Saturday, October 20, 2007

Forgive Me, Folks. It's Gonna Be A Long One.

I've had an eventful 24 hours.

Thomas and my friend Michelle have been dying to see 30 Days of Night, so after much finagling we managed to secure tickets to opening night. I was not excited to see it at all. I don't do horror movies well--usually I spend the two hours either trying to wrench Thomas's hand from his body or with my face buried in his shoulder, whimpering. I was also very freaked by the previews--that whole "No God" sequence had me peeing me my pants and my school kids, having figured this out, spent the week raising their hands and saying "No God" when I approached them.

Thomas suggested, wisely, that I might do better if I read the graphic novel first, so that at least I'd be familiar with what was going to happen, and wouldn't suffer terribly from repeated shock. You can startle me repeatedly. Like, twice in 30 seconds, seriously.

So I read it, and I absolutely hated it. I thought the artwork was odd and distracting and the plot almost non-existent. There was no dialogue in this book--it was all description. The characters were indistinct, and what plot there was often took seemingly meaningless turns. I was unimpressed, and even less excited about seeing it.

All that said, I really liked the movie. The plot was still horrible, though they took out some of the dangling ends of the book, which was nice. The characters were much better rendered, but still essentially stock characters. But it was so visually arresting and beautiful. I loved the way the vampires looked and moved and spoke--and it was shot very starkly against all the snow--the people really looked Alaskan--just kind of rugged and weather beaten. I never, ever, say this: in fact, it may be a first--I didn't mind the story because it was so interesting to look at.

In general, I hate movies like that. I'm story or nothing. I don't care if it was shot in a basement on someone's video camera if the story is good. I'm the opposite of a film buff--when we watch movies, Thomas is all, Oh the cinematography and I'm kind of like, what's cinematography? My feeling is that the way a movie is made is important only in how it helps to tell the story--much like writing. But this was awesome. I've spent the day making vampire noises and have decided to try to be a vampire for Halloween, though I've been planning to be The Log Lady from Twin Peaks all year.

So we went to Goodwill to shop for Halloween costumes, and I got 5 black dresses and went into the dressing room. If there were a camera in those dressing rooms, someone would be very amused to watch a 30 year old woman trying on dresses while baring her teeth and hissing at herself in the mirror.

Part Two of this post contains Harry Potter discussion and Deathly Hallows SPOILERS. You've been warned.

So, I woke up this morning at 7 and was immediately greeted with the news that Dumbledore is gay.

Which is startling, only insomuch as I always thought of Dumbledore as asexual. I never bought into the fanfic idea that he was secretly with McGonagall--in fact, I find all fanfic concerning Dumbledore to be a bit squicky. This is just not a sexual dude. The man was 116 when he died, for God's sake.

I am completely untroubled by the idea of Dumbledore being gay--and I'd like to add because of all the online backlash, that being gay does not make a person a pedophile--what bothers me is how the notion that he was in love with Grindelwald changes the story so significantly.

I was in a small camp of people who was unfazed by the complication of Dumbledore's character in Deathly Hallows. The things we learned there didn't detract, for me, from who Dumbledore became. I like him as a more complicated character than just the stereotypical wise old man.

But we learn in DH that Dumbledore struggled with the idea of going to fight Grindelwald, that he put it off as long as he possibly could because he was tormented over the death of his sister Ariana--that he was terrified to confront Grindelwald because he was afraid that he would learn that it was he himself who had fired the curse that killed her. The idea that he was in love with Grindelwald changes that significantly to me--it makes the struggle less about the Ariana and the complications of Dumbledore's family that we learned about--and more about his relationship with this man.

So, ok. That aside, it seems strange to me that someone whose great love turned out to be essentially the Hitler of the book, whom he had to conquer and subsequently, we assume, decides that love, much like power, is not for him is the same man who believes so steadfastly in the power of love. Not just the power of love, but the ability of love to destroy evil. It confuses the message for me.

Just to reiterate: Dumbledore being gay does not confuse the message for me. What's confusing is that JKR says he was in love with Grindelwald.

Then we went to Octoberfest to see my friend Kimberley playing a coronet and wearing a dirndl, because who wouldn't want to see that?

Oh, dear. It seems pictures are still broken. Oh well. I'll try again tomorrow.


Amanda said...

thanks -- you really articulated the things that bothered me about the Dumbledore-gay revelation that i was not really on the point of being able to put words to yet.

i think the power-of-love theme in the book is rarely applied to romantic love, though -- much more often to family and friendship. when they do deal with romantic love it seems to be largely the kind that is based in true friendship, so maybe we can understand the theme that way -- that real love can be powerful, but some kinds of love are misleading.

(of course, the main contradiction to what i just said is Snape and Lily, but i think slavish devotion to the memory of an unrequited love was a stupid motivation for Snape's behavior anyway, and for me it made him a less interesting -- and less strong -- character.)

Jonathan said...

Reading your argument about love reminded me about Patrick Moore (the astronomer).

I read his autobiography a couple of years ago, and he described the batchelor life quite admirably. He did fall in love with a girl, and she was killed in the war. Whenever asked about being single, he replies that he's been in love, she was the one, and that was the end of that part of his life.

I think that's amazing... (in a good way)

galetea said...

Other than the whole love arguement, I was a little cynical about Rowling's motives behind revealing this obviously personal bit of backstory. Every writer writes backstories for their characters that aren't part of the storyline just to clear things up for themselves, but I was kind of wondering what possible purpose revealing something like that could serve unless it was simply to shock, titilate or get people talking about the books again, now that we are some 3 months past the publishing date of the last volume in the series. Was that her motivation? Possibly. But even if it wasn't, it just struck me as an incredibly odd thing to say in a public forum.

penelope said...

Bravo for your assessment on the uncloseted Dumbledore. I agree with galetea in that I'm most hung up on JKR's motivation for why, and why now on revealing this information. It really does confuse the storyline, and in fact I'm tempted to pretend the pronouncement never existed upon any future readings. I'll reserve judgment until further discussion by JKR... but until then, I'm honestly thrown.

ashley said...

Did you see that she's almost trying to backtrack? The love has turned to infatuation. It's almost like she wishes she'd kept her mouth shut.