Fantastic Beasts 3’s Dumbledore Retcons Luckily Avoided 1 Fatal Mistake
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore retcons Albus Dumbledore’s (Jude Law) backstory from
Harry Potter, but thankfully avoids going too far in that department. The
Fantastic Beasts movies have increasingly been expanding Dumbledore’s history, both with his family – most notably brother Aberforth (Richard Coyle) – and his relationship with Gellert Grindelwald (previously Johnny Depp, now Mads Mikkelsen).
Harry Potter only scratched the surface of the tragedies that lay in the Hogwarts Headmaster’s past, but the prequel spinoff series reveals more of its secrets, which inevitably means some changes as well.,The biggest of these was the reveal of Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) as Dumbledore’s “brother,” Aurelius.
Fantastic Beasts 3 instead confirmed he’s Albus’ nephew, the son of Aberforth, while fleshing out the brothers’ history in Godric’s Hollow alongside Grindelwald. This, of course, means revisiting the life and death of Ariana Dumbledore (Hebe Beardsall), whom
The Secrets of Dumbledore confirms was an Obscurial, as many had expected.,Related: All Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts Movies Ranked, Worst To Best,With that, there’s also discussion of the fateful duel that led to Ariana’s death. Previously, Harry Potter had established this as a three-way fight: Albus vs Aberforth vs Grindelwald, with Ariana killed in the chaos’ crossfire.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore retcons this, however: in Albus’ telling, it was only he and Aberforth who duelled; Grindelwald merely stood by, watching and laughing as the two brothers fought. Still, though this does change the Dumbledores’ story, it fortunately doesn’t confirm exactly who killed Ariana, which would’ve been a
Harry Potter retcon too far.,Although
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore increases the probability that Albus killed Ariana – assuming, of course, this version of events is correct – it thankfully still leaves room for uncertainty, and that’s important to his arc. Dumbledore never knows for sure whether or not he did it – which is as true after
Fantastic Beasts 3 as it was the
Harry Potter books and movies – and that arguably adds to the guilt he feels. In the absence of fact, he blames himself, and Aberforth blames him too. To confirm Albus killed Ariana wouldn’t be necessary, and would just be cruel; to be certain that Albus didn’t conjure the killing blow would feel like too big a change to the weight he carries around for almost a century. To be unsure only adds to the grief and anguish he and Aberforth feel, another layer to their complicated relationship and the resentment that builds over the years.,Ultimately, Albus takes responsibility for Ariana’s death regardless: it was his misguided actions, borne through his relationship with Grindelwald, that led to the duel that killed her. There’s a clear sense of Albus’ regret for all that he did, and for Ariana’s fate above all others; it is that, after all, that haunts him most when he attempts to retrieve Slytherin’s locket in
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It’s simultaneously deeper than the matter of who directly killed her, and key that it doesn’t reveal it, with both driving his guilt and attempts to redemption, which runs through
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and into
Harry Potter.,Next: How Powerful Is Fantastic Beasts’ Dumbledore Compared To Harry Potter’s?