In a new featurette promoting Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, J.K. Rowling has made it clear that she’s continuing on her mission to convince fans she really understands the deep motivations of the wizard Dumbledore Even though Albus Dumbledore died at Severus Snape’s hand in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but Rowling has been revising and adding details to his life ever since. And it looks like that on some level, the new movie is going to be a vehicle for Rowling’s neverending retroactive continuity about Dumbeldore.
Everyone knew going in that we’d learn more about Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts series. His duel with Grindelwald was legendary even in the Harry Potter books. He was elusive and mysterious. Even 17-year-old Harry was tempted enough to read Rita Skeeter’s biography of Dumbledore to learn more about the man behind the half-moon spectacles.
Instead of just continuing on with the character fans already knew, Rowling feels the need to change him. She first came under fire for doing this in 2006 when she revealed that Dumbledore was gay even though the suggestion wasn’t made anywhere in any of the books. Some people argued that she just made him gay to make the series more inclusive.
Now, she’s addressing another criticism that has come from her Harry Potter fanbase. When Snape gives Harry his memory before he dies at Nagini’s fangs—yet another character Rowling is revising—Harry finds out that Dumbledore always knew that Harry had to die. In the memory, Snape accuses Dumbledore of keeping Harry alive just to raise “him like a pig for slaughter.” That moment stuck with some fans, and it tarnished their opinion of Dumbledore for good.
In the featurette, Rowling confronts this directly. “When I met Jude, I basically told him everything about Dumbledore that I’ve ever known, because without that knowledge Jude is playing someone who appears to be playing games with people’s lives and that’s not who Dumbledore is,” Rowling said.
Legions of fans do believe that is who Dumbledore is though. Not all do, but some believe that Dumbledore is a master manipulator. He kept a horrible secret from Harry and tried to justify it later. He’s a complex man and generally a good man who tries to do the right thing, but he’s not a perfect human being. Rowling seems like she’s trying to redeem him and explain his actions even though there’s no need to. Fans can hang Etsy paintings of his quotes on their walls and still think that what Dumbledore did to Harry isn’t great. Dumbledore doesn’t need to be simplified or made into even more of a hero.
The Harry Potter author also revealed in the featurette that the character of Newt Scamander would confront Dumbledore. As far as fans know, people always follow Dumbledore’s instructions with no question, because he’s Dumbledore. Scamander is not that way.
“Very few people, if any, ever call Dumbledore on his Dumbledorishness—in other words, he’s withholding of information.” She added.
Now, who is the person calling Rowling on her Rowlingness? It’s clear that this magically wonderful world she’s created has continued to live on in her imagination like it has for many fans. She needs to learn to leave what’s already been written alone and stand up for her original vision. Dumbledore certainly would.