The Mirrored Sacrifices of Ron Weasley and Leta Lestrange
After rewatching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, I couldn’t help noticing how familiar Leta Lestrange’s final scene is. Not only did she sacrifice herself for her friends, but she also died with a message for the people she loved. Leta’s final scene is a parallel version of Ron Weasley’s sacrifice in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The main comparison between these two sacrifices is that Ron and Leta were two characters that no one expected to be sacrificed. Seemingly from nowhere, they both stood up in the face of fear. Ron and Leta are both unexpected heroes.
There’s the immediate difference in the two scenes: Leta dies, and Ron doesn’t. However, that doesn’t make Ron’s scene any less poignant. Ron, like Leta, is a relatively young person when he sacrifices himself. Again, similar to Leta, Ron risks his life without knowing for sure if he will die. He wasn’t sure what the enchanted chessboard would do to him – whether he would be beaten, killed, or let free. I’m sure that when Leta dueled Grindelwald, she didn’t know for sure if she would die. Leta likely suspected she would die, but she didn’t want to. This is the case with Ron too. Ron was a young kid when he sacrificed himself in Sorcerer’s Stone, and Ron isn’t like his friend Harry Potter. While Harry doesn’t fear death, Ron isn’t interested in dying. Ron has always had an appetite for life and adventure (and not just because he is always eating some kind of food). In Sorcerer’s Stone, Ron has never known anyone close to him who has died. Everything he likes is in the land of the living, so for Ron to willingly sacrifice himself is an important moment. Similar to Leta, Ron cares deeply for his friends.
At first, Leta and Ron seem like opposites. Leta is a Slytherin, and Ron is a Gryffindor. Leta was an outcast at Hogwarts, and Ron had a fair assortment of friends there. Leta is serious and reserved while Ron is boisterous and lighthearted. However, their personalities aren’t all that different. Leta and Ron both come from established wizarding families, so magic is their whole lives. It’s all they are. Also, while at Hogwarts, Leta and Ron befriend outcasts at one point or another. Leta befriends Newt, who didn’t have any other friends. Ron sticks by Harry’s side during Harry’s unpopular moments. When everyone believed that Harry was the evil heir of Slytherin, Ron still stayed with his friend. When nobody believed Harry had dueled Voldemort, Ron believed him no matter what.
There’s this moment during both Leta’s and Ron’s sacrifice scenes when they say goodbye. It’s a parallel goodbye as well. Ron instructs Harry to do what he believes is right, and when Harry and Hermione object to Ron’s decision, he doesn’t back down. Ron assures them that there is no other way, and he admits that Harry is the one who should face Snape, not him. With that, Ron allows himself to be attacked by the magical chess queen. While Leta doesn’t get killed by a magical chessboard, she does say her farewells. Ron, Harry, and Hermione’s goodbye scene had more dialogue, but the few words Leta does say are important.
Unlike Ron, Leta doesn’t explain what she is doing. Leta appears to be joining Grindelwald’s gang, but really, she is distracting him so the Scamander brothers can escape. This is more of a calculated, deceptive sacrifice that isn’t made clear until the last possible minute. Leta makes a last-ditch effort to fight Grindelwald, but she is killed. Before Leta dies, she says “I love you” – to which brother, we don’t know. However, it’s entirely possible that she loves both brothers and is using the “I love you” moment as a way of expressing that. Similar to Ron’s sacrifice, which motivates Harry and Hermione to work together more than ever, Leta’s sacrifice brings together the Scamander brothers to fight Grindelwald. Both Leta’s and Ron’s sacrifices initiate a sense of brotherhood among their remaining friends.
Another similarity is the unexpected act of sacrifice. Ron and Leta come out of nowhere. It was expected for Harry or Newt to sacrifice themselves since they are the main characters and everything depends on them. With Harry and Newt as the focus of their respective stories, it’s ultimately a battle between them and the villains, Voldemort and Grindelwald. However, since Harry is prepared for death and Ron isn’t, Ron’s decision to be attacked by the chess queen is startling. Most of the time, Ron stays in the background, and Harry is in the limelight. Leta does the same. She’s a quiet, complicated character who hardly speaks in the film. Everything she does is a carefully planned move on her part. How long was Leta in the background, planning to fight Grindelwald so that her friends could escape? When Leta does step up to face the terrifying magic that’s threatening her friends, like Ron, she goes out as brave as any Gryffindor.