Insights and Observations Part II, Plus My Theory on Credence’s Birth and the Timeline Inconsistency

****************SPOILERS AHEAD***************************

One of my favorite movie quotes is in Angels and Demons; “Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed.” The same can be applied to the arts. Some art is praised because of its imperfections, while others are ripped to pieces. Criticism and critiques are a handy tool for any artist, and they can help the artist craft their work into something as close to perfection as is humanly possible.

However, there is a, sometimes thin, line between criticism and being cruel. There are artists who react poorly to their work being critiqued, just as there are people whose criticisms are nothing more than insults thinly wrapped in observations. Finding that middle ground, for artists and those who critique alike, isn’t always easy. 

That being said, it’s difficult for me to take people seriously when they insult the artist and their work, and even less so when they do it just to garner views. You can be polite and respectful, and still disagree with how they did something. Not to mention, it might just make them take you and your suggestions as helpful instead of rude.

At any rate, now that my PSA is over let’s get to the real reason for this post. I’ve had some time to think more on certain aspects of Crimes of Grindelwald, especially after a few questions were posed in regards to certain parts/concepts in the film. That’s why I decided to make a second post!

First post found here.

You know you’re all terribly excited for more of my rambling, so here we go!

 

1.       Why didn’t they use apparition, the floo, or a portkey to move Grindelwald from America to Britain?

Now, the first two are easy enough to answer. You can’t safely apparate long distances, as the further you try to go the more likely you’ll harm yourself, or Newt would have just popped over to France with Jacob. The fandom wiki for Harry Potter indicates there is a safe range, and that; “According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it is possible that Inter-Country Apparition has been outlawed due to extreme splinching.” Considering all this, and how dangerous they know Grindelwald to be, it wouldn’t be worth the risk to try and side-along apparate him from New York to Britain.

As for the floo network, it’s regulated by the individual countries, and doesn’t seem to connect internationally. Connection to the floo network requires the permission of the Ministry of Magic, but even if America and Britain came to some kind of agreement to connect a fireplace temporarily for transport, they might not be able to. This is where I’m getting more into theory than canon, but how exactly are all things powered in the wizarding world? Magic. Even with magic, there’s a limit to how much you can do based on how much power you have to work with.

Perhaps, like with apparating, there’s a range, and that’s why in America it’s divided into regions. I’d like to think it’s like WiFi, and the farther you get away from the source, the ‘weaker’ the magic gets, and that’s why countries like France and Britain aren’t connected. Or, at least, not that we’ve seen. For Europe it could also just be a control issue. All the countries like to do things their own way, or they wouldn’t have different ministries.

If you go with the WiFi theory, it would make sense that America would be divided into regions, not only for the number of people using the system, but because of sheer distance. I imagine they’d have to jump floos as they move through regions, instead of hopping in a fireplace in California and ending up in Virginia.

This also makes me wonder how individual states’ rights work in regards to the larger central government (MACUSA), but I digress.

Even if it’s a regional autonomy issue versus a WiFi-type issue, there’s nothing to indicate you could cross an ocean with the floo network.

The portkey explanation is a little more involved, and has to do with Grindelwald himself. The fandom page plays out the escape a little differently than what I picture. I believe the switch happened long before the escape, and not right before.

Let’s roll back a little before the escape and look at what’s gone down. We aren’t given an exact timeline within the six months Grindelwald is jailed, but Seraphina Picquery indicated that they’d had to change Grindelwald’s guards three times, because he’s; ‘Quite persuasive.’ This would indicate there are multiple guards willing to join Grindelwald’s cause.

It wouldn’t be terribly complicated for a sympathizer, in this case Abernathy who is an Acolyte, to brew up some Polyjuice for both of them. We don’t know the status of his early imprisonment, but it would indicate the measures they took against him were progressive, getting more severe with each infraction. Therefore, there was likely a period of time prior to his little force field where he could interact with people physically, giving Abernathy the opportunity to make Polyjuice. It was also likely that Abernathy got wind of Grindelwald’s impending de-tonguing, and they planned the switch before this happened, which is why Grindelwald had to re-grow Abernathy’s tongue.

It also stands to reason that, with Grindelwald on the outside as Abernathy, he could ensure that they both had a steady supply of Polyjuice.

Now, this means we don’t know exactly how long the two were swapped, but we know from experience that Grindelwald can play-act as another person quite well. While we also don’t know Abernathy’s exact position in MACUSA, his familiarity and greetings with President Picquery and Mr. Spielman outside of ‘Grindelwald’s’ cell would indicate he had some part in planning the transport.

If this is the case, and with how persuasive Grindelwald could be, it is likely he helped orchestrate how he wanted the transport to happen. He could have made arguments against direct portkey transportation as it would be expected by Grindelwald’s followers, but we also don’t know what enchantments are on the prison that might prevent portkeys. We also don’t know where they were transporting Grindelwald to. It’s unreasonable to think they’d take a thestral-drawn carriage across the Atlantic, flanked by people on broomsticks. The flyers and thestrals would get tired long before they reached their destination in Britain. This would indicate that they were probably taking him to a secret, secondary location, to likely take a portkey.

When is a group most vulnerable? When it’s in transport. It would make sense for Grindelwald to stage his escape between leaving the secure prison and before getting to the(theorized) portkey location. It is also dramatic, which Grindelwald has a penchant for. What better way to stir up his followers than to stage a daredevil escape right under the nose of both the American Ministry and representatives from the British Ministry. It’s a double insult, and undermines both ministries at once. What more could a dark wizard want?

 

2.       So, Credence is alive?

In New York, we basically see Credence explode when he’s attacked. This would lend some skepticism to the status of him being alive, so to see him in the new film was a bit of a curve ball for some people. However, Credence is already touted as being unique among an already rare occurrence, being an Obscurial, so is it such a stretch to believe he also has a greater measure of control due to his age? In fact, we see this later in the film where he utilizes his Obscurial form and then reforms once his attack is over without dying like other Obscurials. Given that we don’t know exactly how Obscurials reform, there’s nothing to say they have to do so right where they lose their form. They could move away from the perceived danger and reform somewhere safer.

3.       So, Credence is part of a circus, and Nagini is a side show?

There was some question as to how Credence got from New York and wound up in a circus in France. Now, I might be off base on this one, as I can’t totally recall from the film, but I’m almost certain the lead circus man was American based off his accent. Even if he’s not, (like I said, I can’t recall his accent totally), circuses travel, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he encountered them in New York and followed them to France.

As for why Nagini is in a freak show, she’s a Maledictus. If she were an Animagus it wouldn’t be special, but she’s under a blood curse. This is like the wizarding version of a genetic defect, which a lot of freaks in real world circuses are. The only other ‘defect’ we see among wizards are squibs, but they aren’t very interesting, and they definitely can’t turn into animals. A Maledictus is rare, and therefore more interesting, if not somewhat scandalous. Remember, Skender called her an, ‘Underbeing’. A freak and oddity. 

4.       Why give Nagini a weird name if you’re not being a racist trying to prove you’re not racist?

Okay, that wasn’t the exact question posed, but people have attacked J.K. about this, stating she’s trying to prove she can be diverse with her characters when she hasn’t been diverse enough up to this point. To be fair, I don’t know what the statistics were like in the 90s in the UK, but right around now they’re sitting at about an 87% white demographic. When you go back to 2001, that number is 92%, and I don’t imagine it would fluctuate to such a degree in the early 90s to fault J.K. for having primarily white characters.

Given that it’s stated in the series that muggles far outnumber wizards, you’re looking at a very small percentage of the population, which makes the numbers of any other race also shrink proportionally. She’s not being racist and exclusive, she’s doing what most writers do: taking the world around them they are familiar with, and using it as a template for their story.

Now, can trying to be more inclusive come off as cringy and pandering, yes, but I don’t think that’s what we see here. People are angry that Nagini and Leta are the only women of color in the film we interact with quite a bit, and they’re both ‘bad’. Personally, that’s not what I got from the film.

Leta is a woman impacted heavily by guilt, tragedy, and a garbage father figure. She’s bullied at school not because she’s black, but because children can be terrible little crotch goblins, and will use any difference to single others out. Leta thinks she’s a monster for something she did as a child, but she’s not. If she’d drowned the kid herself, it’s be a different story. In all, she’s a complex character that goes beyond being black or white, and boiling her down to her skin color does a disservice to the character and the actress.

With Nagini, I covered some of that in the other post, but the same can be said about her. Her story is tragic, not bad. As for the name, wizards don’t exactly have common names in this world. I mean, the main guy’s name is Newt. How many Newts do you know?

Also, the president of MACUSA is a woman of color, and while we don’t interact with her much in the films, I want that to sink in. She’s a WoC, in the 1920s, and president of what’s probably one of the larger magical communities in the world. I’m not saying this to appease anyone, but given the time period you have to give mad props to a woman who must have guts and tenacity in spades.

5.       How about that hookah skull, and the visions of WWII?

Beyond the inscriptions on the skull and how he used it, not much is known about this. It’s postulated that Grindelwald is a seer, which would fit with some of the facts we know about him. Some of the bigger ones being Dumbledore, their relationship, and the blood pact. A young, arrogant Grindelwald would surely think he could sway Albus to his side, in more ways than one, and barring that he would make sure he they could never fight. Wouldn’t it be cool if the skull was of another seer, (I mean, not for the seer), and aided in the formation of the visions for others to see? Kind of like a seer’s version of a pensieve?

However, we know his visions are not infallible, as evidenced by what he says to Credence in the first movie, and how he didn’t know that Credence was the Obscurial. Why did it not cross his mind that Credence was the Obscurial, despite what his vision showed him? Because of the perceived nature of Obscurials, therefore, his visions are limited by his interpretations and knowledge.

A question was also posed on why we wouldn’t want to let Grindelwald stop WWII and the Holocaust, and so on? However, he didn’t show his followers these visions to stop the Holocaust. It’s to illustrate how awful muggles are. That they need to be controlled before they destroy the world. Think of the Rocket and Peter quote in Guardians of the Galaxy; “Why do you want to save the universe?” “Because I’m one of the idiots that live here!” Or something like that.

There are repercussions to muggle wars, like nuclear fallout. I don’t know of any shields to keep out radiation poisoning, and not everywhere has wards like Hogwarts. It’s one of the things that makes the school unique: how protected it is versus everywhere else. Just because muggles can’t see Diagon Alley doesn’t mean they are unable to destroy it. They also can’t stop the wars without revealing themselves, which goes against the statute of secrecy. Plus, they want to stay away from muggles and their problems. I point this out in my first post that it’s one of the reasons why Grindelwald was more successful than Voldemort: his unification tactics against the muggles.

Once again, think about Men in Black, where Kay points out that a person is okay, but people are dumb, stupid, and panicky. If people find out about magic, they’ll try to destroy what they fear. We see this in X-Men, too. Nothing good ever comes from people revealing their powers to the normals.

6.       Asking Newt to the Ministry to join the Aurors is silly, right?

In that sense, yes, it was silly, and I covered that in the other post. However, the more I thought about it, and the way the ministry operates, the more something else came to mind. Asking Newt to the Ministry only makes sense in the context of his relationship to Dumbledore. They may not know all of his ‘spies’ in the ministry, but they know Newt is connected to him as an unwitting, and somewhat unwilling, participant in what they perceive as Dumbledore’s ‘resistance’ to the ministry.

I think it gave us a look into how Dumbledore’s relationship with the ministry came about in those earlier years, and why it was so easy for them to set themselves against him later on–they’ve done it before. He’s an element they can’t control, and they don’t care for that. In fact, it’s likely that in the eyes of some, Dumbledore and Grindelwald aren’t different. Especially not since the ministry knew about their relationship, in every sense.

Instead of them hearing; “I can’t move against Grindelwald,” they hear; “I won’t.” And in that sense, he’s offering a subtle sort of support to Grindelwald’s movement. “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” They are seeing his unwillingness to move against Grindelwald as him allowing Grindelwald to triumph.

They are seeking to stabilize and control their populace in light of Grindelwald’s upcoming rebellion, but like the mistakes of the Aurors at Grindelwald’s rally, all they’re really doing is alienating everyone.

7.       Well, that’s all well and good, but how about those timeline inconsistencies?

Alright, you got me there, Skippy. As far as McGonagall is concerned it’s going to take some major wizardry to explain that one. I don’t buy the Time-Turner theory, because there are far easier ways to get yourself a good transfiguration teacher, and from what we know about Time-Turners, they have a limit to how far back they can go. Given that Albus becomes the Transfiguration teacher after the ministry states he’s no longer allowed to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, what’s she teaching then?

It’s even less likely that someone with the exact same name just happens to be teaching transfiguration, when Minerva gets her last name from her muggle father.

The most likely explanation here is it’s going to be movie-based, canon-divergent fan service. It made me smile to see McGonagall in the movie, and it’s meant to hit all your nostalgia buttons: Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hogwarts.

And Aurelius née Credence being a Dumbledore? My mind goes to the only other two men to ever escape Azkaban: Sirius and Barty Crouch, Jr. Hear me out.

We don’t know the exact date of Percival’s death, as it is stated as being sometime after 1890, and in all we don’t know much about Percival himself. It would be a stretch to assume that Aberforth played a role in his supposed break out in the years following Ariana’s death, since she died in 1899. A ten-year disparity in when he supposedly died in Azkaban is a bit much to accept.

However, think about that murkiness of his supposed death date and what we now know about Dumbledore family lore. Is it possible that we don’t know the exact date of his death, because the Dementors couldn’t give the family one? We also aren’t told anything about a burial of Percival, when we are specifically told that Mrs. Crouch posing as Barty Crouch, Jr. was buried on the grounds of Azkaban. What if we aren’t given a date or details of his burial because the Dementors can’t give us one. There wasn’t a death or a body.

What if Percival, in the last moments of his life, inadvertently summoned a phoenix who helped him escape? Remember, Dementors get muddled senses in regards to animals, and if Percival were close enough to death they could have perceived the flash of the phoenix taking him away as his life expiring. As for them not finding a body, it isn’t beyond the imagination to believe they didn’t care because he was so close to dying, anyway. They could no longer feed from him, so why bother looking? What angered them about Sirius Black escaping was likely that they could still feed from him, and they probably knew he was innocent and didn’t care. Wouldn’t an innocent person in Azkaban make a much better meal? Probably.

As for Percival, maybe the phoenix took him somewhere to heal, and, for whatever reason, the person healing him was a woman and he fell in love. If the woman were a muggle, it could explain a long recovery period, since magic isn’t being used, and more time to convince himself that his family was better off, and safer, without him. What good would it do them having an Azkaban-escapee around?

This could also explain the ship situation with Leta. If the woman he fell in love with was a muggle and they had a child, and after the birth he died and she wanted to start over in America, or even just visit family while he stayed in England (no travel for Azkaban-escapees), she’s be on that ship instead of using a portkey. It would also explain how two magical families just so happened to be traveling right across from one another: one is trying to move incognito, while the other simply has no other means for travel.

Unfortunately, it also means she had no magic to save what she thought was her baby and herself.

Anyway, that’s just my theory on the timeline thing with Credence’s birth.

 

In closing, just keep my modified quote in mind; “Art is flawed, but only because people are flawed.” Are there disparities in the canon and the new movies? Yes.

Should we vilify J.K., the production team, actors/actresses, and so on? No.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and if you want people to take your observations and criticisms seriously, a little politeness goes a long way.

Insights and Observations ~~ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald

********SPOILERS AHEAD*************

 

 

Whew, the next installment of Fantastic Beasts surely jumped into the plots and character development pool on the deep end. With how mixed the reviews have been, I really wanted to see the movie and get my own take on it. Sometimes, people are whining for no reason and nitpicking unnecessarily, and that’ll show in the overall reviews. However, when I sat down to write my own review, I realized I was leaning more toward an analysis than a review. I’m warning you: it’s long. However, you might enjoy some insights, and it might convince you the movie is not as bad as some people are making it out to be.

You be the judge.

 

Grindelwald

I’m not going to touch on Johnny Depp’s casting beyond this first sentence, that’s for the people involved and the courts. I will say, though, that I think he did a pretty good job of representing what we know of Gellert Grindelwald. He has quiet charisma in a way we don’t see from the Harry Potter villain, Voldemort. Yes, we don’t see Voldemort in the first war, only the second, when his mind is supposedly fractured from the Horcruxes and their destruction.

However, if we look at their goals, respective ages, and targeted groups, we can establish that Grindelwald has the more silver tongue of the two characters. They are also, possibly, two sides of the same coin. It’s said that psychopaths are cold-hearted (Grindelwald), and sociopaths are hot-headed (Voldemort). Of course, neither characters are purely one or the other. They are the yin and yang of the antisocial personality disorder: primarily one with a dollop of the other.

 

A common danger unites even the bitterest enemies.” – Aristotle

 

While Voldemort’s goal feels more attainable, ruling the magical world of Britain, that’s where he went wrong. Voldemort divided the British wizards with his goals, because they were a hard line in the sand not everyone was comfortable with. Blood purity with purebloods ruling over mudbloods, half-breeds, and beasts. If Dumbledore hadn’t been alive, he might have met with less resistance, but his views were too hard a pill to swallow.

What’s so amusing, is that if Voldemort had acted more like a Slytherin as opposed to a thinly veiled Gryffindor, he probably could have won. He went for might over subtlety, and focused more inward instead of outward. This is why he was more successful in the first war as opposed to the second one. The first one he drew people in with muggle baiting/attacks, and so on, before he succumbed to his own curse. In the second war we see him going for the magical society itself, as opposed to focusing more on the muggles and unifying people in that sense.

 

Fear the army of sheep led by a lion.

 

On the other hand, Grindelwald takes a fear almost all wizarding folks experience, world-wide, and plays on it. Look at how many people Grindelwald is able to sway to his side, because he unites them against their true enemy: the muggles. Muggles are reckless, violent, and nothing more than ‘beasts of burden’. We see the horror on the faces of the magical folk when he shows his visions of the upcoming WWII. He uses this to bring people in from all walks of life. He tailors his approach and promises to his audience, and we see this in his one-on-one interactions with Credence, Queenie, and others.

We didn’t get too much of Grindelwald’s behavior in the first movie, because he was pretending to be someone else. His most genuine interactions are with Credence, (a.k.a. Corvus, a.k.a. Aurelius), with his coaxing, which led up to his cruel dismissal of Credence in the face of his supposed uselessness. In that light, they needed to flesh Grindelwald out in this movie, and we get that.

We get insight into his true nature at various points: the pet he casually tosses from the coach after saying it was too needy, and his decision to let the muggle baby be killed by his follower. The former gives us a look at how he views interpersonal relationships. They are unnecessary beyond how they can help him accomplish his goals. Once those goals are achieved it is time to throw them away.

With the baby we get an even better look at his casual disdain for life in general beyond his own. It’s my opinion that it probably didn’t even matter that the baby was a muggle. If you put a magical baby in front of him, with no followers there to witness his actions, would he kill the baby? Given what we know of his personality, I’d say that, unless it was proven to him that the baby would be of some use to him later, the likelihood is that he’d kill the baby no matter its lineage.

Which leads me into why it’s so important for him to have Queenie at his side. While he’s good at manipulating people on a broad scale, and can usually do okay in a couple of one-on-ones, he needs Queenie to help him navigate multiple interactions with people. As an example, he knows he doesn’t have the skill set to interact properly with Credence, as evidenced in the first movie when he blows it and sends Credence into a downward spiral, so he’s using Queenie to help him with that. She’s his Jiminy Cricket.

Do I think that having a different actor play the character in the first movie hurt the character? Not really, because he was playing a role while under Polyjuice. Barty Crouch Jr. did this with Mad-Eye Moody, and apparently well enough that it fooled everyone except his father, who only figured it out because of a very specific tic. So, with as much as the movie tried to do, (which was a lot and way too much), I think they did a great job giving Grindelwald a depth we don’t see in the first movie.

Not to mention, the first movie was setting up our main character: Newt. Putting too much emphasis on Grindelwald would have detracted from that.

In all, I think they handled Grindelwald well in the movie.

 

The Relationship of Albus & Grindelwald

I understand there was some concern that there wasn’t enough shown in regards to this, but I feel like they did the relationship aspect well. You don’t need a movie to hit you over the head with a frying pan. This wasn’t about avoiding pushing the relationship too much into the light in case they offended someone. Trust me, J.K. Rowling is rather unapologetic when she gives us her tidbits about characters and facts, and I remember the explosion from the Albus Dumbledore being gay bombshell.

The movie portrayed this in a bittersweet, tragic, and perfectly subtle way that did the relationship justice. The way they held hands when they did the blood pact; The overall scene with the mirror of Erised; The way he told people they were closer than brothers. You don’t need Albus to come out in a full-on, one-man-band style and go; “I’M GAY. I SCREWED GRINDEWALD. I LOVE MEN.” Trying too hard can be just as damaging as not doing it at all. One-man-banding it would be tacky, and do a disservice to the character and his personality. Albus was a private person, and he wouldn’t behave that way. Weaving the relationship in with the story so it flows with everything and contributes to the story, rather than detract and distract, is the right way to go. The movie title isn’t: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: My Love for Grindelwald.

And saying to Newt, or anyone, that his love was why he wouldn’t move against Grindelwald, when we find out in the end it’s because of the Blood Pact, would make him a liar and also not be in character. I don’t know if people remember how Dumbledore was in the Harry Potter series, but he almost never told anyone anything straight out. In fact, Harry has to find out quite a bit of information from a dying Snape because Dumbledore never tells him, and doesn’t leave a way to tell Harry, despite the fact he knew he was dying. He actively avoided Harry for an entire year, rather than tell him anything or why, in the Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore didn’t become this way overnight. Stop trying to shoehorn a character into a situation that doesn’t match their personality.

 

Speaking of the Blood Pact…

Thank the cute baby nifflers that this was cleared up. For years fans have wondered why it took Dumbledore so long to confront Grindelwald. Yes, we had the theory that it was because of his love for Grindelwald, which might have been part of it, but to allow so many people to die? That was an uneasy thing to think about. Dumbledore isn’t the perfect hero, we know that, but to let Grindelwald build an army and get that far in his agenda? It made no sense to let that happen.

With the blood pact, Dumbledore has a legitimate reason for not moving directly against him. He can’t. So, what does he do? He builds an information network, and helps when he can. Like when he tells Theseus not to move against Grindelwald if he has a rally.

Of course, he could have told someone that was why, but that wouldn’t be in character, either. As established, Dumbledore doesn’t tell anyone, anything, unless it’s pried from the cold, dead lips of a Potions Master.

 

Nagini and Credence

I won’t spend too terribly much time here. Not because I don’t want to, but because there isn’t much to say. This is one of those situations where the story tried to do too much, and didn’t play out well. The actors did admirably with what they were given, but unfortunately, they weren’t given much. While Credence’s personality is established in the first film, his relationship with Nagini is almost as obscure as his Obscurial form.

It’s understandable how two people, forced into forms and powers they didn’t ask for, (Nagini’s being a Maledictus and Credence an Obscurial), would come together and form a bond. We see this when Nagini embraces Credence after he goes Obscurial and tries to kill a man, when most would shy away in horror and/or terror. However, with how little screen time and development the relationship gets, when Nagini tries to tell Credence not to go with Grindelwald, it comes off flat. The emotion isn’t there in the same way it is with Jacob and Queenie, which is a real shame. I was looking forward to getting a really good star-crossed lovers’ story from them, because we know she’s doomed for sure, and him most likely, but that isn’t what we received.

As for Nagini being a submissive pet to Voldemort, that seems a little unfair. Nagini is a ruthless, willing ally of Voldemort, which we get in her interactions with him, his followers and victims, and when she inhabits Bathilda Bagshot’s body to try and kill Harry. Submissive does not come into play here at all.

On the other hand, I want to know what drove her to join Voldemort. With her being adamant against Credence going with Grindelwald, what caused her to change her tune when Voldemort rises to power? Bitterness? Finally finding someone that could talk to her after years of loneliness and isolation of being a human in a snake’s body? Has she gone insane? Is the eventual loss of Credence, likely at the hands of ministry, what drives her over the edge? I want to know the in-between.

I guess my only observation of an inconsistency here is, what kind of cover-up is going to have to happen that we never hear about Credence in the Harry Potter books? I mean, if people were willing to speak with Skeeter about Ariana and Aberforth, there has to be someone alive and willing to talk about Credence, right?

 

Queenie and Jacob

This was probably one of the more interesting changes in character in the story, but on the way home from the movie I was able to explain an aspect of why this was possible to my husband.

Queenie is a natural Legilimens, which means she can hear thoughts. Basically, in Harry Potter speak, she’s a telepath. Now, when we think about another famous literary telepath, Sookie Stackhouse, we get some insight into why Queenie’s character is so flighty and ‘blond’. It’s exhausting hearing people’s thoughts, day in and day out, in your mind, and it can lead to some behavior associated with a person being ditzy.

Now, think about how overwhelming this can be. Combine that with the fact  she just had a major falling-out with Jacob, is in a foreign city where she can’t speak the language, can’t find her rock, Tina, and hence she’s stressed to the max. She has hit her limit, sitting on the curb in the rain, sobbing, when a woman comes and offers help.

People familiar with Harry Potter likely picked up on why there was a sudden silence when the woman touched her: the woman was Occluding. Someone who occludes, or an Occlumens, is shielding their thoughts. It would make a fair bit of sense that she was doing this. As a henchman of Grindelwald, she would need to shield her thoughts from anyone who tried to invade them as a way to get to Grindelwald and his plans.

We also see this in Queenie’s interaction with the woman when she says; “I can’t tell if you’re joking, or if you’re just French.” This is the second clue the woman is Occluding, because why wouldn’t Queenie know if she’s joking or not when she can read minds? I know she said it’s easier with some people more than others, but to be a complete blank? Unlikely. Using this train of thought, it would be safe to say that Grindelwald is also an Occlumens.

Keeping those things in mind, how would you feel if, after years of chatter in your head you could never turn off, you suddenly had peace and quiet in your own mind? It would be pure heaven. At first, anyway. Combine that with Grindelwald’s enticement that she could marry Jacob if he were in charge, the one thing she says she wants more than anything, why wouldn’t she join him?

As for her leaving Jacob, we see that she reacts quite strongly to being called crazy, and this is likely her way of proving she isn’t crazy. That she’s just trying to find the way that will enable them to have a normal life and family together.

It’s tragic when she screams at him to come with her, and for the first time he looks at her like he doesn’t know her, and refuses.

 

Tina and Newt:

Their relationship was kind of odd in the movie. We didn’t need the mistaken magazine article for the plot. Queenie could have just told Newt that Tina was off on an assignment, and when Newt shows up, they could have played on the same reactions in the first movie that Tina had when Newt interfered. It would have taken some pressure off the multiple sub-plots, and played into a more comfortable feel to their relationship. Newt doesn’t need the misunderstanding to be awkward with his interactions with her. He has that in spades without.

Speaking of him being awkward, my only complaint about the acting was the mumbling. Theatres are loud, and I still had a few moments where I couldn’t understand him. As for his mannerisms, they are just part of who he is, so I’m not sure why there are complaints in regards to it. I don’t personally feel it took attention away from the story, and it seems like a cop-out for people who just don’t like odd people. It makes them uncomfortable, and people don’t like being uncomfortable.

 

The Whole Lot of Lestranges

This was another one of the situations where there was too much going on. I understand that we were trying to prove or disprove Credence’s heritage, but this could have been streamlined. You already show one of Grindelwald’s henchman stealing the genealogy tree from the French Ministry, (which was beautifully pretentious, by the way. I loved its look, the super creepy lady guarding the vault area, and not to mention the spirit cats!), so why not have her poke and prod Credence and Leta into the situation?

If we’re being honest, Yusuf’s entire role can be boiled down to explaining why Leta was black and Credence was white. It wasn’t necessary, and added nothing to the plot. They could have just had Leta say, “My father was a terrible man. He imperiused my mother into marrying him, and she died giving birth to me. Then he remarried, not for love—he didn’t even love me, his daughter. But when Corvus was born…It was only then he felt love. I’m sorry, but you can’t be him, Credence, because I killed Corvus. [Lead into movie explanation].”

Or have a Grindelwald flunky, like Grimmson, taunt them toward revealing all this. Credence has tried to kill him, and you would have gotten a strong reaction from Credence if Grimmson said things like; “Your family must not have loved you,” or something like that.

(Hey, I’m not paid to write the script, I’m just here to poke holes in it in my free time.)

As it stands, this dude—Grimmson—that they made a huge deal out of, effectively vanishes into thin air. They could have used him more effectively, and slimmed down on how many characters they introduced as well as the number of sub-plots. Less is more.

 

A Few Random Questions:

Newt? Really? You want Newt to be an auror, go after Grindelwald, or hunt down Credence? Why? Have you met Newt? This just seemed silly to me. Maybe if Grindelwald had an injured Grindylow on his back he’d be helpful, otherwise, not so much.

What’s up with Abernathy? We don’t get his story, and he never speaks despite getting a cool, new tongue.

How many pureblood families will Credence go through? Is he really a Dumbledore? Does that mean the woman on the ship that drowned is the mother of Albus, Ariana, Aberforth, and Credence (Aurelius)? Does this mean his mother, Kendra, got pregnant right before Percival, their father, was carted off to Azkaban? Why was she on a ship to America without her other children? If that woman is the mom, why didn’t she use magic to not drown in the middle of the ocean? If that woman is not the mom, then what the bowtruckle is going on?

Why did Grindelwald let Spielman live when he made his escape? Seemed silly after he killed all those other guys.

Anyone else amused that the McClaggan family trait seems to be arrogance in the way the Weasley’s trait is red hair?

Young McGonagall? Yes!

Most importantly, though: When will someone come up with a way to detect this damnable Polyjuice potion? Honestly! The stuff seems to be the preferred dark wizard infiltration method, and yet, they are duped every time. Boggles the mind.

 

In closing, I don’t feel like the movie was as gutter trash horrible as people made it out to be, but it wasn’t as good as the first one. They simply tried to do way too much, and it came off as rushed and half-baked. Even if they’d made it half an hour longer, it probably wouldn’t have helped. They should have trimmed down on the sub-plots, and used that time to focus on other aspects of the story to strengthen them.

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Insights and Observations Part Two found here.