You heard right, there’s a new Dumbledore character in the Harry Potter universe. Is Aurelius Dumbledore a brother? A cousin? A nephew? A lie! Something else? Read on to learn about how this new character might tie into the Harry Potter canon.
The big reveal
At the end of Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts 2) Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has fled Paris to Nurmengard in Austria.
The name Nurmengard might sound familiar. It’s a wizarding prison built by Grindelwald to house his adversaries. We first learn about the prison in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) when Grindelwald himself is, fittingly, held captive at the prison (more on this below).
So: Grindelwald flees Paris and arrives at Nurmengard with Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the Obscurus (dark energetic force) from the first Fantastic Beasts film. Barebone, pained and desperate to know his true identity, accompanies Grindelwald to seek the truth.
Grindelwald reveals that Credence Barebone is Aurelius Dumbledore.
Albus, Aberforth, Ariana and … Aurelius Dumbledore?
Firstly, a bit of Dumbledore family history. We know that Dumbledore is one of three siblings: his brother Aberforth is the owner and barman of the Hog’s Head pub in Hogsmeade Village, and his sister Ariana was killed accidentally after being hit by a curse during a duel between the Dumbledore brothers and a young Grindelwald.
Dumbledore’s parents were Percival and Kendra Dumbledore. When Ariana was 6, she was attacked by a group of Muggles who saw her performing magic. She was traumatised by the incident and no longer able to control her magical abilities. Percival Dumbledore attacked the Muggles responsible and was sent to Azkaban prison where he spent the remainder of his life and died.
8 years later, Ariana’s repressed magic exploded out of her and killed Kendra, shortly before her own accidental death. Sound familiar? It sounds very plausible that Ariana Dumbledore, like Credence/Aurelius, was an Obscruial.
Is Aurelius the fourth Dumbledore sibling? A cousin? A nephew?
It seems strange that there’s been no mention at all of a fourth Dumbledore sibling. Dumbledore’s obituary mentioned only a brother and a sister. And the timeline is strange. Fantastic Beasts 2 is set in 1927. Percival was sent to Azkaban before Dumbledore ever went to Hogwarts (the 1840s) and likely died in the 1890s. Kendra died in the early 1850s.
Here are some possible theories:
- Dumbledore had an aunt that is mentioned in the books. Is Aurelius the son of Albus’ aunt and thus, his cousin?
- Credence is an Obscurial. Is he somehow connected with Ariana? Did Ariana’s Obscurus attach itself to a baby Credence?
- Aurelius is Ariana’s son. Did the Muggle boys do something terrible to Ariana? Was that part of the reason she was kept locked away?
- Grindelwald is lying. Does he want something from Credence? Would telling him that he is “a Dumbledore” help put a nefarious plan in action?
What about Aurelius’ Phoenix? Was it Fawkes?
At the end of the film, Aurelius/Credence is shown releasing a Phoenix. We learn that the Phoenix will “always come to a Dumbledore in need” and that it seems to have Aurelius’ allegiance.
Is this the origin of Fawkes the Phoenix? Or is this all part of a cunning plan by Grindelwald to fool Credence into believe he is a Dumbledore?
Is Leta Lestrange connected to Bellatrix Lestrange?
While we’re talking Crimes of Grindelwald, let’s touch on Leta Lestrange. Leta’s backstory is complicated, and we learn more about it through a powerful flashback. We learn that Leta is the daughter of Corvus Lestrange and Laurena Kama.
Corvus is the patriarch of a powerful pure-blood wizarding family. Death Eaters Rodolphus Lestrange and his brother Rabastan are likely descendants of Corvus.
Bellatrix Lestrange is a Lestrange-by-marriage (married to Rodolphus), but we don’t yet know exact family connection.
What do the next Fantastic Beasts films have in store?
We know from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) that Albus Dumbledore defeats Gellert Grindelwald in 1945. Grindelwald is imprisoned in his own prison, Nurmengard, where he is killed by Voldemort — in search of the Elder Wand — during the events of Deathly Hallows.
We see the destructive power of the Second World War during Grindelwald’s vision of a violent future. Will the Muggle War have a connection to Grindelwald’s defeat? Fans have long suspected a connection. How will Dumbledore destroy the blood pact and thus destroy Grindelwald?
There’s likely lots more exciting additions to the Harry Potter canon to come. In the meantime, you can read about some of the things we think might happen in Fantastic Beasts 3.
Who do you think Aurelius Dumbledore is? What do you think of these theories? Let us know in the comments below.