Title: Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, #2
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: November 16th 2018
At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
This second original screenplay from J.K. Rowling, illustrated with stunning line art from MinaLima, expands on earlier events that helped shaped the wizarding world, with some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of both the books and films.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After the events of New York Newt has been banned by the Ministry of Magic from travelling internationally. But when Credence resurfaces in Paris, searching for someone who can tell him where he came from, and when Grindelwald escapes from custody in New York Newt is recruited by Dumbledore to help stop his old friend.
I had high hopes for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald. I loved the first film and while the reaction of the critics was mixed people I knew who’d seen it had loved it. However I ended up being really disappointed; the actions of some of the characters seemed to go against who they were in the first film and there was almost too much happening. Some of the twists came out of nowhere and were kind of robbed of their impact because the development surrounding them was weak.
Together with Jacob Newt follows Tina through Paris as she tracks Credence. However as Credence searches for his family an old prophecy comes to light, and with it more people become determined to find the Obscurial, not all of them friendly. Meanwhile Grindelwald is gathering supporters, his seductive message drawing in the most unlikely people who are blinded to his true ambitions, people Newt trusts and loves.
The ending to this instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series was definitely explosive, and it leaves the overall story arc on a cliffhanger as the wizarding world is truly divided with good people having been manipulated by Grindelwald. However, the very last twist in this story ripped holes in the original Harry Potter series for me. Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald. Maybe Dumbledore did have another brother, but one Aberforth didn’t mention in Deathly Hallows even when he was talking to Harry about their younger sister? One who Rita Skeeter didn’t discover when she wrote Dumbledore’s tell-all biography? There was no hint of Credence in the original books and I find it too unbelievable now. End of spoilers.
Newt is determined to stay out of the war the Ministry of Magic is preparing to wage on Grindelwald, he doesn’t want to involve himself in their agenda but he is still determined to do what he believes is right which draws him to Paris anyways. The relationship Newt has with the other characters was my favourite part of this book. I loved seeing more interactions between him and Jacob, and although his relationship with Tina seems to have taken one step forward and ten back due to miscommunication between the two of them it’s clear they really care about one another.
Tina seems more very alone in this book, there’s tension between herself and Newt and herself and her sister Queenie and she seems set apart from them. She still wants to protect Credence like she tried to in the first book, and she seems like the only person who may be solely on his side. Jacob is still enchanted by magic, but in this story he sees a much darker side to it, sees the terror Grindelwald is inspiring. He’s loyal to those he loves, and no matter what he sees he’s determined to help Newt, to find and be with Queenie.
*Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald below*
We were introduced to plenty of new characters in this story, and unfortunately it’s these new characters where the development fell down the most for me. There was a lot of backlash when Nagini was announced as a character (I’m not going to go into that in this review) but it felt like she was barely a character in The Crimes of Grindelwald, her whole purpose seemed to be to stand at Credence’s side and look concerned. In fact, did she have any lines other than “Credence”?
Leta Lestrange was another character I felt was wasted in this instalment. Engaged to Newt’s brother it’s clear she has feelings for Newt, although I think she loved Theseus too, but at the end she sacrificed her life for them both to escape and just…why? Maybe it was to make amends for what she felt she did to her brother but at the end it seemed like her death’s sole purpose was to help Newt finally see reason and side with his brother against Grindelwald.
It was interesting seeing more of Grindelwald in this book, and as himself rather than masquerading as someone else. He seems to know exactly what to say to sway people to his side, to get them to believe in his vision of the future. However I find it hard to believe, no matter what he said, that Queenie would be of his supporters. I also find it hard to believe after how their relationship was portrayed in the first book that Tina wouldn’t notice her sister at Grindelwald’s gathering and go to her, to try and talk her out of whatever she was thinking.
*End of spoilers*
I enjoyed seeing more of the magical world; while the original Harry Potter series was set solely in England the Fantastic Beasts stories seem to be travelling the world. In The Crimes of Grindelwald while we get small glimpses of New York and London the majority of the story is set in Paris. However, that said there were some locations I would have liked to see more of, mainly the Circus Arcanus (I have a weakness for circuses in books, especially magical ones) and the French version of the Ministry of Magic. I don’t think the development of either of those locations was rushed, just that we didn’t spend enough time there.
For a film and screenplay I was so excited for I was really let down by The Crimes of Grindelwald. It has its positives but I’d hoped for more from my favourite franchise and there were too many plot holes, too many wasted characters, and at the end of the day too much story crammed into too small a film for me to love this story as much as I did Fantastic Beasts
Here’s hoping the third instalment will be better again.
What did you think of Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.