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Everything you need to know about Gellert Grindelwald before seeing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald


Get set for another whirlwind wizarding adventure when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald arrives in Cineworld on 16th November.

Not just a reunion with our favourite magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and friends, J.K. Rowling's sequel finally brings mysterious villain Grindelwald into the spotlight.

Dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was technically the villain in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – we were led to believe that Colin Firth's Graves was the real antagonist and Grindelwald was hiding in Europe.

However, the finale revealed Grindelwald to be Graves in disguise, serving as a fascinating introduction to a nefarious character. But who is he exactly?

Why was Grindelwald expelled from Durmstrang?

Before Tom Riddle (aka Lord Voldemort) roamed the halls of Hogwarts in the years prior to Harry Potter's arrival, a young Grindelwald spent his school days in Durmstrang Academy.

Located somewhere in the north of Europe (its location is one of its biggest secrets), Durmstrang is one of the 11 wizarding institutions around the world famous for its magical duelling, but also infamous for its dark reputation.

This is because an ex-Durmstrang pupil later went on to become one of the most diabolical wizards to walk the earth: Grindelwald. Even at school, young Grindelwald displayed an appetite for evil by conducting sadistic experiments, which led to his eventual expulsion.

Why is Grindelwald obsessed with the Deathly Hallows?

Although the details are unclear, it's believed that after his expulsion, Grindelwald developed an obsessive curiosity with the Deathly Hallows – three legendary artefacts (the Resurrection Stone, the Elder Wand and the Invisibility Cloak) designed to make the owner impervious to death. And why wouldn't he? It's only natural a dark wizard such as Grindelwald would desire to become the master of death. 

It was this fascination with these relics that led him to Godric's Hollow in England – the final resting place of one of the artefact's original owners – where he stayed with his aunt Bathilda Bagshot, a famous magical historian, in order to further help him track down the Hallows.

Since the symbol for the Deathly Hallows is sneakily hidden within the title The Crimes of Grindelwald, we think this is a sure sign that the Hallows will feature heavily in the upcoming film.

What is Grindelwald's relationship with Dumbledore?

While young Grindelwald was living with his aunt in Godric's Hollow, he met another young wizard with whom he developed a close friendship. That wizard was none other than Albus Dumbledore (who's played by Jude Law in The Crimes of Grindelwald).

Surprisingly, the two boys had a lot in common: they both had a fascination with the Deathly Hallows and believed in the creation of a new manifesto for the wizarding world to rule over the non-wizards (aka muggles or, to use American parlance, no-maj's) – although with different intentions in mind. To cut a long story short, the pair got into a fight with Dumbledore's brother Aberforth, which resulted in the death of Dumbledore's younger sister Ariana.

Moreover, after queen of magic J.K. Rowling revealed Dumbledore to be gay back in 2007, fans have speculated about the true nature of his feelings towards Grindelwald. Could these complex emotions be the reason why Dumbledore "cannot move against Grindelwald", as he states in the trailers? We hope to find out more about these wizards' pasts when the film hits Cineworld.

Why does Grindelwald possess the elder wand?

Some years after he and Grindelwald went their separate ways, Dumbledore found himself deputy headmaster and transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts, which is where Grindelwald eventually tracked down the Elder Wand, stealing it from wand-maker Mykew Gregorovitch's workshop.

Now with the wand in his possession, Grindelwald could finally start his dark revolution within the wizarding world, which is where we are in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Those of you who paid attention during Fantastic Beasts, however, would have noticed that Graves (remember, he's Grindelwald in disguise) isn't using this distinctive wand, which begs the question – where is it?

Perhaps he stowed it away somewhere, knowing that using it would uncover his disguise, or maybe Rowling's latest tale will amend this part of his story. Wherever it is, though, we definitely can't wait to find out.

What is Grindelwald's ultimate fate?

Although we don't know how Grindelwald's tale will play out in the new movie, we do know how his story ends. And that's thanks to the Harry Potter series, which of course takes place many years after the climax of Newt's adventures.

Potter fans out there will know that one of Dumbledore's greatest accomplishments was defeating Grindelwald in an epic duel in 1945, about 20 years after the events of The Crimes of Grindelwald. The details are hazy, but Dumbledore ultimately came to own the Elder Wand and Grindelwald was detained in Nurmengard, a prison of his own creation. Years later, Grindelwald would meet his end at the hands of Voldemort during his own search for the wand.

Given the remaining Fantastic Beasts films have a lot of ground to cover, we simply can't wait to see how everything we know about this world fits together – especially the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore.

Click here to book your tickets for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, opening in Cineworld on 16th November.

Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.