Even before “You Know Who” made the wizarding world tremble with fear, another dark mage threatened the peace. This wizard born in 1883 is Gellert Grindelwald, and the guy is gifted for everything related to magic and the occult arts. He even gets kicked out of the Nordic school in Durmstrang. In 1899, he met in Godric’s Hollow with a post-adolescent Albus Dumbledore who was still cheated. From this meeting is born a strong friendship, a romance even, which will have major consequences on the wizard brought to lead Hogwarts in the distant future.
After terrorizing the old continent, Gellert Grindelwald travels to Uncle Sam’s country. He takes the identity of Percival Graves played by Colin Farrell, and becomes the director of Magical Security and the right-hand man of the president of MACUSA, or the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Following the events of Fantastic Beasts, he is arrested, then escapes at the start of the second film. Always in search of Belief Bellebosse and its obscurity, he puts Paris to fire and blood before rallying dozens of faithful to his cause, namely the domination of the wizarding and muggle world.
The sorcerer Grindelwald, beyond his innate talents for magic, possesses one of the three Deathly Hallows, the Elder Wand, which he would have stolen from the maker Gregorovich and which gives him immense powers. This still doesn’t explain why the dark mage changes his appearance once again in Fantastic Beasts 3. The legal case for domestic violence between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife explains his absence from the casting. The writers must therefore find a plausible justification because in fact, it is Mads Mikkelsen who takes over the role. Grindelwald has mastered the art of Transfiguration to perfection, and has undoubtedly changed his face to go under the radar, unless that new face is really his.
Gellert Grindelwald wishes to free wizards and witches from the rules imposed by the International Code of Magic Secrecy so that everyone can speak out with impunity. In reality, the dark mage aspires to absolute and undivided domination of the magical and non-magical worlds. A master of the art of manipulation, he leads young Albus Dumbledore in his quest for power and the Deathly Hallows before a family tragedy ends their friendship.
To attract more and more sympathizers to him and thus swell his ranks, the black mage reveals to the wizards present at the Père Lachaise cemetery that a destructive Second World War will set the land and seas ablaze within twenty years. The fault lies with the Muggles. The peace between magical and non-magical beings is about to be shattered. Especially since Gellert Grindelwald is about to get his hands on the only wizard who can bring down Albus Dumbledore … by gaining the power of an obscurial. He is a wizard harboring an obscurus, an extremely violent and powerful parasitic entity. It arises from the repression by a sorcerer of his magical powers, and takes the form of a cloud of black smoke.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, before being Harry Potter’s mentor, was a young teenager blinded by his quest for power and the Deathly Hallows. But back to the origins of the character. The future headmaster of Hogwarts school was born in the summer of 1981. Son of Perceval and Kendra Dumbledore, he is the eldest of three children… Albus, but also Abelforth and Ariana. Following an assault perpetrated by Muggles on his younger sister, the father takes revenge, and is imprisoned for life in Azkaban where he will die. Ariana, meanwhile, will never recover from this tragedy.
The years go by. Albus Dumbledore was educated at Hogwarts between 1892 and 1899 where he graduated with flying colors. The young mage secretly dreams of establishing a new order of witchcraft, an idea invented by a certain Grindelwald with whom he shares much more than frank camaraderie. However, Albus doesn’t fully share Gellert’s point of view, and warns his friend about the responsibilities that come with absolute power.
At the same time, Ariana’s health deteriorates. Alberforth then summons Albus to abandon his plans and return to his family. The situation escalates, and prompts Dumbledore’s younger brother to duel Grindelwald. Albus steps in to protect Alberforth, but Ariana is struck by a Cruciatus Curse, and dies instantly. Gnawed by guilt, Dumbledore abandons his plans, and cuts off all contact with his friend Gellert. But as Jude Law aptly puts it in the trailer… “The past is whispering things to us.” because the past always ends up catching up with the present.
This past that haunts Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald is ultimately not the one that could put an end to the ideological conflict between them. The key is found in one of the pureblood lineages. Belief is not simply the adopted son of Mary Lou Bellebosse. He would be, according to Gellert Grindelwald, a member of the family of Albus Dumbledore. Aurelius of his first name would have survived the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a combination of circumstances involving a childhood friend of Norbert Dragonneau.
Corvus Lestrange, Leta Lestrange’s half-brother, is said to have died while a descendant of the Dumbledores was raised in New York by the founder of the Faithfuls of Salem. What if all of these revelations are both true and false? Gellert Grindelwald will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He could thus have lied to Belief. The trail of Aurelius – brother of Albus – leads to their mother Kendra Dumbledore supposedly dead in 1899, two years before the birth of Croyance Bellebosse. According to the literary canon, the dates simply do not coincide.
Aurelius aka Belief could also be the result of a kind of reincarnation of the obscure Ariana, the younger sister of Albus, or the fruit of a relationship between Kendra Dumbledore and Corvus Lestrange IV. Young Corvus Lestrange and Aurelius would then be one and the same. Gellert Grindelwald could also have been lying across the board, and simply manipulating an abandoned teenager thrown headlong into a quest for identity.
Albus Dumbledore played by Jude Law couldn’t be clearer in Fantastic Beasts 2. He can’t blame Gellert Grindelwald, and that goes way beyond a simple romantic denial. The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor is unable to confront the Dark Mage for a very pragmatic reason. Albus and Gellert are bound by a blood pact, a magical agreement between two wizards who share their blood. This pact prevents Albus from going after Gellert, and vice versa. Through this, Gellert Grindelwald muzzles, while they are still young, Albus Dumbledore.
If the repentant sorcerer wants to face his best enemy, he will have to destroy by all means the receptacle of this agreement which is however deemed indestructible. Luck smiles on Albus at the end of the second film, however. Norbert Dragonneau’s Niffler steals the famous artefact from the beard of the black mage during a pyrotechnic final. Sometimes it’s the little things, thought to be insignificant, that forever change the future of the world. All that remains is to find a way to reduce this pact to ashes, like the Horcruxes who guaranteed Voldemort’s immortality in the Harry Potter saga. Albus will be able to face Gellert in a duel. For his part, Grindelwald manipulates Belief aka Aurelius so that the young man eliminates his biggest rival in his place.
Dumbledore’s secrets will be revealed in theaters on April 13, 2023 in Fantastic Beasts 3.