So, I went and saw the latest movie installment of the Fantastic Beasts series: Crimes of Grindelwald, AND then I proceeded to also devour the screenplay.
Once again, Jo Rowling has conjured up a brilliant and satisfying tale that will be enjoyed by fans both new to the Wizarding World along with bona fide Potterheads.
Crimes of Grindelwald is a fast paced story that contains plenty of revelations, but it still leaves you wanting more, so although there’s another 2 year wait for Fantastic Beasts #3, I think it’ll be well worth it if the next ride is as magical as this one is!
That being said, I was really gratified that my prediction about how the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald would be portrayed in the movie (and screenplay) was accurate.
Jo Rowling stayed true to the essence of the characters of both Dumbledore and Grindelwald by sharing their equal fascination, respect, admiration, infatuation and even love, that the two men have towards the other.
But just as in real life, there are different kinds of love, and the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald reflects the true complexity that human relationships have, particularly between brilliant and power seeking individuals who desire to change the world.
As their friendship and love was not a physically expressed one, but rather an intellectual and emotional engagement that revolved around ideas and how to gain and wield power to change the world.
And this is another brilliant aspect of the Crimes story—the modeling of two different forms of leadership by Grindelwald and Dumbledore.
Grindelwald demands absolute loyalty and devotion from his followers. There is no room for doubt–evidenced by the requirement to walk through the black fire or be destroyed by it.
Grindelwald is also extremely persuasive, so much so that his tongue (it was actually Abernathy) is removed by the Americans to prevent him from convincing others of his arguments.
But Grindelwald’s persuasiveness doesn’t come because of pretty words with no substance, but from speaking the truth that others desire to hear (like Queenie), but without the specificity as to how that truth will be brought into reality–which for Grindelwald is without care for others–magical and non-magical creatures alike.
Dumbledore’s leadership is much less visible, but it’s based on relationship of trust, not blind loyalty or devotion. Also, his persuasiveness is rooted in allowing others to decide and choose for themselves whether to undertake tasks as he suggests to them–like Newt going to Paris to find Creedence, or the warning to Theseus to be careful if not engaging Grindelwald at a rally–and this is the essence of Dumbledore’s leadership–his valuing of the uniqueness of each person for who they are rather than because of what they can do for him.
And this brings us to the essence present in all of Jo Rowling’s writings, but especially in the Wizarding world–the seeking of love and the choices we make to find it.
And this brings us back to the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Their friendship was rooted in the mutual love of power and desire to use that power to make the world a better place.
It was in the aftermath of his sister, Ariana’s, death, and in realizing the high price that Grindelwald was willing to pay for power that Dumbledore realized he had made a mistake in looking to Grindelwald for authentic friendship.
And it is this larger story of how we come to see things as they really are that the tales contained in the Harry Potter Wizarding world are such compelling stories themselves
And it’s why I am going to urge you to not commit a crime by failing to immerse yourself in the Crimes of Grindelwald movie and screenplay.
Mischief managed! 🙂