Grindelwald’s apocalyptic vision in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has revealed a gap in the Harry Potter mythos, which the rest of the series is set to fill in. The second installment in the Fantastic Beasts series has proved to be a turning point for the expanding Harry Potter franchise and timeline. The Crimes of Grindelwald ended with the titular villain (Johnny Depp) victorious, with a growing army of followers, and the saga’s core team of heroes fractured and defeated.
This division is a fitting metaphor for Fantastic Beasts 2’s reception, because unlike its predecessors, The Crimes of Grindelwald proved to be a controversial offering for both critics and moviegoers. Several of the movie’s left field twists - including Grindelwald and Dumbledore's blood pact as well as the Credence/Aurelius revelation - stunned even the most die-hard fans. Many others were also unhappy with the film’s frequent departures from established canon, such as that of Professor McGonagall’s age.
In light of Fantastic Beasts 2's brutal reviews - not to mention being the first Harry Potter box office misfire - it remains to be seen whether J.K. Rowling and her fellow filmmakers will attempt to win back fans by “correcting” the course of their franchise. Yet while many viewers may hope for some sort of reconfiguration to be evident in Fantastic Beasts 3, it’s very likely that this won’t occur. Several of these infamous moments are clearly setup for the next three movies to expand upon or explain, meaning that Rowling will have to stick to their plan. Moreover Rowling has promised answers to The Crimes of Grindelwald’s surprising scenes in the near future.
Among the most compelling - and contentious - of these sequences was Grindelwald’s prophecy of World War II. This vision of the future has exposed an inconsistency within Harry Potter canon, and it may have revealed where the series will be going next.
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Grindelwald's Fantastic Beasts 2 Vision Explained
For the majority of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the titular villain remains an elusive and manipulative presence. The true extent of Grindelwald’s cunning becomes clear when he gives a speech in Fantastic Beasts 2’s ending. At this point, the dark wizard has ensured that Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his friends are trapped amidst his supporters as he begins his rally in the Lestrange family tomb at Père Lachaise cemetery.
Grindelwald rails against the injustices thrust upon wizard kind by their governments, and pledges to overthrow the Statute of Secrecy and install wizards as the rulers of all muggles. But while he has tapped into their anti-muggle prejudice, Grindelwald has something else that he hopes will motivate them. Using a skull hookah to channel his powers as a seer, Grindelwald soon projects a large, gaseous vision for the congregation. Soldiers and stentorian tanks erupt out of the smoke, followed by spitfires whirling over vistas of broken cities. These apparitions change into lines of darkened figures shuffling in columns towards freight trains. But soon, these sights are engulfed in the fires of an atomic bomb.
Despite the fact that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald takes place in 1927, it’s clear that Grindelwald has shown the assembly a glimpse of World War II, with key allusions to the Holocaust, Hiroshima, and even the devastation of the Blitz. Indeed, the dark wizard informs the crowd that this premonition will come true if the status-quo between muggles and wizards remains. It’s a gambit that pays off. Fearful and incensed, the crowd leaves convinced by Grindelwald’s claim, and prepared to spread his message.
Grindelwald’s vision of World War II is a significant moment for the Harry Potter mythos. In all of her writing for the Wizarding World, Rowling has referenced fixtures of the non-magical world through allegory and in general terms only. Contrary to this practice, the use of these militaristic images means that World War II is a direct part of this fictional world. This sequence is not just the most direct link to reality thus far; it also reveals the Second World War’s unique treatment within the Harry Potter universe.