The Fate of One, The Future of All

I said in my earlier post that I think “the fate of one will change the future of all” is about Jacob. Here’s my theory.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about Grindelwald’s supporters:

https://hogwartspensieve.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/who-are-grindelwalds-supporters/

In that post, I said that, since most of Grindelwald’s supporters are apparently “unsuspecting of his true agenda”, there might be large numbers of ordinary, well-intentioned-but-misguided people among them, especially those who for one reason or another are forced to live double lives: wizards with muggle relatives, wizards married to muggles, squibs who grew up in the magical world but have no powers of their own, and so on. These people would not fit Grindelwald’s “pure-blood” ideal, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t mislead them and use them for his own purposes. Grindelwald seems to be less of a cold and cruel Voldemort type and more of a charismatic would-be dictator who draws people in with promises, lies, and ideas that look all right at first glance but turn unpleasant under further examination.

Of the main cast, I theorized that Queenie and Jacob would be most vulnerable to Grindelwald’s false promises, especially since the laws in America make it illegal for them to marry and for him to remember magic. They basically have three options. They can accept his memory wipe in the first movie as final, they can have a secret relationship but risk punishment (and his memory being wiped again) if they are ever found out, or they can move to a different country (Britain, for instance) where wizard/muggle relationships are accepted and muggles who marry wizards can be told the truth about the magical world. Wouldn’t anyone in that situation be tempted by a man who talks about bringing wizards out of hiding if he conceals the darker parts of his agenda?  The same synopsis that describes Grindelwald’s followers as ignorant to his true goals goes on to say, “Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family”, which certainly makes it sound as if someone from the main four will question their loyalties, and it would make all the sense in the world for it to be Queenie.

Queenie is a legilimens, but she does best with American English and has trouble reading British people’s minds. How much harder would it be for her to read the mind of Grindelwald, whose thoughts are probably not in English at all? She didn’t notice that he wasn’t really Percival Graves, so she very well might not notice if he’s lying to her about something else. He, of course, would know that she’s a legilimens, because it’s not as if she tries to hide it. Being a legilimens gives her a lot of insight that other people don’t have, but what happens if Grindelwald sets her up to meet with supporters of his who honestly believe they’re creating a better world and don’t know about the worst parts of his plans? In that case, it could be a weakness, because their thoughts would be honest and well-meaning and she would have no way of knowing whether they themselves had been deceived.

Why would Grindelwald want Queenie on his side? Well, she’s a powerful legilimens with direct access to one of Dumbledore’s most trusted allies. Maybe he wants to know what Dumbledore has told Newt, or what their plans are. In that case, she would still be with the other main characters even after her loyalties shift. It would be hard for someone so warm-hearted to betray her loved ones, and especially to remain a part of their group and deceive them about it while she does, but maybe she thinks they’ll all be better off in Grindelwald’s world. Maybe he promises their safety – and remember, she can’t read his mind to know if he’s telling the truth.

Even if all that happened, I don’t believe Queenie would turn to the dark side completely or permanently. I think it’s far more likely she would be tempted for a while, take a few steps down the wrong path, but then come back to the right side by the end of the movie. And what would be most likely to make her change her mind?

Probably if something happened to Jacob.

The new trailer has a voiceover that says, “Muggles are not lesser. Not disposable,” with shots of Jacob onscreen. It’s a man’s voice speaking, but the message is certainly something Queenie would agree with, and it’s clear that Grindelwald believes exactly the opposite. If Grindelwald did something to harm Jacob – if he treated him as “disposable” because he’s a muggle, if he’s hurt or put in danger because of what she helped Grindelwald to do – that would have to change her viewpoint. And if she then caught a glimpse into Grindelwald mind – because that combination of anger and love seems like it could fuel a some powerful magic – she’d be hit hard by what he’s really planning, but maybe it would give her insight into how to thwart him as well. If all that happened because Grindelwald treated Jacob as “lesser” or “disposable”, then … well … “the fate of one will change the future of all”.

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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.

Different Kinds of Strength

It would be hard to find two women more different than the Goldstein sisters from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. While Tina is serious, desperate to prove herself, and driven to help others but a bit lacking in self-esteem, Queenie is warm, bubbly, totally sure of herself, and far more than just a pretty face. One is quiet and understated, the other outgoing and flashy; one wears pretty dresses and makeup, the other dull neutral colors; and while both have sharp minds and warm hearts, they show this in very different ways. In this day and age, a lot of movies want to have “Strong Female Characters”, but sometimes I think what gets lost is that there are many different ways for women to be strong. Letting them sometimes save themselves is a good place to start, but it’s only a starting point.

Tina is described in the movie as a “career woman”, and her main motivation is to get her job as an auror back. She’s straightforward and serious, with no time to waste on frivolity. Beneath all that, she has a good heart and cares deeply about doing the right thing. She’s not quite a typical leading lady for a Hollywood movie, not least because her wardrobe and makeup are simple and don’t really make her look “sexy”. The conflict between her shaken self-confidence, determination to impress her superiors, and strong moral compass makes her a complicated character.

Queenie, on the other hand, could easily have come across as a stereotypical “dumb blonde”. However, she’s kind, intelligent, and utterly independent in ways that crush that stereotype into nonexistence. She makes good use of her talents – including legilimency – and is as bold and confident as her sister is uncertain. She doesn’t care one bit what others think of her but uses their preconceptions to her advantage. And she falls in love not with the wealthiest or most handsome man around, but with someone who has a beautiful, earnest mind.

And this wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Seraphina Picquery, the female president of MACUSA. Seraphina is not as warm or caring as the Goldstein sisters, but she’s commanding and believable. She acts decisively, and her authority comes across without feeling like she’s trying too much. She portrays yet another version of what it means to be a “strong woman”, this time one who can make the harsh decisions a leader has to without being vilified for it.

The Harry Potter series has always done a good job of portraying well-rounded, distinct female characters who are strong in their own individual ways. One of the biggest flaws of Cursed Child, in my opinion, is that it didn’t give Rose more of a role and instead focused on the two boys alone. However, the new female heroes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are complex, dynamic, and show the potential to develop even further over the course of the sequels.

Sorting Hat Saturday: Fantastic Beasts

Usually, on Saturdays, I sort characters from other stories into Hogwarts Houses. But today, I’m going to look at the Fantastic Beasts characters instead. Since they come from America rather than Britain, none of the new characters except Newt Scamander have Hogwarts houses. Here are my thoughts on where they’d be sorted if they’d gone to Hogwarts instead of Ilvermorny:

I tried not to give away the biggest plot twist, but Fantastic Beasts spoilers ahead!

Tina Goldstein: Gryffindor. Tina struggles to be brave, but only because trying to play hero has left her scarred in the past. At heart, she’s someone who follows her gut and stands up for what’s right, and she finds that part of herself again over the course of the movie.

Queenie Goldstein: Slytherin. If it’s even possible for a Slytherin to have such a big heart and warm personality – which I think it is. Queenie is quite capable of using what she learns via legilimency to manipulate others, especially to protect her loved ones. She’s skilled at coming up with believable lies and gets the others out of a near-death situation by being cunning rather than by rushing in to fight. The only part I’d hesitate on is ambition, because Tina is the career-minded sister. But like most Slytherins, Queenie will do anything to achieve her goals. It’s just that her goals aren’t power, money, or other things we normally associate with ambition.

Jacob Kowalski: Hufflepuff. Jacob is the most “normal” character in the movie, and his down-to-earth personality is reflected in his goal: to start a bakery and make a living doing something he loves. He quickly becomes loyal to Newt and is eager to see himself as part of the group, reminding Queenie at a key moment that she herself said he was one of them. While Newt – unusually for a Hufflepuff – struggles at dealing with people and gets along better with his magical creatures, Jacob is a natural people person.

Seraphina Picquery: Slytherin. As President of MACUSA, Seraphina is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the International Statute of Secrecy – whether that means standing up to Grindelwald, arresting Newt, or ordering the death of an emotionally broken young man. While the other houses might debate what can be justified “for the greater good”, Slytherins are more pragmatic and tend to believe that the ends justifies the means.

Modesty Barebone: Gryffindor. I’m basing this mostly on the moment when she admits the wand is hers instead of letting Credence take the blame. That’s a very brave thing to do, especially since she’s seen firsthand their mother’s cruelty and hatred of witchcraft.

Credence Barebone: Hufflepuff. Credence was probably the hardest character to sort because his internal conflict overshadows anything else we might see of his character. He’s repressed not only his magic but much of his individuality. However, he is in search of a place to belong and someone to be loyal to, and goes to great lengths to try to conform to the group he’s part of. He is desperate for human connection despite the lack of love in his family, as seen in his relationships with Percival Graves and Modesty. Emotional isolation is hard for almost anyone, but especially for Hufflepuffs, who thrive as part of a group.

Mary Lou Barebone: Gryffindor. As the leader of an anti-witchcraft movement, Mary Lou would no doubt be horrified to know I’d sorted her into a Hogwarts house, but all the more reason to do it. Gryffindors often fight for a cause they believe in, and that’s exactly what Mary Lou is doing, in a very twisted way. Her cause is based in hatred, but she stands up for it as boldly as any Gryffindor. I hesitated to put her there, however, because she’s not just a well-intentioned crusader doing awful things “for the greater good”. Her cruelty towards her children is absolutely horrific and not something that can be justified by her belief that she’s fighting evil. But as seen with Peter Pettigrew, Gryffindors can be capable of evil. Mary Lou is not cunning or ambitious, not loyal or fair, and certainly not intelligent or wise. She fits Gryffindor by far the best out of the four houses.

Grindelwald: Slytherin. Isn’t this obvious?

Contrasting Motives and Where to Find Them

One thing I’ve noticed about Fantastic Beasts is that each of the main quartet is motivated by love, while the rest of the cast is motivated by fear or hatred.

Newt loves his animals and spends the movie trying to protect them. Tina seeks to do what is right and is driven to help those who are vulnerable, while Queenie loves people, especially her sister. And by opening a bakery, Jacob wants to be able to make other people happy doing something that he loves. When they are drawn into the movie’s conflict, it is in defense of the things they hold dear.

In contrast, President Seraphina Picquery is motivated by fear that the magical world will be exposed, Credence Barebone by fear of his own repressed powers, his mother Mary Lou by hatred of magic, and Grindelwald and his supporters by anger at the status quo and disdain for muggles. All three competing factions – MACUSA, Grindelwald, and Second Salem – define themselves by hatred and fear of each other.

While Newt and his friends are of course afraid in dangerous situations, they never allow their fear to control them. They certainly never give themselves over to hate. This contrast between the film’s four heroes and the world that surrounds them emphasizes the fact that in spite of their circumstances, they are constantly trying to do good and acting in defense of the things they love and value.