The Key Plot Point 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore' Totally Botched
At the risk of beating a dead hippogriff, we have some complaints about the latest Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of … Ah, Who Even Gives a Crap Anymore. Yes, the prequel’s box office underperformance may have doomed the future of this franchise, and there are obviously are innumerable reasons why society has turned on these movies, many of which we’ve gotten into in the past, but we have some very specific grievances with this movie we’d like to air before everyone forgets it ever existed.
Weirdly, the Fantastic Beasts series has become very political, The Secrets of Dumbledore most of all. The bare semblance of a plot involves the Wizarding World’s election for the office of (*heaviest possible sigh*) the Supreme Mugwump. It turns out that this magical society is even dumber than we thought, as their electoral process involves not tallying votes from every witch and wizard but simply letting a wild animal loose and putting whoever it likes best in charge. Seriously.
Unfortunately, the Qilin – a creature J.K. Rowling simply plucked out of ancient Chinese mythology – initially selects the villainous Grindelwald as the next leader. Why? Because he used magic to cheat, which somehow no one saw coming?! Really? People try to cheat in elections in the real world, and we don’t even have reality-altering wooden sticks in our pockets at all times.
Grindelwald’s populist, xenophobic election campaign has, as some critics have pointed out, some serious “Trump overtones” – albeit oversimplified, borderline insulting ones. In the past, the franchise’s stars have rejected the Trump comparison, but given Rowling’s previous criticisms of the former President/all-the-time dirtbag, it seems pretty clear. But even that straightforward allegory goes completely off the rails by the end of the movie. How? Well, the climax involves our heroes attempting to stop the transition of power by sneaking into the Magisterial Chamber of Ancient Wizardry – yes, they basically storm the Wizard Capitol because of a stolen election.
Of course, in this story, the election really was stolen because, again, magic – but it seems like a pretty major failing that Rowling’s condemnation of Trumpism ends with a plan that seems alarmingly similar to the U.S. far-right’s attempt to overturn the Presidential election results on January 6, 2021. They may as well have given Dumbledore a MAGA sorting hat.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter!
Top Image: Warner Bros.