Fantastic Animals: The Crimes of Grindelwald continues the Harry Potter prequel saga introduced in the first Fantastic Animals film, and if you've ever seen the movie, you already know it's a very intense part. The wizard-king's keeper, JK Rowling, not only increased the threat of the evil Aryan magician Gellert Grindelwald, but also cast the long-time fans of the series, suggesting a whole new fact about one of the world's best known characters, Albus Dumbledore.
It is true? And if so, what does it mean, if anything, to the three planned films that remain in the Fantastic Animals Series? We have answers and much more below – but be warned, we follow spoilers.
The first Fantastic Animals movie has added a new character to the Harry Potter universe. The second made him an even bigger part of the plot – and included it in a major turnaround.
In first Fantastic Animals In the film, we find Ezra Miller's Credence, a terrified and frightened orphan who was abused throughout his life by his witch-keeper-at least until he became aware of his own intense magical powers after meeting a disguised Grindelwald. Grindelwald pursues Credence in the hope of forming an alliance, because Credence is an Obscurial: a magician who bears a powerful symbiotic parasite known as an Obscurus.
Obscurus is new to the Harry Potter universe, and the explanation for this in the first Fantastic Animals the film is brief and easily lost. Basically, an Obscurian is a magician who has totally repressed his magic, mainly because it has suffered abuse, which takes the form of the parasite Obscurus. It can then be triggered later, causing all kinds of violence and damage.
The typical Obscure is a young wizard – young because the Obscure usually destroys his host before the host reaches adulthood. Credibility, however, seems to be an exception: someone who survived in his teens because of his exceptionally strong magic ability.
Credibility, it is implicit, survives the first Fantastic Animals film secretly sneaking away from the scene of his presumed death. When we reach him in Fantastic Animals: The Crimes of Grindelwald, he fled New York and landed in Europe, where he is looking for clues about his past and his true identity. In the final moments of the new movie, Grindelwald reveals a crucial secret to Credence: Credence is the younger brother of Albus Dumbledore himself – and his real name is Aurelius.
If true, this revelation contains important implications for the entire Harry Potter universe, which has a dense and established history, full of known facts about many of the most powerful families in the wizarding world, including the Dumbledore. For a secret brother to be hidden among any family tree would be a major scandal – especially a family as powerfully magical as Dumbledore's.
like this is it is true? Quite possibly – but I have to admit, it's an extension.
Credence is really Dumbledore, you know what? Maybe – but if he is, J.K. Rowling has much explanation to do.
It is important to note that, although disguised as "Graves" in the first Fantastic Animals film, Grindelwald lied cheekily to Credence in order to exploit him. First, Grindelwald lies and says he wants to help Credence learn magic in order to get Credence to help him locate Obscurial – without realizing that Credence is or Obscurial. He later reveals that this offer was a trick, believing Credence a non-magical miscarriage and blowing it out completely until he realized his mistake.
Grindelwald clearly has no idea that Credence is even a wizard at this point, let alone that powerful witch family he may belong.
Grindelwald also seems to lie to Credence at the end of Crimes of Grindelwald implying that Dumbledore wants him dead ("Your brother is trying to kill you") – an obvious lie on the part of Grindelwald, since, as far as we know, Dumbledore does not even know who Credence is.
So it's entirely possible that Grindelwald is lying to Credence when he reveals that Credence is part of Dumbledore's family. And there are many reasons to think he is.
The most obvious reason is that we have never heard of Professor Albus Dumbledore having a secret brother before. He is well established as having only two brothers, his brother Aberforth and his unfortunate sister, Ariana. Because of Dumbledore's historical prominence and cultural significance in the Harry Potter universe, fans are already familiar with such unscrupulous wizards as gossip writer Rita Skeeter, who had already rummaged through all of her family's skeletons before. It is unlikely that there is such a secret that Rita Skeeter has not discovered. But of course it is always possible.
what not It seems possible that Dumbledore himself does not know that he has a brother long lost, but that Grindelwald – who again seemed to have no idea who Credence was in the first film, which happens only a few months before this – somehow does.
To accept this turnaround, one of two things must be true: 1) we have to believe that Dumbledore knew about the existence of his brother orphan, but did not care enough to try to rescue him from the terrible physical and emotional abuse that is highly out of character for him, or (2) we have to believe that Grindelwald recently obtained a secret stock of knowledge from who knows where, about a family of English witches, all while sitting in a cell in New York.
But with all that said, the most compelling evidence suggesting that Credence is not "Aurelius Dumbledore" is his age. If Credence is Dumbledore's full blood brother, then the youngest he could be, according to the canonical timeline established in the Harry Potter universe, is 36 years old.
This is because we know from the seventh Harry Potter book that in 1891, Ariane's sister Dumbledore was attacked by Muggle boys who permanently disabled her, after which Dumbledore's father sought revenge against the boys and was sent to Azkaban, the witch prison, for life. Suppose conjugal visits are not really a thing in Azkaban – and it's definitely not that kind of a prison – then in 1927, when we reach Credence, he must be approaching middle age.
But he clearly is not; he is portrayed as a struggling and shrunken teenager who is coming to his own power. His actor, Ezra Miller, firmly stated that Credence was 18 in 1926 during the events of the first film.
So in essence, either Grindelwald is lying, or Rowling is completely nullifying the canonical timeline – or there are some From others plot twist in progress that has to explain this twist in history.
Here are some ways that this crazed twist can work – though, again, it's a big stretch
It is always possible that Aurelius is Albus's half-brother, and that Albus's mother has had an affair with someone we do not know. But here again we are faced with the question of age. If Albus' mother, Kendra Dumbledore, had an out-of-wedlock baby after her husband's death, the youngest the boy could be in 1927 is 28 years.
This is because it is known that Albus' mother, Kendra Dumbledore, died in 1899 in a tragic accident caused by her daughter Ariana, whose own magic was difficult to control since the Muggle attack that left her weakened and indirectly sent her father to prison . Ariana herself, we should note, later also tragically died in an impasse between Albus, his brother and Grindelwald. (Dumbledore's family is really tragic, which may explain why he made Harry live in a closet until he was 11 years old).
There are a few other ways in which this turnaround can be considered: for example, Credence may be 10 years older than he thinks he is by virtue of a lot of handwave magic. But this is a big problem to explain the discrepancy in the timeline.
Another possibility is that Kendra Dumbledore did not actually die in the 1899 crash, that she could have faked her own death and had another child. But this presupposes that she would be willing to leave her fatherless children for some unknown reason, and also open the question of why she would do this, and what eventually happened to her – and how, again, Dumbledore and a horde of columnists of gossip has never discovered this information before.
There is still a third possibility, but it also requires the establishment of a large number of new magical theories and the bastard of building a previously established world. This is the possibility that Credence is actually Ariana herself, or some trace of her soul. Perhaps he is a horcrux, or perhaps his own uncontrollable magic, the same destructive energy that killed his mother, somehow became an Obscurial and found a new host in the form of Credence.
The problem with all this theorizing is that she supposes that Rowling would be willing to upset her carefully established universe for a plot twist. But this faces a larger and more comprehensive problem The crimes of Grindelwald, which often chooses to interrupt the world we know in the name of twists in history, which seem to yield no greater returns or contribute to the overall development of history.
In another example of a previously established time-line workforce, for example, Professor McGonagall appears in this film as an adult teacher at Hogwarts. We see it in a flashback that happened in the 1910s, and it's cute – except that, according to the canonical timeline we know, McGonagall was not born until 1935.
So, this is what we are seeing: many theories and possibilities that do not fit with the previously established facts. And yet, it is still possible that, despite all logic and against all the facts, Dumbledore has a brother lost long ago.
So, what does this mean for the show?
The most obvious implication for the rest of the Fantastic Animals series is thematic. J.K. Rowling loves parallelism, so if Dumbledore's connection is true, then it will probably create a lot of parallels between Credence / Aurelius and Harry himself.
They are both orphans, both raised by abusive guardians who were extremely paranoid of witches. Both grew completely separated from the magical world, but both eventually discovered that they belonged to extremely prominent magical families with immensely important roles to play in the continuous struggle between witches of light and darkness. Both are extremely powerful wizards – and, crucially, both seem to have been derided and targets of black wizards who want to exploit them to their own agendas.
Of course, the way parallel-story stories unfold has been quite different for each of them. Accreditation, so far, has been alternately courted and left aside by Grindelwald, depending on how useful it appears to be. Harry was initially targeted for death by Voldemort, and beyond a few moments of temptation, this hardly ever changed.
Then again, Voldemort was motivated by a famous prophecy that Harry would kill him. Is the new Fantastic Animals The film strongly implies that credibility can also be the subject of a set of prophecies that are unknown to us, involving brothers fighting each other and impacting the fate of the wizarding world. If this prophecy does happen, it suggests that Credence will push his doubts and remain faithful to Grindelwald – at least at the beginning, although it is clear that he is being prepared for redemption – and that Dumbledore will have to fight him at some point.
This may also be crucial in explaining the giant delay in the timeline we are facing. In the established canonical schedule of the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore did not defeat Grindelwald until 1945, in an obvious parallel in World War II. So giving Dumbledore a different obstacle to be overcome, like having to first defeat your own brother to finally defeat your ex-boyfriend, can help explain why it will take another two decades for this story to reach its climax.
However, since the previously established canonical timeline seems to be drifting rapidly and accelerating, there is no telling where to land. Only one thing seems certain: what we know of the magical world will probably be very different by the end of Fantastic Animals than when the franchise began.