“Swivel, But Delicately” – Secrets of Dumbledore Thoughts & Reactions

If you think this is a spoiler-free post, you haven’t been paying attention.

I cannot believe it’s been TWO (2!!!!!) whole years since I’ve written a post! I could make a million excuses about life getting in the way of my dedicating time to blogging, but honestly… I just haven’t had much motivation to pick up a book since before the pandemic. I haven’t felt like writing about anything since the pandemic. The world slowed down, I slowed down with it, and my blog… died. My little passion project into the world of blogging fell to the wayside while I was wiping my groceries down with Lysol, and even as we made our way back to pre-covid normalcy I just didn’t care enough to try to keep my blog alive.

But now I’m back with a fierce new desire to revive my little passion project because I have a LOT to say about the newest installment of the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts series: Secrets of Dumbledore!

Unlike other die-hard Harry Potter fans, I was completely ignorant about this movie until a few weeks ago. I think in the back of my head I knew a third Fantastic Beasts movie was due, but I hadn’t seen a lot of buzz on it through my socials, so when that third movie was supposed to come to us, I had no idea. But one day I was scrolling through Reddit and saw news about the trailer being released so I gave it a watch and… wasn’t interested. I think that one watch on Reddit was the only time I watched the trailer; I actually kind of forgot about it after a while. I had been so disappointed by Crimes of Grindelwald that I really couldn’t be bothered to get pumped for its successor.

Not only was Crimes of Grindelwald a dud to me, but it’s been, like, 4 years since I saw it, and in that time there’s been a LOT of controversy surrounding the Harry Potter series: Johnny Depp’s recasting and She Who Must Not Be Named outing herself as a transphobe being the most noteworthy. I’ve also noticed people just like to shit on Potter fans a lot: “you’re not a Slytherin, you’re 37.” I mean, they’re not wrong, but come on. Let people enjoy things.

I think a lot of Harry Potter fans will agree that for a while it was hard being a fan of Harry Potter. The franchise was getting so much shit back to back and we had to make a decision: give up the world that we’ve come to love or continue to indirectly support hateful ideologies by financially supporting the ignorant old billionaire who gave us that beloved world. I, personally, love Harry Potter more than I dislike its creators thoughts; Harry Potter gave me an escape at the tender age of 12 that I still hold near to my heart almost fifteen years later, and it would’ve been very hard for me to let that go. I can also acknowledge that it’s fairly easy for me, personally, to continue to indulge in the wizarding world because the author’s comments weren’t directed towards a community in which I belong, but that’s a conversation (I am totally open to having) for another day. Today is about how happy I am with the latest installment of the Fantastic Beasts series.

Whereas I walked out of Crimes of Grindelwald back in 2018 feeling doubtful and unsure of the wizarding world for the first time in my life, all the enthusiasm I felt for the core Harry Potter series and even the first Fantastic Beasts movie came flooding back once the credits started rolling for Secrets of Dumbledore. So, to celebrate the return of my love for the wizarding world, here are some thoughts and reactions I had to Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore!

#1 – The REVEAL!!

He should’ve been named Mandible McBoneStructure.

We finally figure out the truth about Creedence Corvus Aurelius! Dumbledore’s nephew!! To be completely honest, I found the actual reveal to be less grand than it should’ve been, but at least we finally know who that broody, quasi-Snape lookalike was born. Grindelwald wasn’t lying after all!

Now, while I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Grindelwald wasn’t lying and Creedence Corvus Aurelius is actually a Dumbledore, I still have some questions. Who was his mother? And didn’t Aberforth have some kind of… inappropriate relationship with… goats? He got arrested for performing charms on a goat, but it clearly wasn’t the killing curse because the author would’ve just said that, right? And of course she left it completely vague so we may never know, but because I don’t want to think any more about the possibility of a man f*cking a goat I’ll just ask: who was this (presumably human) girlie that Aberforth was messing around with?

#2 – The BEASTS!!

Secrets introduces us to the Qilin, an adorable little horse thing with powers of precognition who’s an excellent judge of character and ends up saving the day/world. I kind of thought they were thestrals at first, but no. Psychic horses and flying zombie horses are, in fact, not the same thing. Regardless, I want a baby Qilin, they are too dang cute!

We also get more of Teddy the Niffler and Pickett the Bowtruckle! Those two absolutely stole the show since the first FB film, so of course it was great to see them help the cause once again. I have to say, Nifflers >>>>> the other beasts.

#3 – swivel, but ✨delicately✨

“Swivel, but delicately.”

The scene with Newt and Theseus swiveling for their lives was my absolute FAVORITE scene from the whole movie! I actually laughed out loud watching it; it was just so humorous and charming and whimsical in a movie that was actually pretty dark. That one little scene is so appreciated by me, not only for highlighting the BEASTS, which is what this spinoff series should have focused on, but for bringing some much-needed relief to a movie that honestly was pretty stressful to get through. I was on the edge of my seat for most of it wondering when Jacob was going to get hit from behind with a good ol’ Avada Kedavra. I mean, he doesn’t (in this film, anyway), but I kept feeling like he would.

Anyway, Newt swiveling with… whatever those little scorpion things were was just *chef’s kiss*. Warner Bros, if you’re reading this, less wizard war, more Newt/beast interactions in the next installment. PLEASE.

#4 – Queenie & Jacob 4evr

I love them, idc. Yes, Queenie was problematic for drugging and kidnapping Jacob in Crimes of Grindelwald. Yes, we get no real answer for why she joined Grindelwald (or did we? Was she really just being stupid? I thought there would be some kind of double agent thing going on, but… that wasn’t really the case. It’s unclear. To me it is, anyway).

I love them, though. I shed a tear when they got married. I am going to be WRECKED when Jacob finally does get Avada Kedavra-ed.

#5 – Tina & Newt 4evr

Alright, can these two PLEASE get together now?? Leta and her cheekbones got vaporized in the last film, and we know Tina and Newt are going to get married eventually. Let’s get this show on the ROAD. I love the soon-to-be Scamanders, they’re just… so adorably awkward. I just love them. Can’t wait to cry at their wedding scene, too. ❤

#6 – Grindelwald is BORING

Going to be completely honest here… I could not care less about the turn this series has taken focusing on Dumbledore’s past with Grindelwald. I just… don’t care. It’s not that interesting. We know how it plays out: Dumbledore defeats Grindelwald, Grindelwald is killed by Voldemort during the events of the core Harry Potter series. I just don’t understand why we needed to have a visual of their conflict, especially when Newt and his beasts are WAY more entertaining. As much as I enjoy keeping up with the series, I just don’t find the Dumbledore/Grindelwald tension all that compelling.

This movie also focuses a lot on wizard politics, which makes sense given the premise, but with the politics of our world being the mess it is, forgive me for not being all that excited about having politics in my entertainment.

However, I will admit it was fascinating learning how the magical world once elected its leaders. I do remember reading the word “Mugwump” in one of the Harry Potter books, but didn’t know what it was until this movie. And not because the movie tells us, no. That would’ve been too much like decent writing. No, I had to fill myself in on the Harry Potter wiki about this whole election ceremony. It was cool, just not cool enough to make me really give a hoot about Grindelwald. All the recasts in the world won’t make him an interesting character to me.

Speaking of recasts, Mads Mikkelsen was GREAT. I really liked him as Grindelwald! What he might have lacked in visual compared to Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald, Mikkelsen made up for in demeanor. He took the character of Grindelwald and turned him into a truly unnerving person, whereas Depp’s Grindelwald felt too cartoonish and goofy to ever actually be intimidating. Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald its just straight up creepy and unsettling, and I loved, loved, loved it.

#7 – Lally Hicks Hive

My Queen: Eulalie Hicks

Love her, am obsessed with her, want to be her. That is all.

No, seriously, though. A Black witch being a badass up and down every scene she was in, Lally Hicks is everything to me as someone who did not get to see herself represented in the core Potter series. I cannot wait to see what the next installment has in store for her.

If she dies, I will set something on fire (for legal reasons, I am [probably] joking).

#8 – #JusticeForBunty

I just hate unrequited love stories. Bunty’s cool. She deserves better than just being the assistant with romantic feelings that Newt is too preoccupied to notice. And besides, Newt and Tina are the end goal, so Bunty never stood a chance. Why put her through an awkward crush? We don’t get much of Bunty, the little that we do doesn’t need to include a man, even if that man is swiveling Hufflepuff, Newt Scamander.

Here’s a ship name: Bewt

And that’s pretty much it for my initial feelings! Overall, I’m very happy with Secrets of Dumbledore! It’s got some flaws, sure, but it is a HUGE improvement from the dumpster fire that was Crimes of Grindelwald. Like I said earlier, my love for magic has definitely been reawakened with this film’s release, and I’m much more excited than I expected to be for what’s in store for the wizarding world.

Now let’s see if making this post reawakens my love for blogging, or if I’ll go another two years before I post again… 😬

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