Crimes of Grindelwald Three Days Early

The premiere of Crimes of Grindelwald will be in Paris on 8 November this year, the London premiere will take place five days later on the 13th, and general distribution globally will be on 16 November when the ‘Original Screenplay’ will also be published. [‘Globally’ meaning ‘except for Japan,’ where the film will premiere with Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne in attendance on 21 November.]

All of which you probably knew. The news is that there will be a ‘Fandango Fantastic Fandom Event’ at various theaters throughout the US at which there will be one showing on 13 November. You can buy your tickets in advance (and you should if you expect to get inside the theater for the singular run). I have a ticket in hand — and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you about the second Fantastic Beasts film the next day.

Share that Fandango link with your friends so they, too, have a chance to see the film the same day (sort of!) as those privileged to squeeze into the one London theater with everyone in the UK lucky enough to have won a ticket. Again, there will be one showing three days before the 16 November official release date at theaters near you; I recommend you act now if you want a seat.

[Could this be a Warner Brothers marketing scam to juice official opening day sales? The fandom mobs at theaters on Tuesday night with their Willy Wonka golden tickets and everyone else feeling left out (and determined to see it that Friday on the official release date)? I think that’s more than likely. I still grabbed a seat, though, much as I’d prefer to resist the marketing hype, so the conversation can begin here on the 14th. I hope you’ll join me!]

Crimes of Grindelwald: Fun Speculation

As y’all know, I hope, I have not invested myself in speculation about the next Fantastic Beasts film, Crimes of Grindelwald (not much, at least, since I wrote this a year ago). I don’t follow the trailers, MinaLima art, and still photography releases because we have only scratched the surface in unpacking Lethal White, the fourth Cormoran Strike novel, and the film speculation turns on information released in exotic places, seemingly at random, and semi-continuously. I’m busy, in other words, on reading a long work that is a Rowling solo effort — and I like my speculation to be based on the clues and mysteries in fixed texts we have in hand. Full stop.

Having said that, I would be neglecting my ‘Dean of Harry Potter Scholars’ responsibilities if I didn’t acknowledge the remarkable work being done at TheRowlingLibrary (Go, Patricio!), Univers Harry Potter, and by S. P. Sipal to monitor the global release of clues, to assemble them in tweets, posts, and videos, and to offer fascinating theories about what is coming in the next movie. This is some studiously serious Wizard sleuthing.

I love, for example, Sipal’s explanation of what DDore’s wrist manacles mean in the video above, the guess work connecting the necklace on the screenplay cover and the phoenix tears mentioned in the first film’s bar ballad, and the ideas about Grindelwald’s work with the skull, his transformation into a blue dragon, and the ingredients he needs for this alchemical magic. If half of what Sipal and company have doped out comes true, actually seeing the film will be anti-climactic! Did I mention an Unbreakable Vow?

Take that as a spoiler warning before you watch the video — and please let me know if you are as startled and impressed as I am about the worldwide search for Crimes of Grindelwald clues and the teams of researchers dedicated to finding and turning them into fun theories. I’m back to a re-reading of Lethal White…

Guest Post: Three Reasons to Believe Dumbledore’s Sexuality will NOT be a Highlight of the Fantastic Beasts Films

Christina Semmens, a Potter Pundit I have known and whose work I have admired since our first meeting at the innaugral LeakyCon in Boston years ago, writes about the role ‘Gay Dumbledore’ will or will not play in the ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ movie and later films in that series. She last shared her thoughts at HogwartsProfessor in a post on the hits and misses on the mobile app Harry Potter game. Enjoy her challenging thoughts below about why DDore’s sexuality will be downplayed in future feature films about his past!

Three Reasons I Believe Dumbledore’s Sexuality Will NOT Be a Highlight of the Fantastic Beasts Movie Franchise

Recently, I was sharing with a friend my excitement about the upcoming November 16th release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. His response was very subdued, and when I queried him as to why, he responded, “I’m just not interested in seeing the whole Dumbledore-Grindelwald love story on screen.” I quickly assured him that I highly doubted that such a thing would happen, particularly since JK Rowling is the one writing the screenplay.

Although my comments seemed to mollify my friend enough that he was willing to go see the movie, his reaction caused me to reflect that perhaps other people might be having similar reservations. It seems a real possibility that people may shy away from seeing the upcoming Crimes (and the subsequent three movies in the franchise) due to the concern that instead of these “family movies” that are focusing upon the great struggle to decide what the proper interaction and treatment of all magical and non-magical beings and creatures in the wizarding world should be (and therein a commentary on our own world), that it will devolve instead into focusing upon the romantic interest of one of the most beloved characters of the Harry Potter world, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

First is the reality that the occasion on which Jo Rowling revealed Dumbledore’s sexuality was not a planned one, but rather was in response to a question about whether Dumbledore had ever fallen in love himself. Her response at the time in 2007 was: [Read more…]

Crimes of Grindelwald Final Trailer

My inbox is full of owls about the “final trailer” for Crimes of Grindelwald and its stunning revelations. Color me “non plussed.”

Were any of our regular readers surprised that the Maledictus was named Nagini? I hope not. I discussed it in November last year here and here, and Oxford’s Beatrice Groves explained it’s literary allusion here that December. Yesterday’s “big reveal” was rather stale news, I thought, for those paying attention.

Was anyone as disappointed as I was in the ‘Today’ show interview with The Presence and the Crimes of Grindelwald second-tier actors as I was? After 20-plus years of interviews, we spend more than ten minutes of a twenty minute interview on her the Cinderella story of Rowling’s single motherhood and how often she thinks of her mother? “Where do you get your ideas?” “What’s with the return to red hair?”

Rowling managed to sneak in a reference to her ‘Robert Galbraith’ novels, which I suspect none of the five people being filmed there not JKR have read, but only as something like a hobby she does when she’s not doing important collaborative Wizarding World work with David Yates, et aliis.

If there is a keeper moment (besides Rowling’s reference to her blonde bombshell look of a decade as “accidental” [!] and “looking like Dolly Parton’s plainer sister”), it was when the interviewer asks why Rowling doesn’t do many interviews. Rowling pauses significantly before offering her rehearsed answer about writers and their energies.

She seemed to choke back the answer, “Have you read any of my books and thought about what I think of the legacy media? People like you?” Or, “Because when I do speak to people like you, I get questions about my life as a single mother, the color of my hair, where I get my ideas, and how often I think of my late mother rather than the artistry and meaning of my novels and screen writing or anything of interest to serious readers…”

Anyway, lemmeno what you think of the trailer and its “revelations.” For a scene by scene breakdown of the trailer without any discussion of the trailer structure or possible meaning for the films, look here. More trailer breakdown, too, on  PotterMore.com, something like the horse’s mouth (Mouth of Sauron?). Tomorrow we’ll go back to unpacking the depths of Lethal White, a novel Rowling wrote herself, with a post by Louise Freeman about a song that belonged on Rowling’s White Horse Playlist. And about Matthew’s desire for revenge on Cormoran…

Forgotten as it seems to be in the media and Potter fandom, Lethal White was published only a week ago. We have plenty of time to look at the latest Warner Brothers teaser droppings about Cimes of Grindelwald, which advertising, despite the supposed “finality” of this trailer, will no doubt continue right through November. We have only just begun to talk about the depths of Lethal White!

Lethal White vs Crimes of Grindelwald

Three quick notes on the Grand Canyon-esque chasm separating Potter fandom interest in Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels and J. K. Rowling’s collaborative contributions to Warner Brothers’ Fantastic Beasts film franchise:

(1) Rowling re-tweeted a new contest for an autographed copy of Lethal White on her twitter feed to 14.4 million followers. One thousand of those followers ‘liked’ the idea. She re-tweeted a fan art contest for Fantastic Beasts and five times as many liked that idea, a contest with no prize other than being exhibited. Contact with The Presence and an heirloom book, essentially zero interest and five times the interest for Show-and-tell online? Bizarre. The Robert Galbraith twitter feed has 62.3K followers and CormoranStrike, a StrikeFans twitterer, has less than 7k. FantasticBeasts? 452K.

(2) Serious readers get that Cormoran Strike is not only unadulterated Rowling at her best but in many ways a continuation and commentary on Harry Potter. Constance Grady at Vox goes so far as to call the series a “Grown Ups Harry Potter.” The pathetic online sales for Lethal White, even allowing for Amazon’s tiff with Hatchette Group, the publisher of the Strike series, reflect that this is not at all the opinion of Rowling’s gazillion Wizarding World fans, most of whom seem to be unaware that Robert Galbraith is a Rowling pseudonym.

(3) Check out the YouTube video below about the second Crimes of Grindelwald trailer. After watching it, ask yourself: “What if this kind of frenetic interpretative energy and attention to every detail were focused on Cormoran Strike and the possibilities of what will happen in Lethal White and subsequent novels in that series?” I think that my individual efforts at unlocking Galbraith’s larger story are significant; I know that if Potter fandom were to actually read and join in the speculative adventures of Cormoran Strike, however, that ‘Heroin Dark Lord’ would only be one among several challenging theories.

My tentative conclusion?

Strike remains the biggest secret in the Rowling universe. It is the neglected step-child of global Cursed Child productions, anything Crimes of Grindelwald, and even of Wizarding World theme parks news.
And I doubt the release of Lethal White will change much, frankly.

The engorgement charm size of Strike 4, how much its plot depends on the first three books, and reader’s continued distraction with other Rowling projects means that it will sell less well than Career or Silkworm even after the BBC1 promo shot in the arm.

How many reviewers, for example, after the three year lag between Strikes 3 and 4, do you think will be able to get what is going on in Lethal White in terms of the back story? If Rokeby and Charlotte appear, what will that mean to readers who haven’t been looking forward to that since Cuckoo?

Not much, I’m guessing. I look forward to reading your more optimistic view – and any ideas you have about the Mystery of the Invisible Famous Author!