Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is absolutely stuffed with Harry Potter callbacks and Easter Eggs, from returning characters and background details all the way to mysterious symbols lurking just out of sight in key scenes.
However, one of our favourite references in the film to the wider Harry Potter franchise is probably one of the most subtle, and comes during an early scene set at the British Ministry of Magic where Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has come to get his travel ban lifted.
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Generally speaking, the ministry doesn’t look that different in the 1920s to how it appeared in the Harry Potter movies – gotta love those green tiles and golden statues! – but there is one subtle difference in the way the office is run, with inter-office mail delivered by owls.
If you recall, in the later Harry Potter years (technically the 1990s, though the films fudge it a bit) the owls had been replaced by enchanted flying purple envelopes, as Arthur Weasley explained to Harry Potter on a ministry visit.
“Just interdepartmental memos,” Arthur explained when Harry queried the flying envelopes in The Order of the Phoenix.
“We used to use owls, but the mess was unbelievable… droppings all over the desks…”
And in Crimes of Grindelwald the issues with the owl system are displayed in a clear callback to the book, with one winged messenger making a mess on a nearby window and forcing a weary house-elf to wipe it up. Enchanted envelopes are definitely a tidier way to do business, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Overall, it’s just a small Easter egg for the more dedicated Potter readers to pick up on, but it’s hard not to enjoy when you see it onscreen.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in UK cinemas now