When fans met Albus Dumbledore in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, they were introduced to a wizened man who had seen too much. The wizard was a figurehead in the magical community, and Dumbledore became responsible for looking after Harry once he became ensnared in Lord Voldemort’s schemes. However, Dumbledore wasn’t always so wise. His youth was famously marred by his unwitting arrogance and terrible heartbreak.
So, really, it’s not surprising to hear that fans are wondering if they'll get to see more of Dumbledore’s youth in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The spin-off series is set to feature a younger version of Dumbledore as he and Newt Scamander become embroiled in a dark magical revolution.
The dangerous revolt is led by a man named Gellert Grindelwald, the darkest wizard in all of magical history. But, to Dumbledore, the crazed wizard isn’t just a madman with a dream; He’s an unrequited love.
And, so far, it looks like fans will get a first-look into the two’s failed relationship when Fantastic Beasts hits theaters.
The Harry Potter series never explicitly detailed Dumbledore’s sexuality to fans, but Rowling had little issue with outing the grandfatherly figure on her own. Back in 2007, the author told fans Dumbledore had once fallen in love with his friend Grindelwald.
“Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was,” she said. “To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent?”
“But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him."
When Dumbledore first met Grindelwald, the two were little more than bored teenagers hoping to leave their homes. The pair met in Gordic’s Hollow in the late 1890s after Grindelwald was sent to live with his great-aunt. Dumbledore became enamored with the other boy; He fell for his sharp intellect and ambition. They bonded over their interest in a set of powerful magical artifacts known as the Deathly Hallows, and Grindelwald promised Dumbledore they would make the wizarding world a better one after they collected the items. However, Dumbledore’s idealism soured after his brother Aberforth discovered what the two were plotting.
Despite his intellect, Dumbledore was too blinded by his love for Grindelwald to notice how twisted the boy's ideals had become He only realized how dangerous Grindelwald had become was after tragedy struck close to home. A confrontation between the boys and Aberforth led to the sudden death of Dumbledore’s little sister Ariana, but Grindelwald could not be bothered to care.
In terms of Fantastic Beasts, all of these events have already happened in the films’ timeline. The first film is set in 1926, nearly 30 years after Ariana’s passing. When the new series starts, Grindelwald’s reign will be close to climaxing, and it will be up to Dumbledore to stop him.
If fans are made privvy to any of Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald, it will be done in retrospect. Their mutual feelings for one another came to a halt after Ariana was killed, but the pair still begrudingly respected each other’s talents. Their rumored affair might be mentioned in passing in Fantastic Beasts, but any in-depth exploration of Dumbledore’s initial love for Grindelwald will require flashbacks galore. Or, at the very least, a pensieve.
Just as fans will almost certainly see parts of Dumbledore’s affair with Grindelwald in the films, they will also see the pair’s relationship end. According to Harry Potter lore, Dumbledore is the one who ends Grindelwald’s revolution. The two go wand-to-wand with one another in 1945 during a duel which history records as the greatest of all-time. Dumbledore defeats Grindelwald with a heavy heart, and the dark wizard is sent to a prison called Nurmengard where he spends the rest of his life.
If a recent interview from Rowling tells fans anything, it’s that the epic duel between the two will feature in Fantastic Beasts. The author confirmed the five-film series will span a total of 19 years, so the franchise’s timeline ends in 1945.
When Fantastic Beasts debuts this week, fans will be treated to a delightful film filled with magical fun and mild drama. However, moviegoers should expect the films to grow progressively darker as the franchise goes on. And, poor Dumbledore; The famous wizard should prepare to have his heartbroken yet again.
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