J K Rowling has offered up a remarkable bit of back story for her character Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. He is gay.
"She made her revelation to a packed house in New York's Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her US book tour.
She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found 'true love'.
'Dumbledore is gay,' she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago.
The audience gasped, then applauded. 'I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy,' she said.
'Falling in love can blind us to an extent,' she added, saying Dumbledore was 'horribly, terribly let down' and his love for Grindelwald was his 'great tragedy'.
Actually, the great tragedy is that for Rowling this is still "the love that dares not speak its name."
I am left feeling disappointed. If being gay is a significant part of a character's identity, it seems dishonest of the author to withhold it, even in what began ostensibly as books for children but became epically dark along the way. If not, then it seems a rather unnecessary and self-serving detail to reveal when all has been said and done.