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Was Grindelwald Worse Than Voldemort; Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them

Updated on January 7, 2018
JynBranton profile image

Jennifer Branton is a nerd by trade most often writing about books and video games. She has a BA in Journalism from Lewis University

The Boy Who Lived And Beyond

The child in me did the happy dance when I heard the announcement of the first Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them film. Here I was, closing in on forty and still having new Harry Potter content added to my world. Where the Fantastic Beasts spin off began with in American with the with new threats to the wizarding world, little is known about the plot of the sequel except that the threat of Gellert Grindelwald and rumors that we will be seeing Albus Dumbledore in the franchise.

Personally I hope that Fantastic Beasts will bravely take on the content that was missing from the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2 from the Harry Potter franchise that really left out who Grindelwald was for the casual movie viewer. Readers of the books, got a little more insight on the greatest wizard that ever lived- before You Know Who.

So who is this dark wizard and why are we suddenly talking about his ties to Dumbledore?


Perhaps the greater dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald has many similarities to Lord Voldemort, but the two have only crossed paths once that was explained in the Harry Potter series...unless the Fantastic Beasts franchise has more up its sleeve.

Two Boys And Godric's Hallow

Absent from the Deathly Hallows movies, was the tie in of Gellert Grindelwald and his old friend Albus Dumbledore, a reveal that left a shocking blow in the novel that made readers question the motives of Dumbledore most of the final book in the Harry Potter series.

After his death at the hands of Death Eaters and more specifically double agent, Severus Snape, tasked to do the killing; the early deeds of Albus came out in a series of tell all newspaper articles in The Daily Prophet and a book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. Harry and his friends began to question everything they knew about the man they had trusted the most. The man that had sent them on what many had felt was a fool's errand to find the deathly hallows and defeat Lord Voldemort for once and for all.

At this time the only thing that had been mentioned about Gellert Grindelwald was Voldemort had visited him where he was spending a lifetime in prison for his deeds. It was hinted that he had been involved in some crimes against the wizarding worlf and the Muggles, but nothing was ever really spelled out. Then fans were blindsided with the knowledge of Dumbledore's teenage friendship with the nephew of a neighbor that changed everything we thought we knew about the Muggle born's savior.

Young Albus Dumbledore was understandably angry with his current circumstances caring for his younger siblings after the death of his mother and the imprisonment of his father. Teenage Dumbledore idolized his friend and was slowly falling in love with Gellert Grindelwald and the two began writing letters about their disdain for the Muggles beginning slogans like "For The Greater Good" and "Magic Is Might." These, the same ideas as later Death Eaters would adopt when following Lord Voldemort, began in the rebellion of Dumbledore and Grindelwald back in Godric's Hallow.

Harry and his friends can't believe that everything they have been fighting against is actually ideas that their ally had once been preaching himself, but they are later reminded that Dumbledore had changed, and had broken away from the ideas he once held as an angry teenager as the famous duel.

On the side of good once again, Dumbledore went on to lead the Order of Phoenix and coach Harry how to gain all the Deathly Hallows to truly become the master of death and defeat Voldemort.

Not much is known yet about the crimes committed by Grindelwald in the Harry Potter series, but Fantastic Beasts promises much content by comparison.

For The Greater Good

Not much is known about the crimes of Gellert Grindelwald in just the Harry Potter series alone. Fortunately, through Pottermore and other sources, author J.K. Rowling reveals quite a bit about her antagonist for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Considered to be the most dangerous dark wizard of all time, a title that even Lord Voldemort couldn't top, Grindelwald was expelled from wizarding school Durmstrang for conducting outrageous experiments on classmates, similar to the other children that Lord Voldemort would torture back in the orphanage where he lived as a child under the name of Tom Riddle.

Plans to lead a revolution with his friend and perhaps lover as Rowling had hinted that at least Dumbeldore had romantic feelings in the mix; the plan fell apart after the death of Albus Dumbeldore's younger sister Arianna- once presumed to be a squib or a person with wizarding background that had no powers but Fantastic Beasts hinted could be an even more powerful type of wizard that had gone bad. Grindelwald had been known to steal the Elder Wand from a wand maker and go on to start a revolution himself, responsible for many murders. Then the tail goes cold until his arrest and later death in prison.

What Fantastic Beasts will tease out in its franchise on the actual events of those murders will remain to be seen, leading up to the legendary battle with Dumbledore.


The Fantastic Beasts Franchise is said to fill in the rest of the time line from the Grindelwald stealing the Elder Wand, to the crimes committed along the way until his capture.

Impersonating Graves

After the theft of the Elder Wand, the Harry Potter story ends with the next known information on Gellert Grindelwald, being his arrest and death in prison by Lord Voldemort, but the story doesn't end there thanks to the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them franchise which is said to comprise of several movies in a similar style to that of Harry Potter.

From the first installment, we know that Grindelwald was able to change his appearance and had set his sites upon America hiding in plain site under the identity of Percival Graves infiltrating the Wizarding authority.

While spending his time in New York, he perhaps after his experience with the death of Arianna Dumbledore, knew about the Obscurial, a type of out of control almost demonic force that will "break out" from a wizard that is trying to hold in their power.

Disguised as Graves for most of the movie, Grindelwald almost succeeds in using an young man who he thinks might know of an Obscurial, only to not recognize the power in the boy itself and is revealed in the final showdown to actually be Grindelwald.

But at which stage in his crimes was this at the time the movie was taking place in New York? Newspaper clippings in the intro of the movie already suggest that some such events had taken place since Grindelwald was known to have left England and arrive in the United States.

What else will happen in the series of movies is yet to determine who really is the most dangerous wizard based on their finally tally of deeds.


His Name Was Tom Riddle

After coming to blows with one of the most powerful and dangerous dark wizards of all time in his youth, it is any wonder that Albus Dumbledore didn't see Lord Voldemort coming a mile away.

Think about it for a second: Dumbledore arrives at the orphanage knowing of a child Tom Riddle whom was already known to be a thief, torment animals, and bully smaller children. Dumbledore offer to take him to Hogwarts, already knowing that the boy can't control his powers and offers up task of getting Tom Riddle under control. If the Ministry of Magic seems to know everything taking place in the Muggle world when Harry Potter does something stupid like run away from home or blow up his great aunt into a flying balloon- there is instantly an owl sent.

So why does the Ministry not have tabs on the murders of the Riddle family, and tragedy that had befallen the Gaunts, or the founding of the Death Eaters on their watch? That seems to be a pretty big plot hole given the events taking place in the same time line where Gellert Grindelwald is amassing an army to to lead a revolution and commit a bunch of murders in the same manner.

I love J.K. Rowling, but that seems a bit of sloppy writing there that basically Lord Voldemort starts doing the same activities that they are already on alert of Grindelwald doing and no one catches on until the Death Eaters start wiping out members of the Order of The Phoenix some time later?

Anyway it makes for a great story.

Only further installments of Fantastic Beasts will really put to bed the argument of who really was the worst dark wizard.


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    • JynBranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer B 

      9 months ago from Bolingbrook

      I'm psyched to see what the rest of the franchise will be about

    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 

      9 months ago from Northern California

      Interesting subject for all Harry Potter fans. I am curious as well. My daughter has read the series about five times. She totally understands what happened between the brothers and understands why it is a big deal for the next franchise. Me? I am a little lost. Still, love it and can't wait to see the next Fantastic Beasts movie.


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