JK Rowling is a pro when it comes to dishing up jaw-dropping plot twists that nobody could have predicted and she’s done it all over again in her screenplay for Fantastic Beasts sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald.
**SPOILER ALERT** – Do not continue reading if you’ve not yet seen The Crimes of Grindelwald and would like to #ProtectTheSecrets until you do.
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We’ve appointed this little niffler as guardian of the spoilers, so if you want to just scroll past him we can continue.
Congratulations you curious creature, let’s chat all things Fantastic Beasts 2, Credence Barebone (or should we say Aurelius Dumbledore?) and THAT ending twist that’s left us all wondering what is and isn’t canon in the Harry Potter universe…
What happens at the end of Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald?
First thing’s first, let’s refresh our memories with a reminder of exactly what happened at the end of the film. Having convinced Credence to join his evil crew in exchange for the truth about his past, Gellert Grindelwald spirits the boy away to Nurmengard Castle.
This is the fortress the dark wizard built to lock up his enemies (and which would later serve to keep him prisoner until his own death at the hands of Lord Voldemort).
Credence was made to feel at home in the castle, though, with newly converted Queenie helping Grindelwald to watch over him. Grindelwald was very keen to get Credence onside and, in order to do so, gave him a wand and finally revealed the boy’s true identity.
“You have suffered the most heinous of betrayals, most purposely bestowed upon you by your own blood. Your own flesh and blood,” he purred as he aimed to win Credence over. “And just as he has celebrated your torment, your brother seeks to destroy you.”
Grindelwald then took the small chick Credence had been taking care of and tossed it into the air, revealing that the little bird was, in fact, a phoenix, a creature that legend claimed would appear to a number of the Dumbledore family if they were in dire need.
“Is it your birthright, my boy. As is the name I now restore to you. Aurelius. Aurelius Dumbledore.”
With that, Credence turned to the nearest window and, using his new wand, channeled the power of his Obscurus to shatter the glass and bring down half a mountain.
Not looking too good for Newt, Albus and co now, is it?
Who is Aurelius Dumbledore?
Here’s where it all gets a bit tricky. As far as we (and Dumbledore exposé writer Rita Skeeter) know, there were only three Dumbledore siblings, born to Percival and Kendra Dumbledore – Albus, Aberforth and Ariana.
Albus was the eldest child, thought to have been born sometime around 1881. Aberforth was thought to have arrived about three years later, with Ariana following soon after him.
When Ariana was about six years old (we’re talking late 1880s/early 1890s by the fan timeline) she was attacked by three Muggle boys who didn’t like seeing her use her magic. She survived the incident but it left her permanently damaged and she struggled to develop or use her magic. Her powers went on to drive her mad and would occasionally explode out of her with no warning.
We think it sounds rather like an Obscurus, but JK Rowling has yet to confirm that theory.
Percival was furious about what happened to his daughter and attacked the Muggle boys. He was sent to Azkaban for seeking revenge and Kendra, who was desperate to keep Ariana’s condition a secret, moved the family to Godric’s Hollow where they could keep to themselves and hide.
Ariana’s uncontrollable powers continued to grow and one day, when her beloved brother Aberforth wasn’t there to calm her down, she accidentally killed her mother. This was thought to have happened around June 1899, a full 27 years before the events of the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them film.
Ariana was then killed (fans say roughly sometime around August 1899) when she was accidentally struck by a curse in the midst of a three-way duel between her brothers, Albus and Aberforth, and Gellert Grindelwald, who had grown extremely close to the future Hogwarts headmaster.
So, where does that leave Credence/Aurelius? When could he possibly have been born? And could Kendra have carried him?
Well, JK Rowling’s original screenplay states that the sinking of the ship carrying Credence, Leta and Corvus Lestrange Jr (his dad was called Corvus too), took place in 1901. That’s at least a full year after Kendra Dumbledore is thought to have died so it’s hard to believe she could have been his mother and been on the boat with him when she was supposed to be long dead by then.
However, Aberforth did say that Kendra had taught her children a lot about “secrets and lies”, so who’s to say she didn’t have a Time-Turner and engage in a spot of time travel with another infant Dumbledore?
It’s a little more difficult to rule out the possibility that Percival could be Credence’s father, though. We know he was in Azkaban until his death, which took place sometime after 1890.
Could he have fathered the boy from within the walls of the wizard prison?
Who was the woman on the boat?
Was Credence’s mysterious mother traveling with him to the USA? The answer is no.
A quick glance at Rowling’s screenplay for the film confirms that it was Credence’s aunt who was travelling with him on board the ship, though it doesn’t give any name for the mystery woman.
We do know that Albus Dumbledore had a “maiden aunt” by the name of Honoria, who was first mentioned in The Tales of Beedle The Bard. She was said to be a spinster who’d left her wizard fiancé because he had a “hairy heart”.
Could Honoria have been the woman on the boat? We’ll have to wait to find out.
Is Credence really Albus Dumbledore’s brother?
Grindelwald claims that Credence is a mysterious missing Dumbledore and, given the fact that a phoenix appears to have arrived to keep the boy company, the evidence seems to be stacking up.
But could the dark wizard be lying? And could telling fibs about Credence’s ancestry be one of his greatest crimes?
We know he’s keen to have a powerful Obscurus on his side – surely if Credence found true happiness and dulled the dark power within him he’d be of absolutely no use to the maniacal wizard? So yes, he has every incentive to keep him in the dark.
Who does the prophecy of Tycho Dodonus refer to?
“A son cruelly banished, despair of the daughter, return great avenger with wings from the water”
That’s the prophecy Yusuf Kama seems absolutely obsessed with and is convinced refers to Corvus Lestrange, but could it actually refer to Credence?
The son cruelly banished could refer to Corvus Lestrange, indeed, but it could also refer to the mysterious Aurelius Dumbledore. And surely “despair of the daughter” could be linked to both Leta’s heartbreak at the loss of her mother and Ariana Dumbledore’s pain following her torture by the Muggle boys.
Who is the great avenger, though? Could it be Credence, returned from the water with a fiery winged phoenix at his side?
Ms Rowling does certainly know how to keep us guessing. Harry Potter’s greatest prophecy could have referred to Harry or Neville Longbottom. We’ll have to wait for future films to get a clearer answer.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in UK cinemas on 16th November