Let’s call it love (or commitment)

Hugo Da Costa

583 words

This is the third and last act of a response to the essay “The Mirror Dimension,” from The Rowling Library Magazine (Issue 64, April 2022). It was announced since the first one – “The Blood Network” (Issue 65, May 2022) –, which dealt with the encounter between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in what appears as a London cafe; and again in the second one – “Of Watches and Mirrors” (Issue 66, June 2022) –, which analyzed the encounter of Albus and Credence in what looks like a Berlin street. In this third part, we briefly suggest some possible clues to determine the conditions of the breaking of the blood troth, which seals the last encounter between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in the last installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Once more, we will see it is not in the magical technicalities that the encounter resides.

Hermione's finger pointing at the Deathly Hallows symbol in Dumbledore's letter to Grindelwald in Rita Skeeter's book.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHYL HALLOWS – PART 2 (WARNER BROS., 2011)

PART 3: EYRIE
The hypothesis is: Dumbledore’s movements, just as Grindelwald’s, were directed by snatches of the future that were seen by each one of them. Albus could see them through a magical watch of his own making, and Gellert could see them through his ability as a seer. The breaking of the pact would have been unforeseen by them, although there is a sign that Dumbledore could see this coming: “[Credence] may yet be able to save us.”

A glimpse of the screenplay shows that Credence was willing to sacrifice himself in order to save the Qilin from Grindelwald’s curse – who “sought to kill” –, when Aberforth and Albus (“reflexively– independently”, according to the screenplay) cast protective spells – they “sought to protect”. But then the killing curse does not rebound: it follows the thread of Albus’ protective spell and shatters the troth’s chain.

How was it possible? “Let’s call it fate,” Dumbledore tells Newt. His choices, he doesn’t tell.

GRINDELWALD SEES THE FUTURE,
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE (WARNER BROS., 2022)

In the summer of 1899, as Dumbledore described it, he “was in love” with Grindelwald. This is a precise characterization that must be held at hand: he was – he is not anymore – in love – not just “commited to” Grindelwald, as Grindelwald describes it. It is important to discern that. A scene from The Crimes of Grindelwald highlights the importance of that differentiation. Queenie asks Rosier: “are you married?” and Rosier answers: “Let’s say… deeply committed.” From this we can infer that commitment is more valuable to them than marriage. Dumbledore and Grindelwald agreed on a “binding magical contract”, the blood troth, but we were shown that they had different perspectives when it came to their grounding for it: “commitment” and “love”. At the beginning of The Secrets of Dumbledore, we see both foundations being described in the past: for Grindelwald, Dumbledore “[was] committed”, but is not anymore; Dumbledore “was in love”, he is not anymore.

Here, the conditions are met for Giordano Bruno to tell us how the powerful “young man’s magic” could be broken. Their bond was one “arising from the fires of youth” and could be “relaxed and soothed in time”1; Albus says “we were young”, and he “was in love”… thus the bond broke.

References:
[1] Giordano Bruno, “A general account on bonding” in Cause, Principle and Unity (Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 162).

“LET’S CALL IT FATE”,
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE (WARNER BROS., 2022)

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