Fantastic Beasts 2 is a Middle Finger to Harry Potter Lore

In tone and enchanting magical wonder, Fantastic Beasts: The Crime of Grindelwald feels more like a Harry Potter movie than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did. Despite that, it is one that attempts to appeal to Potterheads by cramming in loads of Wizarding World references. In doing that, it loses not only casual viewers but also ardent Harry Potter fans.

spoilerwarning01

J.K. Rowling = The New George Lucas?

Fantastic Beasts Middle Finger

The Harry Potter fan in me desperately want to like this movie. There’s something wrong for everything Fantastic Beasts 2 does right. George Lucas did it to the Star Wars prequels. Now J.K. Rowling is doing it to her own creation.

Although I believe in the notion that creators have the right to change/alter anything of their own work, it’s hard to see the unnecessary retcons in The Crimes of Grindelwald as anything other than simply breaking established Harry Potter lore just to create shockingly shallow plot twists.

The McGonagall Error

Fantastic Beasts Minerva McGonagall

An example of this is a continuity error involving a younger Professor Minerva McGonagall in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. J.K. Rowling initially established using Pottermore that McGonagall was born in 1937, which means that she can’t possibly have appeared in the Fantastic Beasts 2, which is set in 1927.

She has presumedly retconned McGonagall’s backstory just t include a fun easter egg for fans. While it was amusing seeing McGonagall acting like herself even in her younger years teaching at Hogwarts, was it really necessary to retcon the lore? Keep your sorting hats on, Potterheads, because that’s nothing compared to the huge plot twist of Fantastic Beasts 2.

The Dumbledore Conundrum

Fantastic Beasts Albus Dumbledore

Let’s discuss that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald plot twist at the very end of the movie. J.K. Rowling regaled us with the revelation that Credence Barebone (the Obscurial from the first movie) is actually Aurelius Dumbledore, a long-lost brother of the one and only Albus Dumbledore.

Let’s ignore the fact that this cliché plot twist hasn’t been done to death, or how it seems to be lazy uninspired writing on J.K. Rowling’s part. Revealing Credence as a Dumbledore breaks the fabric of reality that is established Harry Potter lore. It doesn’t make any sense.

Potterheads know that we heard the origins and life story of Albus Dumbledore from his younger brother, Aberforth Dumbledore, who told it to Harry Potter (and by extension, the reader) in the final book Harry Potter and the Death Hallows. The great Professor Dumbledore never revealed any of it himself.

The story of Albus Dumbledore’s family is a tragic one and also one that sheds light on his darkest past. Here’s a recap. When she was six years old, Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana, was attacked by a couple of Muggles. This traumatized her so much that she was never able to function normally as a human being or even perform magic. Their father, Percival, was sentenced to Azkaban when he retaliated by tracking down those Muggles. Their mother also died in one of Ariana’s uncontrolled outbursts of magic (she’s rumored to be an Obscurial like Credence).

Due to these events, Albus Dumbledore had to be responsible for taking care of his family. He became resentful for being thrust into this burden, hindering his dream of becoming the greatest wizard of all. He then met Grindelwald, with whom he became close with. An argument between Albus, Aberforth and Grindelwald later resulted in Ariana’s death. He has been burdened by guilt ever since.

If we take the events of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, how is it that Aberforth never mentioned an Aurelius Dumbledore, and neither did reporter Rita Skitter in her biographical book, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. If Rita did indeed dig up all of Albus’ greatest secrets and write about even the nastiest rumors, how did she miss this piece of incrimination and juicy detail?

Why Break Established Lore?

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald Poster

The answer is simple. J.K. Rowling just doesn’t respect the lore that she has already established in her Harry Potter books, lore that Potterheads such as myself have kept close to our hearts. She’s retconning details willy-nilly just because she felt like adding that particular bit of lore, despite the fact that it ignores everything else that came before.

There are few possibilities for what J.K. Rowling might be trying to accomplish with the Aurelius Dumbledore plot twist. The biggest theory circulating right now is that Grindelwald could just be lying to Credence as part of a convoluted plan to manipulate him into entering his side of the conflict. This is the most probable theory as of now.

Of course, it could always turn out to be the truth, no matter how farfetched it is considering the Harry Potter saga that comes after the events in the Fantastic Beasts movies. We still have three movies in the franchise to look forward to, and I remain optimistic in the hopes that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’s biggest plot twist will be explained in the eventual sequel.

Besides my clear problems about the lore-breaking in Fantastic Beasts 2, I actually liked Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Grindelwald. He’s a different kind of monster than Ralph Fiennes’s Voldemort. I appreciate this manipulative and crafty Dark Wizard instead of the more outright evil and raspy Dark Lord.

Author: Alleef Ashaari

Aspiring writer. Born in Amsterdam, raised in Malaysia. Comics are my passion. A gamer and science fiction enthusiast. PSN: AlleefAshaari

Leave a Reply