Beware! New Beasts Ahead in “Crimes of Grindelwald”
The beasts are back in town! Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is on the horizon, and we’ve got plenty of new beasts to meet! Here (courtesy of Warner Bros.) we see some old faces and some new, but they are all bound to be a delightful part of Newt’s newest adventure. How will they play into the fight against Grindelwald? Only time will tell…
The sprig-like Bowtruckle is a maximum of eight inches in height and appears to be made out of a tree stem with roots, tiny leafy branches and two brown eyes, making them immensely difficult to spot in their natural environment. Bowtruckles are gentle and intensely shy unless threatened, and then they will do whatever it takes to defend their home. They also have complex social lives and only nest in trees made of wand-quality wood. They also have a talent for picking locks with their long, sharp fingers, which unfortunately makes them valuable on the black market. Newt has a special attachment to a Bowtruckle named Pickett, whom he keeps safely tucked away in his breast pocket and who, in spite of his small size, has come to the rescue on occasion.
Thank goodness we’ll be seeing Pickett again! When you’re attempting to thwart the rise of a Dark wizard’s regime, it’s always handy to have an expert lockpick around. I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Bowtruckle’s relationship with wand wood. With the question of who is the current master of the Elder Wand, perhaps we’ll dive into a little bit of wand magic in this film with the help of our favorite tree guardian.
The mischievous Niffler is small and furry with a long, rounded snout, making it look like a cross between a duck-billed platypus and a mole. Like moles, Nifflers are burrowers who live in lairs up to 20 feet below ground. With an irrepressible predilection for anything glittery, this remarkably fast and agile little beast will snatch or steal whatever shiny object catches its eye, and store its treasures in the pouch on its belly, which holds considerably more than seems possible. Though gentle and even affectionate, the Niffler can be quite destructive in its pursuit of sparkly things, so word to the wise, they do not make good house pets.
In the trailer, we saw Newt use his wand to open the trunk and watched the Niffler and some coins shoot out and into the street. We can expect plenty of mischief anytime a Niffler is on the scene, but is it possible that Newt has done a little bit of training with our favorite troublemaker? Maybe he’s using this beloved little creature as a diversion while he carries out an important part of the mission, or maybe this was just another Niffler escape.
Nifflers can have large litters of up to eight babies, which can come in a variety of colors, ranging from the typical black to brown & white, gray & white, and tricolor. They are born with an instinctive penchant for anything shiny or glittery, and although Niffler babies are obviously smaller in size, they are pound-for-pound just as mischievous as their parents.
Newt has been busy breeding some Nifflers! When I try to envision what role baby Nifflers will play in this film, all I can see is utter, delightful chaos. Maybe taking care of a few adorable, fluffy babies will help Newt’s adult Nifflers mature enough to help with the main mission. Of course, they may be preoccupied with corraling a bunch of wild young ones!
The Zouwu is a monstrously large feline beast—as big as an elephant—with a striped body, scraggly mane, four fangs that curl up out of its mouth, and long sharp claws. Perhaps its most distinctive feature is its disproportionately long and ruffled multicolored tail. Native to China, Zouwus are incredibly powerful and fast, capable of traveling 1,000 miles in a day. The Zouwu in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was captured by Skender, the owner and Ringmaster of the wizarding world’s Circus Arcanus, and bears the scars of its abuse.
In the trailer, we see Newt luring a chained Zouwu into his case. If he can successfully bring it in, I hope we get to see its rehabilitation after a life of cruelty and abuse. It’s possible we’ll see Credence interacting with this magnificent beast during his time at the Circus Arcanus. Is he responsible for freeing it so that it roams the streets like we see in the trailer, or does someone else wreak havoc at the circus?
The Thestral is a skeletal but strong winged beast that has some equine traits but is decidedly not a horse, with long, bat-like wings, forked hooves and a pointed tail. Thestrals appear black in color to those who can see them; however, they are only visible to those who have witnessed death firsthand.
I am not a big fan of Grindelwald or his beliefs, but I have to admit that making an entrance or an exit on a carriage flown by Thestrals is pretty groovy. If this was Grindelwald’s “thing” during the height of his regime, maybe that’s part of why Thestrals get such a bad rap in the wizarding world. Depending on who witnesses this fashionable flying carriage, we may learn who has seen death and who hasn’t.
The Kelpie, as its name suggests, is a creature that lives underwater, where its camouflage is looking like long, thick strands of green kelp. The Kelpie is extremely strong and hard to tame and has a nasty bite. However, once bridled, it is docile, and for those who know how to handle it, the Kelpie can provide a fast underwater ride.
This moment from the new Crimes of Grindelwald trailer is such a testament to Newt’s superior skill with magical creatures. Kelpies are quite dangerous! We see Newt riding the kelpie at full speed through an unknown body of water. Is he chasing something or escaping from it?
The Firedrake looks like a small flying lizard with long antennae. It could be mistaken for a dragon, except, instead of breathing fire, the Firedrake emits sparks from the end of its tail that set anything flammable ablaze.
One can only hope that the Firedrake is just as adorable as Norberta. There are a lot of potential uses for highly flammable tail sparks and even more potential dangers. I can definitely imagine this beast setting fire to some kind of structure – maybe a circus tent? The question is, would this conflagration be all a part of Newt’s plan or an unhappy side effect of beast-keeping?
The Augurey is a large, owl-like bird with sharp talons, a horned beak and an expressive face. On its head, the Augury has long individual tendrils that feather out at the ends. Its long tail feathers are dark green and interspersed with pretty purple and green plumes.
The cry of an Augurey was thought to foretell death, but that myth has been debunked. At the very least, this feathery friend will let Newt and his friends know if it’s about to rain. Given the fatal myths surrounding the Augurey, I wonder if any of the witches and wizards in Crimes of Grindelwald will falsely believe death is coming if they hear its cry.
The feline Matagot is a spirit familiar somewhat resembling a hairless Sphinx cat. In France, they are utilized by the Ministry of Magic to do menial jobs, including staffing the mailroom and providing security for various other departments. Matagots won’t attack unless provoked, but then will transform into something far more menacing.
Matagots, with their ability to transform into something supremely menacing, remind me of Veela. I have no doubt that we will see this terrifying transformation, but I wonder who will provoke them. Newt may create some mayhem at the French Ministry of Magic, but I believe he’d figure out a way to prevent anything major from occurring. I think a Grindelwald invasion of the French Ministry is a more likely instigation.
The Leucrotta resembles a large moose with very long, jagged antlers. At first glance, there is nothing overtly unusual about the Leucrotta…until it opens its mouth. The Leucrotta has what would seem to be an impossibly huge mouth in respect to its head and face—big enough for Newt or his assistant, Bunty, to put their entire head and shoulders in to clean the animal’s teeth.
Why does the Leucrotta have such a large mouth? Will someone (hopefully Grindelwald) have their face enveloped by this large mouth? If it could speak, maybe the Leucrotta would reveal more about the Crimes of Grindelwald plot for all of us eagerly awaiting the movie’s release…