“Tell me the truth — was that everything that came out of the case? “
With the recent release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on DVD and Blu-Ray, I believe it’s time to revisit the film. Set long before the time of the Harry Potter series, this movie has much to offer, and J.K. Rowling is creating an intricate web connecting the wizarding universe. First I’ll discuss what we know for sure about the series and upcoming movies, and then I’ll speculate about what could develop later.
What We Know
As far as the movies go, we know that there are going to be four more, covering the span of 19 years. The first movie took place in New York City in 1926. The next movie, set to come out in theaters November 2018, is going to take place in Paris, France. J.K. Rowling has the creative power for the screenplay, which fans are very pleased about. She does have a large team helping her including David Yates; who directed the first movie in the franchise as well as half of the other Harry Potter movies. Fans are itching to know more, but Rowling has reassured them, saying, “All will become clear. Trust me.”
The film is sprinkled with easter eggs and lore that more closely connect it with the Harry Potter universe. Primarily, the main character, Newt Scamander, is the author of one of the textbooks that is used at Hogwarts during Harry’s school years. The book is titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We also know that Newt attended Hogwarts when he was younger and was a Hufflepuff who knew Albus Dumbledore, and that he somehow got expelled. In the Harry Potter series he is briefly discussed, but only to the extent that they knew Newt traveled and learned all he could about magical beasts throughout the world, and then wrote the book.
There are a few more key facts that hopefully will come into play later, but here is what we know for sure. There is an American wizarding school called Ilvermorny that both Tina and Goldie attended at some point. There is a similar government to the Ministry of Magic in the U.S., but it is called the Magical Congress of the United States, or, MACUSA. Instead of calling people who don’t have magic Muggles, they are referred to as No-Majs. And, probably most important, the character Graves is revealed as Gellert Grindelwald – one of the most powerful dark wizards of that time.
Time to Speculate
Though Newt’s history and significance is still shrouded in mystery, the overall story arc seems to be seeping through. In the movie, one of the big “monsters” is called an obscurus. This parasite thrives on magical people who are forced, in some way or another, to conceal their magic. This makes the obscurus stronger; eventually killing the host, also known as an obscurial. We learn that Newt possesses an obscurus for unknown reasons and that one of the supporting characters, Credence, is an obscurial. In the end we find out that Grindelwald was after Credence and his obscurus.
This is where it gets interesting. With the revelation of this new parasite, it is strongly suggested that Dumbledore’s sister Ariana was an obscurial. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth talks about how Ariana was attacked by little boys as a child and refused to use her magic after that. Aberforth explains, “It destroyed her, what they did: she was never right again. She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless.” This sounds a lot like Credence, and what is even more strange is the fact that Grindelwald was around for both Ariana and Credence. We know Grindelwald is intelligent, manipulative, and very good at what he does. It leads me to believe that he manipulated Dumbledore into a deep relationship only to get to Ariana. She does get killed in a battle between Aberforth, Albus, and Gellert; and that is when Grindelwald disappears and Albus is torn apart by the death of both his mother and sister.
Grindelwald is trying to create an army and keep the No-Majs at bay – potentially even enslaving them altogether by ruling them. This was one of the key things that eventually lead Dumbledore to have another duel with Grindelwald: their epic battle that happened in 1945. That particular year is the year that the fifth movie is going to be set in! Coincidence? I don’t think so, especially since the battle is considered to be the end of the global wizarding war. Speaking of global wars, this entire story arc seems eerily similar to WWII. A powerful dark wizard wanting to sacrifice a “lesser” people for the “greater good” declaring war?
Another piece of evidence that I believe supports the connection to WWII is that Grindelwald attended Durmstrang Institute. Durmstrang is known for teaching the dark arts; Grindelwald, however, was experimenting so much in the dark arts that he got expelled for it. The location of Durmstrang is concealed, but it’s believed to be somewhere in the Scandinavian Region. I think Grindelwald may have had some German influence in his study of the dark arts, ultimately leading him to help guide the No-Majs and wizards into a global war. He also established a power base at Nurmengard during the peak of his power, a very similar name to the Bavarian city of Nuremberg where the war crime trials of Nazis were held.
The beautiful thing about the magical universe J.K. Rowling has created is the freedom to discuss theories for hours on end. Each theory out there shows the universe through a different lens, and this is part of what keeps the franchise alive, ever since its beginnings almost twenty years ago. I could keep writing about theories for pages on end, but instead, I’ll leave…
Some Questions to Ponder
When Grindelwald fled into hiding, did he end up in the United States looking for an obscurus because of the Salem Witch Trials?
What is the significance of potentially exploring all four wizarding schools? (Hogwarts, Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, and Ilvermorny)
Will Newt eventually introduce magical beasts to Hagrid and to Dumbledore? (Specifically, Fawkes)
What implication is there that Tom Riddle (more famously known as Lord Voldemort) was born in 1926 and graduated from Hogwarts in 1945?
What are your theories on how this story is all connected? Comment below!