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As the anticipated adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is based on a textbook, penned by the fictional Newt Scamander, Harry Potter fans only have a limited amount of information to go on as it relates to the plot of this feature trilogy. We know it begins in the 1920s, which is when Newt was researching Magical Beasts for the book he would go on to publish. Beyond that, few details about the plot have been revealed, however we're starting to think that J.K. Rowling may be subtly sharing hints about the film, or at the very least, information that could relate to characters or plot aspects of the movie, for which she's penning the screenplay. At the very least, we're going to do some serious theorizing here.
Rowling is known to drop clues and bits of set-up for characters and arcs that would be further developed later on in the series. Those of us who spent the seemingly-endless gaps of time between Harry Potter books picking over the text of the previously published books in search of plot clues for what was to come can attest to that. A name, a place or a spell might seem like a nice little add-on piece of trivia in context, and then turn out to be a crucial bit of information down the road. Which is why I feel compelled to take a closer look at some of the updates we've been given recently, that cause me to wonder if Rowling might not be setting up some background information related to the Fantastic Beasts story. At the very least, it seems necessary to collect some of the potentially related references and see what we come up with. We'll start with Celestina Warbeck, a fun, interesting and seemingly random biography update that J.K. Rowling shared on Pottermore...
Is Celestina Warbeck connected to Fantastic Beasts?(Photo Credit: UniversalOrlando.com)
I actually questioned the possibility of a connection between Celestina Warbeck and Fantastic Beasts last month, when J.K. Rowling released a new biography at Pottermore.com, which gave us background information on the famous magical singer. At the time, it was more of a passing comment, as we knew her time was set somewhere in the past. But not I'm wondering if maybe it's her father that's relevant to Fantastic Beasts.
In the biography, Celestina's father is described as "a minor functionary in the Muggle Liaison Office," who met Celestina's mother -- a muggle stage performer -- when he rescued her from a Lethifold attack. Mr. Warbeck isn't mentioned by name in the bio, but Celestina's birth year is listed as 1917 (cited from a Famous Wizard Card in the Philosopher's Stone video game). Assuming Daddy Warbeck was still working at the Ministry of Magic at the time of his daughter's birth, he would have been with the organization at the same time that Newt Scamander was there...
Did Newt Scamander know Mr. Warbeck?Fantastic Beasts' "About the Author" page notes that Newt Scamander worked at the Ministry of Magic's Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in the years leading up to the day he was commissioned to pen the Fantastic Beasts book in 1918. During his time at the Ministry, Newt did tedious work for the House-Elf Relocation office before being moved to the Beast division, where he moved up the ranks before he headed off to write the book.
Assuming the "Famous Wizard Card" birth year for Celestina is accurate information -- admittedly, this theory pretty much hinges on that bit of information being correct, and I can't verify it myself, but let's assume -- Mr. Warbeck worked for the Muggle Liaison office at some point before (if not through) 1917. Newt and Warbeck were in different departments, so they may not have worked together, but if Warbeck was skilled enough to know how to take down a Lethifold, perhaps he was friends with Newt Scamander. Or maybe their professional paths did cross.
The fact that they may have been working at the Ministry of Magic at the same time suggests a possible connection between these two characters. If that's the case, is Celestina's bio and the information about her parents intentional set-up for something in the Fantastic Beast films? To take that furhter, is it possible that Mr. Warbeck will be a character in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? The potential overlap in Newt and Warbeck's work at the Ministry, added to Rowling's recent update to Pottermore with Celestina's biography, which includes a tie to a certain (fantastic) beast, has us wondering if this is just a coincidence or if it's a major clue.
The mentioned Beast has a very direct connection to a more recent update from Rowling (and a planned update at Pottermore)...
Lethifold: The Link Between Warbeck And The PatronusI have a sort of dark (terrified) fascination with the Lethifold, as its description kind of reminds me of the 1950s sci-fi horror creature The Blob, a jelly-like alien amoeba that attacks people and consumes them, growing bigger and bigger with each meal. Except instead of being a growing blob of people-eating jelly, a Lethifold resembles a black cloak. From what Newt tells us in Fantastic Beasts, it sometimes preys by disguising itself as a blanket and suffocating its victim in their sleep, after which it ingests them. Shudder.
In the case of Celestina's mother, the Lethifold disguised itself as a stage curtain. Was Celestina's father in the audience when this happened? Perhaps backstage dealing with some mundane Muggle matter? Regardless, he was there to rescue Celestina's mother. The Lethifold played a key role in bringing Celestina Warbeck's parents together. And there's only one known way to defeat a Lethifold...
The PatronusThis month, not only has J.K. Rowling revealed the form her own Patronus takes, but she also teased an update to Pottermore that involves some kind of Patronus test. These updates on their own wouldn't be enough to trigger any major Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them theory alarms for me because really, Patronuses are popular in the Potter-verse, not only because the charm has been featured in some key moments in the books and films, but the customized nature of the charm, in the way that it's cast (conjuring a powerful, positive memory) and the form it takes (an animal that varies from one witch/wizard to the next) makes the Patronus a particularly interesting charm. Not only do we all wonder what our own Patronuses might be, but knowing the characters' Patronus form allows us to know them a bit better. Patronuses are cool. But looking at this recent update while taking the other updates into account, I can't help but wonder if Rowling has Patronuses on her mind these days. And if so, maybe it's because the charm is relevant to the screenplay she's writing.
Fans likely best associate Patronuses with Dementors, the soul-sucking creatures who are best fended off by the animal-shaped light-forces conjured by a witch or wizard with enough focus to find their inner happy place in the face of darkness and despair. The Lethifold is a lesser referenced magical creature that can be defeated with a Patronus, as proven by Flavius Belby, whose story is documented in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. So I'm inclined to wonder if the Patronus charm will be playing a notable role in the Fantastic Beasts films. It's presumably what Celestina Warbeck's father used to protect her mother. And it's something Newt Scamander would likely need to know how to do if he were to encounter any Lethifolds and Dementors in his travels.
It's also worth noting that the Dementor is not included in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which may be an indication that they're considered a magical "Being" by the ministry, rather than a "beast." See the introduction to Fantastic Beasts for the distinction. Beast or Being, the dementors could still pop up in the Fantastic Beasts films, but given that the Lethifold is defined as a Beast by the book, it's more likely we'd see one of those, if not both.
Am I Grasping At Straws Here?Perhaps. It's entirely possible that all of these "clues" amount to a mixture of coincidence and my inner Potter geek waking up after years of rest, determined to find some shreds of information about these films while we wait for official updates. But again, J.K. Rowling is known to drop clues in her books, and in absence of new Harry Potter books, maybe she's dropping them in Tweets and updates at Pottermore. Maybe Celestina's father has some ties to Newt Scamander. Or maybe Celestina's set up to appear later on in the story when she's a bit older? Is it a coincidence that the Lethifold is a link between Warbeck and the Patronus, two topics that have been addressed very recently? Perhaps these are clues, but are they major clues? That's for us to