Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: Top 12 Fan Theories Ranked

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them has been out for a few weeks now and the Potterheads have already gone crazy with the many fan theories out there. We thought we will make things easier for you guys who are just catching up by listing down and summarizing the top fan theories online along with video commentaries. Enjoy!

1) Leta Lestrange is Newt Scamander's Ex

When Queenie Goldstein, the Legilimens and Newt's possible future sister-in-law finds the framed picture of a beautiful young woman in his briefcase, it is immediately established that she is someone called Leta Lestrange. She will be played by Zoe Kravitz in future installments. From Newt's reaction hereafter, it is clear that Leta Lestrange is someone he has fond memories of although they might no longer be close for some unknown reason. However, even Queenie, who is American, seems to be informed of the Lestrange's reputation.

In the film's screenplay, it is revealed that Newt and Leta became friends because they shared a common interest in magical creatures. One day, Leta accidentally lets one of the creatures lose and puts other students' lives in danger. She is almost expelled until Newt steps in and takes the blame. Clearly, this implies they were both romantically involved. However, this scene was left out from the film for future installments. There is a possibility this might be changed in future movies.

So far, the most popular Lestrange family member that we know of through the Potter Universe is Bellatrix Lestrange, who is only part of the family through marriage. The Lestranges are one of the "Sacred 28" Pure Blood Wizarding families.Since Leta is Newt's contemporary, it is safe to assume she was born somewhere between the late 19th century or the early 20th century. There is a possibility that the Minister of Magic between 1835 and 1841, Rodolphus Lestrange might have been her grandfather.

It is unlikely to think that a Hufflepuff Zoologist like Newt who cares for other creatures would have anything to do with a member of a Pure Blood fanatic family like the Lestranges.  Maybe that is why Leta was never mentioned in the Potter Universe before. She might have been disowned just like Sirius Black and Andromeda Tonks because of being involved with a non-Pure Blood person. Or maybe she did eventually return to her Dark past, considering how Newt comments on how "people change".

Also, note how Lestrange sounds very French. This explains why the American Zoe Kravitz plays her in the franchise since JK Rowling only has British actors play British roles. But if Leta is French, then shouldn't she be a student at Beauxbatons, the French Wizarding school instead of the British Hogwarts? Rumour has it that the second Fantastic Beasts film will be set in Paris. So, we will probably see more of the Lestrange family there.

2) Newt Scamander knows Hagrid

Despite being the central character of this movie, nothing much is known about Newt's backstory. However, JK Rowling did reveal his backstory to Eddie Redmayne who plays him in the movie, not unlike how Alan Rickman knew everything about Snape before the last novel came out. All we know so far is that Newt was expelled from Hogwarts for allegedly endangering lives with a magical beast and that a pre-headmaster Professor Dumbledore tried to defend him.

Years later, as a young adult, Newt visits New York with a suitcase full of magical creatures and trouble ensues. He would then go on to write the textbook future Hogwarts students would use called 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.' A YouTuber argued how similar Newt is to Rubeus Hagrid. Both were interested in magical creatures, both were expelled from Hogwarts because of a beast, and their expulsions were argued against by Dumbledore. Surprisingly, Newt is allowed to own a wand while Hagrid is not allowed to own one. Is it because Newt eventually proved his innocence, or was that law on expelled students not being allowed to have a wand not invented yet?

Anyway, in the third Harry Potter film, it is revealed through the Mauraders' Map that Newt, who would have been in his 90s by then, visited Hogwarts. That is the same year Hagrid becomes professor of Care of Magic Creatures. Could it be possible that he was there to meet fellow magical creatures enthusiast? From the Harry Potter Wiki, we can see that Newt's book became a textbook for Hogwarts students when it was released in 1927. Hagrid was born a year later, which means he must have read the textbook, through which he developed an interest in fantastic beasts. Hagrid brings magical creatures like hippogriffs, unicorns, nifflers, and flobberworms into Hogwarts. Newt might have supplied them to him. Even Aragog reveals that he came to Hagrid in the pocket of a traveler. Could the traveler have been Newt himself? Who knows? Maybe future films in this new franchise might shed some light on this.

3) Ariana Dumbledore was an Obscurial 

JK Rowling uses metaphors and symbolism beautifully when telling her stories. The latest symbolism here is the Obscurus, which can be read in many ways. It can be read as a symbolism for repressed sexuality, as a symbolism for abused children, or who knows how many other ways. But the more literal use of the Obscurus is that it is some kind of destructive force that can erupt out of a young witch or wizard when they are forced to repress their magic inside themselves.

In Fantastic Beasts, we are shown how Credence, an abused boy who initially we assume is a Squib is repressed by those around him. To those who are not familiar with the Potter Universe, this might seem like an entirely new concept. But to hardcore fans who have been discussing and debating fan theories for years on the internet, this condition would have rung a bell. We have seen this Obscurus before, although it was not explicitly named.

Ariana Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore's sister suffered from this condition, which led to her killing their mother. After a tragic incident involving some Muggle boys, Ariana became traumatized and probably tried to repress her magic. After Credence is destroyed, Graves, who is actually Grindelwald in disguise, seemed remorseful. Could it be because he has seen another Obscurial destroyed before? Could that Obscurial have been Ariana Dumbledore? Could that incident be the reason how Grindelwald first learned about the Obscurus and how he could harness its Dark Magic for his own purpose? We  have to wait for future movies to find out.

4) Grindelwald is a Seer

If you have watched the film, then you will now the Director of Magical Security of MACUSA, Percival Graves is actually Grindelwald in disguise. Many fans already knew that Johnny Depp would be making a cameo in this movie, but they had no idea he would be playing Grindelwald, nor did they expect Graves to be Grindelwald in disguise. The clues were all there, from Graves' owning a Deadly Hallows necklace to his interest in Dumbledore's relationship with Newt. Ever their haircut is the same, which is inspired by those worn by members of the Hitler Youth. What a great way to show how Grindelwald is a blood purist just like the Nazis.

As a high ranking officer, he would have been privy to confidential information about unexplained incidents in The States. But this still does not explain how he knew early on that the magical beast tearing New York apart was connected to Credence Barebone. Grindelwald even reveals that he gained this knowledge through some sort of vision that led him to Credence. We have no clue whether this vision was gained through Divination that he learned at Durmstrang, or whether he could have been a Seer. Although it does seems like Grindelwald's visions were wrong, it is later shown he was partially right all along. Also, in Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, remember Grindelwald's first line when Voldemort visits him at Nurmengard? He says he knew Voldemort would come to him one day, and that the Elder Wand will never be Voldemort's. Locked up in his prison cell, he has to have had visions in order to know all these things.

5) Newt is not socially awkward; he is a Zoologist

A Reddit user pointed out Newt's strange mannerism is not unintentional. When he talks to people, he usually avoids eye contact while hunching with his head tilt down. It might not be due to social anxiety. Instead, this is a usual habit for zoologists who are used to showing submission by avoiding displaying dominance when working with animals. He is so used to communicating this way to appear non-threatening and submissive that he eventually grew into it.

6) Credence is an Heir of Slytherin

Whether this theory is believable or not, there is no denying that Credence Barebone has many similarities with Voldemort himself. Both were raised in orphanages and had secret powers they had no idea of. However, Voldemort was more fortunate since he was born in England, where the laws are more progressive and he was accepted into Hogwarts despite being raised by Muggles. Credence, however, probably never got his acceptance letter into Ilvermony since the MACUSA does not allow Muggle borns to enter the American Wizarding World. Could JK Rowling be hinting that Voldemort is not the last surviving heir of Slytherin, but the family line still continues across the Atlantic?

First, let's revise the history of organized magic in America through Pottermore. Isolt Sayre, a pure-blood Irish witch from Ireland was the descendant of Salazar Slytherin and established Ilvermony alongside James Steward, her English No-Maj husband. Together, they had two biological daughters, the fraternal twins Martha and Rionach Steward. Rionach became the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and never married or had children since she wanted to end the Slytherin bloodline. Martha, however, was born a Squib. Martha was the only one in the family to be born a Squib, and married a Native American No-Maj and probably assimilated into her husband's community. 

A few generations down the line, Martha's descendants probably started displaying magical abilities since the Slytherin genes still run in the family. At some point, Credence's mother probably came into contact with the Scourers in the Barebone family, who are involved in Wizard-trafficking. Mary Barebone does hint that she knew Crendence's mother, probably being the one responsible for her death. Given the level of power that Credence possess, it is probable that he too is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin through Martha Stewart. 

7) Credence is Tom Riddle Senior

Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone was made to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to keep his character's backstory a secret. Well, it is obvious that he is pretty important to the franchise since the filmmakers already revealed that Credence survived the Auror attack and he will be back in future installments. That explains the tiny speck of the Obscurus that escapes the subway once Credence has been seemingly destroyed. So, this has led to many theories on who Credence actually is. Some go as far as to say he is actually Tom Riddle Senior in disguise.

Voldemort was originally named after his father, Tom Riddle Senior, a wealthy Muggle. He married Voldemort's mother, Merope Gaunt, at a young age after she used magic on him. Fantastic Beasts is set in 1926 and Credence's age does match up with Tom Riddle Sr's age. In the original Potter Universe, it is known that Tom returned to his rich parents' house in Little Hangleton after abandoning his pregnant wife. But what if he did not go directly to Little Hangleton? What if he realized that Merope is indeed a witch and became afraid? Could it be that Tom ran away all the way to America in order to hide from Merope? He might have feared for his life that she might one day come after him. Returning to their hometown would mean risking exposing himself to her. He would have wanted to run away, and not just run away anywhere, but across the Atlantic. Of course, this theory does not exactly add up since Harry Potter canon states Tom Riddle Senior was a Muggle and a British one at that, unlike Credence who is a suppressed Wizard of American nationality.

8) Mary Barebone is Mary Riddle

So Tom Riddle Senior. runs away to New York and pretends to be Credence and lives with Mary Lou Barebone who becomes his adoptive mother. Now, consider this; what if she is not his adoptive mother, but his actual mother, Mary Riddle? Just think about it; she hates the Wizarding World not because she is religiously motivated, but almost because she is sure of its existence  - as if she has some personal experience with it. But then how do we explain her American accent?

Back in the 19th century, many aristocratic British families were losing their wealth due to the agricultural depression. At the same time, the American economy was booming following its independence from the British. As a result, many British noblemen had to marry American heiresses for their dowry. These unions between Old World nobility and New World money helped restore the British aristocracy to its former glory. We already know the Riddle family was the wealthiest family in the village of Little Hangleton. Could they have been aristocratic?

Could it be when Mary Riddle's only son returned home after having eloped with the daughter of a tramp, her snobbish husband disowned him, forcing her and her son to run away to America, where she reverted to her maiden name, Mary Barebone? It is possible since both these characters share the same first name, which is a rarity in JK Rowling's Potter Universe. She might have been somewhat aware of the existence of the Wizarding World since she used to live in close proximity to Morfin Gaunt, who is known to have used magic in front of Muggles. She might have used up all her money to finance her New Salem Philanthropic Society, the organization that advocates the hunting of witches and wizards. This could explain her impoverished state of living. She might have also taught Tom to sound American, which would not have been difficult for him since he is familiar with her accent. But then again, this theory is easily debunked since she torments Credence for having a mother who was unnatural. Why would she belittle his mother if she is his mother herself? Also, she gets killed in this movie, while Mary Riddle lives on for about two more decades before being killed by her grandson, Voldermort alongside her husband at their home in Little Hangleton. 

9) Credence is Merope Gaunt

If you thought the two previous fan theories were too far fetched, you are probably laughing out loud now that you have read this heading. But trust us, the most possible theory related to Credence Barebone is that he is Voldemort's mother, Merope Gaunt in disguise.

Yes, Credence might actually be a woman in disguise. The casting of Ezra Miller is quite intentional since he can play both male and female roles. The children in the orphanage are named Credence, Chastity and Modesty, which might not be their real names, but given by their adoptive mother Mary Barebone. Credence is a rare name that can be used for both boys and girls. All we know about Voldemort's mother is her name was Merope Gaunt, she was raised by her impoverished, abusive father Marvolo Gaunt, descendant of Salazar Slytherin. She probably never attended Hogwarts because her father and brother feared she might be a Squib, and this caused her to suppress her magical abilities, just like Credence. When her father and brother were arrested in 1925, she seized the opportunity to elope with the son of wealthy local Muggles, Tom Riddle, after bewitching him with a Love Potion. After becoming pregnant, she stopped giving Riddle Love Potions, hoping that he would stay with her for the sake of their baby. Sadly, he abandoned her and returned to his parents.

After that, Merope was left penniless and even had to sell her Slytherin locket to survive. Before arriving at Wool's Orphanage and giving birth to Voldemort on the 31st of December, 1926, nothing much is known of her life during her pregnancy. Could it be possible she sold the locket to buy a ticket to New York in order to run away as far as possible from her father and brother when they were released? Perhaps, due to her lack of financial resource, she ended up living with Mary Barebone. To remain hidden, she had to disguise herself as a boy. Or maybe she was searching for her biological mother, who might have been Mary Barebone herself, the fanatical leader of the Second Salom? In the Potter Universe, witch hunters are sometimes witches themselves. After being married to the psychopathic Marvolo Gaunt, she might have grown to hate the Wizarding World herself. As mentioned earlier, JK Rowling is an expert in weaving in metaphors and symbolism. Could suppressed magic be a metaphor for suppressed femininity?

Note how Credence went amok after Grindelwald called him a Squib. Merope's father and brother always belittled her by calling her a Squib. But if she can make Love Potions, than probably she does have magical abilities. Grindelwald even tells Credence that he is searching for a child not older than ten attached to Credence that would grow up to have great powers. Could it be that the child is not even born yet, and that the boy standing right in front of him is actually a pregnant girl carrying that child. We even see a trace of the Obscuras escaping. Maybe Credence set out for Europe on the same ship as Newt. Back in England, a weakened Merope probably ended up in the London orphanage where Voldemort was born. Merope died right after she gave birth to her child. If this theory proves to be true, the actual cause could be due to the attack in New York. Also, when Harry first sees Merope in a memory, he notes how she looks like the most defeated-looking person he had ever seen. Credence has the same look.

10) Newt is actually Dumbledore's secret agent

What we know of Newt's journey to America is that he plans to release the Thunderbird in Arizona. Although that is possible, it seems unlikely that is the only reason he traveled all the way across the Atlantic. Early in the movie, he stops in front of the bank to listen to Mary Barebone talk about how witches live among us. Even Grindelwald, while disguised as Graves, comments on how Dumbledore seems to be very close to Newt.

At this time, Dumbledore already had his falling out with Grindelwald following the death of Ariana. This franchise could be building up to their final confrontation in 1945 where both wizards engage in the epic dual. A young Dumbledore probably suspects that Grindelwald is up to no good in America and has Newt go there to investigate the matter.

Also, notice how Newt is the one who not only exposes Grindelwald by disenchanting him, but does not seem bothered that the real Graves is left missing. The real Graves is probably save somewhere under Dumbledore's protection and Newt was in New York merely to expose the fake Graves to the MACUSA.

11) President Picquery is a Dark Witch

In the movie, Madam President Seraphina Picquery is an American witch who is the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). Although she appears to be a highly charismatic leader, she does not appear to be very effective in curbing the magical attacks that have been wrecking havoc across New York. She keeps brushing off Tina's attempts to warn her of the current situation and even blames her for being irresponsible when she learns of the truth. Could this have been intentional? JK Rowling has her way of surprising fans with plot twists that we can never see coming. Could the highly accomplished Seraphine actually be a Dark Witch. Let's consider:

During her sorting at Ilvermorny, Seraphina became one of the few students of her generation to be offered a place in all four school houses, foreboding her future as a great witch. She chose to enter the house of the Horned Serpent. Although this has been described as the house for scholars, some have called it the Ilvermorny equivalent of Hogwarts' Slytherin house since both houses' mascots are serpents. Also, don't forget that as President, she could lift the ban on segregating between the Wizarding world and the No-Maj word. Instead, she seems to be responsible for maintaining most of the outdated laws on segregation. All these does not necessarily imply she is a Dark Witch, but there is another clue that might support this - her wand. During her wand choosing, Seraphina was chosen by a controversial Violetta Beauvais wand, a type of wand often associated with Dark Magic.

Another possible giveaway is Seraphina's Pottermore page states "we can’t give away too much about her yet." That is not to say it is confirmed she is secretly a Dark Witch and this can only be revealed in later movies. But it does hint at something bigger that JK Rowling has in mind for this character. 

12) Jacob's memory is restored

This movie has more Muggles than the original Harry Potter ones. Even one of the main characters is a Muggle, or in this setting, a No-Maj. At the end of the movie, Jacob Kawalski's memory gets wiped out through the magical rain just like the other No-Majs in New York. Though the movie's ending leaves it unclear if Jacob's memory is completely restored, we can be sure that he remembers bits and pieces since he becomes famous for his magical-beasts-inspired pastry.

But when he sees Queenie at his bakery, he smiles happily at her. It is vague whether is it either because he recognizes her or because he is taken by her beauty like the first time he meets her. There is a high chance it is because he does recognize her. Think about it; the mass memory removal through the rain was not done by a regular Memory Charm, but through Newt's magical Thunderbird serum rain, which he says can wipe out bad memories. Emphasis on 'bad' memories. For the other citizens of New York, their memory witnessing magic is bad since they saw their city get torn apart. But for Jacob, it is the complete opposite. So, clearly he remembers Queenie and his experience with her because those memories were anything but bad.

1 comment:

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