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Who is Nagini? Everything you need to know about the Fantastic Beasts 'Maledictus'


J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald is forging all kinds of important connections to the later Harry Potter series.

Not only are we due to meet the younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), but we'll also be reunited with a key villain in the form of Nagini, although the character isn't necessarily the one we recognise from the Potter movies. Let us explain…

Who is Nagini?

You'll no doubt remember the name – Nagini is the fearsome man-eating snake forever bonded to the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in the Harry Potter stories. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore said of Voldemort's relationship with Nagini: "I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything…"

Nagini is responsible for several of the most horrifying scenes in the Potter movies, including the Bathilda Bagshot sequence, in which Nagini was revealed to be posing as the elderly magic historian in order to entrap Harry when he visited Godric's Hollow. Under the orders of Voldemort, Nagini also brutally killed Professor Snape (Alan Rickman).

Is Nagini a snake in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald?

Nagini appears in both snake and human form in The Crimes of Grindelwald – remember this movie takes place in 1927 way before the Potter movies, so things aren't quite as we know them.

Instead, we're introduced to Nagini as a young woman played by Avengers: Age of Ultron actor Claudia Kim. In the trailer, we see her performing in a circus named Circus Arcanus, providing entertainment for Muggles. It seems she will cross paths with Parisian fugitive Obscurus Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), believed dead at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In the trailer, Credence is heard whispering the name "Nagini" prior to her transformation into a snake, so it's highly likely they'll be an important pairing in the movie. That said, their role in the ongoing battle with dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) remains unclear at this stage.

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

Why is Nagini both human and snake?

As confirmed by Rowling on Twitter, the origins of Nagini are somewhat tragic. Rowling revealed that the character is in fact a 'maledictus', defined by website Pottermore as "a carrier of a blood curse that will ultimately destine them to transform permanently into a beast".

Is Nagini a horcrux?

Yes, Nagini became a Horcrux (an object containing an aspect of Voldemort's soul) following the murder of wizard Bertha Jorkins in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the book and movie of which marked Nagini's first appearance). If you remember, Nagini was ultimately killed by Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) with the Sword of Gryffindor at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kim says the latest Fantastic Beasts movie will cast fresh light on Nagini: "It will be so interesting to see another side of Nagini. You've only seen her as a horcrux. In this, she's a wonderful and vulnerable woman who wants to live. She wants to stay a human being and I think that's a wonderful contrast to the character."

Kim adds: "She has powers that are yet to be explored. I can't confirm she has powers like wizards have. And she doesn't have a wand."

What else do we know about Nagini?

Chiefly that Kim is playing Nagini as a somewhat tragic character, who realises that her time as a human is limited before she permanently becomes a snake. "She does feel sometimes it's not controllable," Kim says. "She is bound to [permanently] transform at some point to a beast so she feels this pressure that the clock is ticking."

Just recently, Rowling revealed on Twitter that she's been holding onto Nagini's secrets for the best part of two decades, ones that will finally come to light in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

J.K. Rowling confirms Fantastic Beasts Nagini secrets on Twitter

When is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald released?

The Fantastic Beasts sequel is released on 16th November – click here to book your tickets for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. And don't forget about our Fantastic Beasts double-bill beginning at 6pm on Wednesday 14th November.