Scandal and Secrecy: Barebone Family History Revealed!
Major clues to the plot of the Fantastic Beasts films have been popping up more and more frequently as the release date has drawn closer. A few weeks ago we learned that American Auror Graves may be a major Grindelwald supporter, but MuggleNet staff member Felicia Grady just put together a few small pieces of information that we’ve known for a while that never seemed connected before.
Mary Lou Barebone has long since been introduced as one of the film’s antagonists; she’s the leader of the Second Salemers and wishes death upon all witches and wizards. (Such a nice lady.) Since there’s a lot of tension between the magical and No-Maj communities, nobody has really questioned Mary Lou’s vitriol for witches and wizards.
Some digging on Pottermore, however, has shown that Mary Lou’s hatred goes way deeper than a general distaste for magic. The Barebone family has some history in looking to expose and destroy the magical community.
In March of this year, Pottermore released information on Rappaport’s Law: a measure passed to totally segregate the magical and No-Maj communities within the United States. The law was passed after a major breach of the International Statute of Secrecy. Dorcus Twelvetrees, daughter of a major MACUSA politician, revealed the locations of Ilvermorny and the MACUSA headquarters to a No-Maj who thought witches and wizards were evil and wanted to destroy them all. This No-Maj went on to steal Dorcus’s wand and almost killed a bunch of innocent No-Majs he suspected were wizards.
What was this No-Maj’s name, you ask?
Many of Bartholomew’s actions reflect what little we’ve seen of Mary Lou in the trailers.
Bartholomew further printed leaflets giving the addresses where witches and wizards congregated and sent letters to prominent No-Majs, some of whom felt it necessary to investigate whether there were indeed ‘evil occult parties’ happening at the places described.
With this new information, it’s quite easy to speculate how Mary Lou’s hatred for magic came to be. After failing to actually expose magic, Bartholomew Barebone would have likely experienced quite a bit of social backlash from those who would have then accused him of telling ridiculous lies. I would not be surprised if he became incredibly bitter over the experience, increasing his hatred toward magic even further. His children were likely steeped in that hatred as they were growing up, then taught their own children the same hateful lessons, and so on, and now we’ve reached Mary Lou.
So if Mary Lou’s ancestor is responsible for something as big as Rappaport’s Law, you can bet that she’ll somehow be majorly involved in the commotion caused by Newt’s beasts: The question is, how?
I think the answer lies in her son Credence’s relationship with the Auror Graves.
If Graves is indeed a follower of Grindelwald, he probably believes that wizards are superior to Muggles to a certain degree. In a letter to Grindelwald in Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore says,
Your point about Wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES’ OWN GOOD – this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled…Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counterarguments” (Deathly Hallows 357).
It would be difficult to rule over Muggles without overthrowing the Statute of Secrecy, and I think Graves wants to use Credence to do that somehow. When he said he would no longer bow down in the trailer, perhaps he meant to Rappaport’s Law and the International Statute of Secrecy. Perhaps Mary Lou’s troubled, adopted son had magical parents, and Credence wants to break free from his mother’s anti-magic rhetoric.
Of course, if overthrowing the Statute of Secrecy is their plan, the real question is how close they’ll come to success. Bartholomew Barebone was responsible for a horrifyingly large breach in wizard secrecy, but it’s possible his descendants will help to bring about an even worse one.