Unlocking ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ Part 4 – Five Merchandise Tie-Ins Revelations & Newsbreaks at Rowling’s Site & Twitter

fantastic-beastsAs we learned yesterday in Part 3 of this five part series on ‘Interpreting Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text,’ the film and the published “original screenplay” was not the movie as written by J. K. Rowling or as shot by director David Yates and producer David Heyman. It had six significant cuts taken from it, cuts made for reasons of film dynamic and progression and which disregarded Rowling’s structural artistry and narrative release.

We learned about those six scenes in the myriad interviews given by producer, director, and actors in the run-up to the movie’s premiere and since its release. In the struggle to find Rowling’s actual “original screenplay” and Newt Scamander adventure with all its details and clues, it has been necessary to study what the players tell us about the shooting script that Katherine Waterston said was “like a book” in all that it told them about the story.

fb21Serious readers and Diagon Alley Irregulars learned a lot from these interviews but the search cannot stop there. Unlike Rowling’s Hogwarts Saga, in which the published novel was canon for Harry’s annual adventure and everything else, to include the author’s asides in interviews and articles, was ancillary and incidental, the film version of Newt’s story on screen and its mirrored published text has been supplemented by tie-in texts, film prop exhibits, and the author’s twitter feed and revived web site.

Today, in our efforts to come to grips with the story as conceived by Rowling, we will review the information we have from these deuterocanonical sources with short glosses about the relative importance of these details. In Part 5 of ‘Interpreting Fantastic Beasts,’ I will bring together what we have learned from published script, film, interviews, and the extras to offer some speculation about the series to come from our ad hoc assembled text.

After the jump, the five tie-in and exhibit revelations and the several Rowling answers to fan questions!

One note before we get started. I didn’t find any of these items. Kelly Loomis, newly certified HogPro All-All-Pro, did the daily digging online and follow-up in social media, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and too many other sites to name to find and confirm these not-in-the-movie-or-interviews story details. Everyone reading this post and the guy writing it owe you a great debt, Kelly. Thank you.

fb111. Newt Scamander’s Expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

One of the first head scratchers for Potter-philes attending the day of release Fantastic Beasts was, “If Newt was expelled from Hogwarts, how did he get a wand?” Rubeus Hagrid, the only other expelled-for-cause student we know (well, there was the Weasley Twins departure but we have to assume that Dumbledore rescinded whatever charges Umbridge filed against them), had his wand broken.

And another thing… In Newt’s book, the ‘About the Author’ section clearly states he graduated from Hogwarts. Is this a Flint? If Grindelgraves is lying and Newt knows he is lying, why doesn’t he say, “Bollocks. I graduated from Hogwarts”?

Rowling’s first response to fan blowback was a request for patience. “It will all be explained in the sequels.” It turns out, though, that, thanks to the book tie-ins, we won’t have to wait that long.

fb76Harper Collins has published three books that ‘tie-in’ to Fantastic Beasts for the Christmas Season gift buying frenzy. I purchased the least expensive Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and St Nicholas brought me The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts

This last, written by Mark Salisbury and designed by MinaLima, is unlike any book I’ve ever seen (personal library now at 3,765 volumes). It has pull out Wanted posters from the film, maps, and Identity Cards, for example, for the principal characters and may be the most beautifully and engagingly designed over-sized tome I’ve ever held. Every page is laid-out as an art piece by MinaLima and the details, down to the microscopic, are telling.

How telling? Well, on page 90 — pagination is from the table of contents; this art-piece has no space for numbers on its pages — ‘MACUSA Death Cells,’ there is a 3″ by 2″ insert picture of a document, if it is the same size as one of the MACUSA foldouts in the book, that in its original form is 22″ x 9.” The document is the one that Grindelgraves is reading as he interrogates Newt and ‘Tina. It is a rap sheet from the Ministry of Magic, presumably, on the crime committed by Newt while a student.

Kelly found a picture of it on Tumblr, posted here, and, when blown up to full screen size it reads:


NAME: Newton Artemis Fido Scamander      AGE: 29     OCCUPATION: Magizoologist

RESIDENCE: England, United Kingdom

APPEARANCE: Hair: Dark                    Eyes: Green/Blue                    Build: Tall and slim

OFFENCE: Illegal Possession of a Magical Beast causing endangerment of human life and violation of Animal Welfare Laws 101/304

NOTES: Proposed expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry due to the illegal possession of a magical beast causing endangerment of human life and violation of animal welfare laws 101 and 304

Magical Beast: Jarvey, Level X

Punishment: Expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

  • The expulsion was never enforced: Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore defended Newton resulting in his name being cleared.

      *    The Ministry of Magic Animal Welfare Department were also informed of the    violation and required to rehome the magical creature

fb6Which answers the problem neatly, no? Newt was found guilty of possessing an illegal magical creature but, because of Dumbledore’s intervention, his expulsion was never enforced and he graduated in 1914.

We’ll have more to say about this in a minute, but here just two quick notes. First, the attention to detail in the document is over the top, except for the glitch about Hogwarts being in ‘England’ rather than ‘Scotland’ (hat tip to Dolores Gordon-Smith for spotting that). Maybe we can excuse that mistake as a note of authenticity because what government document is without an error?

Second and last, without the tie-in book’s micro-snapshot of the rap sheet, we’re left in the dark. I offer for your consideration the possibility — the near surety? — that “the book” version of Rowling’s screenplay had a typed out version of this document that MinaLima turned into the prop.

Why couldn’t this have been included in the published “original screenplay” designed by MinaLima? As much of a profit-taking as the text version is, there was certainly room in the 295 page book, with its three-words-per-line (!) dialogue and double and triple spacing between paragraphs to give it $24.99 heft, for a few details from the shooting document.

img_5802-12. Modesty’s Toy Wand and the Initials ‘TSM’ on It

Open up Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts again, this time to pages 104 and 108. These are the pages dedicated to Mary Lou Barebones and her adopted daughter, Modesty. Each shows us a picture of the “toy wand” that Modesty claims is her own in the film. Mary Lou, who seems to think it is Credence or that he is responsible for it, breaks the wand. There is a picture of Mary Lou snapping the wand on page 104 and of the broken pieces on page 108 under the heading ‘Artifacts.’

Under the microscope, the initials TSM are visible on the wizard grip end of the toy wand.

I’m guessing this is not an insignificant clue, something akin to the initials RAB for Potterphiles. But, as you know, it wasn’t included in the “original screenplay” printed text or the film. More on this in Part 5.

3. Leta Lestrange and Her Relationship with Newt

The week after the film’s release, a note was posted on the IMDB website trivia page for Fantastic Beasts 2. It was stop-the-presses news on more than one Potter News Aggregator site that blasted out the finding breathlessly to all their subscribers. The big news?

According to the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Leta Lestrange had an experiment she was conducting at Hogwarts that went wrong, and it endangered the life of a student. Newt Scamander took the blame, and it’s rumored that’s why he was expelled from the school.

As you know, this bit of information is not in the “original screenplay” published by Bloomsbury/Scholastic. So, where does this it? An authoritative source? A frenetic imagination of an over-excited fan who posts at IMDB?

Kelly Loomis found it in The Magical Movie Handbook: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Thema tie-in book aimed at the 8-12 year old audience. There on page 9 we read:

img_5801Background: Newt grew up in England, and fell in love with fantastic beasts at an early age. He attended Hogwarts, where he was placed in Hufflepuff House. He enjoyed learning about the training of magical creatures, as did his close friend Leta Lestrange. But one day Leta went too far with an experiment that ended up endangering a student’s life. Instead of allowing his good friend to get expelled, Newt took the blame for Leta and was expelled in her place.

How authoritative is the information coming from Michael Klogge, the author of this book and of A Character Guide to Fantastic Beasts? Both books are for the younger set and both are published by Scholastic, Inc. I’m guessing Klogge had access to the script in the safe during filming to put together these guides so Scholastic had time to print enough copies to flood every bricks and mortar bookstore’s Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts display table for the holidays. I wouldn’t put any weight on the ice of the IMDB posting but this book tie-in from the American publishers of Harry Potter and the “original screenplay” seems solid.

An aside here before Part 5: the Case of Beasts charge sheet on Newt says the nasty beast in question was a Jarvey, which they give a Level X danger warning. In Newt’s guide and textbook, Fantastic Beasts, the Jarvey gets a Level XXX rating. Potter Wiki reports that:

jarveyThe Jarvey resembles an overgrown ferret, and is commonly found in Britain, Ireland, and North America. The Jarvey is capable of Human speech, although true conversation with a Jarvey is impossible. The creature uses short, usually rude, statements and phrases in an almost constant stream.

Jarveys live below ground, and their diet consists of moles, voles, rats, and Gnomes. Jarvey are particularly good at hunting Gnomes, and are sometimes employed to de-gnome a garden, although their methods are usually brutal.

A Franciscan monk, Brother Benedict, once had a run-in with a Jarvey in the grounds of his monastery. The Jarvey called him a “baldy”, then bit him on the nose so hard that the Monk was excused from Vespers. However, the incident did call Brother Benedict’s testimony into question when he relayed it, and the Friar wondered if he’d been drinking Brother Boniface’s turnip wine.

How Leta and Newt created a situation where an oversized ferret with a limited human vocabulary endangered another student’s life I’ll leave to the frenetic imaginations of fandom mentioned earlier.

Again, though, we had to learn this from a tie-in book aimed at 8-12 year old readers? If it was important enough to have made the copy of the script the knock-off titles consulted, it was good enough for the folks buying the $29.95 “original screenplay.”

img_5801b4. The Theseus Scamander Letter to His Brother

Those are all pieces of information from Newt Scamander tie-in books. At last count, there were 15 of those ancillary texts available on Amazon.com, not counting calendar and post card picture collections (I kid you not). We can whing about that all we want, but here’s one good thing about these books and the information in them: if you have the cash or if your library has a helpful interlibrary loan reference librarian, you can get hold of the books and information like everyone else.

But what about information that is only available to the VIPs of fandom, the fan website correspondents (let’s not kid ourselves with calling these indentured servants of Warner Brothers ‘reporters’ or ‘journalists,’ okay?) invited to tour the filming of the movie and take pictures of the props and sets? For that, you have to subscribe to the sites and hope the lucky interns who got Willy Wonka’s golden ticket are paying attention on their walk throughs.

SnitchSeeker.com’s ‘masterofmystery’ found a beauty: the letter of Theseus Scamander, Newt’s older brother and “war hero” (“original screenplay,” pg 145), in which he describes his search for Gellert Grindelwald. The set where the letter was displayed and the letter itself are pictured. Here is the text as transcribed by ‘masterofmystery:’

img_5801aWell, little brother,

I don’t know how much you have heard wherever you are about what’s going on in jolly old Europe but this chap Grindelwald has been making a lot of noise since you have been away.

Charismatic blighter, but the Ministry doesn’t like him and nor does the International Confederation.

He has upset a few of the big wheels and he’s gone underground. I have been chosen to go away and ferret him out. _______ at the chance to be picked, actually, because the whole _______ want to be on this case and it’s taken some _______ hard work to reach this status.

_______ wishing you well – wherever you are. _______ whatever beastly quests you are undertaking!

Best regards,


So, you have to ask, is this something someone just made up at MinaLima’s magical prop factory or is it from the secret “book” shooting-script? I found confirmation for it on YouTube in one of the places you’d least expect. Or maybe you watch these all the time? For me, it was a new experience. The “LEGO Dimensions All Cut Scenes Fantastic Beasts” on YouTube opens with Newt on the ship, you guessed it, listening to his brother read the letter above to him in voice-over.

This LEGO movie went up at YouTube on 16 November, which was, that’s right, the day the movie premiered. The snitchseeker.com picture and text were posted 8 December. My bet is that LEGO got a copy of the shooting script in order to create the stop-action animation video ahead of the Premiere to promote their Fantastic Beasts LEGO sets for that extra special Christmas gift. The sharpies at LEGO put up this ALL CUTSCENES!! version because people like you and me who aren’t thrilled about waiting until 11 April 2017 for the DVD extras will watch and share with their friends.

mildredNot all the cut scenes are in the LEGO production, alas. Mildred the woman who drops Jacob and returns his engagement ring is not in here, for example, if Queenie does mention that he’s been dumped after reading his mind at their first meeting in the Goldstein apartment. In the “original screenplay,” the closest we get to that is her saying “– aw, that’s rough –.” For pictures and more about Mildred, see page 27 of The Case of Beasts (the dress she is wearing and her haircut are, that’s right, all but mirror image likenesses of the outfit and hairstyle Queenie has as she enters Kowalski’s bakery at the finale; see that picture below).

But, again, we had to pick this up on YouTube? On snitchseeker.com? Hats off and all to ‘masterofmystery,’ whoever you are, but this is information that clearly came from the earliest shooting script “book” and readers should have been given this information in the published (ahem) “original screenplay.”

fb175. Credence and Grindelgraves at the Diner: The Date

No sooner had the Six Scenes Cut From Fantastic Beasts! post gone up yesterday as Part 3 of this series then I learned of a seventh cut scene, which turned out to be not so much a cut as a change. A Credence/Grindelgraves meeting was originally filmed in a diner and featured a magical flower and the promise of magic from the predator to the young man.

How did we learn about this scene? It first came to fandom’s attention in January 2016, believe it or not, on PotterMore.com. In a post at that site, a film extra told the story of her day on the movie studio lot as a 1926 coiffed person. All we learned about the scene was that it featured Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell and that it took place in a diner.

A tie-in book mentioned above, A Guide to Fantastic Beasts Characters, included this bon mot about the scene:

MAGICAL MOMENT – While having a secret meeting at a diner with Credence, Graves turns an ordinary, wilted carnation into a Periculid, a beautiful but deadly magical flower.

If you watch the LEGO Dimensions All Cut Scenes video, you learn that, sure enough, there is a diner scene. It starts at 7:35.

consummatum est transcribes the dialogue:

fb28LEGO GRAVES: What would you like? Well, perhaps what you had last time. You, er…you enjoyed that, I recall?…My vision showed only the child’s immense power.

LEGO CREDENCE: I’m still looking, Mr. Graves. If I knew whether it was a boy or girl, even…

LEGO GRAVES: Use your natural gifts, Credence. You are sensitive…observant…highly intelligent.

LEGO CREDENCE: Do you think I’m a freak?

consummatum est (CE) follows this relationship closely because “Ships I sail include, but are not limited to: Tom/Harry (I KNOW), Graves|Grindelwald/Credence, Bucky/T’Challa, Peggy/Sousa/Thompson….” He links to another catch of conversation deleted from the film made by seasons-gredence on Tumblr from A Character Guide in which Grindelgraves says to the Obscurus/Credence in the subway before Newt and Tina arrive:

Credence – there is no need to hide, no need for shame. You and I are the same. We’ve both had to hide what we want, and who we are.

CE transcribes the same lines from the LEGO Dimension video:

fb12In the Lego game, when Credence turns into his Obscurus form and goes on his rampage, Graves confronts him and talks him down. Lego Credence actually detransforms briefly before Newt and Tina show up.

LEGO GRAVES: I apologize! You are beautiful, can’t you see, Credence? There is no need to hide. No need for shame. We’ve both had to hide what we want and who we are.

This is different from the movie scene, where Graves confronted him but Credence did not detransform. Movie Graves didn’t say any of the above lines, either.

[Click here for CE’s capture of the LEGO video subway cut scene.]

fb57These are significant, substantial changes. We get some of the missing dialogue from the diner scene in the alleyway about the vision and immense power so the scene wasn’t ‘cut’ so much as re-written and shifted. No magical flower, no “You are beautiful,” no mention of previous meals out together. The creepiness of the Grindelgraves psychological grooming of an abused younger man is several notches more intense. The subway scene in which Credence takes human form before Newt Obscurus-whispers him and where Grindelgraves apologizes and resumes his seduction makes the homo-erotic nature of their relationship all but explicit; the magical metaphor here is the thinnest of transparencies.

The cuts and changes tell us someone (with an eye on the bottom line of merchandising, etc.?) decided to tone down the messaging between shooting script “book” that was filmed and the (cough) “original Screenplay” and final cut of the film. We learned about it because of a tie-in book, a LEGO video, and mostly because of the online Credence/Grindelgraves ‘shipping crew. Many thanks to consummatum est and Seasons-Gredence!

The Rowling Post Premiere Revelations

fleamont-potterThere are other tie-in book, LEGO Dimension, and prop exhibit revelations to come, I suspect. I’m tempted to list ‘The Cameo Appearance of Harry Potter’s Grandfather Fleamont’ as one, but that would take us down the movie newspaper advertising rabbit hole. Life is too short, if I do recommend a tour of the House of MinaLima, their store in SoHo. That’s a head-spinner and free, as opposed to The Case of Beasts, for which, ‘Thank you, St. Nicholas!’

It’s time to leave the exotic world of squirreled away secrets and go to the source, the author, the screenwriter, The Presence. What has Rowling told us we need to know that we didn’t get from the movie, the “original screenplay” (cough), or the tie-in books and other prop marginalia and toy merchandising promotions?

Let’s start with her revitalized website, JKRowling.com.

fb-script-shotOn the home page if you scroll down, she provides a picture of the original screenplay — no scare quotes. The page pictured describes the entrance the Foursome make to The Blind Pig and the scene detailed there has little to do with the encounter on film and in the “original screenplay.” Queenie starts right in with Gnarlack who chats with Newt about his UK Goblin relations that work for Gringotts.

Nothing especially startling there in terms of plot point revelations. It’s that Rowling wants us to see on her home page a working copy of her script that didn’t make it to the screen, the published text, or, well, anywhere but her dust bin. The marginalia on the copy shows additions and corrections she made to this version. That it disappeared? Either she decided to turn the scene around and upside-down or she agreed to changes made by the Kloves, Heyman, and Yates.

Head over to the site’s ‘News’ tab and click on the Welcome to my new website!‘ post. Here’s the information dump. She answers seven questions in her FAQs, six, really, and a seventh because, y’know…

fb81.     Why couldn’t Newt just Apparate to the USA? Why did he go by boat?
Apparition becomes increasingly risky over long distances. As with most magic, much depends on the skill of the spell-caster: Apparition requires knowledge of the terrain to which one is moving, or the ability to visualise it clearly. Cross-continental Apparition would almost certainly result in severe injury or death.

Moreover, the beasts in Newt’s case had varying magical natures. Some could have Apparated with him, but others could not.

2.    Why did Newt go in through No-Maj customs?
He was transporting magical creatures at a time when this was illegal. No-Majs were far easier to fool than the wizarding checkpoint would have been.

fb623.    Why couldn’t Newt use ‘Accio’ to retrieve all his beasts?
‘Accio’ only works on inanimate objects. While people or creatures may be indirectly moved by ‘Accio-ing’ objects that they are wearing or holding, this carries all kinds of risks because of the likelihood of injury to the person or beast attached to an object travelling at close to the speed of light.

4.    Why isn’t Veritaserum used in interrogations?
It is, but skilled wizards can avoid its effects by using antidotes and charms. A gifted Occlumens could also resist Veritaserum.

5.    Why did ‘revelio’ undo the effects of Polyjuice Potion?
It didn’t. Grindelwald’s Transfiguration surpasses that of most wizards, so he used a spell, not a potion, to take on the appearance of Percival Graves.

6.    Why didn’t Harry Potter develop an Obscurus?
An Obscurus is developed under very specific conditions: trauma associated with the use of magic, internalized hatred of one’s own magic and a conscious attempt to suppress it.

The Dursleys were too frightened of magic ever to acknowledge its existence to Harry. While Vernon and Petunia had a confused hope that if they were nasty enough to Harry his strange abilities might somehow evaporate, they never taught him to be ashamed or afraid of magic. Even when he was scolded for ‘making things happen’, he didn’t make any attempt to suppress his true nature, nor did he ever imagine that he had the power to do so.

f38696358And finally, an oldie but a perennial favourite…

7.    Why wasn’t the Horcrux inside Harry destroyed when he was bitten by the Basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

A Horcrux can only be destroyed if its container is damaged beyond repair. Harry was healed by Fawkes. Had he died, the Horcrux would indeed have been destroyed.

Of these, the first four and the seventh address plot-point silliness that were essentially mistakes in the screenplay or a toss-in seventh we’ve heard before.

  • Newt may have travel to get to New York, but he could have Apparated his way out of going through Customs.
  • If using the Accio charm is not good with beasts, crazy dangerus in fact, why does he use it on the Occam egg and Jacob in the bank? That he uses it later with the Niffler on the street — because the police are coming, he decides it’s worth risking the Niffler’s life rather than just Disapparating with Jacob? — shows this is a dodge.
  • Veritaserum isn’t used for interrogations because it isn’t nearly as much fun to watch — and Newt obviously is no Occlumens, right?

Questions 5 and 6, though, are keepers. That Harry didn’t become an Obscurial because he didn’t know enough about his problem to repress his magic is a curious but credible point. What is confusing about Harry, though, isn’t that he doesn’t become an Obscurial; it’s that he isn’t haunted by the “There is something wrong with me” self understanding any child not Vernon at the Dursleys has to have tattoed to the back of his eyelids.

And the #5 answer about the Revelio charm is Rowling’s tactful way of walking back David Heyman’s assertion that Grindelwald was using Polyjuice Potion to become Graves. This is the real keeper of the lot, I think, because it lines up with my thoughts shared here on how Newt knew the spell that would work on Grindelgraves’ transfiguration, a spell that is not just Revelio but one set up with a special “supernatural light” bit of magic:

With a sense that he’s been holding this one back, he slashes it through the air: Out flies a crackling rope of supernatural light that wraps itself around Graves like a whip. Graves tries to hold it off as it tightens, but staggers, struggles, and falls to his knees, dropping his wand.

fb77I think Rowling is drawing our attention to this passage not only to corect (and rebuke?) Heyman gently but because Newt disarms Grindelwald. The wand is clearly Graves’ art deco piece, which is described in Case of Beasts as resembling a walking stick. It is not the Elder Wand, but, as Kelly Loomis pointed out to me, we know from Harry’s experience with Draco and the Elder Wand in Deathly Hallows that you don’t have to defeat that wand just the master of it to take control.

That’s right, folks. Newt is the Master of the Elder Wand. Think that might be important in the run-up to Dumbledore’s confrontation with Grindelwald in 1945? More on this in Part 5 of this series.

Rowling has been active on Twitter as well. She has told us, for example, that Grindelwald is “a seer and a liar.”

what did Graves-Grindelwald mean when he said: ”My vision showed only the child’s immense power”? Is he a Seer or was he lying?
J.K. Rowling ‏@jk_rowling Dec 18

He is a Seer AND he was lying.

We’ve learned, too, that Queenie’s power as a Legilimens is different than Severus Snape’s.

  J.K. Rowling ‏@jk_rowling Dec 21  Snape had to train a slight natural ability. Queenie was born with a great talent, though she’s not infallible.

PS I’m being asked all kinds of excellent questions about Fantastic Beasts that I can’t answer right now, because the answers would give away too much about future plots. If your burning question isn’t here, you are probably safe to assume that it will be answered in the sequels!

harvardPlease let me know in the comment boxes below what you think of the first four parts of this five part series on ‘Interpreting Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text.’ In Part 5, we’ll answer the most important and challenging question of this and any interpretative effort, namely, “So What?”

  • What do we care about how Rowling wrote the screenplay?
  • Why is it of interest how the filmmakers treat her screenwriting drafts?
  • Is it really a big deal if the final cut of the film doesn’t reflect the screenplay Rowling wrote in the three or more drafts that became the shooting script “book”? and
  • These tie-in text, LEGO, and Twitter revelations are fun, sort of, but how do they affect my experience of the story or my ability to guess where we’re headed?

Coming in Part 5 — Stay tuned!

Interpreting Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text Round Up

Part 5A: So What? The Found Text and Its Meaning

Part 5B: The Shooting Script — A Corrected Text for Serious Readers

Part 5C: Conclusions and Predictions



  1. Brian Basore says

    Just a little question. Was Snape’s promise to Draco’s mother to protect Draco a “white light” advanced spell? A light came off Bellatrix LeStrange’s wand and wrapped the two wrists.

    I remember that all three of the people party to the promise took it seriously.

  2. Brian Basore says

    “[…] you don’t have to defeat that wand just the master of it to take control.”

    Isn’t that what it says in the tale about the origin of the Deathly Hallows? The brother never lost a duel. He was murdered in his sleep for the Elder Wand (and the wand simply transferred to the new owner).

  3. waynestauffer says

    The apparent time sequence of the film makes it seem pretty immediately after GG’s flashy escape at the beginning that Graves is already well established as a superior official in MACUSA. How is this possible unless the real Graves is somehow in captivity or dead? I guess the answer is …that GG killed Graves and assumed his identity…

  4. Excellent work of ‘exegesis’ is done here!

  5. Late to the table as usual, me. Just a few scattered remarks. Newt disarming GG is super important I think. Since we know GG stole the Elder Wand as a young man, we can assume he has it in 1926 and Newt is now master. But surely someone as genius as GG would know this, no? He may need to target Newt for that reason alone. Also as we’re treated to a peak of the Potter Potion advert, we can also assume that Fleamont is the owner of the Invisability Cloak at the mo. Perhaps GG is still hunting for the three objects as he had the DH medallion to give to Credence. I wonder if Newt knows about the DHs?

    I like the idea that Newt is undercover in some way since he ends up in New York at the same time that GG is there. OR….is GG only recently impersonating Graves and is there because of Newt? After all, Newt has “rescued” an Obscurus. And Newt looked rather talented in offensive/defensive spells for a simple magizoologist. I’m sure we will hear more about Theseus.

    Leta Lestrange must have been his sweetheart since he carries a foto and seemed sad and reluctant to discuss her. I had the feeling she had dumped him or had died perhaps. Or maybe coming from an Ancient and Noble family, she was going to have an arranged marriage. (Leta is also the name of Strike’s mum) You can believe that the Lestranges likely supported GG in those times. Or since Leta/ Hypolyta marries Theseus, maybe Newt’s sadness is because he lost her to his older brother. Many possibilities here.

    Also I’m guessing Jacob and Queenie get together and he will remember everything. He’ll be back for sure. It’s a super nice foursome.

    And regarding GG and Credence’ relationship… I don’t think it necessary to even worry about any sexual overtones. In the end when he speaks about being different and acknowledging what they are, I assumed he meant being a wizard since that was the issue with Mary Barebones. Repressing his magic was the central idea and how he became an Obscurus or is it Obscurial, I forget. It metaphorically points to the history of that time period and the necessity to hide one’s sexuality, but here it felt much more about repressing magical ability. We know DD and GG had a relationship that at least from DD’s point of view was romantic, but I can easily imagine GG as a lying manipulator of people of both sexes and perfectly capable of making sexual overtures to anyone vulnerable enough. His political and personal agenda for world domination far out ranked his interests in relationships. Him as a seer is very interesting. Quite an advantage. Anyway…rambling. Nice to be back at HogPro.

  6. Great to have you back!

  7. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Nana asks, among possibilities, “is GG only recently impersonating Graves”? A good question, entailing more: is there a real Graves apart from GG? If so, what happened to him? (Imprisoned in the bottom of a trunk somewhere – or some such?) And, are we sometimes seeing the real Graves and sometimes GG impersonating? If not, how did ‘apparent Graves’ emerge and ascend in the American wizarding world?

  8. In haste!

    I think I read that Graves is dead?

    If that memory serves, my head canon, as Prof Strand calls it, is that Graves died in Grindelwald’s escape that we see in the opening of the film. His transformation is spell induced not a Polyjuice affect (per Rowling), one I’m guessing DDore knows about and taught his agent, Newt the Magizoologist, the counter-spell for. That is the white-light spell he uses in the subway to take GrindelGraves down and which makes him vulnerable to a simple ‘Revelio!’ charm.

    How did GrindelGraves pull off his impersonation of Graves so successfully? Again, from John-Head-Canon, I assume he got to know Gravers during his meetings with him whilst imprisoned (meetings like his interview with Newt about the Obscurus…) and that he worked with the under-magical-world in NYC to learn all he needed to know about Graves. Note that Gnarlak knows that Graves is not who he seems to be and makes it clear to Newt that it isn’t a subject that he should explore if he likes breathing.

    Does that work?

  9. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Dear John,

    Thank you! I still have not seen the published script, and find that opening scene incomprehensible (except that at the end of the film we learn that that is the back of Grindelwald’s head). If Graves is one of the five people we see at the beginning, and is indeed killed, then he must either be immediately both obliterated beyond Wizarding World CSI capabilities and replaced by the impersonating Grindelwald, or his corpse whisked away by Grindelwald who (presumably fairly promptly) returns as ‘seeming Graves’ who has supposedly lost track of the escaping Grindelwald.

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