I've always sort of dismissed Reader Response theory as the easy way out and lame. It's just not that rigorous to me to base your whole interpretation of a work on how you feel about it. I think it's more interesting and relevant to look at historical context and (especially) authorial intent. It doesn't matter to me what I think Stairway to Heaven is about. I want to know what Robert Plant thinks it's about. And I want to know bad.
But JK Rowling's outing of Dumbledore has changed the way I think about Reader Response. I'm starting to think what the audience makes of a story or a song is a lot more important than I used to. Now it's personal. It's difficult to describe, really, because none of the details that make me love Dumbledore change because he's gay. He's still powerful and awesome and wise and cool. I just never thought of him as gay and its like when you find out that one friend knows another one of your friends is a vegetarian because they actually go out to lunch (without you) all the time but you never knew this about the vegetarian friend because, as it turns out--you've never been out to lunch with either one of them. You aren't even that close and you had no idea! I know it's silly, but it's how I feel. (And I'm privileging that more now, remember.) Why does JK Rowling have to throw it in my face that she knows these characters better than I do?
If I subcribe to Reader Response theory, it doesn't matter so much. My conception of Dumbledore is just as important as Jo's. Bono was right all along. He has always maintained that he likes it when fans read meanings into his songs that he never intended. He thinks it's totally valid and valuable. Which is so weird because I always thought Spanish Eyes was about me. It is. And Bono wants it to be. This is my new religion.
Seriously, we (the whole world, collectively) paid Jo a lot of money (just a little less than we pay Oprah) for Harry Potter. Can't we have it? I'll even make a deal with her: Dumbledore can be gay but he has to come back to life (or never have really been killed) in the last book. I think that's fair. And he has to wear better shoes and also Fred lives.