Claudia Kim’s Nagini Shouldn’t Become Voldemort’s Snake
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.When it was revealed Claudia Kim‘s character in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was Voldemort‘s future snake Nagini, there were two primary responses. One was to shock us with the fact that the infamous serpent and Horcrux to the Dark Lord was once a real human. The other was… also shock, but for a very different reason. How could a franchise bereft of minority characters think it was a good idea to have an Asian woman become the pet and property of a white male fascist?Whatever merit that plot point might have for the world of Harry Potter, it was incredibly tone deaf, especially for a franchise that has had its fair share of controversies already. However, I don’t think the human-turned-Nagini we’ve just met is destined to become the serpent we all know and hate. And if she were, there’s an easy way to avoid that unsavory outcome.Maybe someone out there once theorized Voldemort’s snake used to be a human (someone did jokingly guess what “Hodor” meant), but if they did it was never an idea that gained traction.Â There was no real evidence in the Harry Potter books or movie to support that idea, and J.K. Rowling even said it’s a secret she’s kept for 20 years. The idea didn’t become popular until a year ago, when promotional material for The Crimes of Grindelwald introduced Claudia Kim’s “Maledictus,” the cursed snake woman. Despite the fan theory, it was still surprising when Warner Bros. confirmed it a few weeks before the premiere.Based on what we were told about her condition, Grindelwald’s rise to power, and Voldemort’s vile snake, it seemed possible the human Nagini’s story might be end up being one about desperation. Even if she was a troubled person when we met her, she might do anything to avoid her horrible fate, even if that meant turning to a Dark Wizard to save her. That’s exactly what happened with Queenie, whose issues were far less pressing.The difference is we don’t know Queenie’s fate. She might still return to fight on the right side of history, so we can still have hope for her. There is no hope for Nagini, who will get no such redemption once she goes down that path. It leads to Voldemort.Considering how terrible snake Nagini is, we would have expected to see some of those traits, no matter how faint. But if this Nagini played by Claudia Kim is meant to become Voldemort’s hench-pet, the movie showed no signs or clues that her soul might be corrupted. Rather than introduce her as conflicted or even partly bad, The Crimes of Grindelwald gave us a kind, understanding, caring Nagini. And when it came time to choose sides, she wouldn’t stand next to Credence if it meant losing her soul. Grindelwald is more powerful than anyone she ever met, and if anyone can cure her, it’s him. None of that was enough for her to cross over.So how will it be fun to watch that person slither around and attack innocent people in the Harry Potter franchise? It won’t. It will be tragic and awful. When Neville strikes Nagini down it won’t be a moment of triumph, it will be a moment of profound sadness that no one wants.That’s why it seems impossible Claudia Kim will ever become the snake Nagini. These prequels are flawed, but J.K. Rowling doesn’t hate her fans or the wizarding world she created. You can’t give us a human Nagini to love, one who is clearly not evil, and then expect us to ever fully hate her because she acted out of desperation. Fortunately the movie gave us reasons to believe she will never actually become Voldemort’s loyal pet even beyond her character traits.A Maledictus doesn’t suffer from a medical condition, it’s a blood curse, and if you can be cursed you can be un-cursed. And more importantly, curses can also be transferred. The person who ends up as Voldemort’s pet will be called Nagini, but it will be someone else, preferably someone we hate, and someone who deserves it. That way, when Neville strikes down Nagini with the Sword of Gryffindor, it will be an even greater moment.Maybe Grindelwald’s right-hand servant Vinda Rosier will end up serving a second Dark Wizard one day, a fitting punishment for all the evil she’s done. Or better yet, maybe it will be a man who has already proven to be an amoral sycophant. A middle manager kiss-ass who is already a metaphorical snake. Someone who deceives people by changing his appearance, just like Nagini did with Bathilda Bagshot’s body. A wizard who actually deserves Nagini’s fate.That person is Abernathy, who Grindlewald already gave a forked-tongue, making him a silent, slithering accomplice to evil. All of the pieces are in place for him to become that sinister serpent. He’s already the human equivalent of snake Nagini.And even if that wasn’t the plan, even if we are giving J.K. Rowling way too much credit and Claudia Kim’s story arc is meant to turn dark fast, there are still three movies left to change course and fix that unforced error. No one wants to watch Claudia Kim become Nagini. The character doesn’t deserve it and neither doÂ Harry PotterÂ fans.If we can come up with a plausible, logical, and fitting way to make sure someone evil ends up as Voldemort’s detestable snake, the world of magic easily can.
Images: Warner Bros.