Harry Potter grows up. Harry Potter needs to shave. Harry Potter shows more interest in the young ladies at Hogwarts.
No, Harry Potter doesn't turn bisexual, or gay, but there are moments of bisexuality that some of us might be able to appreciate in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" that opens worldwide on Wednesday, July 15.
In the all-media screening that I saw in Westwood, Calif. on Monday night, the sixth and latest version of the "Harry Potter" series brought to the big screen is definitely one of the best.
There are many love triangles among the young budding teens in the good-looking cast, and lots of jealousies that are typical of high school, but of course, at Hogwarts, there are a lot of twists.
At one point, Ron Weasley (again played delightfully by Rupert Grint) is under the spell of a love potion that is meant for Harry Potter (forever Daniel Radcliffe). Those tainted chocolates were sent to Harry by Romilda Vane and Ron has gone all loopy when Harry finds his best friend in their room.
And suddenly, Ron jumps on Harry's bed after he's mooning for Romilda and nearly attacks Harry. Later, when seeking help from Professor Horace Slughorn (played by Oscar winner Jim Broadbent), Ron hugs and nearly kisses the professor.
All of interactions and subtext in author J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" world is about acceptance and understanding those who are different. The relationships between the Muggles (average people) and the wizards are looked down upon, but they are accepted by some people, and grudgingly accepted by some wizards. Rowling's message is very clear: Accept everyone, even if they're different, as long as they have a good heart, and positive intentions. Such is the world of the "Half-Blood Prince" (which is not fully explained in either the book or the movie, and is almost a red herring).
Anyway, this is also the movie where author Rowling read a line in the script about Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore discussing a crush he had on a girl when he was younger. That line was written in a scene when Dumbledore is observing the attractions between the boys and girls in the school.
Rowling wrote in the margin of the script, "Dumbledore's gay!" The line does not appear in the movie.
In an interview, Rowling outed the headmaster, saying:
"I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us...Yeah, that's how I always saw Dumbledore."
In the book, a scene describes Dumbledore and Grindelwald as embracing in an old photograph and they were described in ways a teenage girl might describe some cute guy she likes.
Some fans of the books are upset about Rowling so blatantly outing their favorite old wizard, but let's face it, there were signs along the way. In fact, after a trip to the bathroom in this latest movie, Dumbledore asks if he could keep a magazine that he was reading while on the john because "I love knitting patterns."
It's true that Rowling never went so far as to show any same-sex interest (other than close friendships) among the youth. There aren't even typical boarding school romps among the boys that are sometimes assumed in British boarding schools. The cast is cute, from the strapping Cormac McLaggen who Ron is wrestling with over Hermione, and ditzy blonde bimbo Lavendar Brown, who has her sites set on Ron. That infighting and jealousy seems very normal. But, there are some uncomfortably creepy moments between the teachers and students.
In the fifth book, Dumbledore confesses that he has to stay away from Harry because he cares too much for him. That has some pundits musing that the fictional character may have a pedophilic bent or other such ridiculous assumptions.
In the latest movie, there is an even closer bond developing between Dumbledore and Harry; then, there's a pledge between Draco Malfoy and Dark Arts Professor Severus Snape. In fact, Malfoy's mother and aunt force a blood pledge by Snape to protect the boy, almost as if offering a child into servitude or apprenticeship.
A past memory of bad guy Voldemort and Professor Slughorn is even more riddled with subtext.
"I've come to you, because you are not like the other professors," the young Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort) says. He asks about something that he has read about in the "restricted area" of the library and he knew that this was the man who could explain it to him. The professor is mortified and embarrassed and retorts, "Even if I did know, I would not tell you."
Costume designer Jany Temime describes Slughorn as "a bit of a dandy" and he was dressed appropriately for the part.
But, don't go to "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" for any bisexual subtext. Go to enjoy a good movie, with lots of laughs, a lot of thrills, superb special effects, and a little bit of snogging.
* Believe it or not, there is a site that has a list of fan-written "Harry Potter" stories that emphasize bisexual content.
* Read about Harry Potter and the Gay Myth
* More rumors from the British tabloids.
* If Dumbledore is Gay, he is Also a Pedophile, according to writer Chris Ralph
View a funny take on Harry Potter being gay done by THE SOUP by clicking below, and see other funny bi "outings" below