How queer is Grindelwald?
Even if you’re not a massive Harry Potter geek, it’s impossible not to be impressed and intrigued by the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. Things got even more interesting when Rowling revealed that the character of Albus Dumbledore was a gay man.
Adapting a book released by Rowling in 2001, Warner Bros has backed Rowling to create five films exploring the narrative of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
This is a prequel to the school-days of Harry Potter and friends, with wizarding explorer Newt Scamander at the heart of the action.
The first film in the Fantastic Beasts series was released in 2016, and we’re now counting down the days until the release of the second film — The Crimes of Grindelwald — scheduled for release in November 2018.
At the end of the first film, the powerful wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA — Magical Congress of the United States of America — with the help of Newt Scamander. This next step of the adventure sees Grindelwald escape custody and he’s gathering followers to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Here’s the recently released trailer for a taste of the action.
What makes this story particularly interesting is the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. The various Harry Potter authorities aren’t particularly conclusive on the narrative of these two men — we know that they were childhood best friends, we know that Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, it’s not particularly clear whether they were lovers. They fell out when they were teenagers, and ultimately Dumbledore defeats Grindelwald and banishes him to wizard prison — which everyone assumes will be the climax of the quintet of films that tell the stories of Fantastic Beasts.
What’s not clear is how much of the relationship between Dumbledore (played in this series by Jude Law) and Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp) that Rowling is going to give us in this second film. But, in a way, it doesn’t really matter. Rowling has given us enough context that we know a lot of the emotions that these two men are grappling with — it doesn’t get much more powerful and explosive than love and betrayal.
While Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is the hero of this story, there hasn’t been any other blockbuster film where we’ve had the forces of good and the forces of evil led by two queer men who were once lovers.
Films don’t get much bigger than this, and audiences around the world will be watching the fall-out of a bad break-up between two men who were in love.
Get the popcorn — J.K. Rowling is making magic.