[Spoilers / Review] The Crimes of… J.K. Rowling‽

[Spoilers / Review] The Crimes of… J.K. Rowling‽

I loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – even though it was nothing like I thought it would be. Truth be told, when I heard that Fantastic Beasts was made into a movie, I actually expected Newt Scamander to be some kind of wizarding Crocodile Hunter. And while that wasn’t exactly what we got, I still enjoyed the movie.

As a Hufflepuff, I was glad to see my Hogwarts House finally get some representation (albeit people still make fun of our house). Moreover, as a fan of „A Very Potter Musical“, I was more than aware of how „Hufflepuffs are good at finding things“, which is why I loved our representation in Newt even more. All in all, I was happy with the film, despite being bothered about a few flaws here and there. Needless to say, I was rather excited to see The Crimes of Grindelwald because of that.

However, after sitting through the entire movie right on its release day, meaning free from any spoilers the internet may have had for me, I was disappointed. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you enjoyed the movie I’m so happy for you. I’m honestly glad you can continue loving this franchise despite its flaws – and I’m not talking about The Cursed Child here, as it wasn’t written by Rowling. But please understand that there are those of us who just can’t get themselves to enjoy this movie. I wanted to love it – but I don’t.

But why?

It breaks the established timeline

McGonagall was born… when again?

I get it. J.K. Rowling wanted to give us a nostalgic feeling by showing us characters we all know and love. And as happy as I am when it comes to seeing Professor Albus Dumbledore, the more frustrated I am with seeing Minerva McGonagall. You see, the film is set in 1927, several months after Newt departed from the United States and aided in capturing Grindelwald. McGonagall’s year of birth however can be calculated as 1935 from her Pottermore biography and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix („The Hogwarts High Inquisitor“).

In other words: Our beloved teacher from the books wasn’t even born yet. Despite that, we can see her teaching at Hogwarts in both a flashback and present-day scene, which is a contradiction to her statement of having started at Hogwarts when Dumbledore was Head of Transfiguration and having joined when she was about 21. Considering how she told Umbridge that she has been working in Hogwarts for 39 years – it just doesn’t add up.

Yer a Dumbledore, Credance

The bigger inconsistency however is Credence’s alleged birth name. If indeed Grindelwald is telling the truth, the existence of Aurelius Dumbledore doesn’t make any sense, at least not as Albus‘ brother. Kendra Dumbledore, who was Albus‘ mother, died in 1899, which is at least 2 years before Credence’s birth, if not even 5-6 years when going by his adoption certificate. As for Percival Dumbledore, Albus‘ father – he was in Azkaban.

It could be argued that he had a child with someone during his time or alleged time in Azkaban. Sadly, this would also contradict the established canon. Percival got rather willingly imprisoned after he took revenge on muggles who were threatening his daughter, which means he is less likely to break out. As for sleeping with someone during his time in Azkaban (before his death „after 1890“) – Dementors are said to „drain peace, hope, and happiness“ out of everyone around them and that „every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.“ Sounds like a great place to do the hokey pokey, really.

It contradicts the established canon

 Apparation on Hogwarts grounds and the Ministry of Magic

The books were very clear on how wizards can’t apparate inside the walls of Hogwarts as part of its ironclad security. Hogwarts is meant to be one of the safest places in the world, which is why unwelcome visitors were supposed to be warded off from simply appearing inside of its walls. Several aurors simply wave their wands and appear on Hogwarts‘ bridge, as well as Newt, who never even completed his education. Perhaps Dumbledore secretly taught him after he was expelled, but what about the other wizards? Surely not all of them should be able to bypass the security system of one of the safest places around.

Speaking of decisions going against the rules of Hogwarts‘ grounds: Why does the British Ministry of Magic have this much power? Previously established lore stated that the appointment and dismissal of the Headmaster is up to the Hogwarts Board of Governors. Sure, Dumbledore shouldn’t be the Headmaster around that time (at least I hope they didn’t change that as well), but the one deciding on who teaches and does not wouldn’t have been the Ministry but the actual Headmaster at the time. As such, no auror would have the power to remove Albus Dumbledore as the Transfiguration the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. This could’ve easily been avoided by them pressuring the Board of Governors to issue a demand to have Dumbledore removed from his position, though I guess it’s too late for that now.

Questionable decisions

Making a Jew join a Nazi

Goldstein is a relatively common Ashkenazi Jewish surname. Anthony Goldstein from the Harry Potter Wizarding World has been revealed (in a tweet) to be Jewish – and a distant relative to Queenie and Porpentina. In other words it is entirely possible that the sisters were Jewish as well. Grindelwald possesses blond hair, blue eyes, and an undercut hairstyle, which was a standard for members of the Hitler Youth. He was defeated in 1945, adopted the symbol of the Deathly Hallows as his sigil, and Nurmengard shares a similar name to the city of Nuremberg. To remind you, Nuremberg was where war crime trials for Nazis were held. In other words, we have someone of Jewish descendant and a man that is basically wizard Hitler. Why, why, why would you make Queenie join Wizard Hitler? How can you think that’s a good idea?

Beheading an Asian woman who joined a Nazi

Making Nagini an Indonesian woman (played by a Korean actress) seems hardly appropriate. For one thing, Voldemort, who frequently strokes the woman somewhat affectionately, also milks Nagini in order to sustain his body. A woman of colour was chosen for the role of a pet or rather even an object of a male wizard Hitler. And she’s both Horcrux as well as Maledictus. So poor Nagini was cursed because she was a woman and forced to have a piece of a man’s soul inside of her. How did Nagini die again? Ah, right, beheaded by Neville. Good casting!
Also, as a reminder, she was put inside a circus. You know, a snake shapeshifter in a world where many other shapeshifter exist, with literally the only difference being that someday she won’t be able to turn back. That sure is unusual!

But it’s not all bad . . .

For one thing, we get to see familiar faces again. Newt and Tina meet up once more and their romance from the first movie gets rekindled. Newt, still more comfortable around his beasts, adorably tries to show Tina just how he feels about her. And of course Jacob attempts being a magical wingman – though in the end, Tina loves Newt for who he is, not for being „normal“.

We also finally get a glimpse of the kind of relationship Dumbledore and Grindelwald had. When Travers tells Dumbledore, that he was as close as brothers with Grindelwald, he responds by saying: „Oh we were closer than brothers.“ Years after Rowling stated that Albus Dumbledore is, in fact, a gay man, we finally got the much wanted recognition for this.

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