Now that it’s been a year, and we’ve all had some time to think about Fantastic Beasts, I would like to revisit the first essay I wrote after the movie came out. In “The Mystery of Leta Lestrange,”, I posited that perhaps the Lestrange who was at Hogwarts with Tom Riddle would end up being Newt and Leta’s son, mostly on the grounds of “it could happen!” So imagine my surprise when I found compelling evidence proving my theory!
I was reading John Granger’s lengthy series about reconstructing the script of Fantastic Beasts – an incredible read that I recommend to all of you if you have the time. In Part 5.2, Granger discusses how the myth of Theseus is providing the story framework for Fantastic Beasts, which is why Newt’s brother is named Theseus.
[Theseus] arrives, and to his great good fortune, Ariadne, daughter of the Minoan king, falls in love with him. She gives him the string he needs to escape the maze and a sword with which to kill the monster in the middle. Theseus kills the Minotaur and escapes with Ariadne but leaves her on an island off of Crete in obedience to a divine command. His first marriage after his return to Athens is to an Amazon queen named Hippolyta.
Newt is Theseus in that his adventure is a mission he makes to a foreign country to which he travels by boat. It is a secret mission that he cannot openly discuss even with those who assist him. The mission involves mastering magical creatures and surviving a trip into a death trap that is essentially undeserved state execution. A woman highly placed helps him in this effort, but mission accomplished, though she clearly loves him, he leaves her on the shore as he departs on a boat. His true but complicated love? A woman named ‘Leta.’
I absolutely loved this idea and promptly started googling for the full story of Theseus and Hippolyta… and my, oh my, there is some compelling stuff ahead for all our characters if this theory is correct!
First things first: There are many versions of the myth of Theseus and Hippolyta – the Wikipedia article about it has some of the most schizophrenic paragraphs I’ve ever read. But all the versions seem to have two commonalities: a very violent wedding and Theseus and Hippolyta not working out. Theseus casts Hippolyta aside to marry a third woman, Phaedra. Regardless of the version (Theseus is marrying Hippolyta or has already cast her aside to marry another woman), the Amazons attack the wedding and end up being defeated.
But before Theseus ditches Hippolyta to hook up with Phaedra, Hippolyta bears him a son named Hippolytus. And this son grows up to have a VERY contentious relationship with his stepmother, Phaedra. Per Wikipedia, “Though married to Theseus, Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus’s son by another woman. But Hippolytus rejected her. In revenge, Phaedra wrote Theseus a letter that claimed Hippolytus had raped her. Theseus believed her.” Myths differ on the how, but they are agreed that this resulted in Hippolytus’s death and Phaedra’s suicide, though they differ on which order these happened in. And as is usual for the genre, some versions blame Aphrodite for making Phaedra fall in love with Hippolytus over some perceived slight.
That’s quite the myth to unpack! It’s not exactly a straightforward blueprint for the series because Jo is not crafting a complete retelling of the myth, just using it as part of her story. But it’s enough to be getting on with because odds are, Jo will incorporate the major story beats. So what does this mean for the coming FB films?
First: In Fantastic Beasts 2, Newt will reconcile with Leta at least temporarily, long enough to impregnate her. She will give birth to a son, and I’m guessing that her giving birth might actually be the final scene of the movie – the zinger that’ll make the whole audience gasp and get excited about the next film.
Second: Newt and Leta will part, not on very good terms. Whether this happens before or after the birth of the son, it will cause the son to resent Newt and honor his mother by taking her last name, hence he will be a Lestrange. This will tie into the myth, where Hippolytus is named after his mother. For the sake of convenience, going forward, I will refer to this boy as Lytus Lestrange, though hopefully, that won’t be his actual name. Lytus will grow up to be one of Tom Riddle’s cronies at school, bonding over their resentment of a father who abandoned their mother.
Third: There will be a wedding, and it will be attacked by Lestranges and/or Grindelwald’s supporters. This wedding may be Newt and Leta’s (with her family strongly disapproving of her choice) or it may be Phaedra’s wedding, with Leta at the head of the attackers. If it’s the former, it’ll likely take place in the second film; if it’s the latter, probably in the third movie or later. For reasons I’ll get into shortly, it’s likelier to be Leta attacking someone else’s wedding.
Fourth: Leta will not live to the end of the series and will most likely die in the third movie. If she is the one attacking Phaedra’s wedding, that will be when she dies. The third movie will be our turning point, when the Lestrange everyone’s concerned with will become Lytus instead of Leta.
There is one question that’s crucial to our predictions for how the myth of Theseus will play out: Who is our equivalent of Phaedra, Theseus’s third major love interest? We know that Tina and Newt are the endgame, so it’s likely Tina won’t be the equivalent of Phaedra – whoever is Phaedra will be dead by the end of the franchise. Let us keep an eye on casting news for who seems like they could be a potential love interest for Newt… and don’t expect them to survive the fifth movie.
However, the Phaedra in Fantastic Beasts need not be a love interest for Newt. In the myths, her claim to fame is not only as Theseus’s love interest: She is also the sister of Ariadne and half-sister of the Minotaur. The Minotaur in Fantastic Beasts is Credence. So if it’s the latter, that means Credence’s family is going to come into play (which we suspect will happen anyway), and Phaedra will be some relative of his. Perhaps she will also be Newt’s new love interest or perhaps that connection will be scuttled.
But if the relevant connection is Phaedra being Ariadne’s sister, that is very worrying. If Ariadne in Fantastic Beasts is Tina, that would make the Phaedra of the story our fan-favorite Queenie! I really hope I’m wrong about this because Queenie was one of the best things about the first movie. However, the evidence seems to point that way.
There is no indication Queenie is alive in canon after the era of the films, so we cannot disqualify her as a candidate the way we did Tina. If there is going to be a wedding in the middle of the film series, it’s much more likely to be Jacob and Queenie’s than anyone else’s. They’re so in love and so cute together, it’s practically guaranteed. Queenie and Jacob’s union (wizard/Muggle intermarriage), which remains illegal in the United States, would be a much likelier target for an attack by Grindelwald & Co. than another.
This all points toward a very dark ending to the series: Lytus Lestrange and Queenie will be the death of each other in the final film.
I don’t know if it will end up with Queenie falling in love with Newt’s teenage son – keep in mind: Lytus will only be graduating Hogwarts at the end of the series. However, if Rowling decides to bring Aphrodite into it (i.e., love potions), that could come to pass. And it makes sense that whatever happens, Newt will believe Queenie over Lytus.
This was even foreshadowed a bit in Fantastic Beasts: Queenie is the one who makes a comment about the Lestrange family, already seeming wary of them by reputation. It would be just like Jo Rowling to use that line to hint at Queenie’s death being caused by a Lestrange.
Admittedly, this scuttles the bit of my theory that has Lytus being Rodolphus and Rabastan’s father. More likely, he’s some other close relation (a cousin, perhaps) – maybe Voldemort recruited the Lestrange brothers in memory of his fallen classmate.
So here is my bold prediction for how the rest of the film series will play out. In order:
- Newt will reconcile with Leta.
- Leta will give birth to Newt’s son, the Lestrange who was Tom Riddle’s classmate.
- Queenie and Jacob will get married, but their wedding will be attacked by Grindelwald and his allies (possibly including Leta).
- Leta will die (possibly during that wedding).
- Queenie and the Lestrange boy will have some sort of conflict that will result in both their deaths and the copious tears of all Potter fans.
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