Fan Theory: FANTASTIC BEASTS' "Dark Force" May Have a Dumbledore Family Connection
Obligatory spoiler warning: this post discusses the ending of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so if you don’t want to know how it all ends, click the back button and come back after you have seen the movie. You should really know how this works by now.
A new fan theory coming from the very official-sounding Harry Potter Alliance draws a link between Fantastic Beasts and the Dumbledore family. Intrigued? Want to know more? ScreenCrush spoke to the Alliance’s Director of Wizard-Muggle relations, Jackson Bird, and he thinks there may have been an obscurus in the wizarding family’s past.
Fantastic Beasts introduces a new force into the wizarding world, called an obscurus. An obscurus is formed when a young witch or wizard attempts to suppress their magic, and instead an “unstable, uncontrollable dark force” breaks free and attacks. By Newt Scamander’s time, obscuri are rare enough to be thought extinct, but one wreaks havoc on New York City throughout the movie. Obscuri also almost always kill their host by the age of ten, although the film’s Obscurus host, Credence, managed to survive into young adulthood.
Although obscuri are never explicitly discussed in the Harry Potter series, there is one tragic character who may have been a host: Albus Dumbledore’s little sister, Ariana. As a child she was tortured by some muggle boys who discovered her using magic, and her brother Aberforth described the aftermath:
“It destroyed her what they did, she was never right again. She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it. It turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it and at times she was strange and dangerous.”
That could be describing an obscurus, and if that’s the case, it may explain why Grindelwald/Percival Graves was so interested in acquiring the obscurus in the new film. The need to care for Ariana (and cover up her “strange and dangerous” behavior) is what drove Albus Dumbledore to move home after leaving Hogwarts, which is when he struck up an intense friendship with one Gellert Grindelwald, the wizarding world’s big bad of the Newt Scamander era. Grindelwald may have seen just how powerful an obscurus could be during his summer in Godric’s Hollow.
It’s an interesting theory, and one that we may possibly learn more about in the next Fantastic Beasts film, which will apparently feature a young Albus Dumbledore, and will definitely feature more of Johnny Depp's Grindelwald. What do you think? It sounds pretty plausible to me, but does it pass the smell test for you? Watch ScreenCrush's video below, and check out more news on the expanded wizarding world of Harry Potter here.