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The Wizarding World is back and better than ever with the wide theatrical release of the third chapter in the Fantastic Beasts saga: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Secrets were indeed revealed throughout this roller coaster of a magical adventure featuring the return of magical zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and the motley band of anti-Grindelwald allies he and sage Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) have managed to unite over the last two movies.
Your head still reeling after everything that went down over the two-and-a-half hour runtime? Let's take a look at the film's climactic ending and what it could mean for this franchise moving forward. Accio spoilers!
***WARNING! The following contains massive spoilers for the end of the movie. If you haven't yet seen The Secrets of Dumbledore yet, we suggest Apparating over to your local theater, pronto.***
The Secrets of Dumbledore culminates in the ancient magical city of Bhutan, where Gellert Grindelwald (now played by Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen) attempts to steal the wizarding election with a faulty Qilin.
Once exposed for his duplicity, the Muggle-hating wizard who hopes to provoke all-out war between the magical and non-magical worlds attempts to kill an ailing Credence (played by Ezra Miller and revealed to be the long-lost son of Aberforth Dumbledore). Albus casts forth a counter-curse and ends up dueling with his former love in a direct breach of the blood pact that once forbade the two men from fighting one another. Instead of resulting in Albus's death, however, the battle ends with the pact destroyed.
When Newt asks how this was even possible, Dumbledore explains that his only intention in that moment was to protect Credence. It's pretty much the same rule that allowed young Harry Potter to survive Lord Voldemort's Killing Curse.
By placing herself between Voldemort and her infant son, Lilly Potter inadvertently cast a protection so powerful, that no spell had a chance of getting past it. Similarly, Dumbledore's desire to protect his dying nephew was so noble and pure — in other words, an action born out of love, not revenge — that it was enough to break the terms of a binding magical contract that would have otherwise killed him.
Dumbledore's greatest obstacle to defeating Grindelwald has now been removed, right? Well, kind of. Given that the third film takes place in the early 1930s, we still have a little over a decade to go until the legendary duel in 1945 that netted Albus the Elder Wand (one of the Deathly Hallows) and saw Grindelwald trapped in his own castle until he was murdered by Voldemort years later.
The fact that the Fantastic Beasts villain still wields one of the most dangerous artifacts in the Wizarding World is only one one of the elements that makes him such a formidable foe...at least from Dumbledore's perspective.
Thanks to Harry's discussion with Dumbledore at King's Cross station near the end of the seventh book, we know why it took so long for Albus to take care of the Grindelwald issue once and for all: he was scared. Scared that Grindelwald held the knowledge of who exactly killed Ariana Dumbledore (Albus and Aberforth's little sister) during a heated duel several decades before.
When Albus and Gellert made plans to run away together and start their crusade of subjugating the Muggle world, Aberforth was the one to bring his brother back to Earth. He didn't mince words, explaining the insanity and impracticality of abandoning the family. Grindelwald didn't much care for the nuisance and a fight broke out between all three boys. When the dust cleared, Ariana (who was an Obscurial, who could not always contain the erratic power building inside of her) was dead and no one was entirely sure who'd been responsible.
This is briefly mentioned to Newt in The Secrets of Dumbledore, but if we're lucky enough to get two more entries — as was originally planned — then the story will most likely focus on Albus coming to terms with that guilt and facing the truth, no matter what it may be. To quote the man himself, he'll be forced to choose between what is right and what is easy.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is now playing in theaters everywhere. The first two Fantastic Beasts films are streaming now on Peacock along with all eight entries in the Harry Potter saga.