‘Fantastic Beasts’ Full Trailer — Grindelwald! In America? Who Knew?!


  1. I have only the sketchiest of thoughts on the inclusion of Grindelwald in the trailer above.

    On the one hand, it sounds like a major plot point. On the other, it is a name drop without enough information to give it a full context.

    So I can’t really say I know what it all means, or even if it is as important as this trailer makes it out to be.

    Grindelwald, as a character, plays an important yet overall peripheral role in the Hogwarts saga. He is a background character relegated to the series backstory. What is important about that is that most backstories are not usually the main center of attention for most narratives.

    Here, I can’t tell if a background character is being brought to the forefront or not. This could just be no more than a name drop similar to the mention of Dumbledore in a previous trailer, or it could be something for a later plot development. I just won’t know until I’ve seen the film in its entirety.

    Is there any symbolic significance to the character of Grindelwald that I’m missing? I don’t think he’s been discussed all the much on this blog.

  2. https://www.inverse.com/article/21498-fantastic-beasts-death-eaters-newt-grindewald

    In the trailer American wizards specifically mention that the growing attacks on humans perpetrated by Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) are “related to Grindelwald’s attacks in Europe.” This means Newt’s happy-go-lucky adventure to recapture all of his escaped fantastic creatures will also be wrapped up in the larger story of the dark wizards who preceded Voldemort.

    Grindelwald’s dark deeds of the past are a big deal in understanding Dumbledore’s backstory in the later Harry Potter books. In this way, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them will give us two insights into the wizarding world: a deep dive into the American version of magic and also a story which shows the the early days of dissident wizards who will eventually become the Death Eaters.

  3. Mr. Granger,

    Interesting article.

    After reading I was struck by something I remember reading in the “Magic in North America” series. The relevant passages are listed below:

    “The last, and probably the most dangerous problem encountered by wizards newly arrived in North America were the Scourers. As the wizarding community in America was small, scattered and secretive, it had as yet no law enforcement mechanism of its own. This left a vacuum that was filled by an unscrupulous band of wizarding mercenaries of many foreign nationalities, who formed a much-feared and brutal taskforce committed to hunting down not only known criminals, but anyone who might be worth some gold. As time went on, the Scourers became increasingly corrupt. Far away from the jurisdiction of their native magical governments, many indulged a love of authority and cruelty unjustified by their mission. Such Scourers enjoyed bloodshed and torture, and even went so far as trafficking their fellow wizards. The numbers of Scourers multiplied across America in the late seventeenth century and there is evidence that they were not above passing off innocent No-Majs as wizards, to collect rewards from gullible non-magic members of the community.

    “The famous Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93 were a tragedy for the wizarding community. Wizarding historians agree that among the so-called Puritan judges were at least two known Scourers, who were paying off feuds that had developed while in America. A number of the dead were indeed witches, though utterly innocent of the crimes for which they had been arrested. Others were merely No-Majs who had the misfortune to be caught up in the general hysteria and bloodlust…

    “Perhaps the most significant effect of Salem was the creation of the Magical Congress of the United States of America in 1693, pre-dating the No-Maj version by around a century. Known to all American witches and wizards by the abbreviation MACUSA (commonly pronounced as: Mah – cooz – ah), it was the first time that the North American wizarding community came together to create laws for themselves, effectively establishing a magical-world-within-a-No-Maj-world such as existed in most other countries. MACUSA’s first task was to put on trial the Scourers who had betrayed their own kind. Those convicted of murder, of wizard-trafficking, torture and all other manners of cruelty were executed for their crimes.

    “Several of the most notorious Scourers eluded justice. With international warrants out for their arrest, they vanished permanently into the No-Maj community. Some of them married No-Majs and founded families where magical children appear to have been winnowed out in favour of non-magical offspring, to maintain the Scourer’s cover. The vengeful Scourers, cast out from their people, passed on to their descendants an absolute conviction that magic was real, and the belief that witches and wizards ought to be exterminated wherever they were found.

    “American magical historian Theophilus Abbot has identified several such families, each with a deep belief in magic and a great hatred of it. It may be partly due to the anti-magic beliefs and activities of the descendants of Scourer families that North American No-Majs often seem harder to fool and hoodwink on the subject of magic than many other populations. This has had far-reaching repercussions on the way the American wizarding community is governed.” J.K. Rowling – M.I.N.A.


    When this info is applied to the trailer, it leaves open the possibility that the Salemer’s will be outed as wizards in No-Maj disguise, and that they are buying into Grindelwald’s line.

    From a thematic standpoint, it would mean Ms. Rowling is connecting historical strands o bigotry to one another. In this case it would be old American Puritanism to 20th century fascism. At the very least, she could be suggesting that both strands of intolerance grow from similar seeds.

    This is all speculation of course, but it is interesting food for thought.

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