Imperfect heroes make the greatest stories. Here’s how Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald could make Albus Dumbledore that imperfect hero, by expanding the character’s dark side.
Albus Dumbledore is one of the most well-known and loved characters in modern literature and film.
In the early Harry Potter novels, Dumbledore seemed the perfect mentor. Harry placed him on a pedestal, an almost godlike figure. In death, he became a martyr. A rallying point for the resistance against Voldemort’s dark forces.
Then, in the final book, Dumbledore’s pedestal comes tumbling down. But as he is dead, he had no chance to defend or explain himself.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindlewald could change this, by finally beginning to fully explore the darker side of the great Wizard.
‘The Life And Lies Of Albus Dumbledore’
As mentioned earlier, Harry’s saint-like view of Dumbledore is shattered in the seventh novel, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, and its corresponding film adaptation, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, parts one and two.
This is sparked by the release of a scandalous tell all book, The Life And Lies of Albus Dumbledore. The book was written by Rita Skeeter. Fans will remember Skeeter as an unscrupulous journalist Harry faces in an earlier book. Because of this, Harry initially refuses to believe anything it says.
He is heartbroken when he eventually learns that most of the information is true. That Dumbledore was once close with the Dark Wizard Grindlewald. That he was partially responsible for the death of his sister, Ariana.
Things only get worse when Harry learns Dumbledore’s reason for protecting him. He was keeping Harry alive only so he could die at the right time, to be killed by Voldemort as an unintentional Horcrux. Even Severus Snape, a longtime antagonist/reluctant protector of Harry, is horrified at this reveal.
Some fans do believe Dumbledore is somewhat redeemed during the discussion between he and Harry at the train station to the afterlife. His lack of concern over Harry’s impending death could be because he always knew that Harry could choose to live. However, there is no solid proof that this is the case. Whether or not Harry spoke to the real Albus Dumbledore is open to the interpretation of the reader/watcher.
Even with all the above, the dark side of Dumbledore was only lightly touched upon. Most of the information we do know came from second hand sources.
Now, the Fantastic Beasts films have a chance to explore the darkness in Dumbledore through the man himself.
The Dark Side Of Albus Dumbledore
This exploration of Dumbledore’s darker nature may have already been hinted at in trailers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindlewald.
In the latest trailer for the film, Dumbledore enlists Newt Scamander to track down Grindlewald before he strikes again. Dumbledore states that he cannot do so himself. Whether this is because of his past relationship with Grindlewald, or some other reason, we don’t yet know.
What we do know is this: Newt was a student of Dumbledore’s, and therefore a lot younger than him. Dumbledore is fully aware of how dangerous Grindlewald is. And yet, he is knowingly sending his former student into danger. Whatever his reasons, this is kind of a dick move.
The Fantastic Beasts films also put into question how much we truly know about Grindlewald’s defeat.
Dumbledore is lauded for his defeat of Grindlewald in the Harry Potter series. Now we are learning that Newt Scamander played an equally important role. This somehow never came up before the new films. Why not?
Dumbledore may eventually strike the winning blow, but could he be taking credit for a victory that is not entirely his?
We’ll learn more when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald hits theatres in November.
For more Harry Potter goodness, check out this article on a major plot-hole Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire that potentially affects everything.