Fantastic Beasts: World War II and the Global Wizarding War
The Harry Potter Universe Meets the Muggle World
We'll still have to wait until 2018 to finally see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. But we already have an idea of what is going to happen, as the duel between Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) was one of the most memorable things that happened in the wizarding world. After all, it ended up on a chocolate frog card:
Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the Dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and ten-pin bowling.
And recently, we just found out more about what is going to happen in the second movies in a series of five. As we can read on Pottermore:
Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers to his cause. What many of his new devotees don’t suspect is that his true intention is to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
But let's start from the beginning, where Grindelwald's story all started. The young wizard attended Durmstrang, the school with a reputation for Dark magic. That didn't keep him from going too far, as he was expelled for twisted experiments and attacks on his classmates when he was only 16. This was when he started looking for the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows. But the most important part of his story was probably when he went to Godric's Hollow and met the Dumbledore family.
Albus Dumbledore had just graduated from Hogwarts, and both men were surprised to see someone just as powerful as them. This is why they became inseparable. Grindelwald started talking about his plans for wizard dominance over Muggles, which he claims was for the greater good, and Dumbledore didn't only become fascinated by his way of thinking, but also agreed with him. As he wrote in a letter:
"Gellert —Your point about wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES' OWN GOOD — this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and, yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counter-arguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD."
But Dumbledore wasn't only thinking with his head, but was also blinded by love, as he fell for his friend. J.K. Rowling said during a question and answered session in New York:
"I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. 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."
Albus Dumbledore would later tell Harry Potter that:
"You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me. Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. Grindelwald and I, the glorious young leaders of the revolution. Oh, I had a few scruples. I assuaged my conscience with empty words. It would all be for the greater good, and any harm done would be repaid a hundredfold in benefits for wizards. Did I know, in my heart of hearts, what Gellert Grindelwald was? I think I did, but I closed my eyes."
It didn't stop Grindelwald from traveling across Europe to gather more followers and find the Elder Wand. His army of dark wizards was already feared around the world. He then went to America and discovered Credence, an obscurial that he wanted to use to expose the North American wizarding community, as it is possible to see in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. With the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), he was caught by MACUSA, and this is where the new story starts, as he still wants to overthrow the Statute of Secrecy that forces wizards to hide from the muggle community.
We do know the end of the story: In 1939, the British minister of Magic was ousted from his office and replaced by Leonard Spencer-Moon, who still didn't have the power to save his people. Grindelwald then built Nurmengard, a prison protected by magical guards and anti-Apparition wards to hold his opponents. He then went on to terrorize Europe. People knew that the only one who could defeat him was Albus Dumbledore, who already had a great reputation, but he kept pushing this moment until the two fought in a legendary duel in 1945. Grindelwald was defeated and spent the rest of his life in his own prison.
The references to World War II
It is probably not a coincidence that the Global Wizarding War took place at the same time and place as World War II in the Muggle world. We know that the British Minister of Magic was ousted in 1939 and Grindelwald was defeated in 1945, just like World War II began in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and ended in 1945 when Adolf Hitler killed himself. J.K. Rowling even said in 2005:
"It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feelings would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global Wizarding war going on."
But these are not the only similarities. Grindelwald believed that he was doing something "for the greater good," while Hitler also thought that he was doing something right for Germany. People, including Dumbledore, didn't want to do something bad, but were sincerely convinced that this was the right thing to do, until it was too late.
The Dark Wizard thought that people who could use magic were superior compared to Muggles while Hitler also thought that Jewish people, and anyone else who was different, had to be exterminated or at least, used as slaves. They didn't want to hurt them, and even if they did, they thought that it would be beneficial for society. Grindelwald's prison could even be compared to the concentration camps during World War II.
Just like Hitler, Grindelwald and Dumbledore wanted to overthrow their own government to establish their own system of dominance. Those who could benefit from it believed in them, not because the leaders had better ideas, but because they were better at persuasion and manipulation. They were only looking for one thing: power.
Fans already noticed that Voldemort and the Death Eaters were similar to Hitler and the Nazis. Rowling even said in an interview:
"I wanted Harry to leave our world and find exactly the same problems in the Wizarding world. So you have the intent to impose a hierarchy, you have bigotry, and this notion of purity, which is this great fallacy, but it crops up all over the world. People like to think themselves superior and that if they can pride themselves on nothing else, they can pride themselves on perceived purity."
As the Global Wizarding War and World War II are happening at the same time, we can expect even more similarities. But how is it going to have an impact on the Fantastic Beasts series?
How to Keep the Global Wizarding World Secret
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we clearly saw that it is hard to hide magic from No-Majs when an Obscurus is destroying New York City. Newt did try to obliviate everyone with the help of his Thunderbird, who dispersed a poultice as rainfall over the city to erase everyone's memory. And we have already seen that it wasn't perfect as Jacob looked like he remembered many things that happened.
But just imagine how hard it is going to be to hide a Global Wizarding War, mostly when Grindelwald actually wants Muggles to be aware that magic exists. They will certainly have to make people believe that some incidents were caused by World War II when it was actually just a spell or an Obscurus that went wrong. But we think that World War II is a too sensitive subject to be used in a fantasy just for entertainment.
We can also expect that Grindelwald's rise to power will be similar to what happened to Hitler. It all started with blood distinction as Wizards were separated from Muggles and non-Jews were separated from Jews. And they didn't just start by saying that they wanted to kill everyone. It was a gradual elimination that started with racial distinction, removal of rights, concentration camps, and then murder. They can also use propaganda and the control of the press to manipulate people and convince them that what they are doing is right. We wouldn't be surprised to see this in the Fantastic Beasts series.
And let's not forget Jacob Kowalski who is going to see this story from a whole different point of view. As a Muggle, he will probably have to fight during the war, unless he becomes one of those we need to be fighting for. The name Kowalski is common in Poland, and also makes Jacob someone who could be considered to be Jewish. It means that, as he travels to Europe to help his magic friend, he might get caught by the Nazis.
What is going to happen? We'll have to wait many years to see the whole Fantastic Beasts series. But while you wait, make sure you read Fantastic Beasts 2: 7 Things Harry Potter Fans Expect to See.
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