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The Ending of THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD Explained

The Ending of THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD Explained

This post contains major spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

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“There is a legend in your family that a phoenix will come to any member who is in dire need. It is your birthright, my boy. As is the name I now restore to you – Aurelius. Aurelius Dumbledore.”

Even though the first Fantastic Beasts film used misdirection to hide that Credence was the missing Obscurial and not his sister, it’s doubtful anyone saw the revelation about his identity coming at the end of The Crimes of Grindelwald. He isn’t the missing Corvus Lestrange Jr. who drowned as a baby, he’s the long-lost brother of Albus Dumbledore. That is, if Grindelwald is telling the truth.

The Dark Wizard could be manipulating the most dangerous magical being in the world so Credence will kill Grindelwald’s greatest threat. If he’s not lying, it could mean Credence is even more unique than anyone realizes, and Ariana Dumbledore could be the key to understanding how.

Dumbledore’s Parents

Credence was 18 years old in the first movie set in 1926, so he was born around 1908, and Dumbledore is 45 years old in The Crimes of Grindelwald, set in 1927. But Dumbledore’s mother Kendra died in an “explosion” in the summer of 1899 when her daughter, Ariana, lost control of her magic. There’s seemingly no way Kendra Dumbledore gave birth to Credence nine years after she died.

We don’t know when Dumbledore’s father Percival passed away, but we do know he died in Azkaban. He was sent there for life around 1890 after attacking the Muggle boys who attacked Ariana when she was six. If Credence/Aurelius is his son, that would mean that Percival impregnated someone while a prisoner at the worst, harshest place in the wizarding world. That’s not impossible, and it would make for a very clean, easy to understand lineage. However, from everything we know about Azkaban and how the Dementors ran it, it seems incredibly unlikely he was ever allowed near another person.

Grindelwald, Master Manipulator

“You have suffered the most heinous of betrayals, most purposely bestowed upon you by your own flesh and blood. And just as he has celebrated your torment, your brother seeks to destroy you.”

Between how “Percival Graves” manipulated Credence in the first movie, to how he used Queenie’s love for Jacob to lure her to his side, Grindelwald has more than proven he can charm his way into gaining followers by appealing to them on an emotional level. He knows how to push all the right buttons to get people to do exactly what he wants, like how he used charged language to get the redheaded witch so angry she went to attack an Auror. That resulted in him killing her first, exactly the way Grindelwald masterfully engineered the whole moment.

Because of their blood pact, Grindelwald can’t fight Dumbledore, “the greatest threat” to their cause, and Credence is apparently the only one who can kill the professor. What better way to get a lost, angry orphan “desperate for family” and “desperate for love” to do your bidding than to lie and say Dumbledore is the brother who abandoned you? It makes Dumbledore the source of all of Credence’s troubles; Grindelwald’s cold war with Dumbledore now becomes “Aurelius’s” insatiable desire for vengeance.

Ariana Dumbledore, Obscurials, and a “Dark Twin”

What if Grindelwald isn’t completely lying though and Credence really is Aurelius Dumbledore, the brother of Albus Dumbledore? Of course, if Credence wasn’t the son of Kendra Dumbledore, who died 19 years before he was born, and he’s not the son of Percival Dumbledore who was rotting away in Azkaban, how could that be true? The answer could be as wild as it is tragic.

The key to unraveling this incredible mystery might be found in the first movie, when we saw Newt Scamander had successfully extracted the Obscurus of a young Sudanese girl shortly before she died. He kept it contained in a protective bubble and assured Tina it couldn’t harm anyone without its host, the Obscurial. (Obscurials are young wizards who suppress their magic out of fear and trauma, the Obscurus is the magical parasite that is born from that suppression.)

After the first Fantastic Beasts we thought Ariana Dumbledore’s mysterious condition, the one the family kept hidden, sounded exactly like that of an Obscurial, and that the “explosion” that killed her mother was almost certainly caused by Ariana’s Obscurus. It would explain why the Dumbledore family was so desperate to keep her problem a secret, since Obscurials are wildly dangerous and she would have been taken from them.

Ariana lived to be 14 though, and only died when she was accidentally hit by a Killing Curse when Grindelwald fought both Dumbledore brothers. Outside of Credence, Obscurials usually don’t live past the age of ten.

How did Ariana survive longer then?

Newt tried to save the Sudanese girl by removing her Obscurus. Is it crazy to think Professor Dumbledore extracted the Obscurus from Ariana to save her, which is how she lived past the age of ten? The Obscurus was no longer inside Ariana so it couldn’t kill her, but would a curious, powerful young wizard like Dumbledore have destroyed the Obscurus? Or like Newt, would he have kept it to study it? If he had he almost certainly would have shown it to his friend Grindelwald, who said (as Graves) he had seen an Obscurus before.

But what happened to Ariana’s Obscurus after she died?

In The Crimes of Grindelwald, Dumbledore says, “I know this: an Obscurus grows in the absence of love as a dark twin, an only friend. If Credence has a real brother or sister out there who can take its place, he might yet be saved.”

He describes anObscurus as a “dark twin,” which feels a lot less metaphorical when Grindelwald says Credence (whose adopted name is “Barebone,” as in free of bones the way an Obscurus is) is the literal brother of Dumbledore. Could Credence be the actual dark twin of Ariana come to life? That might sound crazy, but if an Obscurial can create an Obscurus, why couldn’t an Obscurus create an Obscurial? When it comes to Credence we are talking about an all new kind of magic, an unthinkable power even for the magical world. This is all uncharted territory.

That could have happened on its own, a dark, never-bef0re-known magic manifesting itself in an truly incredible way. Maybe a desperate Dumbledore, ridden with guilt from his sister’s death, tried to see if a part of her was still alive in her “dark twin” and in doing so gave “birth” to a brother, possibly unknowingly. (Dumbledore tells Newt he doesn’t know who Credence is, but he can never be trusted.) Maybe a power-hungry young Grindelwald took Ariana’s Obscurus to experiment on it, and Credence’s birth was the result which is how he knows any of this.

Grindelwald did say “Credence is the only entity alive” who can kill Dumbledore. Not a wizard, not a person, but an entity. That’s a very specific term. And somebody tried to hide a very special magical baby in America for a reason. Someone knew Credence needed to be kept a secret.

If Credence has no real mother, but is Ariana’s “dark twin” Obscurus come to life, that could explain how he has lived so long, why he is so powerful, and why he really is Dumbledore’s brother.

Ariana Dumbledore may have died far too young, but she also may have lived a lot longer than we ever thought.

What do you think? Is Credence really a Dumbledore? Or was Grindelwald manipulating him? Tell us your best theory in the comments below.

Images: Warner Bros.

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