JUST realised, on reading Manohla Dargis’s excellent review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that all is not almost over for us Potter fans.
The good news is that Half-Blood Prince is not the penultimate movie in the series. Deathly Hallows, the last of Rowling’s magnificent Hogwarts effort, will come to us in two parts. So people like me, who went to Half-Blood Prince feeling a bit low because there was only one more movie left to enjoy, can now look forward to two extravaganzas. Isn’t that grand?
That said, do you feel a bit stretched with each new movie, or is it just me? My enjoyment has been decreasing steadily for some time now — no, wait, not my enjoyment, but my after-enjoyment. I enjoyed Half-Blood Prince at the cinema, but I can’t honestly say I savoured it afterwards, the way I did The Philosopher’s Stone or The Order of Phoenix. This was not certainly the case with the books; each novel, I distinctly remember, gave me more — and lasting — pleasure than the one before.
Half-Blood Prince, however, is interesting for another reason. It opens up the possibility that Voldemort was gay. Or at least that he – pardon the pun – swung that way in his youth.
The 11-year-old Tom Riddle, played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin (this boy’s good, mark my words, stronger than Daniel Radcliffe will ever be), manages to look sinister and pretty at the same time. The scene with Horace Slughorn, where he extricates the secret of immorality from the teacher, is a study in silky smiles … and snaky seduction. Me, I came away with the distinct impression that there is more to Riddle’s power over Slughorn than the creepy charm of an oily introvert.
Nearly two years ago, Rowling had brought Dumbledore out of the closet, much to the chagrin of many. While that came as a surprise, Voldemort’s ‘gayness’ is more believable. If you think about it, Rowling has strewn enough ‘clues’ around. Voldemort’s orphanage past and his reclusiveness (possible that Riddle was sexually exploited and hence his withdrawal?), Dumbledore’s influences in his formative school days (the good professor was gay after all), the many servile male Death-Eaters Voldemort lorded over, the unrequited infatuation of Bellatrix, all could help Rowling write up Voldemort’s character that way, if she so chooses.
Guess we will need to wait till they work out Deathly Hallows. Maybe the scriptwriter will give Voldemort a line that goes, “When I was young, I knew a girl…” and Rowling will slip a note across to say,“Voldemort would never say that. He’s gay.”
If Dumbledore is, why not Voldemort?
Image courtesy: www.ratcreature.net