Guest Post: Crows, Snakes, & Nietzsche ‘Symbolism in Crimes of Grindelwald’

Valerie Estelle Frankel has won a Dream Realm Award, an Indie Excellence Award, and a USA Book News National Best Book Award for her Henry Potty parodies. She’s the author of over 60 books on pop culture, including Doctor Who – The What, Where, and How; Sherlock: Every Canon Reference You May Have Missed in BBC’s Series 1-3; Harry Potter and Myth: The Legends behind Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts, and all the Hero’s Journeys; and How Game of Thrones Will End. Many of her books focus on women’s roles in fiction, from her heroine’s journey guides From Girl to Goddess and Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey to books like Superheroines and the Epic Journey and The Many Faces of Katniss Everdeen. Once a lecturer at San Jose State University, she now teaches at Mission College and San Jose City College and speaks often at conferences. You can explore her research at

Symbolism in Crimes of Grindelwald — Valerie Estelle Frankel

Wow, what a film. While the plot certainly had its weak moments, from very few actual “crimes” of Grindelwald to a rather small-scale plot, the film seemed clearer than the last about what it was trying to be. Certainly, there was much fascinating backstory for fans, with a return to the twist endings that got us all so hooked. Beginning with the shocking revelation at the story’s end reveals much about where the characters are heading.

Finally, the chick that Credence has been painstakingly nurturing, believing it to be a baby raven and the Lestrange family crest, is revealed as a phoenix. Symbolically, a phoenix represents regeneration. “A universal symbol of resurrection and immortality, of death and rebirth by fire” (Cooper 129). It’s a Christ symbol, like many that surround Harry in book seven. Credence’s caring for the bird suggests on one level seeing himself as a baby raven, feeding this vulnerable side of the self, hoping to evolve himself into a full-grown raven, and finally discovering he’s the heir to a more magnificent heritage yet. He longs to become bright, brilliant, and immeasurably powerful. Mixed in with the tale of switched babies, there’s more than a visual touch of the ugly duckling. The parallel figure Leta Lestrange meanwhile sees herself as evil and sorrowfully tells Newt, “You’re too good, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love.” Of course, Newt, who has spent his life caring for baby birds, is also caught in this imagery, devoting himself to saving both Credence and Leta. He bonds with the latter by sharing a baby bird with her and tries to keep all his symbolic charges alive, whatever the cost.

Crows and ravens are symbolically identical (and indeed are related biologically), prompting the lost Lestrange boy’s given name of Corvus, their shared biological family. The name is also the crow constellation, linking to the old families’ love of Latin star names like Scorpius and Sirius. To Babylonians, the Raven Constellation, sitting on a serpent’s tail, marked the gateway to the underworld, as Credence and Nagini may finally do – ushering Grindelwald to defeat with their choices.  Odin, god king of Norse myth, was known for the two ravens, Hugin and Mugin (Thought and Memory), which advised him, setting them in a dark counterpart to wise leader Dumbledore and his future beloved phoenix, Fawkes. While Leta is lost and Credence disproven as a Lestrange, the image of Grindelwald surrounded by dark birds would not be shocking. [Read more…]

Guest Post: The Ariana-Credence Theory

This Guest Post from Bob Rectenwald was originally posted as a comment on another HogwartsProfessor thread. I bumpedhis re-written, expanded version up here after the jump as a stand-alone post so that it can be referenced by other fan sites easily and discussed without distraction from other conversations on that thread.

In brief, Bob’s theory is that when Ariana Dumbledore died, her Obscurus lived on and took the young Credence as its host (or Dumbledore somehow aided in that process and sent him to America). Both Dumbledore and Grindelwald witnessed or came to understand this, hence their search for Credence in New York with the Barebones. Albus sent Newt as his agent in this hunt and race because the Blood Pact prevented his moving against Gellert himself. Grindelwald wants Ariana-Credence as a weapon against Dumbledore because he believes that Albus will not be able to defend himself if it means killing the last surviving aspect of his dead sister, which Obscurus only exists because her older brother, as he admits to Leta, had not “loved her as I should have.”

Grindelwald searched for a young woman akin to Ariana in New York, which kept him from realizing that Credence was the host until he revealed his powers in the finale of the first film. Newt and Tina blocked his seduction of Credence but in Crimes Gellert plots to have Credence pursue him for the secret of his origin. Grindelwald creates the lie of ‘Aurelius’ and wins the boy’s heart to dreams of power and his being the lost son of a great wizarding family. The phoenix, a gift from Gellert, appears not to him but for Ariana’s Obscurus, the Dumbledore within him.

Please make the jump to read Bob’s Ariana-Credence Theory (ACT) as he has re-written it, an exposition that includes  his predictions for the next three films as well. Enjoy! And let us know what you think of this attempt to tie together all we know into a coherent and credible story line in the comment boxes below! [Read more…]

‘Team Luna’ at Dancing With the Stars

Evanna and Keo scored 30 out of 30 on this free-style dance and another 30 out of 30 on their tango repeat. Though they received perfect scores from the judges, the votes from the audience and online put them in third place out of the four couples competing. Read the story here.

More dancing — that tango — and an interview with Evanna and Keo after the jump! [Read more…]

Crimes of Grindelwald: Stray Thoughts

I have seen Crimes of Grindelwald twice now and started reading and charting the “original screenplay.” This work is being delayed because of a flood of revelations about Rowling’s real story, the shooting script.

The biggest secret of the story, one kept much better than before the first film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, is which scenes from the shooting script were cut for the final version of the movie, the so-called “deleted scenes.” That secret is busting open now with reports of more than fifteen deleted scenes, ones we had been shown in the various trailers and others which actors are discussing now in their endless junket interviews. If we are to see Rowling’s artistry rather than Yates’ blockbuster formula edit, we have to have these scenes in their sequence to chart the ring or whatever “structure” The Presence told us was her singular accomplishment in telling this ensemble story.

So, that’s a work in progress! While I sort through that with help from various friends, I hope to share some guest posts this week and some stray thoughts for your consideration and comment. Today’s three thoughts are about Travers, the Weekend Box Office, and a Lethal White plot point as a potential clue for solving Crimes of Grindelwald’s ‘Aurelius Dumbledore’ mystery. Join me for those after the jump! [Read more…]

Crimes of Grindelwald: Guest Review 1

Kelly Loomis has been carrying the Crimes of Grindelwald ball for the HogwartsProfessor team in the run-up to the film’s release last week so that the rest of us could focus on Lethal White‘s artistry and meaning. It’s been a tough job because, every time Kelly put together a comprehensive post — see her Top Ten ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ Plot Points Pulled from Trailers, Merchandise, and Fan Sites — Rowling and Warner Brothers would move the goal posts the same or next day with another Big Reveal. I asked Kelly, because of her greater knowledge of and investment in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, to write our first review of the film. She obliged me with this offering — Enjoy!

I enjoyed Crimes of Grindelwald tremendously.  Going into it I was worried that I had been spoiled by too many trailers, photos and merchandising especially after seeing an interview with Ezra Miller before the first Fantastic Beasts movie which gave away the final Grindelwald-Graves twist.  And, arrogant as I was because of all the online reading and research I’d been doing, I thought I had it all figured out. Ha! Rowling strikes again. I have now seen the movie twice and have poured over the published screenplay. These are my first impressions: [Read more…]