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!

Box 2703: A Pointer to Alchemy in ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ Plot?

We’re in the last days of our countdown to the publication of Strike 4, Lethal White, but I wanted to take a break today to point out something that may have been neglected in the online fine-tooth-combing of everything Crimes of Grindelwald. More on Lethal White in the days ahead, believe me!

There are a flood of ancillary texts (that’s ‘knock off books’) whose authors and publishers hope to catch a ride on the tsunami of publicity and promotions sure to attend the release of the second Fantastic Beasts film this November. The designers of the film’s special effects are surfing this wave, too, of course. Today’s post is a closer look at the cover of MinaLima’s The Archive of Magic: The Film Wizardry of The Crimes of Grindelwald (Harper Design).

The book is not selling very well at present in pre-release: it’s #419,506 on Amazon at this writing; a book I wrote in 2008, just for comparison, is at #327,906. At $50 for a 160 page book, maybe Archive is meant only as a collector’s item or last minute desperation gift for the Potter-phile who has everything. But there’s something in everything MinaLima does that’s worth noting. Here it’s the only thing you can see.

Note that the cover of the MinaLima book on the filming of ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ features Box 2703 from the movie. We have this still of Tina and Newt just in front of that box. Between the cover and the still, I think it safe to assume the box holds something important.

My guess is that it has something to do with Nicholas Flamel. Three reasons after the jump! [Read more…]

Guest Post: Crimes of Grindelwald, Locks of Love, and Nicolas Flamel

A Guest Post from Oxford’s Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potterabout the lock with Nicolas Flamel’s initials that can be found on the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay cover. Enjoy!

When MinaLima’s new cover art for The Crimes of Grindelwald dropped on Pottermore at the end of May, the write-up stressed the Parisian nature of its design.

Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima spoke to Pottermore about the creative process behind the heavily detailed cover, and how important it was to portray France in their designs.

‘The Art Nouveau aesthetic is so strong in this film… So while there are Easter eggs and hidden gems in here, they’re all knitted in with these swirls and flourishes that really follow that traditional aesthetic.[1]

Paris is going to be an important setting for Crimes of Grindelwald – and the Eiffel Tower (central to the cover design) has been shown on a postcard in a previous photo drop. But I was interested how strongly Paris was stressed in the Pottermore write-up of the cover given that other than the Eiffel Tower and general Art Nouveau aesthetic, there is nothing else obviously Parisian about it. So, is there a Parisian Easter egg perhaps?

            Five objects stand out as breaking the symmetry of the image – the Dark Mark-style skull at the top, the quill-knot-lock above the title, and the trio of a pendant, a stone in a display case and a ‘NF’ locket below it. Let’s take a look at that stone and locket for a possible Paris connection.

[Read more…]