New Beasts in Crimes of Grindelwald; Rowling ‘Beast Within’ Theme Comment

The first fan screenings of Crimes of Grindelwald have happened and, remarkably, the audiences there have not yet tweeted out all the secrets of the latest Fantastic Beasts film. [Stand by for the inevitable wave of spoilers!] For those of us who have to wait until the 13th or 16th, enjoy the snippet above with some of the new Beasts in Crimes, and, for the readers more interested in what Rowling is after thematically in this series, check out these interview comments she made about the film, especially those about the Obscurus and Maledictus.

On Credence:

Rowling: “You could justifiably have believed Credence had been killed, but, in fact, you can’t kill an Obscurial when they’re in Obscurus form. He survived, but the big question for him now is, ‘Who am I?’ His quest for his true identity is what propels him and becomes one of the major story strands in this movie. Who is Credence?”

“He developed an Obscurus, which is both a coping mechanism and something that will ultimately kill you. Except it hasn’t killed him, so we know he must be very powerful to have survived this condition for so long.”

On Nagini, the Maledictus:

Rowling: “A Maledictus is someone who carries a blood curse that, over time, turns them into a beast. They can’t stop it, they can’t turn back. They will lose themselves…they will become the beast with everything that implies.”

“These movies have given me the chance to tell a story about Nagini’s origin. There were always hints because the Naga are mythological snake beings, so her name was an allusion to the fact that she may have had human antecedents, or she may once have been human herself. Through the years I have been asked about it, but I never wanted to give away this dollop of her backstory. But now I get to reveal it, which is very satisfying and fits perfectly into the theme of this movie.”

Have you wondered about the Christian content of Fantastic Beasts compared with the Hogwarts Saga? All signs — not to mention this post on the literary allusion implicit in the Maledictus by Beatrice Groves — point to this “beast within” theme as the heart of it and the path of fallen creatures to redemption after temptation and, well, sin. This may very well be the heart of the Dumbledore story, “how Dumbledore becomes Dumbledore,” and the crux of the Credence/Corvus ‘power vs love’ story-line. Accio, November 13th!’


  1. Kelly Loomis says

    She answered a question many have been wondering about Nagini – does she lose all
    of her humanity in the transformation? Some of the outcry has been against her keeping some of her humannes and knowingly helping Voldy do his terrible deeds.

  2. Louise Freeman says

    Not to mention turning Neville’s greatest victory into an inadvertent homicide.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    If “they will become the beast with everything that implies”, just what does that imply where Fantastic Beasts, or apparently ‘ordinary’ beasts who turn out to do things like understand parseltongue and have striking intelligences, consciousness, minds or however best to describe it, are concerned?

    How like and unlike, then is Neville’s killing Nagini to Prince Rilian killing the Lady of the Green Kirtle in serpent form? And, was Eustace Scrubb effectively a Maledictus, until Aslan intervened?

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