Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald had many plot threads to pull together, a few twists to pull off, and a ton of mythology to boot. We’ve got it all here to make sure you didn’t miss any of the action or the implications across the Potterverse.
Everyone comes together in the Lestrange family crypt in a Parisian cemetery, where each half-sibling tells a different tale that is as compelling as it is complicated, while the audience and Credence are left to sort out the truth.
The reality is that when Yusuf was a child, Leta’s father used the Imperious curse to rape Leta and Yusuf’s mother. Their mother died in childbirth and Yusuf’s father told him to avenge his mother by killing the one thing Leta’s father loved. Leta was spared not out of any love Yusuf had for her, but because her father, a misogynist through and through, didn’t care about her. But her remarried quickly and had another kid, falsely believed to be Credence.
Everyone, including Yusuf thought that pure-bred Lestrange was sent to America with Leta, but Leta switched the babies en route, unwittingly setting off a chain of events that led to the death of the real Corvus Lestrange. While Leta had no idea whose baby she swapped, Grindelwald apparently thinks it was a here-to-for-unmentioned fourth Dumbledore sibling, apparently confirmed by the presence of a baby phoenix, a bird drawn to the Dumbledore family, which had the appearance of a raven, the Lestrange family bird.
This takes Credence out of Yusuf’s crosshairs and takes Leta’s greatest shame off her chest, as Dumbledore had suspected, hinting at a similar shame of his own regarding his own sister, one that book readers already know.
The group of Leta, the Scamander brothers, Tina, Jacob, and Yusuf went further inside, only to find Grindelwald’s demonstration. Oddly, while much of the plot is predicated on the concept that Grindelwald will use Credence as a symbol, that doesn’t take place in this movie. Instead, no one in the crowd appears to even recognize him. Queenie was already there, drawn in by Grindelwald’s promise of freedom and his supposed value of love, ignoring his blatant disregard for no-majes.
Theseus and his auror showed up, and in spite of following Theseus’s advice by way of Dumbledore, one fell into Grindelwald’s trap. A young woman drew her wand and an auror acted far two quickly, throwing out an Avada Kedavra and playing right into Grindelwald’s hand. After the necessary play-acting, Gellert’s audience left, their views reaffirmed.
The only people left in the theatre on the round, mysteriously attached to the cemetery, are the aurors, Newt Scamander’s friends, and Gellert Grindelwald’s inner circle. Oh, and one niffler, but more on that later. Some aurors get away while others are killed.
Heartbreakingly, Queenie goes with Grindelwald to use her gifts for his side. She truly seems to believe he will help her be with her love, and even asks Jacob to walk by her side, as though he would ever allow someone like Jacob to survive walking through a ring of flames.
Nagini tries to convince Credence not to go with Grindelwald – she sees the truth – but Credence has spent the entire movie and really his entire life wanting to know the truth about who he is. Grindelwald’s greatest trick is convincing people that he isn’t about killing humans, he’s about freedom, love, and truth, and everyone wants at least one of those.
It looks like Leta might go with Grindelwald, and he seems quite confident that the outcast will join him. Indeed, she is one of the last people in the amphitheater. But having confessed the truth about her brother and used her cleverness to get close to the dark wizard, she says goodbye to the brothers Scamander and goes down fighting.
After spending much of the movie focused on their differences, the Scamander brothers come together to fight off Grindelwald and to grieve the death of the woman they both loved. Ultimately, it’s unclear which Scamander she meant when she turned to say, “I love you,” before attacking the dark wizard. Perhaps she meant she loved both, each in their own way and in their own time.
Nicholas Flamel shows up one more time to help, as a fun tip of the cap to where it all began with the Philosopher and his stone. Those who remained vanquished the blue flames of Grindelwald, for now, and made their way to Hogwarts to release Dumbledore from the bracelets tracking his spells. Oh and that niffler? When Grindelwald left the ring of fire to arrogantly collect Leta, the little beastie collected the shiny blood pact that had been holding Dumbledore back this whole time. As Newt pointed out, Grindelwald underestimates those he thinks are simple, like the niffler and likely Newt himself, so he never noticed. And now Dumbledore will be coming for him.
Newt, radicalized by Leta’s death, goes on to tell his brother he has chosen a side. Of course, his scenes with his friend and former teacher Dumbledore show us he hasn’t changed all that much.
So back to that whole Credence is a Dumbledore thing…
Up until now we’ve only ever known about three Dumbledore siblings: Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana. Ariana died tragically during a duel between Albus, Aberforth and Grindelwald, for which Albus still feels guilty to this day. He alluded to that in his conversation at Hogwarts with Leta. We know from the books that Aberforth disagreed with Grindelwald’s vision and knew that Gindelwald wouldn’t see a place for someone like Ariana in his world, since she had disabilities. It was Aberforth’s anger with Albus following Gindelwald that started the duel.
But as far as we know, Albus and Aberforth as in the forties and Credence is in his early twenties, making this timeline a bit fuzzy. Aside from the presence of the phoenix echoing Albus’s earlier statement and Grindelwald stating it, there’s no other hint about this familial connection. Admittedly, I can’t recall if witch menopause has ever been addressed. Perhaps their fertility lasts longer, coinciding with longer lifespans? And the other three children were all born in a cluster and not a secret but only this child was? I guess we’ll have to wait until Fantastic Beasts 3 to find out!