It’s been an amazing week in the world of fictional characters with J. K. Rowling admitting to a crowd of young children and journalists that the wizard Dumbledore from her bestselling Harry Potter series of books was actually gay.
While there have been those who have loudly applauded the outing of the loveable wizard, others have been more subdued in their praise remarking that it would have been nice to have brought this up in the books themselves. Or even hinted at it. In the slightest. Such as making his robes pink. Or arranging a disco every week. Or having nice curtains. Or sporting an erection whenever Malfoy was around.
Still, Rowling wasn’t the first author to reveal an amazing secret about his or her characters after the publications of the stories.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s narrator of the Sherlock Holmes books was not a real doctor after all, but instead a foot fetishist who hung around with Holmes because the Baker Street irregulars had such delightfully filthy trotters.
Enid Blyton confessed in later years that Noddy’s best friend was an active member of a hate group who targeted Jews and women with stickers on the soles of their shoes.
The secret behind Agatha Christie’s doddery crime-solver’s spinsterhood turned out to be terribly itchy thrush which had plagued her all her life and put off would-be suitors.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
After transforming into a butterfly the former caterpillar helped to spread a virulent haemorrhagic fever across two continents killing close to 800,000 people and maiming almost a million others.
Although Wodehouse never completed the book before his death, the development of Bertie Wooster was to conclude with the loveable aristocrat becoming a Scientologist.
Tolkein had plans for a number of books set in Middle Earth exploring the history before and after the events of The Lord Of The Rings. The death of Gandalf was outlined in one such plan as being the result of trapping his foot in a rabbit hole and not coming up with an appropriate spell before hypothermia set in.
Long John Silver
At the end of Treasure Island Jim Hawkins speculates that Silver must have settled down in retirement with his share of the treasure but Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in a letter to the London Times many years later that he always considered the pirate would instead have been lured by the prospect of joining the professional golf circuit.
Following on from the adventures in Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator, author Roald Dahl let slip that he envisaged Charlie dying from diabetes soon after and the Oompa Loompas switching factory production to methamphetamine instead.
Rumoured to have been shelved by the publishers but apparently firmly in the mind of author Eric Hill in all his works based around the popular dog character was the book Spot’s Colon Cancer.