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8 Harry Potter connections in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald


This week sees the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, J.K. Rowling's continuation of her magical Harry Potter prequel series.

Although the events of Fantastic Beasts take place a good 70 years before those of the Potter movies, The Crimes of Grindelwald is set to forge some important connections between the two franchises.

We've cast a spell and rounded up eight of them…

1. Albus Dumbledore

Let's start with the most obvious one – the return of the most famous Hogwarts teacher of them all. However, given The Crimes of Grindelwald takes place in the past, this isn't the greying, bearded headmaster we came to know in Harry Potter.

Instead, we're presented with a younger Dumbledore played by a dashing Jude Law, who reconnects with his former Hogwarts pupil Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to help bring down dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

But given Dumbledore claims not to be able to move against his former friend turned enemy, is this an echo of their much-reported romantic relationship? It remains to be seen.

2. Hogwarts

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them may have alluded to Hogwarts, the fabled boarding school where Harry, Ron and Hermione took a stand against Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

But The Crimes of Grindelwald foregrounds the school, filling us in on the relationship between Scamander and Dumbledore. This becomes evident in a Defence Against the Dark Arts scene as the former's greatest fear manifests in the form of an office job.

We already know that Dumbledore vouched for Newt and fought against his expulsion from Hogwarts (following an as-yet-undisclosed incident with a beast), and the sequel is bound to fill us in on the details.

3. Professor McGonagall

Maggie Smith's formidable yet kindly Hogwarts Transfiguration teacher was one of the pillars of the Harry Potter movies.

She's set to turn up again, albeit her younger self, as played by actress Fiona Glascott – but how? After all, McGonagall was born in 1935 and The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in 1927 – fingers crossed that Rowling will be using her magic to undo this particular continuity error…

4. Grindelwald

Johnny Depp's villainous dark wizard wants to stir up war between magicians and muggles, and is the primary antagonist of the Fantastic Beasts series.

But let's not forget Grindelwald actually appeared in the Harry Potter movies: in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) seeks out the older Grindelwald (played by Michael Byrne) to learn the location of the Elder Wand (Grindelwald is seen possessing this same wand in the Fantastic Beasts sequel). In the same Harry Potter movie, we also meet a younger incarnation of the character played by Jamie Campbell-Bower.

Combine all this with the much-discussed history between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, and you have some of the most explicit connections between the two franchises so far.

5. James Newton Howard's score

Enveloping audiences in a sense of magic is veteran composer James Newton Howard, whose shimmering and sumptuous score for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them introduced some beautiful new themes into the J.K. Rowling universe.

Given the links between Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter, Howard also subtly cites John Williams' pivotal Hedwig's theme over the opening logos and eagle-eared listeners have already spotted some (unintentional) echoes of other Potter scores. This includes a seeming reprise of 'In Noctem' from Nicholas Hooper's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince…

6. Nagini

As it turns out, Lord Voldemort's pet snake is in fact a 'Maledictus' – a person cursed to live life as a beast. We meet the human Nagini (played by Claudia Kim) in a Parisian circus where she eventually teams with the fugitive Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller).

Claudia Kim as Nagini in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

7. Leta Lestrange

The first Fantastic Beasts movie alluded to the heartbreak in Newt Scamander's past - witch Queenie (Allison Sudol) read his thoughts and exposed his feelings towards Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), describing her as a 'taker'. We finally meet Leta properly in The Crimes of Grindelwald and discover she's taken up with Newt's brother Theseus (Callum Turner), although Kravitz says the character isn't so much bad as "misunderstood".

Additionally, you can't fail to have noticed the Lestrange family name – it appears Leta is related to the same family that spawned insanely evil witch Bellatrix (played in the Harry Potter movies by Helena Bonham Carter).

Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

8. Flamel

Don't recall the name? Well, Nicolas Flamel is the figure who created the Philosopher's Stone, the same artefact that formed the backbone of the first Harry Potter novel and movie.

In the trailer for The Crimes of Grindelwald we see no-maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) meet Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky), who reveals that he is "an alchemist and therefore immortal".

Flamel was in fact a real-life 15th century alchemist – according to texts revealed two centuries after his death, he had succeeded in the alchemical arts of creating the Philosopher's Stone, which had the ability to turn metals into gold.

Click here to book your tickets for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, opening in Cineworld on 16th November. Also don't forget to book for the Fantastic Beasts double-bill on 14th December.