J.K. Rowling has answered a new Twitter question from a Harry Potter fan about the plot of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In this case, the fan wanted to know something specific about Gellert Grindelwald that I’d glossed over upon my viewing of the film but which makes the Dark Wizard a hell of a lot more dangerous.
Warning: Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts ahead!
I was just talking the other day about how we learn a lot about the wizarding world after the books are published. Sometimes that can be really great but other times it can be frustrating. Since Fantastic Beasts is really telling an original story (even though it technically is based on a book), we’re learning a lot of new information from the film itself but still learning more from Rowling after its release too. She’s previously told fans simple things like yes, Newt Scamander was wearing a Hufflepuff scarf at the end of the film, and yes, the fabulous Queenie would return.
Of course there’s some questions she hasn’t answered yet like why was Newt allowed to keep his wand, do magic, and work for the Ministry of Magic considering he was expelled from Hogwarts (remember Hagrid had very big consequences when he was expelled)? “All will become clear. Trust me,” she replied to that fan. But she has confirmed the Fantastic Beasts films are canon, because she’s writing them, and to that end she just added a new wrinkle to Grindelwald’s story.
@jk_rowling what did Graves-Grindelwald mean when he said: ”My vision showed only the child’s immense power”? Is he a Seer or was he lying?
— Cheylianie ‡ (@ParselmouthLord) December 19, 2016
He is a Seer AND he was lying. https://t.co/qUAXwHtpJt
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2016
If you’ve seen the film, you know Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves turned out to be Grindelwald in disguise. While trying to get Ezra Miller’s Credence to bend to his will, Graves says “My vision showed only the child’s immense power. He or she is no older than ten, and I saw this child in close proximity to your mother – she I saw so plainly.” Rowling now tells us Grindelwald is in fact a Seer and he was lying about seeing only “immense power.” (If I’m reading the question and response correctly.) When I first saw the film I brushed off the vision line because we weren’t told very much about Graves up until that point. We knew he was an Auror, he could have very well been a Seer. By the time Credence was revealed as the Obscurial, the dark force he could barely control, and Graves was revealed as Grindelwald, I’d forgotten about it all together, but seeing Rowling’s answer here puts things in perspective.
We don’t know much about Grindelwald or Seers from the Harry Potter series itself. We knew Grindelwald was a Dark Wizard who haunted the wizarding world in the time before Voldemort rose to power, he went to the Durmstrang Institute and was imprisoned in his own fortress, Nurmengard, after a famous duel with Dumbledore. The two also had a friendship. Sybill Trelawney, the Hogwarts Divination teacher played by Emma Thompson in the films, was a Seer, albeit a person no one but Dumbledore took seriously as real Seers didn’t come along often. Firenze and some of the other centaurs could also See, but interpreted things differently than wizards. Rowling stating Grindelwald is definitively a Seer, and lied about what he saw to Credence (meaning he was manipulating on an even deeper level) means he’s more dangerous than we were led to believe.
Since they cast Johnny Depp in the role, we could easily assume we’ll be seeing more of Grindelwald over the next four films in the series and learn about his powers. We knew Grindelwald was infamous as a Dark Wizard but never learned the extent of his abilities, only that Dumbledore was able to beat him (though the details of how he defeated him have also not yet been revealed). Being a Seer gives Grindelwald a huge advantage over our heroes unless they too have a Seer on their side. We previously learned Rowling has always wanted to delve into the story of Grindelwald, “We’re talking about the first time a wizard rose and threatened the world order,” she said, and it looks like we’re about to see just how bad it can get.