For the love of god, JK Rowling, write that Dumbledore/Grindelwald slash fic you keep teasing

Gay literary revisionism could be a whole new movement, just as long as its participants don’t claim to be woke.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

When JK Rowling revealed recently that – beyond the pages of anything she’s ever actually written – her characters Dumbledore and Grindelwald had an “incredibly intense” sexual relationship, the internet responded exactly as you’d expect and made a meme about her “fake woke additions” to the Harry Potter universe. Rowling had already famously outed Dumbledore as gay, without there having been a single direct reference to the character’s sexuality in any of her novels. This led to even more controversy when the makers of the Fantastic Beasts film series decided not to portray the character as gay, even after his creator had – for want of a better word – “chosen” this sexuality for him.

Since hot Dumblewald (that’s their couple’s portmanteau) sex was spoken into existence, alongside some pretty funny tweets about how Hagrid is a furry and Fred and George Weasley spit roasted a house elf and whatnot, many have made the more serious point that it would’ve been nice for Rowling to have included queer characters in her actual books. So, you know, LGBTQ kids reading them could’ve benefitted from the representation. This certainly would’ve been a real kick against Section 28 – a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities and in schools – under which the first four books of the Harry Potter series were written.

And sure, Rowling could have written in gay wizards and not tried to claim retrospective allyship with LGBTQ people. But by effectively doing fanfic of her own… fic, she’s opened the floodgates for all living children’s authors to do the same, and wouldn’t that be kind of fun at least? Maybe Eric Carle could reveal that the Very Hungry Caterpillar was “very hungry” for dick. Or Judith Kerr could let us all know that “tea” isn’t the only thing The Tiger came for. Gay literary revisionism could be a whole new movement, just as long as its participants don’t claim to be woke or anything.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be limited to living authors, either. Could the Blyton Estate, for example, decide that the Famous Five grew up to be a sort of queer poly collective? It was inevitable, to be honest. And don’t get me started on the Secret Seven who – if I’m allowed to speak for Enid Blyton – are now living in a squat in Deptford and making art about the fascistic restraints of the gender binary and monogamy.

One challenge though, that I’d like to extend to JK Rowling in particular (and JK, in the unlikely event that you’re reading this… hi, it’s an honour, I’m a fan) is to put her money (so, so, so much money) where her mouth is and write that Dumbledore/Grindelwald slash (slash is erotic fanfic for anyone who wasn’t as dorky a teenager as I was). You’re a writer, JK, and writers – so I have been told – write. What in the known universe could be stopping an author who’s so keen on us all knowing two of her characters were boning from bringing that situation to life? Do it JK, do it for the gays like me who grew up reading your books and missing out on that sweet Dumbledore action.

And while we’re at it, Hermione/Ginny… that happened right?

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist.