“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” Albus Dumbledore said in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets after Harry expressed concern over the similarities between himself and Voldemort. The Hogwarts headmaster quickly reminds Harry that he chooses to use his extraordinary abilities and powers for good, not evil — the accurate measure of greatness. But lately, Warner Bros. and the Harry Potter franchise have chosen not to use their immense cultural capital for good. Instead, they have aired on the side of caution regarding censorship concerns overseas rather than standing by as a corporate media ally to the LGBTQ+ community (which hey, according to the Asia Society: LGBT Allies & Asia Initiative, the Chinese queer community needs as well).
The most recent uproar has to do with removing the long-awaited textual confirmation that Dumbledore is gay. No, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore producer and co-screenwriter J.K. Rowling‘s post hoc confirmation of his queerness during a 2007 fan event after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows nor the innuendo alluding to the relationship in The Crimes of Grindelwald is not the same thing as the textual confirmation in the new film where the wizard express it clearly.
The Chinese version removed six seconds from the film’s 143-minute runtime, including two pivotal lines of dialogue referencing a previous romantic relationship between Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). The lines in question were “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.” Even though the rest of the film remains intact, the Fantastic Beasts 3 lines made the relationship officially canon.
By Rebecca Kaplan