Picking Sides: How Might Our Quartet’s Loyalties Be Tested in “Crimes of Grindelwald”?
The time’s coming, Newt, when you’re going to have to pick a side.
With Dumbledore’s voice resonating in the background, we see Tina inconspicuously slinking around a statue. Her head is lowered, but her eyes are wide and aware as she scans her surroundings. Later on in the teaser, we get a quick shot of Tina walking down a dark hallway, which appears to be a dungeon of sorts. Is she about to help break Grindelwald out of prison?
Moreover, what was Dumbledore implying when he told Newt that he’d have to pick a side? It would be elementary to suggest that Dumbledore was referring to Newt’s relationship with Tina. I suspect that’s the direction that the teaser would like us to take. However, I began wondering if Dumbledore’s words had a more sinister tone behind them. At a press conference from 2016 promoting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling said that the Fantastic Beasts film series would depict Dumbledore as a “troubled man” and explore his character during “an informative period of his life.”
What does this all mean? Well, consider the possibility that Dumbledore, influenced by his father’s prejudices and his resent toward the three Muggle boys who attacked his sister, might still harbor some anti-Muggle sentiments. The death of Ariana certainly marked a change in Dumbledore. It was the event that prompted him to see Grindelwald for who he was. But as far as the ideologies that he held, how much had Dumbledore changed at this point in his life? The Dumbledore we see in Crimes of Grindelwald might be a far cry from the progressive champion of Muggles that we’re familiar with. Could he be referring not to Newt’s relationship with Tina but rather with Jacob?
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt told Jacob that he was his friend and that he would never forget how Jacob helped him. We also know from the first film that Newt felt like an outsider at Hogwarts. His relationship with Leta appears to have soured (it’s been suggested that he took the fall for Leta endangering human life with a beast at Hogwarts), which would have devastated Newt. In Jacob, he’s found a friend who’s an outsider to the entire wizarding world.
The teaser shows Newt and Jacob in a workshop of sorts. As Jacob looks down at Newt’s packed suitcase he asks, “Are you going somewhere?” Newt replies, “No. We’re going somewhere.” Whichever side that Newt has picked, it seems that for now at least, he’s sticking by Jacob.
We previously learned that Crimes of Grindelwald would test the loyalties of our quartet. Grindelwald’s methods and ultimate goal are horrific, but his ideology is appealing. Let’s explore how the loyalties of our characters might be tested.
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt gives Jacob a case of Occamy eggshells to use as collateral for his bakery. Newt laments the fact that wizards and Muggles are segregated in the United States, and at the end of that film, he clearly wants to stop Jacob from walking into the rain but decides against it. Newt has also witnessed first-hand the horror of oppression and division. He’s distraught when he tells Tina and Jacob about the girl in Africa, an Obscurial, whom he was unable to save. According to Dumbledore, “Newt is not a great follower of orders,” which suggests that Newt may be swayed to challenge the status quo for the right cause.
Oftentimes, segregation or prejudice is fear-based. Mary Lou Barebone clearly feared wizards and tried to beat the magic out of her adopted son, Credence. Tina attacked Mary Lou in full view of No-Majs, losing her job in the process. After seeing how MACUSA’s Aurors attacked Credence while he was in his Obscurial form, Tina might begin to question the American wizarding political system. After all, she’s shown that she’s willing to stand up for what she believes is right, even if it comes at a personal cost to her.
Queenie defecting to Grindelwald’s side is a theory that I’ve previously covered. Queenie’s love for Jacob might blind her to Grindelwald’s brutality. If wizards and Muggles were desegregated, then Queenie and Jacob would be free to be together. After all, love is the most powerful force in the wizarding world – but powerful does not always mean good.
How could Grindelwald possibly appeal to Jacob? Well, consider that, prior to meeting Newt, Jacob had a soul-crushing job working in a canning factory. Meeting Newt gave him a chance to escape his mundane life. But more than that, Jacob comes to truly appreciate this whole new world that he’s entered, and he wants to stay in it. Like Queenie, Jacob may also be swayed by the promised emancipation of a forbidden love.