Queenie Goldstein Is Morgana Pendragon: What Happens Next?
A month ago, when I began rewatching the BBC’s Merlin, I predicted that Queenie Goldstein’s character arc may resemble that of Morgana Pendragon. After watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, I’m afraid I might have predicted correctly. For the record, I loved Crimes of Grindelwald, and I thought Queenie’s storyline in the film was executed very well. I could see clearly throughout the film where her frustrations, doubts, and fears would lead her in the end, and though it hurt to watch such a good person cross those flames, her decision did not come as a surprise. For now, Queenie has found what she needed in Grindelwald’s message, just as Morgana did at Morgause’s side, but I hope for the sake of our beloved characters that Queenie’s ultimate fate does not mirror Morgana’s steep descent into darkness.
Queenie and Morgana both live under institutions that can often be harsh and unjust but are doing their best to preserve peace and prosperity. Morgana discovers that she has magic and faces King Uther and his cruel prosecution of magical people, while Queenie discovers that she loves Jacob and faces MACUSA’s criminalization of relations with the non-magical world. Both Queenie and Morgana choose to break away from their friends and family, who would continue to support those institutions, and join those who would instead demolish those institutions and create a new, better world. Morgana’s sister Morgause convinces her that she alone truly cares for her, that with their powers combined, they can bring magic back to Camelot and make Uther pay for his blind cruelty. Grindelwald convinces Queenie that he is not responsible for the violence surrounding his campaign, that all he wants is to create a better world where people like Queenie and Jacob can love freely and openly. Queenie and Morgana both feel that the decisions they make take the courage that their loved ones lack.
That, I hope, is where the similarities end between Morgana and Queenie. After Merlin is forced to poison Morgana to save Camelot from falling to a sleeping plague, Morgause saves her life and takes her away for one year. When Morgana comes back to Camelot, though she acts otherwise, it is clear that she no longer harbors any love for Arthur, Merlin, or Gwen, and especially not for Uther. Under Morgause’s influence, Morgana’s bitterness and hatred grow so strong that she no longer sees that her friends and family still care for her deeply. She shows no remorse, only great pleasure at the thought of killing them and taking her rightful place on Camelot’s throne. Every trace of the compassionate woman who protected the vulnerable and fought for justice is gone.
Queenie was in a vulnerable place when she decided to hear what Grindelwald had to say. After enchanting Jacob, Queenie took him straight to Newt, perhaps because she wanted Newt, the only person who ever tells her not to read his mind, to set boundaries on her once again and foil her plan. Here, she’s hesitant and panicky and unsure of her choice, but she ultimately stands by her decision, and Jacob recognizes that she acted out of love. For months, Queenie has been growing increasingly more desperate, her love for Jacob clashing with harsh laws and a disapproving sister. For Jacob and Newt to imply that she’s crazy for feeling frustrated and wanting to move their relationship forward deeply wounds her. Soon, she finds herself stranded in Paris, sure that Tina has abandoned her and unsure whether Newt and Jacob even came after her.
Grindelwald promises to fight for not only Queenie but also everyone like her. Queenie wants to do something big, to be brave for Jacob and their relationship, and committing to rebuilding the world and fighting the violent institutions that would keep people like them apart is the bravest thing she can think of doing. Grindelwald does not need to magically force Queenie to cross the flames. He promises that he would never harm Queenie, that he will support her right to love where Tina disapproves, that he will appreciate her talents where Newt does not, and she crosses of her own free will. It’s possible that the next film will jump ahead in the timeline and reveal that years spent as Grindelwald’s close associate, isolated from the people she used to love and taught to hate everything they stand for, have turned Queenie into a formidable villain, as bitter, coldhearted, and cruel as poor Morgana became.
For all their similarities so far, I believe, or at least I sincerely hope, that Queenie will not go the way of Morgana. At the end of the film, Queenie warns Grindelwald that Credence is unsure that he made the right choice, but from the way she says it, she could just as easily be talking about herself. In future films, Queenie could escape Grindelwald’s influence and turn double agent, and may even have a vital role to play in bringing him down. Let’s hope for now that not even Grindelwald, ruthless master manipulator that he is, can harden Queenie’s gentle heart.