think it geeky if I bring in my Star Trek reference books to work. You never know when you need it.

yellojkt said...

I'll buy your argument about Scotty. It just seemed that since one of the cast members was gay that one of the crew should be too.

On TNG, it was Barclay, although I wish it were Ensign Ro. And let's not even talk about Mirrorverse Kira.

And Josh, all slash fiction terrifies me. Especially the Worf/Wesley stuff.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, it could easily have been Picard on TNG. Sure, you can go on about unresolved feelings for Dr. Crusher (but it was her husband who was his close friend) and he had that fling with the woman who made him drink herbal tea, but most of that came after his encounter with the probe that made him live the life of somebody else (obviously confusing his orientation). Can't have been Barkley, he had the major hots for Troi.

And who among us hasn't wondered about Asterrix and Obelix?

The Pup said...

Why are we on Star Trek? It's obvious to me that Slughorn was a brief lover of Dumbledore's once upon a time.

Barclay, not gay. Maybe slightly confused, but definitely with hetero leanings.

Scotty... I could definitely see him trying "alternative engineering solutions" to heterosexuality, in a pinch. As part of routine maintenance, not so much.

I would actually vote Dr. Bashir on DS9 for being a closet bi. Sure he had lots of times with the ladies, but so many frustrated crushes and not too many relationships of any length makes me wonder.

The obvious diversion is... Garak, the only man with even more secrets than Bashir had. Bashir would be careful to have "beards," since otherwise he could earn serious reprimands and possible loss of a commission for doing more than fraternizing with such a questionable character. He's smart enough to do that, including running "heterosexual male" scenarios (James Bond) with Garak.

yellojkt said...

Here's a Garak/Bashir site for you. Enter at your own risk.

Mooselet said...

I have no problems with Rowling announcing on of her characters is/was gay - it's her character, therefore her canon. Although if anyone was homosexual, my money was on McGonagall.

Mulder from The X-Files was bi. Sure he had the hots for his partner Scully, but there were lots of long lingering glances towards his boss, Skinner.

In the Trek universe, I'd vote for Malcolm Reed on Enterprise. The episode in which they meet their descendants in an alternate reality shows him having none, nor any record of marriage. Plus his love of lip gloss...

Why is it so much easier to imagine sci-fi characters (or the fantasy genre) as gay or lesbian? Hmmmmm....

2fs said...

Screamingly obvious...but hey: Angel and Spike.

The Wardrobe Lady said...

Scotty had a plot-point fling with a cute blonde yeoman (Carol, iirc), in "Who Mourns For Adonis," he gets in trouble for flirting - and gets accused of being a murderer/rapist in "Wolf In the Fold," has a girlfriend (Myra) in "The Lights of Zetar," and by the fifth movie, it's intimated that he and Uhura are a long-term item. I think he's clear. (no books - I am nerd, hear me roar!)

My husband reminds me that in a TNG episode (can't remember the name; it's the one with the bugs that invade the brains of the Starfleet higher-ups), there's a black woman named Captain Scott - probably a tip of the hat to that relationship.

Bashir and Garak, on the other hand, are practically canon - I've heard that the actors went out of their way to add subtext, for their own amusement.

Myself, I'd nominate Carter and Dr. Fraiser from Stargate: SG1. Cassandra has two mommies! My husband suggests Ben Kenobi: you never see him with a woman, and he spends an awful lot of time playing with his lightsabres...

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Oh dear Pikachu? The horror!

Cedar said...

I haven't watched Smallville in years, but the last time I saw it, Lex and Clark were clearly lovers.

In fact, I think I stopped watching because the two characters kept getting fewer and fewer scenes together.