Is It a Ring? First Thoughts on Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

newt-scamanderThe movie made from J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay is a visual ring composition. I have not received my copy of the screenplay yet (come back Wednesday of next week for more on that) but, having watched the film yesterday and taken four pages of notes in the dark, I can say the film’s scenes conform to the chiasmus or ring formula that anthropologist Mary Douglas describes in her Thinking in Circles and which J. K. Rowling uses as something of a template for her Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike novels.

If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, okay. That paragraph should be your last. If you have seen the film and would like to see how Rowling brought her ring artistry to the third draft of her screenplay, I’ll see you after the jump.

ringRings in story have four essentials, three of which are operational in this film. The four are:

  1. The story’s beginning and end have to match up as a latch to close the circle. The question posed at the start and the actual scene and characters one hopes are answered, resolved, or echoed.
  2. There should be a solid story turn or center somewhere near the story middle that echoes the beginning and suggests what we’ll find at the end.
  3. The chapters, scenes, or plot points on the way out to the story turn correspond or echo with the chapters or scenes coming back.
  4. In a larger ring or story cycle, there should be rings inside of the whole story. The screenwriter has told us that she expects there will be five Newt Scamander adventures. If that’s true, the first Fantastic Beasts should latch up with the fifth and be echoed significantly in the third in the way the novels Philosopher’s Stone, Goblet of Fire, and Deathly Hallows matched up.

We won’t know about that last ring quality, of course, for a few years. Back to Beasts and the first three rules.

If you’ll draw a circle on a piece of paper, you can get a picture of Beasts’ ring by marking scenes 1 and 70 at the bottom and scenes 34 and 35 at the top as the story turn. Pencil in a vertical line from the circle top to the beginning-end latch at the bottom that bisects the circle. This is the story axis. Make 17 horizontal lines across the axis for the scene correspondences, going-out and coming-back.

[Obligatory Aside: “How do I know there are seventy scenes?” I don’t really. I sat in the dark yesterday at a Friday morning matinee and scribbled notes on a pad of paper I couldn’t see every time a scene switched on screen. I think I got them all. At least four times, though, I overwrote notes I had made with notes about the following scene making the whole set illegible. So, if you’re a real stickler, I urge you to re-run my experiment and see how many scenes you get. I think I’m accurate to the significant figures of plus or minus five scenes, which should suffice for the anything but scientific work of chiasmus analysis (or ‘ring de-composition’).]

14869-fantastic-beasts-one-sheet-1Rule 1. The Beginning and End Latch-Up: Scenes 4 and 56

The first and last scenes, numbers 1 and 70, do not match up. Don’t despair; there’s a reasonable explanation for that I’ll come back to at the end. It’s important that we start the Beasts five film franchise with Gellert Grindelwald for the series latch and that we depart with Queenie and Jacob Kowalski at his bakery for the transition to Beasts, Part II, I’m pretty sure, but not essential for the ring of this specific movie. And Kowalski’s going back to France helps resolve a seeming Flint in his back story….

The movie starts in scene 2 with a bracket in scene 69 that is not linked to the story turn, namely, Newt Scamander’s entrance on an ocean liner and going through customs (scenes 2 and 3) and his goodbye meeting at the gangplank with Porpentina Goldstein as he exits (69). We learn the real reason he has come, the re-patriation and liberation of Frank the Thunderbird in Arizona, in scene 24, nowhere near the center, and, as important as Frank turns out being in the finale, he isn’t the reason for the action of the storyline and why Newt tells ‘Tina that “I’ve changed, I think” on the dock. (Frank only appears one other time, scene 54 to give a warning, before his spectacular finish.)

The real beginning of the film is at the destroyed brownstone apartment building, scene 4, where we meet Percival Graves. We overhear along with him a No-Maj witness describing to a policeman “the shining white eyes surrounded by darkness” of an Obscurus, the monster that wreaked the havoc demolishing the block — and which we see tearing up the street from below. The story’s finish begins at the same brownstone in scene 56 after Graves Apparates there with Credence Barebone to find his sister, Modesty. The Obscurus appears in short order, and, not too surprisingly because of what we saw in scene 4, most of the action takes place in the subway beneath the street, scenes 60-64. Fantastic Beasts the first installment is about the Obscurus and its Obscurial, the relationship of repression to psychosis and to violence, personal and social.

fb-4Rule 2: A Story Turn Pointing to Beginning and End

We have seventy scenes. The first place we should look for a story turn is scene 35, right? Sure enough, in scenes 34 and 35, with icing on the big reveal in scene 38, we learn all we need to know about Obscuri, Obscurials, and why Gellert Grindelwald is interested in them.

Scene 34 is Newt’s first proper conversation with the leading witches and wizards of North America when Porpentina brings Jacob Kowalski (“J. K.” anyone?) and the Magical Creatures expert into a special gathering led by President Seraphina Picquery. Newt makes the most of his star moment by insisting no beastie could have made the marks on the face of Senator Shaw that his killer did; it is the work of an Obscurus.

No one is happy to hear that and he, ‘Tina, and J. K. wind up in holding cells beneath the magical MACUSA Chrysler Building inside a building. There in scene 35, in answer to Jacob’s question, he explains what he knows about Obscuri and Obscurials, as well as mistaken ideas held by the wizarding communities.

Story pivot accomplished. It matches up with the opening scene and tells us the heart of the finish. Of course we’ve been set up to believe that Modesty Barebone is the Obscurial by her well-timed appearances in relation to Obscurus outbreaks, not to mention our memories of Aberforth Dumbledore’s description of trying to control his younger sister, Arianna, in her fits. Newt tells us that an Obscurus has never been known to live in a host Obscurial older than 10 so we’re all in.

fb2Along with Gellert Grindelwald, who as Percival Graves is pursuing the Obscurial responsible for the Obscurus in hopes of using her to out the whole American magical community to their No-Maj neighbors in order to start the war for the Greater Good he longs for. We know this not only because Graves tells us as much in scene 64 in which he is revealed by Newt and the ever useful Swooping Evil to be Gellert; Graves way back in scene 38, close enough to the turn to be part of it I think, accuses Newt of being part of Grindelwald’s insurrection and of wanting to use the Obscurus for this effect.

As a story turn this is really great, forgive me for gushing. The end of the story is told almost in exact mirror reflection at its near center by the character we see beginning and end and in a secret inner chamber, the interrogation cell. Great, great ring work.

Rule 3: Scenes in Correspondence Across the Story Axis — The Fantastic Turtleback

f42033126With the ocean liner bracketing and the Obscurus story axis, all we need for there to be a ring is parallels across the axis we’ve drawn. This, as you’ve probably guessed, is the really hard part.

At first I couldn’t see it. Not in the theater — no way I can consciously hold the sequence of scenes in my cranium, even without the distraction of scribbling in the dark — and not at home. I’d typed out what I could make of my pen scratchings and then taped together pieces of 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper horizontally for my scene chart. I then looked for obvious correspondences (Erumpent dance in Central Park with Occamy tight squeeze at Macy’s? Nope) and neat breaks like the psychopath chapters in Career of Evil (MACUSA scenes? Second Salem characters? Nothing). I went to bed early.

This morning I got up, read the emails from my fellow HogwartsProfessors (check out the brilliant Fantastic Beasts review by Elizabeth Baird-Hardy if you haven’t already; we’re going to have to double her salary), and re-visited the chart. Instead of just eye-balling it and trying to see correspondences in the notes, I did the necessary grunt work of copying a bullet-point version of the notes on to the chart in the hop-scotch fashion of ring writing.

nicolas-cage-national-treasure-book-of-secrets-poster-2Start with the first chapter, then the last, then the second, then the penultimate, then the third, then the antepenultimate, and so on to the center, noting any interesting correspondences on another sheet, a circle with the axis drawn in. You’d think this would be boring, right? It’s incredibly exciting, to tell the truth; like watching the hidden message appear on the back of the Declaration of Independence in National Treasure.

There are some soft correspondences and even a few holes, I’ll admit. Maybe I even forced a few pieces. I’ll trust you to let me know what you think of the parallels I found in the scenes of Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts.

Scene 7/Scene 68: Jacob Kowalski meets with the bank’s loan officer for money to start a bakery and escape the canning factory. J. K. offers his grandmother’s pastries as collateral. He is unsuccessful. The egg he found on the bench, however, is coming to life. In the scene corresponding to Jacob’s failure at the bank we see him entering the canning factory. He is bumped by Newt, a friend he has forgotten, who magically replaces his brief case with one filled with silver Occamy egg-shells. Newt’s note explains that they’re to be used as collateral for his bakery.

Scenes 11/12 and Scene 69: Just a hair out of sequence, we learn in the opening at MACUSA that Porpetina Goldstein has been removed from the Special Investigations Team of Aurors and demoted to the Wand Permit Office. In her good-bye with Newt she thanks him for getting her back on the Team.

Scene 12/Scene 66: President Picquery is solid ice in her first appearance of the film where she tells ‘Tina to get lost. In her last appearance she is still Madame Law and Order, if a lot nicer to Newt and the Goldsteins. They have to Obliviate Jacob, yes, but they can say goodbye first. (Really, Rowling hates government authorities, every single one.)

f39171110Scenes 11-13/Scenes 58, 61, 64: To drive home that last point, note that we experience MACUSA right from the start as a bunch of officious officials wrapped up in their self-importance as gate-keepers and rule enforcers (see firing ‘Tina for reaching out to Second Salem children needing help, the cause of the whole Credence/Obscurial nightmare…) and that in the end, despite Newt’s ability to Obscurus-Whisper Credence back to human form, they flat out murder the tortured boy. Because the law says to.

Scenes 15-16/Scenes 55-56: In the scenes in the front half, we see a soup kitchen line in the Second Salemers home for newsies who pass out anti-Witchcraft leaflets. Mary Lou Barebone is her usual warm and gracious living nightmare and the next scene is of an Obscurus  explosion tearing up the street. On the opposite side of the story we see Graves talking to Credence in the ruins of the New Salem Philanthropic Society where the soup kitchen line and Barebones home used to be. They Apparate away and, sure enough, the Obscurus is unleashed by Credence once again.

Scene 18/Scene 53: The opening side scene in this pair is a mysterious flash of what turns out to be Dougal the Demiguise on his way to babysit his buddy the Occamy, who is freaking out and taking up a lot of space upstairs at Macy’s on Fifth Avenue. The corresponding scene, of course, is the tempestuous beast in the teapot capture of Occamy and Dougal at Macy’s, the only other appearance of the pair in the movie.

fb-9Scene 19/Scene 52: Hard times for Credence, front and back. In scene 19, Landon Shaw brings hard evidence to his father, Henry Shaw, Sr., the publisher of an important Gotham newspaper, of witchcraft run amok in their great city. Dad wants nothing to do with the evidence or with the gaggle of Barebones Landon has brought with his evidence as witnesses. When the first family of the NSPS is thrown out of the office, Senator Shaw, Jr., makes a point of button-holing Credence and telling him he is human “trash.”

Uh oh… Did I mention Rowling doesn’t like government types and media mavens? Who else but the US Senator and newspaper magnate in the story could make us sympathize with the Barebones?

On the flip side in scene 52 Credence finds a wand under Modesty’s bedroom furniture. Momma Mary Lou catches Credence with the wand, however, and prepares to whip the miscreant for his moral failings (something about a young man talking about and showing his wand to his younger sister Modesty?). Mrs Barebones and Shaw, Jr., of course, share the same not-so-obscure fate.

Scene 20/Scenes 49-51: Scene 20 is actually several scenes, all in the Goldstein apartment, in which the Fabulous Foursome of ‘Tina, Queenie, J. K. and Newt get to know and like one another. Their opposite number? The Fab Four on the rooftop and in Gnarlack’s Speakeasy in search of information about Dougal the Demiguise. Another rich and funny bonding scene with J. K.’s enjoying shots of Giggle Water at the bar sealing the deal with Queenie in parallel with the No-Maj thoughts she reads and loves back in the apartment.

Scene 21/Scene 48: One to one, Credence and Graves in an alleyway, the latter pressuring the former for information about the ten year old child he wants to find.

Scene 22/Scene 47: In the apartment’s spare bedroom, Newt and Jacob are in bed, fully dressed, and the Goldstein sisters are there. The suitcase is in the room, which valise the two men use in short order to leave the building magically. In the back half, Queenie has the three fugitives from wizarding injustice in the briefcase as she exits the magical building.

fantastic-beasts-book-coverScene 23/Scenes 44-46: Newt and buddy J. K. have entered the Suitcase’s antechamber and working Naturopath Hospital Wing. Newt works up some Magical Creatures and Fabulous Fauna home remedies for Jacob’s Murtlap induced sweats and we learn how handy and useful these supposedly dangerous friends of Newt really are. As a surprise in jest, the normally near humorless Newt swings a Swoopping Evil at the Baker No-Maj, who takes that horror in stride. In the chapters opposite we learn in much more dramatic fashion how useful these creatures are when the Bowtruckle unlocks Newt’s shackles in the Deathpool Chamber and the Swooping Evil saves ‘Tina from the Black Water and then fends off Graves in the obligatory blockbuster film chase scene.

Scene 25/Scene 42: Credence comes home late after his meeting with Graves in the front chapter and Momma Barebones takes his belt to give him a beating. Its correspondent? ‘Tina’s memory in the Deathpool Pensieve of the Second Salemers home and Credence being abused by his adopted mother.

Scene 29/Scene 39: Queenie short scenes, shoe-horned in. In the first, she learns with ‘Tina that the two gentlemen have skipped out of their apartment. She’s disappointed in them because she brought cocoa. (Note that Jacob protested when Newt brought up the idea of leaving because “they gave us cocoa.”) In the back side of the story, we have an equally brief and essential scene in which Queenie, upstairs at MACUSA Tower, “hears” her sister’s thoughts at being sentenced to death miles below (isn’t everything in the magical world “miles beneath” the surface? I thought so, too). She drops a tray of, you guessed it, cocoa in her shock and upset. She, of course, heads out to find J. K., get Newt’s suitcase and wand, and rescue beloved sister. Elapsed time for each scene? Maybe three seconds, five tops. But they are in evident parallel.

fb-7Scenes 26-28, 30/Scenes 42-44: Another set that is a hair out of sequence but with a pretty clear link. The first is Newt and Jacob bonding in the adventures of chasing a Niffler in a jewelry store and  re-capturing an Erumpent in Central Park. J. K. insists at the end of that romp that Newt call him “Jacob” not “Mr. Kowalski” and the pair shake hands as friends. In the back half, Newt and ‘Tina face death together in the Deathpool Chamber, the Bowtruckle and Swooping Evil save them, and Newt gets ‘Tina, who has told her landlady she is “always alone,” i.e., without a man, to trust him with her life. Magical Creatures, exciting life-threatening events, and major friendships locked down for central character of the series: I’m calling them a match.

Scenes 31-33/Scene 36: As we draw near to the story turn we have parallels that are close enough that I think we’re meant to connect the dots, albeit unconsciously, even though it’s a false link. The front three scenes are of the Senator Shaw dinner which the dad and successful son were planning when Landon and the losers interrupted earlier. We get the pay-off here as the Obscurus breaks into the hall and kills Shaw, Jr., mid rant about doing the Puritan thing to pool halls, speakeasies, etc. (after calling Credence “trash” for actually working to advance that agenda; did I mention that the screenplay writer has a thing about hypocritical politicians and publishers?).

The back-half correspondent? A short scene of Modesty Barebones in the street throwing leaflets in the air and dancing without a care. I think we need to file this under “Ring Composition Meets Narrative Misdirection.” I don’t know about you but I was all in at this point that Modesty was the Obscurial responsible for Shaw’s death.

Which brings us to the story turn in scenes 34, 35, and 38. See above ‘Rule 2’ for that explanation.

fb-8There are holes, big and small, in this list of parallels. There is, for example, no correspondent in the back half for Jacob’s unwitting release of the Fantastic Beasts from the suitcase in his apartment (scene 14). That scene might be called the “inciting incident” of the script if we were charting this in a Master of Fine Arts classroom. Pretty big deal and it has no reflection on the back side unless you want to cross a few lines to link it up with scene 54 where Jacob and friends are inside the suitcase and all the Magical Creatures have been returned.

I can live with that. You?

The holes and soft correspondences next to the strong connections may be part of the film works sausage-making process. I suspect Mrs Murray chose to publish the screenplay as a book not only as a Christmas Present bonanza of profit taking but to be sure serious readers could see how she wrote it before Yates and company re-worked it according to filmic formula a la Star Wars.

I will be leaving that discussion to Emily Strand, our resident filmic formula professor and Star Wars geek. When I get my hard copy of the screenplay on Tuesday (I ask your forgiveness but saving more than$15 kept me from buying it yesterday at the local book store…), I will do the look see ‘Compare and Contrast’ exercise from original text to the film as captured in scene notes made at the matinee.

fb-6My thoughts as we drift to the closing latch of this necessarily involved post are about the promise I made back at the start with respect to scene 70, our ending view of Fantastic Beasts, in Jacob Kowalski’s bakery. I mentioned that it might resolve a seeming Beast ‘Flint’ or writer’s error that the continuity editor and historian on payroll missed.

There are a couple of things I didn’t understand about Beasts in addition to the finale. They’re pretty big deals, big enough that I assume I’m just missing important and obvious.

One is J. K.’s freedom after being spotted by the loan officer at the open vault door. I know the loan buzzard was hit with a Petrificus Totalus spell but that doesn’t erase your memory, does it? If not, the bank officer has all of Jacob’s work and home information on his applications for the loan. He’d never make it back to the Canning Factory entrance where we see him get the Occamy collateral silver without being picked up by the cops. Banks are really unforgiving about bank robbery, even when the Niffler droppings were probably greater than the safe deposit boxes he’d managed to open.

I can live with that, though. The plot point that leaves me scratching my head is Graves/Grindelwald searching for the Obscurial through Credence Barebone. The greatest wizard of his age and one who has the international wizarding community living in fear and suspense as to his next move isn’t searching on his own with magical detection systems for the repressed witch or wizard child. He’s dependent on a New Salem Squib for that locating? I don’t get it.

I suspect, as I said, that I missed something in my matinee note-taking or in the story (Wikipedia mentions a Prophecy?), a certain ‘something’ that will pop up here in the comments boxes or I’ll find it in the printed text next week.

bag2 But there’s one note that really surprised me, a historical “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by those in Rowling’s work on Fantastic Beasts; check out this just-posted-online article from Dr Amy H. Sturgis on the borderline criminally negligent aspects of American history in Rowling’s Beasts back story if you wonder what I’m talking about.

What brought me out of my note-taking focus in the dark this Friday was Jacob’s comment that maybe his mistake was staying overseas too long. He stayed in France until 1924 and we’re to assume his “too long” means his over-time is required by his obligations to the Army. The United States Army, though, really the ‘American Expeditionary Force’ which was mostly National Guard units that had been mobilized, was only in France in force in 1918 and all but disbanded by the end of 1919. Even the segments sent to Russia to fight the Bolsheviks were called home in the year following the Armistice (which allowed the Soviets to take power and kill 80 million people, alas). 1924? Really?

I see two ways out of this Flint. The first is to say he went native and Gallic to learn more about pastries. That makes sense, after a fashion, even if we’re led to believe by his comments in the bank to the loan officer and to the photograph in his apartment that his Polish grandmother taught him everything about baking sweets. Maybe he missed the boat.

Or maybe we’re going to see why he was in France for five years longer than any other dough boy in Fantastic Beasts, Part II. We’ve already been told it will be situated in Paris. I see a great segue to J. K. and Queenie being in France when Newt’s pursuit of Grindelwald on Dumbledore’s orders take him across the English Channel. You noticed, I’m sure, that Queenie, no ditz, put her wand to her temple in the subway station entrance farewell scene near the end of Beasts. Her kiss was her opportunity to plant that magical memory in her “one and only” without being observed by Newt and Special Investigations Auror ‘Tina, a memory somehow impervious to the Obliviate rain which she can awaken as easily as appearing to him out of the blue.

ringWhich is what she does in the movie’s final scene. She told him on the stairs to the subway, “We could go anywhere,” meaning outside North America, the only continent where No-Maj relations with magical folk are illegal. After six years in France, do you think Jacob speaks the language and has a few friends?

Anyway, that’s an awful lot of guesswork to tie off that loose end of the movie. Please let me know what you make of the ring correspondences and story axis delineated above. I look forward to your comments and corrections, as always.




  1. It’s great!

    Minor errors:

    (Story Pivot….) – Arianna is spelled wrong
    (Scene 23/46) – Bowtruckle is spelled wrong
    (Scene 29/39) – Queenie drops tray of cocoa (she brought cocoa in parallel scene)
    The bank manager’s memory was wiped of all magic and therefore seeing Jacob at the bank’s vault. He was in the shower at the end of the film as all No-Maj’s were getting rained on. All water association wiped memories.

    I think what you have works well. I’ll have to digest it a few more times myself, especially as I read the book.

  2. Thanks, Keith! Well spotted!

    I have corrected everything but the water-wipe question I had because the story solution you mention still seems a stretch to me.

    The niffler-in-the-bank-vault scene takes place right at the start and the memory wipe at the end. Where are the police in between?

    I guess we can assume that the bank loan officer and the police are hunting for J. K. all through the movie, but, because he only returns to his apartment immediately after the ‘bank robbery’ and never returns for clothes or toothpaste, they cannot find him before the loan officer and the police have their memories wiped. I can see that.

    But that potion-as-rainmaker-magic, that confounds me.

    Can you tell me, for one thing, how this spell causes all the newspaper headlines to change, and, I have to assume, all the police notes about the bank robbery case? This is a pretty bizarre Obliviate potion, one that works more like a Time Turner and Data Detergent.

    And we’re supposed to assume, because of Newt’s and Queenie’s meeting with Jacob at the end, that the water-treatment Memory Drano only works on the No-Maj-es?

    This potion is to the Obliviate Spell what the TriWizard Tournament Cup was to Portkeys, a stretching of what we know into something unrecognizable, less magical than miraculous or ‘Story-jam Solution ex machina.’ Or am I missing something?

    Again, thanks for the spelling corrections and for the great cocoa-connection in Queenie’s parallel scenes!

  3. Suzanne Lucero says

    Having read the book but not yet seen the movie9, I can tell you there was nothing in the scene description that said Queenie removed a memory from her head and put it into Jacob’s. The fact that he sort-of remembered something when he saw Queenie again in his bakery made me wonder if the other No-majs would see something familiar and start remembering, too.

    Good catch about the newspapers and police reports needing to be changed as well as memories erased so no evidence remained. I hadn’t thought of that. And now that I have, I can’t NOT think about it. Thanks a load.

    As I’m sure you know by now, the screenplay has 123 scenes. Still, the ring composition holds up remarkably well. I saw how the beginning and end of the screenplay mirrored each-other, but so many of the other coordinating scenes slipped right by. Actually, I was more inclined to see it as a hero’s journey than a ring composition, though of course it’s both.

    I really need to go back and read the Fantastic Beasts screenplay again using the mapping technique you suggested, though I suspect it will end up looking much like yours. 😉

  4. I really need to go back and read the Fantastic Beasts screenplay again using the mapping technique you suggested, though I suspect it will end up looking much like yours. 😉

    Wonderful comments, Suzanne! On this last point, I think, if I were to critique the thesis that Rowling is a Ring Writer, that I would suggest a test in the form of several readers being given a work unknown to them by the author in question to read using the parameters laid out by Douglas in Thinking in Circles. If the consequent rings or failed rings match up, we have some evidence that this charting is not just the product of one man’s hobby horse riding but may actually be a function of the structure of the work in question.

    I would love to see your ring reflections on the screenplay (others have told me it is 124 scenes, not 123), especially because you are sure to see links I missed at the matinee but also just to see if you see different parallels or no parallel where I see one. Though reading my notes first prejudices the outcome somewhat, I’m confident your repetition of my exercise in chiastic reading will be a valuable confirmation or refutation of this reading.

    Thank you again for your notes, and, in advance, for sharing the outcome of your re-reading and charting!

  5. Lana Whited says

    Dear John,
    As usual, you have given me a lot to think about, and I’m going to have to see the movie again soon, as I refuse to do any note-taking the first time around. I do think the argument about ring composition basically works. Now on to Elizabeth’s review of the film and Amy’s essay. What a treat to have such such fine thinking on our mutual obsession!

  6. Mr. Granger,

    As usual, lovely job!

    As you may remember, I am a HUGE Rowling fan, but I admit I did not enjoy this film very much (I adore, have reread countless times, have listened to, write about, and teach the Potter books but did not read any of the spinoff works, except Tales of Beedle the Bard). I thought this film meandered and felt over-long and without climax. That said, reading this cleansed the palate and made me think of it as a headier work than I had originally supposed.

    Keep on!

    Do you think Rowling included the Obscurus/Obscurial information as a bit of backstory explanation for poor Ariana’s predicament (in addition to, of course, acting as a metaphor for the dangers of repressing the true self)?

    What kind of spell would Grindelwald have been using to disguise himself if not a polyjuice or Imperius situation?

    I assume his relationship to Credence was homoerotic, also as it relates to his relationship with Dumbledore (?).

    I also noticed the wand and adopted sister connection (I always think that when Rowling describes how the white stag “bursts” from Harry’s wand…) but read Credence as gay.

    Clearly the adopted children’s names are meant to be moral and puritanical, but surely his name, Credence, cannot be accidental, but if so, in what — Graves and Grindelwald?

    Also, the Percival connects well to Dumbledore’s Percival and the shared search/grail-esque quest for the hallows, though Grindelwald’s is grave, and his method morbid.

    I don’t think J.K. recognizes Queenie, but I do think she ensured he would feel the same glow for her. I don’t think his memory comes back; I think she has maintained their “connection,” and seeing her rekindled his end of that.

    Newt shared the typical descent into the Underworld Harry does in his journey.

    More soon.

    Thank you,

  7. Emily Strand says

    John – I think you’ve shown very well that it is absolutely a ring, no question mark needed. However, I think that now that you have the published screenplay, you should edit this post to reflect the actual scene #s and anything else you didn’t have access to as you wrote this brilliant piece. Do it up for the ages! It’s a keeper.

  8. Kelly Loomis says

    Re: Jacob’s memory. Newt said that the swooping evil caused bad memories to be erased. The memories of the beasts and Queenie weren’t bad, so maybe he retained some of them.

  9. Kelly Loomis says

    The ring theory and mapping of the scenes is brilliant. I really appreciated your work on this.

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