Crimes of Grindelwald Spoilers!
Major Crimes of Grindelwald Spoilers!
I haven’t seen Crimes of Grindelwald yet (I’m going this afternoon), but here’s a picture I’ve been working on in anticipation.
The Fate of One / The Future of All
This is the tagline for the new poster, and it also shows up in the trailer, so it has to be important. I think it’s about Jacob.
Think about it. Grindelwald’s whole campaign is based on a hatred of muggles, and Jacob is the only muggle in the main cast. He’s been brought back into the wizarding world after having his memory erased at the end of the first movie, and he’s in love with Queenie, a relationship that’s forbidden under America’s strict secrecy laws. Then, just after the words “The Fate of One” and “The Future of All” appear onscreen, we hear, “Muggles are not lesser. Not disposable,” and at the same time we see Jacob.
And then Queenie crying, looking like she’s trying very hard either to listen for someone’s thoughts or not to hear them.
That has to be significant, right?
Dumbledore seems to be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, not Transfiguration. Newt’s greatest fear as a student was having to work in an office. Based on his “About the Author” page in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the book), he actually did spend two years working in the Office for House Elf Relocation as a young man before he began working with magical beasts.
This appears as Dumbledore is telling Newt, “I cannot stand against Grindelwald. It has to be you.” Presumably this is the Mirror of Erised, meaning that his deepest desire at this point in his life is to reconcile with Grindelwald. He certainly realizes at this point that Grindelwald is not a good person and that he has to oppose him, but he’s still doing so through other people, such as Newt, and not by fighting Grindelwald himself. I believe J.K. Rowling has previously said that when Dumbledore looks in the mirror, he would see his family reunited, so this Dumbledore is not yet the one we know from the Harry Potter books. If he still misses Grindelwald more than his dead sister and estranged brother, he’s still obviously very conflicted – which makes sense, because this is a five movie series and presumably the famous Dumbledore vs. Grindelwald showdown is in the final one.
Here’s Grindelwald making a speech to a huge crowd of his followers. According to Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald avoided Britain because of Dumbledore and was never powerful there, so presumably this is taking place in France, where most of the movie will be set.
There was a carriage pulled by thestrals in one of the other trailers, and I speculated it was Dumbledore or Newt riding it, since Hogwarts was supposed to have the only tame herd of thestrals in Great Britain. Turns out it’s Grindelwald in the carriage, which raises the question of how he got his hands on a group of Hogwarts thestrals, and why he would go to the trouble to do so.
Here’s a close-up of the Elder Wand, which belongs to Grindelwald at this point in the story – unless of course they decide to address the fact that Newt disarmed him in the first movie, meaning technically the Elder Wand should be Newt’s now.
Here’s Grindelwald dueling with Newt and … is that Theseus Scamander? It will be interesting to see what kind of role he plays in all this. It looks like he and Newt are on the same side here, but I have a gut feeling he may not be entirely trustworthy.
Credence and the Maledictus appear together multiple times in the trailer. They’re also paired together in most of the posters and promotional materials, so they will probably have a big impact on each other’s stories. How could they not, when he’s an obscurial and she’s under some kind of uncontrollable transformation curse?
Here they are on the rooftop, and it looks like Credence is getting rid of the obscurus. I believe this was in a previous trailer, too – but I have to think it can’t possibly be so easy. No one has ever stopped being an obscurial, no obscurial has ever survived as long as Credence, and it almost destroyed him in the previous movie, but now he’s able to just push it away? I would guess it comes back to haunt him in some way. Especially given this:
We catch a glimpse of him, someone (Newt?) shouts out his name, and then we see a building exploding, which looks a lot like the obscurus breaking loose in the first movie. Now, this could take place earlier in the movie than the other scene, but if getting rid of the obscurus is the end of a movie-long character arc, it’s hardly the sort of thing that would make it into the trailers. Especially since it’s something that has never been done before.
Leta Lestrange says, “You are too good, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love”. Within the trailer, it’s followed by the sequence above with Credence, which brings to mind Newt’s attempt to save him in the first movie. He approaches dangerous people and dangerous creatures in much the same way: with caution, compassion, and a desire to help and understand. Leta looks and sounds upset when she’s saying it, and I can’t help wondering if she’s talking about herself. Maybe she’s gotten involved with Grindelwald and he’s trying to convince her it’s not too late to change her mind, or something along those lines. The way it’s said makes me feel sure it’s not just a comment on his suitcase full of magical creatures, some of which definitely could be described as monsters.
What on earth are these creatures? The only catlike magical creatures listed in Fantastic Beasts are the kneazle and the wampus. A kneazle is supposed to be small (presumably the size of a housecat) with “flecked, speckled or spotted fur, outsize ears, and a tail like a lion’s”, so these clearly don’t fit the bill. A wampus looks like a mountain lion or cougar, “can walk on its hind legs”, and has distinctive yellow eyes, so these don’t look like it either. And yet they’re clearly not ordinary cats. What could they possibly be?
I’d guess this one is a kelpie. According to Fantastic Beasts, they are aquatic shapeshifters and usually appear in the form of a horse. However, they can take on any form they want. Of all the aquatic creatures in the wizarding world, it seems more likely to be a kelpie than anything else.
I’m totally at a loss here. At first I thought it might be a clabbert, which is “in appearance something like a cross between a monkey and a frog”, but the clabbert is hairless and small enough to live in trees. It looks a little like the illustration of a quintaped in Fantastic Beasts, but I can’t tell if it has five legs. Anyway, quintapeds live only on one small island north of Scotland, and they sound far too dangerous for even Newt to keep in his suitcase.
One of the first things I noticed watching the new Crimes of Grindelwald trailer was how heavily Hogwarts and Dumbledore feature into it. The very first shots show the familiar castle from distance, before going inside and introducing the younger Dumbledore. But even aside from the little glimpses of the school and future headmaster, traces of their presence appear throughout the trailer. For instance:
The Deluminator: this one was hard to get a screencap of, but the Deluminator was one-of-a-kind, invented by Dumbledore himself. It only occasionally appears in the Harry Potter books, up until Deathly Hallows, when it’s revealed that he left it to Ron in his will and that its powers go considerably beyond simply turning off the lights. Its first appearance, however, is in the very first chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone, when Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive to drop off baby Harry. The scene in the trailer is highly reminiscent of the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, complete with lantern-shaped streetlights.
Thestrals: these skeletal flying horses are creepy, but they turn out to be gentle creatures. The Ministry of Magic gives them a XXXX rating, meaning that they are dangerous and should only be approached by an expert. However, Hogwarts has a herd of tamed thestrals that live in the Forbidden Forest and pull the school’s carriages. It’s highly likely that whoever is riding in that carriage got it – and the thestrals – from Hogwarts.
This brief glance at Dumbledore and Newt caught my attention because it reminded me a little bit of this:
The similarities are obvious. Both pairs have a sort of mentor/student relationship: Dumbledore was Newt’s teacher at Hogwarts and “Graves” presented himself as a mentor and protector for Credence. Their voices are soft, whispering, and what they are talking about is private. Grindelwald is asking Credence to find the obscurial, and Dumbledore is asking Newt to fight Grindelwald for him. They even show similar body language: standing close together, heads tilted toward each other, as if sharing a secret. But there’s one huge difference: Newt and Dumbledore are looking each other in the eye. That changes the whole dynamic. Not that Dumbledore was ever 100% open with anyone about everything he knew, but the shot of him with Newt implies a level of trust and respect for each other that is not present with Grindelwald and Credence.
Finally, there’s this. The sign of the Deathly Hallows. The obvious link here is with Grindelwald, but remember, Dumbledore was after the Hallows, too. However, aside from the wand, none of the Deathly Hallows should come into play at this point in the timeline. Only the Potters know about the cloak, while the ring is passed down from the Peverells to the Gaunts. Dumbledore does not find them until many years later, as an old man, and Grindelwald never achieves his goal of uniting the Hallows.
I talk a lot about name meanings in Harry Potter, but I don’t usually focus much on the next generation kids, because most of their names are so obvious – particularly Harry’s children. However, it occurred to me earlier today that Albus Severus Potter, as portrayed in Cursed Child, actually has a lot in common with both of his namesakes.
Like Severus Snape, he …
- Is a Slytherin
- Has a childhood friendship with a girl named after a flower, which ends during their time at Hogwarts, at least partially because she does not approve of the people he chooses to be friends with
- Is easily misled by someone with a connection to Voldemort
- Plays a role in the fulfillment of a prophecy relating to Voldemort
- Is a somewhat morally ambiguous character who ultimately chooses the side of good
Like Albus Dumbledore, he …
- Is a misfit in his own family and does not always get along with them
- Has a brother and sister who are closer to each other than to him
- Makes friends with an unpopular classmate
- Trusts a charming stranger with plans for world domination and gets sucked into their scheme, but later helps to stop them
- Distrusts the Ministry of Magic, working behind their back even though they have the same goals
- Wants to be seen as his own person, not his father’s son (for very different reasons)
- Is highly ambitious, but craves recognition and respect rather than power
However, unlike Snape, he never truly gets involved with the Dark Side and is only tricked into helping with someone else’s evil scheme. He also never stops being a good person and is not cruel to others in the way that Snape was. He is able to reconcile with his family, whereas Dumbledore’s parents and sister died young and his brother never fully forgave him. He has a lot in common with them, but his story has a happier ending.
Last week, I talked about mercy as one of the virtues that shape Harry and Dumbledore’s choices. This week I’m going to talk about the flip side of all those second chances.
We all make mistakes. It’s only human nature to do so. However, there are different ways we can handle a wrong choice. We can refuse to admit we were wrong. We can decide it’s too late to turn back. Or we can acknowledge our mistakes and try our best to make them right. That’s not an easy decision to make, and it’s often harder to come back from a poor choice than it would have been to make the right choice in the first place. Truly attempting to atone for the wrong one has done is something that requires integrity and honor.
When it comes to this, the most obvious example most people probably think of is Snape. After Voldemort kills Lily Potter, Snape realizes he was wrong to become a Death Eater and changes sides. He can never bring himself to let go of his hatred for James (and by extension, Harry) or his surly, unpleasant attitude, but in spite of this, he agrees to help Dumbledore protect Harry, and, when Voldemort returns, to work as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. I know that a lot of people have very strong opinions one way or another on Snape. My personal feeling is that he’s a bad person who did a lot of good things, or perhaps a good person who did a lot of bad things, and that the distinction between those is so blurry it’s hard to say which. But choosing to turn away from Voldemort was undoubtedly the right choice to make.
Snape is hardly the only example of such a change. I always find myself moved strongly by the story of Regulus Black. Regulus was raised to believe in the twisted ideals Voldemort stood for and joined the Death Eaters when he was sixteen years old. And yet, when he discovered the depths of evil Voldemort was willing to descend to, he dedicated himself to bringing him down. He even gave his own life to do so. He could easily have run and tried to hide, or attempted to bury his conscience and continued working for Voldemort. There was nothing self-serving or easy about Regulus’ choice, and it didn’t benefit him, but he did it anyway. There’s something very honorable about that, despite the bad choices that got him there in the first place.
Slughorn is a milder example. He’s not a bad person and never intentionally worked for Voldemort, but he was one of Tom Riddle’s teachers at Hogwarts and doesn’t like to admit that Tom was part of the Slug Club, his little group of favorites. He’s even more ashamed of a truth Harry and Dumbledore don’t manage to unearth until well into Half-Blood Prince: that he unknowingly played a part in Tom’s transformation into Voldemort. He attempts to conceal this information out of fear until Harry convinces him that the brave thing to do is to share what he knows with them. By the final book, however, Slughorn is finally willing to stand up to Voldemort and gathers reinforcements to help the “good guys” win the Battle of Hogwarts.
Even our heroes end up with regrets that push them to do better. Ron, for instance, makes a huge mistake when he walks out on Harry and Hermione in Deathly Hallows. As he tells them later, he wanted to return almost as soon as he had left – and although finding a way back isn’t easy, he arrives just in time to save Harry’s life and help him retrieve Gryffindor’s sword. The trio’s friendship returns as strong as ever, and they are united as they face the final battle with Voldemort.
And I mentioned Dumbledore last week, but it bears repeating: the fact that Harry’s own mentor figure made mistakes of his own in his youth is at first a world-shattering revelation for Harry, until he learns to accept Dumbledore’s imperfection. The whole situation not only explains why Dumbledore is so willing to offer second chances, but also gives credibility to the idea that they can be worthwhile. The remorse that Dumbledore felt over Ariana’s death led him to turn his intelligence and power toward good and to play a major part in the defeat both the most dangerous Dark Wizards present in his lifetime.