Editor’s note: this article references just about every major spoiler from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. If you haven’t yet seen the film, don’t read on. If you have, please #ProtectTheSecrets and keep the ending safe from those who are yet to see it.
Wait, Aurelius Dumbledore? Who is that!?
At the end of Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts 2) Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has fled Paris to Nurmengard in Austria.
The name Nurmengard might sound familiar. It’s a Wizarding prison built by Grindelwald to house his adversaries. We first learn about the prison in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) when Grindelwald himself is, fittingly, held captive at the prison (more on this below).
So: Grindelwald flees Paris and arrives at Nurmengard with Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the Obscurus (dark energetic force) from the first Fantastic Beasts film. Barebone, pained and desperate to know his true identity, accompanies Grindelwald to seek the truth. Grindelwald reveals that Credence Barebone is Aurelius Dumbledore.
Albus, Aberforth, Ariana and … Aurelius Dumbledore?
Firstly, a bit of Dumbledore family history. We know that Dumbledore is one of three siblings: his brother Aberforth is the owner and barman of the Hog’s Head pub in Hogsmeade Village, and his sister Ariana was killed accidentally after being hit by a curse during a duel between the Dumbledore brothers and a young Grindelwald.
Dumbledore’s parents were Percival and Kendra Dumbledore. When Ariana was 6, she was attacked by a group of Muggles who saw her performing magic. She was traumatised by the incident and no longer able to control her magical abilities. Percival Dumbledore attacked the Muggles responsible and was sent to Azkaban prison where he spent the remainder of his life and died.
8 years later, Ariana’s repressed magic exploded out of her and killed Kendra, shortly before her own accidental death. Sound familiar? It sounds very plausible that Ariana Dumbledore, like Credence/Aurelius, was an Obscruial.
Is Aurelius the fourth Dumbledore sibling? A cousin? A nephew?
It seems strange that there’s been no mention at all of a fourth Dumbledore sibling. Dumbledore’s obituary mentioned only a brother and a sister. And the timeline is strange. Fantastic Beasts 2 is set in 1927. Percival was sent to Azkaban before Dumbledore ever went to Hogwarts (the 1840s) and likely died in the 1890s. Kendra died in the early 1850s.
Here are some likely theories:
- Dumbledore had an aunt that is mentioned in the books. Is Aurelius the son of Albus’ aunt and thus, his cousin.
- Credence is an Obscurial. Is he somehow connected with Ariana? Did Ariana’s Obscurus attach itself to a baby Credence?
- Aurelius is Ariana’s son. Did the Muggle boys do something terrible to Ariana? Was that part of the reason she was kept locked away?
- Grindelwald is lying. Does he want something from Credence? Would telling him that he is “a Dumbledore” help put a nefarious plan in action?
What about Aurelius’ Phoenix? Was it Fawkes?
At the end of the film, Aurelius/Credence is shown releasing a Phoenix. We learn that the Phoenix will “always come to a Dumbledore” and that it seems to have Aurelius’ allegiance. Is this the origin of Fawkes the Phoenix?
Bonus: Is Leta Lestrange connected to Bellatrix Lestrange?
Leta’s backstory is complicated, and we learn more about it through a powerful flashback. We learn that Leta is the daughter of Corvus Lestrange and Laurena Kama.
Corvus is the patriarch of a powerful pure-blood Wizarding family. Death Eaters Rodolphus Lestrange and his brother Rabastan are likely descendants of Corvus.
Bellatrix Lestrange is a Lestrange-by-marriage (married to Rodolphus).
What do the next Fantastic Beasts films have in store?
We know from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) that Albus Dumbleore defeats Gellert Grindelwald in 1945. Grindelwald is imprisoned in his own prison, Nurmengard, where he is killed by Voldemort — in search of the Elder Wand — during the events of Deathly Hallows.
We see the destructive power of the Second World War during Grindelwald’s vision of a violent future. Will the Muggle War have a connection to Grindelwald’s defeat? Fans have long suspected a connection. How will Dumbledore destroy the blood pact and thus destroy Grindelwald?
There’s likely lots more exciting additions to the Harry Potter canon to come!