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How Dumbledore’s Seduction of Power Does Not Fall Into The ‘Woke’ Culture Trap

La seducción del poder es el secreto de Dumbledore. Imagen; El American

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On October 19, 2007, J.K. Rowling announced to the world that Albus Dumbledore, the iconic headmaster of Hogwarts in the blockbuster Harry Potter novels, was gay, a revelation that made it to the big screen this year in The Secrets of Dumbledore. Outrage erupted at what many called a political gesture by J.K. Rowling to “look good” to the LGBT agenda and assimilate to the propaganda of the then-nascent “woke” movement. They were very wrong.

First, because as has become very clear in recent years, Rowling is not someone who speaks out of politically correct cowardice. On the contrary, she has resisted with remarkable fortitude the harassment with which progressivism punished her for not submitting to trans activism. Second, because the relationship between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald simply does not fit the mold of mere propaganda.

The reasons are two. On one hand, if Rowling had wanted to include a gay character as part of an aseptic Disney-style forced “inclusion” strategy, the natural choice was not Albus, but Sirius Black, one of the most heroic, beloved, and “cool” characters in the entire saga, and who had also always been a bachelor.

On the other hand, in announcing Dumbledore as gay, Rowling did not give him a rose-colored romance, defined by happiness and joy. She did not paint a superficial picture of romance. On the contrary, Albus’ great love was none other than Gellert Grindelwald, the nefarious villain of the first half of the 20th century and the co-star of the darkest period in Dumbledore’s life.

The love between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, as brief as it was destructive, was based on the common ambition to control the world and submit it to their desires, disguising the seduction of power as good intentions, in a parable much more relevant and profound than it seems at first glance.

In the seventh book of the Harry Potter saga, Rowling reveals that Dumbledore “approaching his eighteenth birthday…returned to Godric’s Hollow at once, supposedly to ‘care’ for his younger brother and sister… Grindelwald chose to visit his great aunt in Godric’s Hollow, and that there…he struck up a close friendship with none other than Albus Dumbledore.”

What did that “friendship” entail? Rowling puts the explanation in the direct words of Albus Dumbledore.

“I loved my parents, I loved my brother and my sister, but I was selfish, Harry,” it reads. “Grindelwald. You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me. Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. Grindelwald and I, the glorious young leaders of the revolution.”

There it is, exposed with that candor that only literature provides, the cross between idealism and ambition, from which tyranny is born. And it goes further because Rowling adds a letter from Dumbledore to Grindelwald, which is worth reading in full.


Your point about Wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES’ OWN GOOD– this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and, yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled.

We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counterarguments.

We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more. (This was your mistake at Durmstrang! But I do not complain, because if you had not been expelled, we would never have met.)


To control, impose, subdue, and deceive oneself by proclaiming that tyranny is “for the good” of those whose life and destiny one intends to turn into a pretext and instrument of one’s own ambition. Sound familiar? It sure does, regardless of country or era.

But how long did the idyll last? The novel notes that “barely two months after the start of their new great friendship, Dumbledore and Grindelwald parted ways, and never saw each other again until they met in their legendary duel (where Albus defeats and imprisons Grindelwald).”

It’s certainly not a straightforward story, and it’s certainly not LGBT propaganda. It is one of the deepest and most brilliant narratives Rowling has ever written, now projected in the new film The Secrets of Dumbledore, where the relationship between the two characters functions as a catalyst and backdrop for the story that chronicles the rise of Grindelwald’s tyrannical project, elevated from the dungeons to brief political respectability.

With Dumbledore’s story, Rowling draws a very relevant warning about the seduction of power. (Image: EFE)

The seduction of power is Dumbledore’s secret

Beyond the CGI, the jokes and the characters designed to hold the audience’s interest, Rowling’s new film is underpinned by a relationship that transcends the accident of sexual orientation and echoes the most basic seduction we humans face: the idea that by capturing power we can control the world and shape a paradise from which only the stubborn and ignorant will of others separates us.

Driven by this delirium, Grindelwald builds a campaign of justice for the magical world, projected in his speeches as an elite atrociously subjected to the ignorant and inferior Muggles; that same narrative of victims and thirst for revenge that we can identify in various shades of the left and the right. Everyone will see reflected in the villain the worst traits of the opposite ideology, but the uncomfortable truth is that everyone will find at least a small glimmer of their own reflection.

After all, the promise of Grindelwald is a seductive vision. It promises certainty and tranquility, a sanctuary of order in the midst of a world spinning out of control; and it is capable of fooling even Dumbledore, for the subtle path to fanaticism is not reserved for the foolish and ordinary. On the contrary, it is a seductive voice that can envelop even the wise, leading them to applaud and even commit cruelties of which under normal circumstances they would not believe themselves capable.

And on that deception, the film adds another brilliant touch. Rowling takes from Chinese mythology the Qilin, a creature that (spoiler alert) foreshadows the emergence of a wise leader and is used by the Wizards as an instrument of legitimacy in the election of their leaders. In the first act of the film, 2 of these creatures are born: one is rescued by the protagonists, the other falls into the hands of Grindelwald, who kills it and in the third act turns it into a kind of puppet for her to “choose” him as the new leader (end of spoiler).

The same thing happens on all ideological sides with the flags of political struggle, which unscrupulous leaders empty of content and identity to parade their rhetorical corpses on the battlefield, turning the convictions that can be useful to manipulate ordinary people into a battle cry. Like Quilin, they parade and move, but if we look closely, we will confirm that they are dead.

Madness and cruel dreams

In the film, Dumbledore and Grindelwald acknowledge their youthful love and the unbreakable oath that comes from that old loyalty. The seventh novel goes deeper and in the final chapters Dumbledore explains, “I had a few scruples. I soothed my conscience with empty words. All would be for the greater good…Invincible masters of Death, Grindelwald and Dumbledore! Two months of madness, cruel dreams, and abandoning the only two members of my family I had left.”

“Madness and cruel dreams”. It is enough to take a glance at history or a few minutes on social networks to see how ideological visions, especially those of an absolutist tone are full of both elements, promulgated by preachers absolutely convinced, not only of their mastery of the truth, but of the right that this certainty gives them to redefine the world and destroy whatever is necessary to build their utopia.

How, then, to confront this seduction of power? Perhaps the first step is to take a step back, be aware of our weaknesses and set limits. Again, in Dumbledore’s words, “I, meanwhile, was offered the post of Minister for Magic, not once, but several times. Naturally, I refused. I had learned that I was not to be trusted with power… I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation.”

No human being is fully trustworthy in the exercise of power. However, whether by negotiation, strategy, inheritance or simple luck, someone has to be in charge. When the time comes, we had better remember that other human beings are not instruments of our whim and that, no matter how wonderful the supposed higher good we put forward as a pretext, if we pretend to subject the world to our whim we will become tyrants.

Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”

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