Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Yesterday I joined my mom and sister for a movie. We selected Fantastic Beasts : The Crimes of Grindelwald. I’m an ardent Harry Potter fan. I own the books and I’m slowing reading my way through the series. I’ve seen all eight of the Harry Potter films multiple times.

Two years ago a new series of movies launched, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This story in the wizarding world takes place in the 1920s and predates the time of Harry Potter, while building toward those events. The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second film of five in this series.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The stars of this fantasy film include Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Ezra Miller, Allison Sudol, and Claudia Kim . J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay, based on characters she created in the Potter world. Directed by David Yates, the movie caries a PG-13 rating, for fantasy action sequences, and has a run time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

Back to England

Set one year after the first film, the story opens with Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) escaping from his guards, en route to the British Ministry of Magic. Newt Scamander (Redmayne) is back in England as well, alone, caring for his growing collection of fantastic beasts.

He is approached by Albus Dumbledore (Law) with a mission: find Credence (Miller), the troubled young man thought dead in New York. Credence, who survived a vicious attack in North America, left his controlling adoptive mother. He seeks his birth family in Europe and desires to learn his story.

Credence ends up in Paris, France. He joins a traveling circus, and befriends Nagini (Kim), who has the ability to transform into a serpent. Together they abandon the circus, following a trail that might lead to Credence’s birth mother.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

Converging in Paris

As Credence searches for his true family, Grindelwald takes up residence in Paris. He is looking for Credence, whom he feels is key to a future where wizards rule the world.

Also arriving in Paris is Newt, with his impossible suitcase full of beasts. He unexpectedly meets up with companions from New York (and the first film), Jacob (Fogler) and Queenie (Sudol). Newt inquires about Tina (Waterston), Queenie’s sister and the woman Newt loves. As it turns out, Tina is in Paris too, hoping to find Credence before Grindelwald does.

And finally, Newt’s brother Theseus (Turner) and future sister-in-law, Leta Lestrange (Kravitz), are in the city as well, hunting for Credence with the intention of keeping him safe.

Wizards face off against wizards, and mysteries deepen as old families find new connections and new family members even. And a darkly charismatic master woos more and more from the wizarding community to join him and create a new world order.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

My Thoughts on The Crimes of Grindelwald

This film, that transitions to the middle of the story in this five part series, does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It adds depth to the tale, without resolving much of anything. In fact, it creates more questions than it answers…questions that will be answered as the story unfolds.

I enjoyed this return visit to the Potter Universe. As a fan I found much to rejoice over. Visually this is a stunning film, with fast paced action, rich backgrounds and those fantastic, magical beasts. I also appreciated all the Harry Potter references, known as Easter Eggs in movie terms. These are little nods to future events and characters that I know well.

It was wonderful to return to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, years and years before a boy named Harry would be a student there. And how fascinating to see a young Dumbledore, who would later become Hogwart’s Headmaster and the greatest of Wizards. Jude Law marvelously captures the older wizard’s gentle spirit, familiar mannerisms and twinkling eyes, in a fresh and dapper way.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

More Fantastic Beasts to Come

Jonny Depp, whom many felt was a controversial choice for Grindelwald, plays the dark wizard well. Depp excels at losing himself in a character and this is no exception. He is compelling to watch.

Being unfamiliar with this lead up to Voldemort and Harry Potter, I have no idea where the story goes from The Crimes of Grindelwald. However, I’m captivated and curious. I’m in. I look forward to seeing the next chapter, in 2020.

Until then, I’ll be rewatching the Harry Potter films and reading the books and humming that unforgettable theme song.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Sorting Hat

I spent a good portion of the afternoon reading in Book 2 of the Harry Potter Series. Although I have seen the movies many times, I had never read the books. I am enjoying the world of wizards and Hogwarts and Harry and his friends. Being only a third of the way through The Chamber of Secrets, it is too early to write a review. However, I felt strongly drawn toward the HP universe for my inspiration today. 

I decided to have some fun. What started out as creative play led me down an interesting path of inward contemplation. 

The Sorting Hat
At Hogwarts, the magical school that Harry attends, the students are divided into four houses. They are:

Gryffindor – positive traits: brave, athletic, daring, chivalrous, popular; negative traits: arrogant, reckless, self-righteous, vengeful; mascot is the lion; element is fire symbolizing wild emotions and lack of restraint

Slytherin – positive traits: cunning, ambitious, resourceful, pure lineage; negative traits: power hungry, strong sense of self preservation, the ends justifies the means; mascot is the serpent; element is water symbolizing going with the flow, calmness and adaptability 

Hufflepuff – positive traits: humble, friendly, hardworking, benevolent; negative traits: lack of drive, undistinguished, slow to make decisions; mascot is the badger; element is earth symbolizing stability and nurturing 

Ravenclaw – positive traits: good looking, intelligent, creative, self sufficient; negative traits: arrogant, cliquish; mascot is the eagle; element is air symbolizing freedom and dreaming

The Sorting Hat
The sorting hat, an old and scruffy pointy cap, is placed upon each first year student’s head. After careful consideration, the sentient hat declares which house the child belongs in.

I thought it would be fun to locate a sorting hat quiz and see which house I would be chosen for. There are many such quizzes online. I discovered the site Pottermore, created by the author herself, JK Rowling. If anyone could accurately sort, surely it would be her!

The Sorting Hat
I registered on the site and took the short quiz. It was fun and as I answered the last question, I was interested in seeing which house I was sorted into. Like Harry Potter, I wanted to be in Gryffindor. Isn’t that where all the heroes were?

The Sorting Hat
JK’s sorting hat declared “Slytherin” for me. Oh no, no, no…I thought…that can’t be right! The dark wizards came from Slytherin…bullies like Draco Malfoy were in that house. I wondered what answer, to which question, landed me in Slytherin! Harry Potter almost ended up in Slytherin. Like him I was whispering “not Slytherin” as the calculations were made. He managed to convince the hat to put him in Gryffindor. 

I considered retaking the quiz! 

But my desire not to create resistance won out. And I know, this is an imaginary world, with pretend characters and fictitious rules. However…what was here for me? What was in the House of Slytherin? I decided to go with it. Go with the flow…water…yep, see above…Slytherin. 

The Sorting Hat
My first realization was that the head of Slytherin at Hogwarts, during the Harry Potter stories, was Severus Snape. Dark, brooding, closed off, Professor Snape is played by actor Alan Rickman. Initially seen as a villain in the stories, Snape later proves to be a hero, a protector. 

Ah. I have a strong connection to Rickman. He inspired my theme for this year, with his words about making life a little more tender and art a little more robust. 

The Sorting Hat
Looking at the Severus Snape profile on Pottermore, I saw with a shock that we have another connection. We share the same birthday, January 9, and almost the exact same birthdate. I am slightly older that Snape. 

Snape’s patronus, a guardian animal seen in the films as white energy, is the doe. I took the next quiz to discover mine. 

The Sorting Hat
I wanted to be a cool animal. Curious, I looked up the symbolism for the swallow:

The swallow represents love, care and affection toward family and friends, showing the loyalty of the person always returning to them. The swallow also symbolizes freedom and hope. 

I like that. A couple of years ago, my symbol was an empty bird cage, with the bird perched in freedom outside it. The swallow beautifully represents those characteristics in my life. 

The Sorting House
In a thoughtful mood, thinking this imaginary sorting hat was doing rather well with me, I thought about my initial response to being placed in Slytherin House. Yes, the Dark One, Voldermort, Harry’s nemesis, came from Slytherin. But so did Snape, who turned out to have a good heart, and other powerful but good wizards. 

Was my reaction more of a response to the darker side of me? By darker I don’t mean evil. I mean mysterious, unknown, murky. I am well acquainted with the darker depths within me. Afterall, I spent a good portion of my life trying to keep it hidden away, afraid of the powerful gifts I had, the intuitive nature that I had a hard time understanding. It was only when I faced my fears and embraced fully who I was, all of myself, the light and the dark, that I could begin to live out of a whole heart. 

The Sorting House
Like Severus Snape, I kept my emotions tightly under control, and my heart guarded. And like him, there was so much more to me than what first appearances suggested. I had to discover that first, about myself, before I could offer who I was to others. 

I am still exploring the House of Slytherin. But I think the sorting hat got it right, and rather than wish to be otherwise, I am proud to stand alongside Snape. He is a hero to me, brought to life by an actor I dearly love and respect. Water is my element. I flow. I am calm. I can be resourceful, cunning, ambitious…and also hungry for power and self-preserving, although I have learned already the dangers of letting the end justify the means. And I’ve always liked snakes, non poisonous ones anyway. 

Most definitely there is mystery within me and dark depths that I am no longer afraid of but continue to delve into, bringing the light of love and peace with me. In those depths there lies strength and more gifts to uncover. 

A fun time of playing in the Harry Potter universe brought revelation and a time of exploration that is ongoing. I am Slytherin. I am okay with that!

The Sorting House
Let the Sorting Hat declare your house at www.pottermore.com and share your results!

Allowing Myself to Marvel

As I drove home this evening, I sifted through possibilities for tonight’s blog post. This was one of those days where I felt drawn in several   different directions, with no clear indication yet which path to take. Music had snagged my heart, and I listened to the La La Land soundtrack as I drove…and yet silence met my inquiry when I asked about sharing something musical.

I also felt drawn toward creating on a new page in my art journal. I am very much enjoying that artistic journey. Yet again, when I picked up the journal at home, and scanned through a new page, nothing really connected with me.

Allowing Myself to Marvel
I considered that tonight, for the first time since I began blogging, three plus years ago, I might not have anything to write about.

And yet…something…something…was trying to rise to the surface.

Reaching for my Walking in This World book, by Julia Cameron, I finished the last chapter. It was on the final two pages that the stirrings within finally surfaced and understanding dawned.

Allowing Myself to Marvel
In the final task, at the end of the book, Julia writes that each of us carries the inner capacity for awe. Different things inspire different people, and some things simply make us happy, and some things we love for no apparent reason. We experience the touch of the Great Creator, when we touch upon something we love.

Julia says, “Because the part of us that creates is youthful and innocent, an ideal place to collect artist toys is a good children’s bookstore.” I know the truth of Julia’s statement. I often pick up a book from the children’s library, when I am learning something new. These books for kids cut out the unnecessary clutter and get to the important stuff quickly.

The assignment was to find a children’s book that makes me happy. “Make it a point that your bedside table contains at least one book on a topic that simply delights you.” She goes on to write that delight opens the door for the Divine to touch us.

Allowing Myself to Marvel
There it was, the connection I was looking for, the door swinging open. I had a strong visual image of looking through an open door earlier in the day, and wasn’t sure how to interpret that. And now the Divine was inviting me to enter, by way of my delight.

Because, I already have a children’s book on my bedside table, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I’ve been wondering how to share about it. However, I’m not exactly clear about why I have been drawn to read this book, and the series that follows. I recently rewatched all the Harry Potter movies. And that wasn’t enough. Now I know I am supposed to read the books.

Allowing Myself to Marvel

This magical tale, by JK Rowling, centers on Harry Potter, an orphaned boy who does not know who he is. He only knows he is miserable, living in a tiny cupboard under the stairs, in a house with horrible people. His aunt, uncle, and insufferable cousin fear who he might be and seek to prevent Harry from living his destiny.

But when a mysterious owl delivers a strange letter to young Potter, his life shifts dramatically. The letter is an invitation to a place, a world, that Harry never dreamed existed. At Hogwarts, Harry Potter finds new friends and incredible knowledge, strength he didn’t know he possessed and almost overwhelming challenges. Ultimately, he finds himself.

Allowing Myself to Marvel
I may not know yet what all the truths are for me, within these children’s books, but in this first volume, I’ve discovered…it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live…it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to an enemy and just as much to stand up to friends…fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself…truth can be beautiful and terrible…and music is a magic, beyond all we do here.

I am enjoying the magical world of Harry Potter, as I complete the first book. Book two will be ordered soon, and placed on my bedside table. Julia wrote, “Let yourself celebrate what you love and that you are the person who loves it. Allow yourself to marvel.” 

I don’t have to know why I am being guided to Harry Potter. I don’t have to figure it all out. My inner artist knows what she’s doing. I can simply marvel. I can delight. And in finding delight, I am opening the door to the touch of the Divine, and connecting to a sense of the marvelous.

Allowing Myself to Marvel

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