Following the relative success of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in my opinion), Crimes of Grindelwald was something of an enigma for me. Coming in to the theatre, the film’s ability to meet the level of its predecessor balanced on a knife’s edge. I thought I knew which way the weight would shift given my skepticism about the survival of Credence, the inclusion of Nagini, and how much longer Newt could remain a relevant protagonist (among other things). That being said, I enjoyed being back in the world, seeing Hogwarts again, and watching this era of the Wizarding World develop. For me, all my issues center at the inciting incident when Dumbledore charges Newt to go to Paris to find Credence. This was the perfect moment to address Newt’s unique position in the Wizarding World and answer the question that was asked by a disguised Grindelwald in first film: why is Dumbledore so fond of Newt?
I’m of the opinion Crimes doesn’t provide enough of a satisfactory reason for why Dumbledore chose Newt to serve as his agent. I’m puzzled by Dumbledore and Newt’s relationship after Newt was expelled from Hogwarts. Of ALLLL the students to pass under Dumbledore, the criteria for who should seek out Credence is because he doesn’t seek power. . . .
I agree, Newt doesn’t gravitate to the limelight like most traditional protagonists (particularly male), which is why I think he works well paired with animals. His patience, gentle and empathetic nature are hallmarks of a good magizoologist, someone who writes a whole novel with the sole purpose to educate others to not instinctively kill a seemingly dangerous creature but try to handle and understand it. Newt is a conservationist of life no matter its form. So when Dumbledore tells him he admires him because he doesn’t seek power but does something just because it’s the right thing to do . . . he’s not finished. He forgot to relate it back to why he’s truly the only one, the best candidate to find Credence. If the Beasts franchise is supposed to showcase Hufflepuffs at their best–which I believe it is–then why stop at the stereotype of Puffs being timid and not competitive? We knew bloody Cedric for crying out loud!
I’m going to present what I think should have happened during Newt and Dumbledore’s conversation. Granted, the set-up before my presented amendments would have to be modified to help support the coming exchange.
Here are some guidelines for my approach to this revision of the script:
- Ariana was an obscurial
- Credence didn’t ‘die’ but was simply subdued, rendered unconscious by the amount of stupefy spells taken;
- in the time between Beasts and Crimes, Credence escapes the New York magical hospital he’s being kept in, and now MACUSA has issued a warrant for his arrest for damages to the city and risk of exposure;
- Tina becomes the top investigative agent after hearing in the speakeasy The Blind Pig that Credence joined a magical circus troop currently performing in Paris
- ***I would have considered making Tina the protagonist of this installment. As this film has less to do with magical creatures (which funneled the conflict of Beasts) Newt as the reluctant hero is harder to support in the situation of Crimes. Setting up Tina as the lead investigator on behalf of MACUSA gives her more purpose than what she had in the film. Accordingly, I would have had Dumbledore’s appeal to Newt to travel to Paris happen later in the film, when it’s evident Tina needs assistance convincing Credence to come with her and not with Grindelwald.
- Newt’s travel ban deals with his special treatment from Dumbledore not from his ‘destruction’ of New York;
- *it baffles me MACUSA wouldn’t have corresponded to the British Ministry with utter clarity Newt’s innocence in the damages to Manhattan; after his use of Swooping Evil venom and Frank the Thunderbird, President Picquery would have absolved him of any disruption by his own creatures;
- Credence would not have received the same amnesty when he recovered from the stunning spell’s trauma, hence, his escape
- Somebody actually needs to read (in full) the prediction of Tyco Dodonus earlier in the film, so the audience knows what the hell they’re talking about, OR (preferably) scrap it all together
- *prophecy in Potter was never so precise or limited. I think it’s an unnecessary plot device
With all this established, come back to the next post which will go into more detail about what I think Dumbledore should have added after commending Newt for not being like him: power-hungry.
***This post is part of my Perusing Potter – a series of exploring the known and not-so-known aspects of the Harry Potter Series***
* featured image credit via Fox23 [https://fox23maine.com/news/entertainment/gallery/jude-law-makes-young-dumbledore-debut-in-fantastic-beasts-sequel-trailer#photo-2] property of Wizarding World and Pottermore