My Thoughts on the New Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer

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.

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And then Queenie crying, looking like she’s trying very hard either to listen for someone’s thoughts or not to hear them.

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That has to be significant, right?

Dumbledore

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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.

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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.

Grindelwald

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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:

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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

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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.

Magical Beasts

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Linking Voldemort and Grindelwald

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In this recently-released image from The Crimes of Grindelwald, Grindelwald is shown accompanied by Vinda Rosier, one of his supporters. The name should sound familiar to Harry Potter fans, since she shares last name of several minor characters in the original series, all of which have some connection to Voldemort.

Vinda Rosier and Leta Lestrange both seem to be Grindelwald supporters, which in a way is surprising, because Deathly Hallows makes it sound like Grindelwald was never powerful in Britain. It makes sense for some British wizards and witches to think he has the right idea, but his army should be mainly Durmstrang and Beaubatons graduates, not previous generations of Slytherin/Death Eater families.

However, Grindelwald is sort of a precursor to Voldemort. Their goals and methods are slightly different, but they are united in their belief that wizards are superior to muggles and that “pure-blood” wizards are superior to muggle-borns. In that way, it makes sense that a few of the ancestors of the Death Eaters would be drawn to Grindelwald just as their descendants are later drawn to Voldemort.

Which brings me back to the Rosiers. Although they’re not a prominent Death Eater family like the Malfoys or Lestranges, they’re woven into so much of the backstory that they were almost certainly important in a behind-the-scenes way.

Tom Riddle Jr. was born December 31, 1926, not long after the events of the first Fantastic Beasts movie.  At this point, he’s a very young child growing up in a muggle orphanage. Therefore, the unnamed Rosier who was one of his school peers would also be an infant or be born very soon. Could Vinda be his mother? If so, then he would grow up surrounded by Grindelwald supporters and longing for the day when he, too, could fight for them. At school, he meets Tom Riddle, a classmate with ideas very much like what he’s heard at home. Grindelwald is defeated in 1945, around the time Tom Riddle and his classmates leave Hogwarts, leaving a power vacuum he’s all too happy to fill. Rosier, as the child of a Grindelwald supporter, would have no love for Dumbledore and most likely a desire for vengeance. He becomes one of the first Death Eaters.

Evan Rosier, presumably the older Rosier’s son, went to Hogwarts at the same time as Snape, and they were part of “a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters”. Therefore, Evan Rosier was one of the bad influences that led Snape to become a Death Eater himself. He died during the first war against Voldemort, killed by an Auror while trying to avoid capture. Said Auror is implied to be Mad-Eye Moody, who mentions that Rosier “took a bit of me with him”. Although Evan Rosier died before Sorcerer’s Stone begins and is never really developed as a character, he definitely made an impact through his interactions with Snape and Moody.

But it doesn’t end there. Let’s assume that Vinda is Druella Rosier’s mother as well. Druella Rosier grows up much like her unnamed brother, surrounded by pro-Grindelwald sentiment, and in the aftermath of Grindelwald’s defeat, marries Cygnus Black.

When Sirius describes his family to Harry, he says that his parents were never Death Eaters. It’s not that they were against the Death Eaters, per se, but they weren’t about running around in masks and killing people. They were content to cheer from the sidelines. However, Druella’s mother was not, and neither is her brother. We don’t know if Druella was ever a Death Eater or an active Grindelwald supporter, but she definitely had relatives who were, and she might very well have, much like Bellatrix, dreamed of sending her own children to fight for the Dark Lord. Fierce, ruthless Bellatrix would have wholeheartedly embraced the role. Knowing that the Lestranges were another old family of Death Eaters and Grindelwald supporters, I can see her seeking out Rhodolphus Lestrange as a husband, not out of love but as a way to get into Voldemort’s inner circle. Before long, the whole extended family is working for Voldemort.

Now here’s the interesting thing: the Rosiers and Lestranges were longtime Death Eater families, but the Malfoys weren’t, nor is there any sign yet that they were involved with Grindelwald. Older generations of Malfoys come across as more like Sirius’ parents, utterly despicable but uninvolved, and Draco’s grandfather even seems to have been an old friend of the stubbornly neutral Professor Slughorn. I tend to imagine Lucius Malfoy as a first generation Death Eater who joined well after Voldemort’s rise to power began. Snape, Barty Crouch Jr., and Igor Karkaroff would also fall into this general category. These newer recruits typically lack the fierce loyalty of the ones born into Voldemort’s service and were drawn in by promises of greatness but unwilling to go to prison for him once he was gone. They would likely have been recruited by in-laws or classmates, and in the case of Lucius Malfoy, that would be his wife’s family.

And Regulus Black? His parents weren’t Death Eaters, but they had the same kind of twisted morals. He was the youngest of the family, and as he was growing up, his cousins would have already been getting more and more entangled with Voldemort. It wouldn’t have taken much for one of them to whisper in his ear that this is the way to save the family’s honor after Sirius and Andromeda’s betrayals. And he would have believed it, because everything Voldemort did was in line with his parents’ beliefs, if not their actions.

There’s no way of knowing yet if Vinda Rosier is directly related any of these people. Maybe she’s an aunt or a distant cousin instead. Maybe Rosier is her maiden name and she marries into a different family. Maybe she dies childless and has no impact on the main Harry Potter story at all. But it would be an odd choice to give Grindelwald a supporter from an important Death Eater family and not expect there to be some connection. Leta Lestrange can’t be Bellatrix’s ancestor, because Bellatrix is a Lestrange only by marriage, but Vinda Rosier can, and it makes a lot of sense that she would be.

Almost all the high-profile Death Eaters from the main Harry Potter series can be traced back either to the Rosier and Lestrange families or to Tom Riddle’s original group of “friends”, which included members of both families. Now we know that the Rosiers and Lestranges were Grindelwald supporters before they joined Voldemort. While the two had different goals and methods, Voldemort did not just emerge to fill the power vacuum left by Grindelwald but in fact inherited his supporters as well.