Hardcore Potterheads know that the magic of this movie is in the details. Muggles or No-Majs may not realize that many of the subtleties of the movie refer to the many offshoot stories mentioned as the Harry Potter narrative progressed. From Newt’s scarf in Hufflepuff colors to the shout out to original cast characters, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is doing more than fan service; it is honoring the roots of a magical world that is beloved throughout the planet. Now that we know Harry Potter was born in 1980, it is easier to expand the HP universe through the ages. Introducing the USA’s role in Wizarding lore during the 1920s – the Prohibition years- adds profound meaning to the story’s development since these were some of the darkest and most severe moments for the young country.
Was Newt there under Dumbledore’s orders?
What I like the most about this statement is the irony of the situation. Newt Scamander travels to New York to set free a magical creature in Arizona but somehow he can’t portkey or teleport hinself there without passing through NYC. Hmm. 🤔 The USA magical community is either really behind when it comes to public transportation alternatives or it is really lagging in magical innovation. I’d like to think that Mr. Scamander was there under the mandate of tracking down Grindelwald for the Ministry of Magic or as an informant for Albus Dumbledore. Either that or he stumbles upon the most wanted man in the magical community by pure serendipity.
It doesn’t quell my suspicions that the interrogator mentions Albus Dumbledore has a shine to our young protagonist, so it is not a stretch that they could have been working together. After study Albus for many years of fandom, I sincerely doubt Dumbledore didn’t know Newt had wrestled an obscurus before, an event that would certainly pique Grindelwald’s interest and bring him out of hidding.
Y’all knew from the get go Johnny Depp was making an appearance, right?
The first frames of the movie blatantly suggests Grindelwald is the villain of this narrative. Although we are distracted by the beasts’ escape from the suitcase, and the introduction of the comedic sidekick Jacob Kowalski, the idea that something is afoot permeates the first exchages between our main characters. Dark magic is terrorizing the city and no one knows what it is or how to stop it. Once Percival Graves is introduced you automatically begin to suspect he knows more about the forces at large and you are left wondering where his loyalties lie and if he is who he says he is.
I must admit it felt familiar hearing him mention that a prophesy/vision drive his actions and that is what made me realize Percival was definitely a cover. Knowing Johnny Depp hadn’t made an appearance by the last action sequences had me realizing that this piece of info gave away the ending, and cemented my belief that Newt wasn’t just there by chance. This is what happens when you leak casting info but don’t squeeze misdirection into the credits. For me it was hard to be surprised with all the extra information. 😦
Since when isn’t Colin Farrell the bad guy?
Expanding on that last sentence, typecasting actors was one of the reasons I didn’t give the movie an A+. Here’s why: Colin Farrell is well known for playing deep and complex charactets. Take a good look at the credits and, based on pay and previous work, you can start to filter who will be important and who won’t be. This effect makes it harder to enjoy movies as a whole these days. 😣
After applying the “who are the highest paid actors” logic during the movie it became clear to me that Percival (Colin Farrell) and Credence (played by Ezra Miller aka The Flash of DC’S Cinematic Universe) were more than mere distractions. The young man had to be more than just a tool or pawn of the already suspect Graves. Kudos to the director who attempted to confuse the viewers by featuring the little girl, Credence’s foster sister, in scenes that alluded to her role being more important. Since she is younger than 10, the age range the obscurus starts to manifest and take over the host, it stands to reason that the vision must be about her. What a twist!!
There is a reason Albus is mentioned…
True Potterheads know where I am going with this one. The shout out Albus Dumbledore is two fold. Grindelwald is one of his closests friends and, according to JK Rowling, they became partners and lovers. Also, Albus is the one that actually defeats Grindelwald, earning him the Elder’s Wand’s loyalty. This is all over the Deathly Hallows narrative. Because it wasn’t an overt detail, I had to figure out if the wand in the movie was the coveted artifact. Based on the wikias however, the wand wielded by Graves may have been a decoy. I wouldn’t be surprised if movie #2 ties this loose end or if JK answers this by then.
FYI- As I write, they are figuring out who to cast as young Dumbledore for the next installments of this movie trilogy. Yes, there are two more coming down the pipeline and yes they will feature our favorite Hogwarts Headmaster. Hehe. This is why I think Newt is not as innocent as he seems…
Eddie Redmayne was sorted into Hufflepuff.
If you hadn’t noticed, Newt’s scarf is that of Hufflepuff. Redmayne has confirmed that he was sorted into the same house as his character which makes this casting not only adorable but perfect. More reason to think these two are in cahoots!
Ilvemorny was mentioned in passing to give the USA kids a Wizarding school to root for but we all know Hogwarts is 1000 times cooler. Judging the MACUSA (Magical Congress of USA) peeps and their attitude, the “American” school can’t be really that great. Hello, No-Majs can’t marry non wizards… Sounds like the land and the free and the home of the brave is a bit backwards when it comes to social reform and understanding of foreign cultures. The sad part is the commentary is dead on, especially after the 2016 election. The jab didn’t go unnoticed JK. 😉
Credence is not a Squib!
Based on my research, and quibbles and squabbles with my sister, Credence is not a Squib. Why? Squibs, as you may recall, are non magical beings born from magical parents. The obscurus is born from the need to supress the magic within oneself because it has been deemed unnatural or you have no clue that you are actually a wizard or witch. If Credence or the girl in Sudan would have received letters from their schools and/or engaged in training their abilities, they wouldn’t have had such dire endings.
Percival incorrectly asumed that the obsession Credence had with the Wizarding community was born out of curiosity and not self hatred, and completely ignored heritage. The wand discovered by his sister most likely belonged to one of his parents. We’ll see if they circle back to this mystery or if it will just remain as such.
Hermione is always right!
The book Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is mentioned by Hermione and the crew during the original movies and books. It is definitely more rich in story, information and value to witches and wizards than any other book on magical creatures. Because it was used as the background for this set of prequels, it was very smart to name it after a piece of lore that makes a lot of the mischief occur at Hogwarts. (Buzzfeed mentions that Scamander’s name is on the Marauders Map.) Expect more “clapbacks” or references between both sets of material to continue as they move forward with the filming of the second installment. Truly looking forward to what the future holds.
PS. Queenie is the best character by far and is only matched by Jacob. Expect these two to be the first couple in the USA to be allowed to marry. The can’t marry a No-Maj restriction has got to be challenged. These two were meant for each other. (Please be the parents of someone cool from the HP series. 😎)