Could Queenie’s Loyalties Be Tested in “The Crimes of Grindelwald”?

Among the more compelling parts of the first official image from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was the way in which Queenie and Jacob were placed nearest to Grindelwald. An accompanying clip tweeted by the official Fantastic Beasts account showed Queenie turn ever so slightly and gaze up at Grindelwald. She does not turn her body all the way around to face Grindelwald, but tilts her head just enough for him to be in her line of vision. The expression on her face conveys neither fear nor repulsion, but rather a calm intrigue. As a cloud of gas engulfs the featured characters, Jacob, Queenie, and Grindelwald are the last to disappear. Having had ever a year to ruminate on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I had begun to suspect Queenie as a likely candidate to be swayed by Grindelwald’s loyalties.

 

 

The Goldstein sisters are not strangers to flouting laws where they see fit. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tina recounts attacking Mary Lou Barebone “in front of a meeting of her crazy followers.” Queenie blackmails an Obliviator into not removing Jacob’s memory by threatening to expose him cheating on his partner (“Hey, Sam – does Cecily know you been seeing Ruby?”). I also suspect that Queenie invoked some form of magic to ensure that Jacob’s memories weren’t wiped out at the end of the film, but were suppressed, lying dormant, and ready to be brought back to the surface. At the very least, Queenie breaks one of the wizarding world’s “most sacred laws” by reacquainting herself with Jacob at the very end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

It’s Queenie’s relationship with Jacob that shaped much of the heart of the first Fantastic Beasts film. Their characters embodied a meeting of two worlds, between wizards and Muggles. Through Jacob, we were vicariously introduced to the magical community in 1920s New York. I suspect that the relationship between these two characters will play a more significant role in propelling the plot of The Crimes of Grindelwald and future Fantastic Beasts films. This conjecture is based on the fact that love is a very prominent theme in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world and provides characters with strong motivations to act the way they do.

 

 

Rowling was quick to address a potential plot hole in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by suggesting that Queenie was unable to detect Grindelwald masquerading as Graves because Grindelwald was employing Occlumency. This to me was not exactly a watertight response. Unless the real Graves was an Occlumens, might Queenie not have come to suspect this sudden change in the way that he was behaving? Also, while Occlumency prevented Queenie from infiltrating Grindelwald’s mind, she had to be aware that he was using it. Even if she couldn’t see his thoughts, the fact that he was shielding his thoughts should have been a concern.

With Rappaport’s Law not being repealed until 1965 and the strict segregation between wizards and Muggles in the United States, Queenie’s loyalties might be swayed by a misguided vision of what life under a world in which Grindelwald is in power might be like. With the abandonment of the Statute of Secrecy, Queenie and Jacob might be free to pursue their relationship legally. Could Queenie’s love for Jacob be the catalyst that tempts her to join Grindelwald’s cause?

  • Kelly Dischinger Loomis

    When did Rappaport’s law come into effect? On Tina’s ID, it said she is a half blood. So I wonder who their parents are and if this had any affect on Tina and Queenie’s views.

    • Iain Walker

      Rappaport’s Law dates from the 18th century (I forget the exact date). If Tina and Queenie are half bloods then they’re almost certainly “second generation” half bloods like Harry and Dumbledore, with a Muggle-born parent. Interestingly, we don’t know how Rappaport’s Law deals with Muggle-borns. Are they forbidden from associating with their Muggle families? Are they effectively kidnapped and their families Obliviated (shades of European colonialist policies towards quite a few indigenous peoples)?

      Unless Rappaport’s Law has specific exemptions for Muggle-borns and their families, I can see it giving rise to a lot of Muggle-born discontent in America. Either way, one can see how Queenie might have acquired a more relaxed attitude towards Muggles. Either her Muggle-born parent’s bad experience of Rappaport’s Law has turned her against the extreme segregation it represents, or (if it does make allowances for Muggle-borns), she and Tina may have had some contact with Muggle relatives while growing up.

  • Iain Walker

    The whole “Queenie looks at Grindelwald” argument is a little thin, being reliant on a subjective reading of what on most sites is a fairly low res image. I’ve also seen heard her expression described as “wary” (I think it was on Mugglecast, where one of the podcasters had access to a high res version). I find her expression quite unreadable, because I can’t find a version where I can see it in any detail.

    But that aside, it is true that Queenie is one of the existing characters most likely to chaff against the laws segregating Magical and Muggle. However, what’s keeping her and Jacob apart isn’t the International Statute of Secrecy that governs all wizards, but the local, more extreme version in America – Rappaport’s Law. If she and Jacob move to Europe, they can be together without legal difficulty (and which may well be the narrative device that gets the gang back together in FB:TCOG). That would take care of her personal issues, without turning them political.

    Also bear in mind that Queenie is (a) one of the most empathic characters in the films, and (b) has seen Grindelwald at work – the lies, the destruction, and, oh, didn’t he sentence her sister to death? This reduces the likelihood of her actively sympathising with Grindelwald.

    And yet, I do find the whole “tested loyalties” thing quite plausible, again because of Queenie’s empathic nature. If she’s on the receiving end of restrictive segregationist laws, she’s very likely to empathise quite strongly with others who suffer from them as well. If Grindelwald (who we’re told is keeping his pureblood fascist agenda under wraps) is able to spin his program as a quasi-progressive one, appealing to Muggle-borns and others for whom the separation of the two worlds is particularly burdensome, then Queenie may well be attracted to the program while loathing Grindelwald himself.

    • Declan

      The poster in its high res form has her look as more “curious”, and it really doesn’t look “wary.”

      I think that’s just a knee-jerk assumption of “all being well” on the part of the hosts of Mugglecast, not an honest observation of her actual body language.

  • Ward Stolk

    “Even if she couldn’t see his thoughts, the fact that he was shielding his thoughts should have been a concern.”

    This is a very dark alley to go down! It works on the presumption that more en more democratic governments are pushing down into law, under the numerator of fighting terrorism, but is actually the same method that authoritarian regimes use to keep a control over their citizens. Even if your government is to be trusted (and I do trust mine), that doesn’t mean the information is safe with them. They might be hacked by someone with nefarious intentions (and knowing my governments experience with large ICT project, I don’t fancy the chances of that happening).

    However, here it is not even a government that wants to know his thoughts, but a private citizen. Suppose you became aware that I was able to read all your whatsapp messages, and was actually actively doing so. How would that make you feel? If there were a way to prevent me from reading all those messages, would you want to use it? Even if only to make sure you didn’t have to wonder with every message you send what I would make out of it?

    That being said, the fact that Graves is a high placed government official, might mean he is actually obliged to learn occlumency. I mean, if we are worried about government officials using private e-mail servers, than sure as heck we should be worried about government officials that cannot shield their thoughts from private citizens.

    So for me there is absolutely no plot-hole there.

  • MartinMiggs

    hell nooooooooooooooo