Guest Post: Top Ten ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ Plot Points Pulled from Trailers, Merchandise, and Fan Sites

Speculation about the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise is a full-time job. Warner Brothers is releasing trailers, actual film clips, and interviews with screenplay writer and actors and actresses on a daily basis and international fandom is commenting on every piece that has been shared with 24/7 zeal. Figuring out what Crimes of Grindelwald may include, consequently, is such a moving target with so many interdependent and unknown pieces, not to mention the surety that more will be available the next day that I have elected to share the released clips and interviews here but not to join in the speculative frenzy or even to track what others are saying. There’s plenty of work to be done with the Lethal White text we have in hand!

Having said that, I have asked friend of this blog Kelly Loomis who does follow the Fantastic Beast franchise news and fandom commentary quite closely to prepare a summary of what is accepted by this online community as safely certain and to share her own speculation about Crimes of Grindelwald. I hope you understand from that introduction that Kelly’s post not only includes spoilers, it is 100% spoiler content, right or wrong. Thank you, Kelly, for your work tracking all this information and speculation and for putting it together for us. Enjoy!

Top Ten Crimes of Grindelwald Plot Points Pulled from Sneak Peeks, Et Cetera

We have been given an incredible amount of information leading up to the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  As opposed to books, there is so much “physical” evidence to help us guess at the plot and its details.  The amount of merchandise already on sale is mind boggling and with the release of each item, fans are trying to decipher what clue could be in each item.

With AT&T taking over Time Warner, they have upped the ante with advertisements for this movie – producing to this date at least five TV spots along with three trailers, a sneak peek pre-trailer and numerous magazine interviews.  Rowling herself appeared on the Today show and cast members joined her in a media blitz along with the final trailer release in New York.

Given the complexity of plot which seems to be contained in this movie, it feels more like one of her novels rather than just a movie.  It appears to be deeply layered and very reminiscent of the slow reveal we have grown to love in her written word.  By writing the screenplays, Rowling has retained much more control over what these movies entail than the Harry Potter film franchise adaptations.  Of course, she is not in control of the release of information and one wonders if they have given away more plot points than she would have liked.

I will give you a few updates on characters and then the Top Ten Plot Points for this movie given all that we have seen and read.  Proceed with caution as this is very detailed and has many spoilers!

Character Starting Points in Crimes of Grindelwald —

Grindelwald Escapes – Helped by Abernathy?

At the beginning of the film we find Gellert Grindelwald (hereafter ‘GG’) in the MACUSA prison with very stringent protection.  He then is in the process of being extradicted to Europe to stand trial for his crimes when he overcomes his guards through some cool magic.  He was being flown trans Atlantic in a carriage pulled by thestrals. It even looks as though he floods the carriage to drown one of his guards then throws him out.  Someone is seen up on the top of the building holding the elder wand with their left hand.  Later, we see GG with the elder wand so a transfer occurs at some point. 

Many have theorized that Abernathy is responsible for this, that he has somehow aided in GG’s escape and was maybe even helping GG when he took over Graves’ identity.  Abernathy is shown in  a later scene with GG and Krall in what seems to be a Paris house or apartment.  He is in the background as GG talks to Krall and is holding the skull which seems to be essential to GG’s mission in Crimes. (More on that later.) Abernathy is also shown in a scene in what is thought to be the Lestrange family crypts or vaults in Paris.

Credence is Alive and Finds His Adoption Papers

Credence is alive and is back in bodily form.  After a search in Mary Lou Barebone’s destroyed orphanage, he finds his adoption papers.  These indicate he was born in Paris and he wants to go there to find out about himself.  He joins the magical circus leaving New York for the continent as a means to get there.

Tina and Queenie Both Head to Paris Albeit through Different Routes

Tina has been reinstated as an Auror and goes to Paris in an unauthorized search for Credence.

Queenie uses something magical on Jacob (Fogler claims Jacob Kowalski has regained his memory and that we will see that within seconds of his first scene).  From the scene in the relevant trailer, it seems it might be the Amortentia potion as spell. 

She then takes him to England where there are more lenient laws towards marriage with Muggles and they become engaged or married.  However, in reading his mind when he becomes aware of what’s going on, she’s hurt that he didn’t approve of her magical methods.  She flees to Paris in disappointment – maybe seeking Tina’s solace. 

Newt’s Book Launches and The Ministry Wants Him

Newt’s book has been released and he has a book signing most likely in Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley.  His brother and his fiancé’ Leta Lestrange, plus Newt’s assistant Bunty, are with him for this event.  Around the same time, Newt is at the ministry.  (As I was in the midst of writing this, even more footage came out on Sky network in the UK showing a scene with Leta, Theseus and Newt at the ministry.) Leta is an assistant for Torquil Travers (the head for magical law and enforcement for the Ministry of Magic) and Theseus is the head auror.  It seems Travers and Theseus want Newt to go after Credence and Newt responds “You want me to kill him”? Theseus tells him he needs to choose a side to which Newt replies that he doesn’t do sides.

There is also a picture of some ministry people looking at what seems to be a large pensieve or looking device and seeing Credence.  They are on the hunt for Credence.  Well, everyone seems to be on the hunt for Credence according to Rowling.

Dumbledore Is Questioned and “Restrained” by The Ministry

Dumbledore, teaching at Hogwarts, is questioned by the Ministry of Magic because of his relationship with Newt.  He is placed in tracking bracelets and demoted from Defense against the Dark Arts professor and placed as the Transfiguration professor. 

At this time, it looks like Leta has accompanied Travers to Hogwarts and she is seen visiting an old classroom where she sees her initials carved along with Newt’s in a desktop.  She has some kind on interaction with Dumbledore at this point.

Beasts

Of course there are beasts in this movie – whether literal or figurative, visible or ‘Beasts Within.’ Our favorites, the Niffler and Pickett,  are back along with a few new ones including a Kelpie, an Augurey and baby Nifflers (yes, babies!) and those included in the magical circus such as the Zhouhou ,and an Oni. (And even a Phoenix is seen – an ancestor of Fawkes?!)

Young Newt and Leta

There are a few flashback scenes shown.  One is Dumbledore seen doing a Lupin-like boggart lesson with the students.  Newt’s boggart is a desk because his worst fear is to be confined to a desk job.  What looks like a young Leta is standing behind him looking frightened. There is also a scene with students and a teacher fleeing the Quidditch pitch.  Another shows a person (probably Leta) reaching for someone underwater in what seems like the lake and another with Newt riding a Kelpie in the Hogwarts lake.

The Top Ten Plot Points:

  1. Dumbledore Can’t Move against Grindelwald

Dumbledore is seen meeting with Newt in several different places – a double decker bus, a London bridge and on top of what may be St. Paul’s Cathedral.  He seemingly uses his deluminator to douse the streetlights.  At one point, it looks like someone is following them (Theseus?). He tells Newt he wants him to find Credence because Credence may not understand who he is. He also tells Newt he has to go against GG because he can’t move against him.  The big speculation is why Dumbledore can’t move against him. Jacob somehow meets up with Newt and they travel by a portkey placed on top of the cliffs of Dover probably to Paris.

We are treated to several scenes with Dumbledore in front of the Mirror of Erised. (“People have been known to waste away…”)  He sees GG both in present day looks and as a teen with them touching hands on the mirror (fans are ecstatic that Jamie Campbell Bowers and Tony Regbo are reprising their roles from the adaptation of Deathly Hallows).  We also see Dumbledore looking at a scene with him and GG talking to each other as teens.  There is debate whether AD and GG made some kind of vow as teens. 

In merchandise for sale and in one scene GG has a necklace with a pearl-like object in the middle of it.  On it, are the letters DG.  Many believe this pearl has a memory in it.  Which memory is up for debate and speculation. On AD’s wand are some runes – one of which is also present on GG’s necklace.  Was it a gift given to him by AD in their teens with a special memory contained in the pearl?

  1. Newt is Sent to Paris by Dumbledore to find Credence and Move Against Grindelwald

In the meetings with Newt, AD gives him a magical card for a safe house in case there is trouble and he needs “a cup of tea” (delivered in such great Dumbledore style by Jude Law).  The sign on the card looks to be a magical GPS with a symbol that matches the symbol on the outside of Nicolas Flamel’s house in Paris.  At some point, Newt, Jacob and Tina all end up at Flamel’s with Newt coming up out of the suitcase and Tina looking at him rather wickedly and out of sorts.  This is probably due to a picture of Newt at the book signing showing Leta’s hand on Newt’s shoulder.  Yusuf Kama (discussed later) is also seen in the same house on a chaise seemingly recovering from something.

  1. Nicolas Flamel is Allied with Dumbldedore and the Team

Flamel has a crystal ball in his house that has been said to show him what is going on in other places.  There is also a picture of a hidden wall vault in his house which contains none other than the philosopher’s stone, a golden cup and a special book said to have spells and code to communicate with other wizards.  It seems there is a copy of the same book in AD’s possession on his desk. They have defnintely been communicating and may be doing so outside of the knowledge of the ministry.

  1. Credence is a Lestrange – And Leta’s Half-Brother!

There are some new characters and it has been revealed that there is an extraordinary family tree in existence which has been diagrammed out in what seems to be the underground of Paris (think of Jean Valjean in the sewers with Eddie as Marius in Les Mis).  In it, there is explosive evidence that Credence is the son of Corvus Lestrange IV and Clarice Tremblay. Corvus is also the father of Leta – making Credence and Leta half siblings.

Leta’s mother is Laurena Kama and Leta has a half-brother named Yusuf who is a new French African character in this movie.  Supposedly Yusuf and Leta’s mother was taken by force by an evil wizard and the result was Leta.  Yusuf has made an unbreakable vow that he will find Credence.  Corvus – the father – is the grandson of a Lestrange and a Rosier. There is something fishy going on in this family as there are symbols by some of the names.  It is surmised that some eugenics (remember that theme from the first movie) are in play here as the Lestrange family has maybe been doing experimental breeding for specific magical characteristics probably in the hopes of creating great magical power.  We know Credence must be really powerful to have contained and mastered his obscurus especially as seen in a trailer.  He is able to send it out from his hand.

  1. Credence Makes Friends with Nagini and Escapes the Circus

Credence befriends the Maledictus in the circus.  Spectacularly revealed in the trailer, she is none other than Nagini – yes, Voldemort’s Nagini!  A maledictus – as Rowling pointed out in an exchange of tweets – is a woman with a blood curse that is passed down to daughters that causes them to turn into a beast and ultimately will leave them in that state.  Oh, the fandom is going crazy over this reveal and the fact that an Asian woman is cast in this role and will end up being Voldemort’s servant. 

The actress they wanted for this role was from Indonesia and the legend of women turning into snakes is a great part of Indonesian and Indian folklore.  They are seen as very powerful and rulers. She, unfortunately, was pregnant and could not take the role leaving it open for Claudia Kim.  The social media backlash has shown the cultural problems Rowling has encountered when trying to include other country’s folklore and many of the grown up Harry Potter readers are social justice warriors that have seemingly become her enemies.

Credence and Nagini become friends and somehow are able to escape the circus along with some of the magical beasts such as the Xuzhou.  Newt has to use his tricks to round it up in the streets of Paris.

  1. Grindelwald is Deviously Plotting with Major Magical Families

GG is heard saying in a scene that the trap has been laid and the path leads to him.  It is up for debate who this trap is being laid for – Credence or AD.  It seems that GG is in search of Credence for his magical power and maybe even Leta.  He has a big gathering in an underground amphitheater trying to rally the”magical troops” to his side.  This is thought to be the Lestrange vaults as there are many ravens as statues. 

(For those who don’t know, a Corvus is a genus of raven that has white marking in its plumage.  There is a great amount of folklore and mythology around ravens – from stories of Apollo who sent a white raven to spy on his lover and smashed it to bits and resulted in it becoming black after it told him his lover was having an affair.  To another myth of a raven riding the back of a water serpent to a Native American legend where a raven is put into a fire creating lots of birds from its feathers and ascending from the fire white and heralding the end of time.) These themes are very intriguing to me especially with AD’s phoenix connections and I am wondering how they will play into the story. 

GG is allied with the Lestrange and Rosier families (Vinda Rosier is one of his acolytes).  His symbol seems to maybe be a white raven.  Queenie is seen reaching out for this symbol on a banner. (As an aside, we see the character Melusine walking with the black matagot cats at the French ministry.  Melusine is seen in French folklore as a kind of changeling that becomes a mermaid or water serpent in the water.  Could the raven ride on her back and is it somehow GG?) 

The theme of birds and those associated with them is vast in this film it seems.  Credence is in a room shown from a Russian trailer (since taken off line at the request of WB) with a phoenix in the background.

Newt, Tina and Leta go on a quest in the French ministry of magic seemingly to find something in the vaults or files.  Some kind of chase ensues but we don’t know who is chasing them.  It might be Theseus as there is a great scene with Tina non chalantly magically binding Theseus’ hands and depositing him in a chair after he sends some boxes in the air at them.  Newt claims it is one of the best moments of his life!

  1. Grindelwald Leads Differently than Voldemort – and Maybe Even More Darkly!

As opposed to Voldemort, GG seems to be very persuasive, enthralling and gives people many reasons to follow him.  Queenie is likely being brought under his influence because he claims that the magical world will not have to hide anymore and there won’t be division between the magical and non-magical world.  In this world, Queenie can envision she and Jacob together. 

To further underscore her following GG, she is seen having tea with Vinda in a Paris apartment.  It is also an apartment which shows her drawing her wand on GG maybe the first time they meet before he starts to persuade her to his side.

GG is seen using a skull which has a long pipe attached to it.  He does something magical to it and the eyes glow.  There is a history of skulls being used by alchemists in French history for prophecy and necromancy.  Catherine de Medici was allayed with a notorious alchemist who was trying to prevent her son from dying using a skull in dark magic rituals.  (Credit to SP Sipal) (Watch Reign the fantastical CW history show of Queen Mary Stuart and Louis of France)

There is thought that GG is doing something similar with the skull and it has been revealed in a “movie book” that he smokes something contained in the skull with the pipe for visions. He is obviously using it in the amphitheater to convince the people of something.  Whether is reveals a prophecy or is used in dark magic cannot be determined by what we’ve seen so far.  It does seem, however, that he is luring everyone to this amphitheater for something.  We know from other scenes that he has seen a vision-prophecy involving Credence, a scene that was cut from the first film but which new trailers suggest has been to Crimes of Grindelwald

We also see a couple of scenes involving coffins.  Krall and other henchmen carry a coffin and GG is seen next to a hearse looking at a grumpy female Carrow.

  1. Grindelwald Lures Everyone to the Lestrange Crypts in An Underground Ampitheater

All the major characters – minus AD – end up in the amphitheater.  Queenie can be seen holding Jacob’s face while he and others seem oblivious to her.  Newt and Tina are together at the top and Credence and Nagini are in another part.  Theseus and Leta also are there.  In the middle of a dais, GG talks and rallies everyone while Vinda holds the skull and pipe near to him.

At one point, many in the crowd are seen disappearing in smoke up through the ceiling.  It looks much like when some of the Death Eaters exited the Ministry in Phoenix rather than the kind of apparating they have shown so far in this movie series.  So, what is happening with these people is unknown at this point.  The others in the crowd don’t seem to take notice when this happens however.  Maybe GG has put some kind of spell on the crowd which has captivated all the others and can be seen in the Queenie and Jacob still.

  1. Grindelwald Convinces Some of the Team and Battles Others

The last scenes in the trailers show an empty amphitheater except for the main characters.  The crowds are gone.  GG reaches out his hand and beckons Leta to come to him.  She refuses and at some point throws a spell at him which he easily, backhandedly deflects. 

Credence is shown looking sadly and longingly at Nagini in what is surmised his leaving her to join GG.  GG asks Newt if AD will mourn his loss then conjures a ring of fire around himself looking like a master conductor.  

Some kind of battle ensues.  A magical fire dragon seems to come out at some point from GG’s magical fire ring because it is composed of the same blue fire.  It goes after our good guys and they flee, stopping at one point while climbing stairs to send a combined spell up at the dragon and destroying it.  Flamel is seen at the top of the stairs they are exiting on and also sends up a spell at the same time.  Maybe the combined spells are needed for enough fire power to destroy the dragon.

One of the seemingly last things we see, is more of a friendly looking fire beast (maybe either an occamy or phoenix) flying elegantly in the air above what looks like Newt, Theseus, Tina or Travers underneath it and much of what looks like the graveyard in orange fire. There has been a lot of discussion about these fire creatures.  In one scene it looks like there are two fire beasts flying around. And one of them has curved horns. 

Some think that somehow GG has used dark magic to summon someone or something from the dead or underworld using the skull and/or some kind of ritual sacrifice.  These details seem to be held under wraps as they are probably climactic scenes.  The coffin scenes seem to suggest that maybe GG uses the dead in them for some sort of ceremony.  After all, Rowling and all the actors keep talking about how dark this movie is.  We know Rowling is able to go to these themes from her Strike novels.

  1. The Team Ends up at Hogwarts (Minus A Few)

In what is thought to be the last scene, we see Newt, Nagini, Theseus, Tina, Jacob, Flamel, Travers, Kama and one other on the Hogwarts bridge with a lone figure standing opposite of them just outside the Hogwarts entrance.  The big questions are 1) where are Leta, Credence and Queenie and 2) how did they get there?

I personally think Credence and Queenie have joined GG (Credence thinking maybe there will be a cure for he and Nagini and Queenie thinking she and Jacob will ultimately be able to be together if GG prevails).  I am also thinking that one of the magical creatures, maybe even Leta transformed into a flying creature like a phoenix in a sacrificial move, has transported them to Hogwarts and AD. 

Leta is heard a couple of times making remarks to Newt such as “You’ve never met a beast you couldn’t love” and “why do magical creatures love you so much”.  The colors of her dress seem to match the colors in the tail of the zhouhou (not that the one in the circus is her) and they are able to travel long distances very quickly. A friend of mine is convinced (well somewhat) that she somehow transforms into a Phoenix who can fight, heal and transport lots of people (credit SP Sipal — think Chamber of Secrets).

In Newt taking the fall for Leta during their school years for the ‘magical experiments’, I think it was something to do with Leta herself and maybe having some kind of magical power bred into her in the Lestrange breeding program that causes her to be able to become a beast.  Whether the transformation is voluntary or not, I believe she was doing this during their time at Hogwarts. I think she will sacrifice herself to fully transform into that beast and aid in the fight and flight from GG to Hogwarts saving everyone although GG escapes with Credence and Queenie.

(This last bit of how the movie ends is really my own theory because although we have been given lots of scenes, the ending scenes and their cohesion is being held close to the vest.  I have been going back and forth with others online in various formats as to what these ending scenes indicate.  However, we know Rowling is great at the last minute twist and we may not know what that is until we hit theaters. We also know that trailers are great at the misdirects she is known for. Many of the actors, and Rowling herself, have talked about how this movie shows the beasts we can all be. This is why I think there will be some sort of reveal like this at the end.  Redmayne said this script is a labyrinth and much more like one of Rowling’s novels and that his jaw dropped to the floor when he read the ending.)

Fogler has said this movie is very remiscient of  the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back.  He said fans will be eager to see the next one and find out what happens. Rowling has said that what we think is the end result may not be the real version of events – meaning we’re being tricked!  A friend posted a YouTube video (credit SP Sipal again!) regarding Queenie.  In the comments, we have been bantering about how GG may use her in the sacrifice that we were theorizing about earlier. She proposed a theory that GG uses a “stand in” or “doppleganger” for Queenie. We think that the movie may end with us all thinking Queenie has died…

I would like to thank all the various people on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and especially SP Sipal on YouTube, for their fun interaction and the discussing of so many details and theories.

Post-post! In a scene which cannot be placed well in the timeline, Newt is seen scrunched up in the fetal position amidst ruins – probably the graveyard that the amphitheater is located in – and the foot and leg of a very big beast is seen coming down across from him.

There is also a scene with Newt seemingly looking up at war planes destroying Europe.  Whether these are real events or only seen in whatever scene GG conjures is up for grabs at this point.

Thank you, Kelly! I’m exhausted after just reading all that; I can only imagine what it took to put it together. For readers with questions for Kelly about the sources of her pictures and speculations, e.g., the specific SP Sipal youTube videos, please ask her in the comment boxes below — and feel free to share your own thoughts and ‘Plot Points Picked Up’ there that didn’t make Kelly’s Top Ten!

Comments

  1. Kelly Loomis says:

    Friends, another clip was released today by AT&T –

    Interviews with JKR, Redmayne and Depp are included. This focuses more on Grindelwald and shows him with his acolytes in new scenes. More on The amphitheater scene is also included!

  2. Muggle Maestra says:

    Aren’t the symbols from the family tree just male/female symbols?

  3. Kelly Loomis says:

    Muggle Maestra, yes there are those, but additional symbols are seen around some of the people. Such as a round symbol with lines through it (reminiscent of others seen in posters) or explosive symbols. In communicating with others, it seems to be a consensus that some of these are meaningful.

  4. waynestauffer says:

    I want to toss into the conversation something I haven’t heard much discussed so far, understandably so: young Tom Riddle.
    As the Newt saga unfolds, we are approaching the time that Tom starts at Hogwarts, c. 1938. Yes, I know that the first FB film was mid-1920s, a little before the time of Tom’s birth–turn of the year 1926-27. This second film continues on not many months after that, so Tom would still be an infant at the orphanage.
    If, as speculated, the fifth film culminates with the 1945 defeat of Grindelwald by Dumbledore, that would be Tom’s final year at Hogwarts.
    Surely impressionable Tom would be paying attention to events associated with his less-than-favorite professor, especially since Dumbledore’s adversary is preaching magical dominance over muggles. Forty and fifty years later Voldemort campaigns to the same theme.
    Since JKR is known for her plot twists, I’m interested in how she can work Tom into the background of the Newt saga. Seeing Nagini in her female, human form in the advanced advertising for the film gives me cause to wonder if maybe a young Tom doesn’t become just a little infatuated with her before her change becomes permanent. Maybe she can sense something about him that her serpentine form remembers later on. Tom is a parseltongue…
    Maybe this will come in films 3, 4, or 5…

  5. Kelly Loomis says:

    There have been lots of people wondering if and when he will show up in these films and, as you state, if GG has any influence on him as he develops his ideas. I wonder even if GG was kicked out of Durmstrang for doing something like trying to make a horcrux.

    Slughorn knew how but I wonder how much knowledge of this was out in the general wizard population. If Riddle had to ask Slughorn, it probably wasn’t even in the restricted section at that time was it? We know those books were in Dumbledore’s office during Harry’s time. Had he removed them when he became headmaster because of Riddle or had they already been removed before then?

    Knowing Durmstrang is fine with forms of dark magic, GG’s must have really been twisted. I’m wondering if we’re going to see some of that in this movie with the skull and what some think will be some sort of ritual in the amphitheater.

    So I went on a tangent, but I would think there will be reference to Riddle. However, he seemed to be fairly arrogant and know his “specialness” even before he knew he was a wizard so I wonder what was just in him to begin with and would he have done those things even without GG to look to.

  6. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    “Given the complexity of plot which seems to be contained in this movie, it feels more like one of her novels rather than just a movie. It appears to be deeply layered and very reminiscent of the slow reveal we have grown to love in her written word.”

    Promising – and ‘ominous’? An enthusiastic HP rereader I saw FB1 with found it plot-bewildering as well as spectacle-indulgent and not of much interest as a result…

    Well said, “one wonders if they have given away more plot points than she would have liked” – might she also be amused that all this pre-release wealth of various cryptic detail has produced a sort of real-world analogue of an interactive detective-story computer game? In any case, thanks for this amazing digest of your and others detective work: bravo!

  7. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    “Flamel has a crystal ball in his house that has been said to show him what is going on in other places.” Inklings tie-in? Flamel, like Merlin in Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, an heir to the Numenorean – in this case, a palantir?

    Speaking of Inklings, “the Lestrange family has maybe been doing experimental breeding for specific magical characteristics probably in the hopes of creating great magical power” makes me think of Williams’s All Hallows’ Eve (and, as Dr. O”Hare suggests, Crowley’s Moon Child in the background of that? – some sort of topos in play, here?).

  8. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Melusine: how thematic may ‘marriage with non-humans’, or something like it, be?

    Intriguing to get to see an active Flamel (but, what of Perenelle?).

  9. Kelly Loomis says:

    David, very good observations and comments. I’m really looking forward to where this series is headed. After watching FB1, I was underwhelmed and felt it was just setting up what would actually be the true story although there were some good themes that could be developed. For that, I stuck with it to see where she would take it. Some of “Fandom” thinks she is just throwing in HP characters to draw viewers but I think she – like many authors – had ideas about some of these characters and who they were before HP. Now she gets to let those stories be told without, as she said somewhere, the labor intensive novel writing process.

  10. Thanks a lot, Kelly! Can’t wait for the movie!
    Personally I fell in love with FB two years ago. As a movie it worked for me far better than all of the eight HP movies because the FB stories were planned to be told via the silver screen all along and therefore didn’t have the inevitable problems which arise when a novel has to be translated into a movie. And since JK Rowling is her own script writer now, she has a lot more control over the final product, and I’m fairly confident that nothing of vital importance will end up in the paper basket or on the cutting floor.
    IMO the first FB movie has recaptured JK’s inventive,whimsical and magically playful tone of the early HP books and movies but it also incorporated many darker aspects and hidden eastereggs. There were just enough fascinating hints at future long term plot developments to make me look forward to the next installments. And JK has always been a skillful mystery writer and a masterful engineer of long term plot developments. As a grown up reader and fan of good old fashioned mystery novels this was one of the reasons why I enjoyed the HP books so much. I’m a compulsive riddle solver and therefore got hooked. So far I haven’t been equally captured by the Cormoran Strike novels because I feel that JK doesn’t portray real life as credible, vivid and ultimately enthralling as her fantasy universe. I have a hard time in getting emotionally invested in the protagonists but I will eventually give the novels another chance. But if anything JK has become more experienced in constructing good mystery plots by now. And while DH isn’t my favorite HP novel by a long shot, I think that most of the important questions were finally wrapped up well and in a satisfying way. The only thing I still have immense difficulties with, is the elder wand lore and the purported succession of the wand’s true masters.
    But I’m confident that our guessing games and discussions concerning future movie plot developments are fully warranted and will be ultimately rewarded. And maybe there will even be satisfying additions to the history of the elder wand☺
    I enjoyed the discussions and guessing games with other knowledgeable fans during the last two years a lot. I have to say, though, that I was very annoyed by all the negative and downright vicious reactions (thankfully not here, though!) after Claudia Kim’s casting and the faint outline of the Nagini subplot has been revealed. While this story line has the potential of going into a direction which some might consider tasteless, we don’t have the foggiest idea right now how this story will eventually unfold. Can we really know for sure that Voldy’s pet snake and final horcrux can be fully equated with Claudia Kim’s character after the blood curse turned her irreversibly into a snake? I bet she didn’t accept her fate meekly, and she tried everything in order to get help and escape the consequences of the curse. Maybe, she turned to Grindelwald for help, or he offered her his help – just like a young and idealistic Newt had tried to help a young girl to get rid of her obscurus – as we learned in the first movie, when Jacob encounters the encapsuled remnant cloud of the obscurus in Newt’s magic suitcase. I see a lot of possibilities for unexpected plot developments here as far as Nagini’s ultimate fate is concerned. But even if Voldy’s pet snake has indeed once been Claudia Kim’s character, we should wait how exactly JK will tell her story. IMO it’s silly to accuse her of a lack of political correctness before we even know all relevant components of that particular story line. We can wait with criticism until we know all relevant aspects . I am fascinated by this story and can’t wait to learn more – especially since this seems to hint at the possibility that Grindelwald won’t be the only familiar dark wizard we will meet in the upcoming movies. The Nagini story line might be a strong hint that we will eventually also learn more about young Tom Riddle – who must’ve been conceived, born and placed in the orphanage at the time when the first two FB movies take place. I highly doubt that the time when the FB story arc begins, has been chosen randomly by Rowling and coincides just by chance with the conception and birth of the most dangerous and evil wizard of modern history.
    I fully believe JK btw, when she says that she has always known that Nagini wasn’t just an ordinary snake which Voldy or possibly Peter Pettigrew picked up somewhere. For a venomous snake species she was far too large, and she seemed to be unusually sentient. Peter Pettigrew also used Nagini’s venom for sustaining the very weak and helpless preliminary body of Voldy before he fashioned a new and fully able corporeal manifestation of himself. And the very name Nagini makes JK’s assertion totally believable that there has always been the outline of a back story in the author’s mind which simply hasn’t been shared with the readers so far. I have to admit that it might possibly contain a few rather ambiguos implications since Nagini almost had the function of a mother – or at least a wet nurse – for Voldy in his weakened incarnation. And this becomes of course more relevant if Nagini once used to be a real woman. However, it doesn’t make sense to accuse JK of retconning since she didn’t change at all any previously known elements of Nagini’s history. Time will tell if the revelation of Nagini’s back story works well – and will eventually be accepted by the general audience as the canonic version of Nagini’s story.

  11. Kelly Loomis says:

    Sabine, thank you for your well thought out comments. I, too, am an older reader. I feel much as you have explained. I had a hard time with the original movies for HP and rarely, if ever, watch them – they just make me a little crazy!!
    I recently watched a portion of OOTP to see how the death eaters apparated out of the death chamber to see if this was the same way they are portraying people from apparating out of the amphitheater in the upcoming film.

    I love the world JKR has constructed and enjoy it much more than the Strike novels.

    I agree with much of what you said regarding Nagini. I recently saw a quote from JKR saying all of her humanity is lost when she fully transforms. I think Credence joins Grindelwald to hopefully help himself and/or Nagini. If you read the myths of India and Indonesia, the snake woman is either a ruler or like dirty that is worshipped. Not much of a better portrayal of a beast could be found.

    I have interacted with some of the fandom on different social media sites. They are an interesting bunch who patrol thought and ideas they think are not worthy!! JKR has in some ways created her own critics!!

    I too, love delving into clues to try and guess what is coming. These movies will be like her novels with rich symbolism and layers. I’m so looking forward to next week!! I have three different tickets!

  12. @Kelly, thanks a lot for your nice answer☺Very interesting, what you said about the Internet community and the members you have interacted with…
    I will see the movie tonight!
    Unfortunately the early reviews are a very mixed affair. Well, I will judge for myself. I’m sure that I will find plenty to enjoy and a few things which I will dislike. And I will post my first impression here – of course absolutely spoiler free, lol!
    I have a hunch that, just as you said., JK did indeed create her own critics, and it has become a lot harder for her to get appreciated. These things run in cycles, and right now she is the Establishment s who attractive pot shots from very different directions. We will see. I try to remain neutral.
    I hope you will enjoy a lot, no matter what!

  13. So, I’ve seen the movie now – and I decided not to say anything right now, except that I’m very confused – and they definitely should’ve stuck with Collin Farrell as Grindelwald. Johnny Depp just doesn’t convince me. He is going for projecting evilness in such a crudely obvious fashion that I can’t understand how anyone can fall under his spell …
    Did I say already that I’m very confused? Yes, I probably did. Unfortunately a lot of the early mediocre reviews have a point. But let’s point at something positive for now: the niffler, who turns out to be a bit of a hero and may well have done a little thing with big consequences. Take that, Gellert Grindelwald! Your eventual downfall may well have been initiated by a lowly niffler!

  14. Sabine Lechtenfeld says:

    @Kelly, your plan to see the movie more than once ist definitely a good idea. Since I received a free ticket from the movie theater because of some technical irregularities during the first watching, I have now seen the movie twice – the second time in the original English version. And I have to say that I formed a much more positive opinion after the second viewing. The English version was definitely superior to the dubbed German Version, which was jarringly silly at times. But knowing the plot also improved the viewing experience, since everything was less confusing. Interestingly it wasn’t boring at all to see the movie again. I was actually able to see some underlying brilliance. The movie is still burdened with too many characters and confusing subplots, which have generated no pay-off so far . But it’s visually gorgeous and also has a dark and stark elegance which sucks you in. The lable “Rotten” which has been generated by “Rotten Tomatoes”, isn’t justified at all IMO. One of the underlying problems may well be that those who aren’t overly familiar with the Potter-verse will have a hard time to follow. And it’s probably correct to assume that many professional reviewers aren’t necessarily fans of the Potter-verse. Therefore I expect that the moviegoing audience will form a more positive opinion.

  15. Kelly Loomis says:

    Sabine, thank you for your comments. I will see it for the second time tonight. I will be giving my opinions after that.

  16. Like I suspected, FB2 turns out to be one of those movies where the judgements of the professional reviewers and the movie going audience are wildly divergent.
    “Rotten Tomatoes” has generated a 44% approval rate from professional reviewers, which warrants the label “Rotten”. However, 76% of the audience liked the movie! I really believe that knowledgeable fans of the Potter-verse see the movie with very different eyes. But it’s of course a problem if a movie can only be fully appreciated when you have prior knowledge. I think that JK and David Yates have to work on this. FB2 – despite all it’s visually splendor and dark elegance – does indeed not work well as a stand-alone movie. And I wonder now, if it was really a good idea to spread out the story arc over 5 movies and eight years! Many viewers won’t be that patient and will also forget the content of the earlier movies. Also, such a long hiatus between each movie leads to a prolongued “internet gestation” period. Fans will endlessly speculate, and their theories will be criticized and dissected endlessly. JK will answer via Twitter, and will be criticized no matter what. This isn’t a healthy atmosphere for developing a long term story line in the Potter-verse 🙁

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