7

When I read the Harry Potter books, I never put two and two together to realize that Dumbledore and Grindelwald had anything more than a platonic relationship. It was many years later when JKR said something about it in an interview (one which came out sometime after the Fantastic Beasts movie) that I knew that there was. Is it ever mentioned in an obvious way in the books that there was something between them? Were they a couple, or was it just that Dumbledore had feelings for Grindelwald?

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    Do you have a link to the interview you mention? I only know of JKR saying "BTW Dumbledore's gay, please like me." – MissMonicaE Nov 3 '17 at 19:30
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    Yup, here's an excerpt: "But Rowling’s penchant for revisionist history has since added an extra dimension to Dumbledore’s motivations in these dark interim years: in 2007, she declared that Dumbledore was gay and had in fact fallen in love with Grindelwald in his youth." from thedailybeast.com/… – krishna Nov 3 '17 at 19:49
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    @krishna, note that 2007 was not “after the Fantastic Beasts movie”. :-) – chirlu Nov 3 '17 at 20:25
  • whoops I must have read it after I saw the movie. possibly it was a different article but you get the gist. JKR does state that Dumbledore had romantic feelings towards Grindelwald, which until then I didn't know. – krishna Nov 3 '17 at 20:29
  • Well, see, only Snape can put two and two together. – Adamant Nov 3 '17 at 20:34
7

Dumbledore's love was unrequited (and unsaid in the books).

There's nothing in the books that explicitly say that Dumbledore had any sort of romantic feelings towards Grindelwald, the way other relationships or feelings are confirmed explicitly in the text itself.

The first time Dumbledore being gay is explicitly mentioned is in this interview with JKR.

JKR: My truthful answer to you… 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 to an extent?

In another, later, interview, JKR seems to state that Grindelwald didn't feel the same way, but would have likely used Dumbledore's feelings to manipulate him.

JKR: I think he was a user and a narcissist and I think someone like that would use it, would use the infatuation. I don't think that he would reciprocate in that way, although he would be as dazzled by Dumbledore as Dumbledore was by him, because he would see in Dumbledore, 'My God, I never knew there was someone as brilliant as me, as talented as me, as powerful as me. Together, we are unstoppable!' So I think he would take anything from Dumbledore to have him on his side.
- Harry, A History

He would have found Dumbledore very interesting, and considering him an equally talented ally worth having, but not reciprocated his romantic feelings.

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    The second quote seems to be from the interview Melissa Anelli did for her Harry A History book. – ibid Nov 3 '17 at 21:38
  • So was Grindelwald gay or wasn't he? – Harry Weasley Nov 4 '17 at 9:23
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    @HarryWeasley No interview I've found addresses whether Grindelwald is gay. JKR said he didn't reciprocate Dumbledore's feelings, but whether that's because he wasn't gay isn't said. He could have just not been into Dumbledore, or not be interested in romance at all. – Bellatrix Nov 4 '17 at 14:41
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    @Bellatrix Sounds pretty plausible for someone who is a predecessor for the Dark Lord! :P Nice answer BTW, (+1)! – Harry Weasley Nov 4 '17 at 15:50
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No, it is never said they had a relationship. It is only said that Dumbledore had (probably) unrequited feelings for Grindelwald.

The best we get from the books is the following quote:

It can now be revealed that Grindelwald chose to visit his great aunt in Godric’s Hollow, and that there, intensely shocking though it will be for many to hear it, he struck up a close friendship with none other than Albus Dumbledore.
Deathly Hallows - Chapter 18: The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

The first time a romantic relationship was mentioned between the two was when JKR did a reading of Deathly Hallows at Carnegie Hall in 2007. Specifically during the QnA afterwards.

The question was: Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?

JKR: My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] … 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 to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that’s how i always saw Dumbledore. In fact, recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying I knew a girl once, whose hair… [laughter]. I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, “Dumbledore’s gay!” [laughter] “If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!”
the-leaky-cauldron.org

In a later interview in 2010, JKR said that Grindelwald probably didn't requite Dumbledore's feeling.

JKR: [re: Grindelwald] I think he was a user and a narcissist and I think someone like that would use it, would use the infatuation. I don't think that he would reciprocate in that way, although he would be as dazzled by Dumbledore as Dumbledore was by him, because he would see in Dumbledore, 'My God, I never knew there was someone as brilliant as me, as talented as me, as powerful as me. Together, we are unstoppable!' So I think he would take anything from Dumbledore to have him on his side.
Interview with Melissa Anelli

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