Credence Bareborn is one of the most mysterious characters in the Harry Potter universe. His past is shrouded in tragedy and drama. He's also tied to one of the most powerful families in the Wizarding World, even possibly being related to one of the darkest wizards in history. Because of his sordid past and illustrious family connections, he holds the imaginations of fans everywhere. His story has it all: tragedy, triumph, and even hope. If you're dying to know more about this fascinating character from the Fantastic Beasts franchies, check out this list of facts about the mysterious Bareborne. You may just learn something tantalizing.
The circumstances of our birth, in part, define us. Children who have been adopted often feel that it’s part of their identity. Credence’s life, on one hand, began in tragedy. He was switched at birth by Leta Lestrange, who passed him off as her brother Corvus. Shortly after, baby Credence found himself fleeing certain death in a lifeboat while on his way to America with family. Sadly, none of the relatives with him survived the fateful trip. He was later sent on to America with no one knowing his true identity but Leta. Shortly after, Credence was placed for adoption and his new life began.
Mary Lou Barebone certainly didn’t believe in giving children playful or mainstream names. She favors extremely old-fashioned virtue names; she named her daughters Chastity and Modesty. Those don’t sound like your typical sunny little girl names. When she adopted her son the pattern persisted. She chose Credence. The name means "trust" or "faith." This makes his character's background even more tragic. It’s in his nature and name to trust. Ironic because of his name, poor Credence is met with betrayal at every turn. His adoptive mother should have been a source of love and support, and he should have had a network of friends he could rely on.
In the Harry Potter universe, there are serious consequences to repressing the magical abilities of a child. If a child suffers physical or psychological abuse to keep their magic at bay, they can develop a dark parasitic force. The dark force is an Obscurus. Those who live with the weight of this parasite are known as Obscuials. Most unfortunate souls who succumb to this fate don’t survive to be 10 years old. Credence fell prey to this awful fate as a young man and his survival is nothing short of miraculous. Once a person becomes an Obscurial, a mysterious magical force will manifest around them during times of extreme emotion.
8. Abuse Survivor
Mary Lou Barebone was a hardline No-Maj character. Because of her disdain for magic users, she held Credence in contempt. Truth be told, it was probably due to her opinion of magic users that she abused all of her adopted children. The abuse was not only physical but emotional as well. It was due to this abuse that Credence became the withdrawn and mysterious character we meet. He carries the scars of trauma and physical beatings, with the abuse being so severe that it left him vulnerable and developing an Obscurus. The strength he developed by surviving that kind of trauma made him an indomitable force.
7. Tragic Family Deaths
Credence Barebone had two sisters in his adoptive family. They all suffered the abuse of their stepmother together. For that reason, their bond was unique and strong. That abuse is also what led to Credence developing his Obscurus. Extreme emotions unleash the primal force of the Obscurus.
Mary Lou’s hatred of magic and magic users drove her to fits of rage. Any sign that her children were even interested in what she thought of as a wicked practice could set her off. Magic was such a discovery that set off a horrible incident resulting in death. Mary Lou found a toy wand and she immediately assumed it must have belonged to Credence. It, in fact, belonged to his younger sister Modesty. The resulting confrontation soon unleashed his Obscurus, and both Mary Lou and Chasity were killed.
6. Related To Voldemort
Fans have put together some serious clues. They all point to the same thing, Credence is a blood relative of “He Who Shall Not Be Named.” The identity of Credence’s birth mother is a bit of a mystery, as well. We know based on Mary Lou’s disdain that she was a witch. It’s later implied that Credence is a pure-blood wizard, with all pure-blood families being related.
Credence’s magic parallels that of Voldemort. He’s powerful but barely in control just like the Dark Wizard himself. The pair also has yet another fact in common: both wizards appear to have escaped certain death.
5. Betrayed By Grindelwald
Gellert Grindelwald isn’t above using someone to get what he wants. Gellert received a vision in which he saw a powerful Obscurous. He assumed the Obscurous must belong to a child as so few survive any longer. After meeting up with young Credence, Grindlewald manipulates him to help in his investigation. After the tragedy at the Barebone home, Grindelwald is convinced that he's found what he's looking for. He believes the person who destroyed the Barebone home and killed both Mary Lou and Chastity is Modesty Barebone. Once Gellert decides Modesty is his target, he dismisses Credence, even calling him a squib. This enrages Credence and reveals his Obscurous to a terrified Gellert.
4. Birth Name
Credence Barebone lost so much through his adoption. He lost the loving birth family he belonged with, he lost a powerful brother, and finally, he lost his sense of identity. As a result of being switched at birth, he also lost true his name. It wasn’t until he met up with Gellert Grindelwald that he got his first clue as to his true identity. Gellert revealed to him his birth name, Aurelius Dumbledore. The name his adoptive mother gave him, Credence, means trust. His birth name has a bit richer history to it, however. Aurelius means “The golden one.” Could his birth name foreshadow things to come for the mysterious wizard?
3. Brother To Albus
The Dumbledore family name carries a lot of clout. There isn’t anyone in the Wizarding World who wouldn’t be impressed by that pedigree. When Credence Barebone found out his true name, he must have had a lot of mixed emotions. First of all, he must have wondered how different his life would have turned out with his birth family. Furthermore, he must have longed for a relationship with his brother. In his adoptive family, he only knew relationships with his sisters and his rage at his adoptive mother must have swelled. Surviving abuse is hard enough, but when Credence found out about his true identity, a whirlwind of emotion hit him. It's gutwrenching to know that you could have been from one of the most powerful wizarding families.
2. Evil Adoptive Mother
This is a classic trope that has added depth to characters since stepmothers have existed. Mary Lou Barebone is as evil a stepmother as they come. She’s a staunch No-Maj, looking down on magic users as wicked and unnatural. When she adopted her children she had every intention of suppressing their abilities and raising them to her standards of normality. Her bigotry against magic users would eventually lead to her tragic end. Mary Lou met her end drenched in poetic justice. Fate set the injustice of her abuses right. At least that's one evil stepmother we stopped in her tracks.
1. Circus Arcanus
Running away to join the circus — it’s the fate of many orphans. In the Harry Potter universe, the circus is even more magical, but also much darker. The Circus Arcanus is a traveling wizarding circus and freak show. The horrible Skender owns and operates the circus. Like many outcasts, Credence runs away to join the circus and it was there that he met his closest and only friend, Nagini. Nagini has a past as tragic as Credence. As a result, they bond almost immediately. Together, Nagini and Credence finally escape the exploitive Skender and the Circus Arcanus. His time with the circus surrounded by other outcasts was healing for Credence.