Featured in the December 2016 issue of The Rowling Library Magazine.

Fantastic Clues and Where They Lead Us

2195 words.

After watching Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, one seems to leave the theatre with more questions than answers. The first movie in this five-part series is more of an introduction to this new era of the Wizarding World than anything else, so it is natural that it leaves some loose ends. But, will we know everything? Here are some questions – with our own attempt to answer them.

Who is Percival Graves?

It may be not important after all, but we are really curious about his real identity. Was he a European Auror and Grindelwald took his identity? Maybe he was one of the fallen from the first scene in the movie?

There is also a chance that Percival Graves is no one, just an identity Grindelwald created when he arrived in America. That would be a much more interesting case, since we could discuss why Grindelwald chose one of Albus Dumbledore’s middle names for it.

Note: After finishing this article, David Heyman (Producer) confirmed that Percival Graves was a real man and Grindelwald used Polyjuice Potion, and that we will not see Percival Graves in the future movies.

Why does Jacob remember something?

We will see Jacob again – Dan Fogler (the actor) already signed on to be in the second part of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so we can be sure he will remember his friendship with Newt and the Goldstein sisters. However, at the end of the movie he realises he remembers something – or at least some of the creatures. But why? There are two possible reasons for this.

Inside Newt’s workshop (inside the suitcase), the Magizoologist explains the Swooping Evil venom properties, and how it can be used to make a person forget their worst memories. Though it can be ignored, we must stop at “worst memories”. If that is the case, Jacob would not have completely forgot his experience with the wizards, since they are not bad memories.

If that explanation does not convince you, there may be another one. In the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook, there is something interesting about the Murtlap: “It has a growth upon its back resembling a sea anemone. When pickled and eaten, these Murtlap growths promote resistance to curses and jinxes.” And Jacob is bitten by a Murtlap in his apartment, which could have caused resistance to Swooping Evil venom. In fact, this explanation could be added in the next movie, and even Newt would discover a new property about the Murtlaps through Jacob’s case and he could add it to his draft.

What happened to Credence?

Almost every fan finished the film believing Ezra Miller’s character had died. But David Heyman and David Yates (producer and director) confessed there was a deleted scene where we can see Credence boarding a boat – maybe the same one Newt took at the end.This could mean that Credence will probably encounter the Magizoologist in Europe, but it also confirms what Heyman and Yates said about Credence being one of the main characters in the upcoming films.

But then, what happened to him? We have no idea, but there must be an interesting explanation of how the obscurus left his body without causing his death. Besides, he is not an obscurial anymore, right?

The name of the publishing house of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is…

Obscurus Books. Is that a coincidence? The editor Augustus Worme commissioned the original edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 1918. But could Augustus Worme be obsessed with Obscurus? This leads us to the next question…

Why does Newt have an Obscurus in his case?

The Obscurus is a strong force, a magical entity, but it is not, from any point of view, a creature, an animal. So, why is Newt interested in it? Why is he keeping one for research? Could it be that Augustus Worme funded Newt’s trips in exchange for the Obscurus investigation?

Was Ariadna Dumbledore an Obscurial?

This may be the most important foreshadowing/question that this movie left us. It connects both worlds: Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter. The answer to this question is 99% affirmative, and if it is not, it would be a real waste by Rowling.

In fact, it seems that the Obscurial idea was already in Rowling’s head from the times she wrote the books. Let’s recapitulate what we knew about Grindelwald from the seventh Harry Potter book: he arrived at Godric’s Hollow to live withhis great-aunt Bathilda Bagshot, where he met Albus Dumbledore. They became very close and both had the Deathly Hallows in mind. And also, though for different reasons, they wanted to overturn the Statute of Secrecy and create a world where witches and wizards dominated the muggles.

Dumbledore’s reasons were because his sister Ariana. She suffered greatly due to a group of Muggle boys tormenting her to the point of a breakdown. Her repressed magic became unstable. Does it sound familiar now? Dumbledore’s mother was killed in one of Ariana’s accidents too.

It is then in a threepeople duel between Dumbledore, his brother Aberforth and GellertGrindelwald that Ariana is accidentally killed by a rebounding spell.

It is easy to see that the idea of an Obscurial was in Rowling’s head when she described Ariana’s condition. Even so, it seems like the perfect place for Grindelwald to discover and learn about them. We do not know it yet, but we may discover in the following movies that the first encounter of Grindelwald with an Obscurial was with Ariana Dumbledore.

But why did Grindelwald not notice her?

As Percival Graves, Grindelwald told Newt that Obscurials don’t live passing the age of 10, at max. But Ariana died at the age of 14, so did Grindelwald not notice she was an obscurial? Did he know she was not, in fact? Or did he maybe hide that fact so as not to not give away he was Grindelwald?

Who is Leta Lestrange?

When Queenie dropped that surname we instantly knew there were something going on. Potrayed by Zoë Kravitz (Lenny’s daughter), Leta Lestrange is definitely related to Rodolphus Lestrange (who later became Bellatrix Black’s husband).

Confirmed by director David Yates to Cinemebland, we will see more of her in the second movie: “Leta Lestrange comes into the second movie. She’s quite complicated and damaged and confused, and Newt is absolutely still in love with her. So, she has a kind of power over him, and she, yeah, she’s a kind of tragic figure, so we will see a bit more of her in the second movie.”

There is also another clue in The Case of the Beasts, the companion book with details and secrets from the film. In Newt Scamander’s profile, there is the explanation of why he was expelled from Hogwarts: “He enjoyed learning about training of magical creatures, as did his close friend LetaLestrange. But one day, Leta went too far with an experiment that ended up endangering a fellow student’s life. Instead of allowing his good friend to get expelled, Newt took the blame for Leta and was expelled in her place.”

And at the end of the movie, Newt confessed to Tina that people change. Why could have happened with Leta? Maybe she did not recognize that Newt took the blame for her? Maybe she was never grateful? Yates also put the focus on her. Could it be the Lestrange family punishing her for what she did? Or maybe for being friends with Scamander?

Definitely naming Leta Lestrange was one of the clues that triggered more questions for the upcoming movies.

“Will we die, just a little?”

And this question is asked not by us, but by Grindelwald himself. Spoken at the end of the movie to Newt, what does it mean? If the first thing that came to your mind is Horcruxes, you are not alone. But it is unlikely that J.K. Rowling will take the same path again, also we do not know about any interest in them from Grindelwald. The question then seems to be a reference to the Deathly Hallows, which the Dark Wizard is after.

As a believer of the Deathly Hallows and The Three Brothers tale, Grindelwald must assume that, even with the Deathly Hallows in your position, you cannot escape death. Even if you are the Master of the Death, you will die. Then, why did Grindelwald say this to Newt, and not to all the MACUSA aurors who were at the subway station? Did Grindelwald know something we still do not know about Scamander? We would like to think that Newt Scamander is after the Deathly Hallows too. He has changed for them (he admits he has in the final scene with Tina), and that would explain as well why Grindelwald/Graves is surprised to find out that Albus Dumbledore (who is against the Hallows in this period of time) is so fond of Scamander.

Another theory would be that Grindelwald noticed that Credence died just a little and he is still alive. Or an even less crazy theory is that his question was just the end to his speech about how the magical community is self-oppressed towards the muggles/no-majs, and “will we die” was just referring to the wizards as a whole, as a community, and that if they keep with that concealing attitude, they will just disappear. Not crazy at all, and we cannot argue that he may sound right in some aspects.

Why are there beasts that do not appear in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 52nd edition?

In 2001, J.K. Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, a fictional textbook from the Wizarding World, as if it were written by Newt Scamander. It was a glossary, a bestiary with all the beasts from the magical world. While most of the creatures featured in the film are there, some of them are not. The Thunderbird, for example, does not appear in the book. Could it be because it was extinct when that edition was published? Why, if not, did Newton Scamander decide not to put it in there? We are pretty sure J.K. Rowling knows this detail and will explain it on future movies.

Did Newt finally graduate from Hogwarts?

At the time of the movie, although he works for the Ministry, Newt has not graduated from the British Wizarding School. However, in the “Author” section of his own book, it is clearly stated that he did graduate from it. So, will he maybe return to finish his studies (just as Hermione did)? Or had he maybe he had the title granted for his works on creatures? Let’s not forget he was awarded with the Order of Merlin for his services to Mazoology. This is something J.K. Rowling will explain too. And a good excuse to see Hogwarts again at the big screen.

And last but not least, was Newt Scamander the one who gave / will give Norbert the Dragon to Hagrid?

As this is just a silly question, we left it for the end.

It is in the first book that Rubeus Hagrid gets an egg from where Norbert the Dragon was born. While telling Harry, Ron and Hermione how he got it, Hagrid explains that he received it in a pub from a traveller who had it in his pocket.

We already know Newt is a traveller, so could this be one of his pockets? It is thanks to Inside the Magic, a companion book for the movie by Ian Nathan than we know some of the ideas that Rowling had for her characters that were left out. One of these ideas, told by the customer designer Colleen Atwood, is that Newt had a lot of pockets with creatures and eggs inside his coat.

It is a crazy theory and a little impossible, but it fits so, who knows? We will have to wait until the next movies to know everything! In fact, the second movie will answer some of this, but it will also trigger more questions! And that is good, so keep them coming.

From the video scenes of the Fantastic Beasts Lego Videogame it seems we can
get some of the deleted parts. The actors voiced some lines for the films that were later discarded but used in the videogame (you can see the scenes here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6ZP8axYo70).

These new lines trigger some new questions.

Picquery says in a deleted line of dialogue that she knows that there isn’t an obscurial because every birth is registered. Who was Credence’s family and why wasn’t his birth registered?

What happened to the obscurial in Sudan? Newt falters when describing the story, and Grindelwald has some deleted dialogue where he implies that Newt murdered her.

What is the story behind Modesty’s wand? The prop has the initials “TSM” on the handle and in a deleted line of dialogue, Modesty admits to have gotten it from “Betty Burgess”, yet in the final film she claims it’s just a toy. Also, is she magical?

Thanks to Ibid for some suggestions for this article.
Illustrations: Emmanuel Oquendo.

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