The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is about Gellert Grindelwald. There's a reason the second movie is called The Crimes of Grindelwald, and J.K. Rowling is clearly fascinated by the villain she's created. Of course, he's not the first villain she created. Even though we have an entire movie named after him, there's still plenty fans of the series don't know about the character. He lived a long and villainous life and did many bad things. Still, there are plenty of Grindelwald facts that most people are unaware of.
Do you know where he went to school? How many actors have played him? What his coat of arms is? If you're looking for any of that information, you can find it below. Additionally, you can find 37 Grindelwald facts that might blow your mind just a little bit.
Those who read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may have been surprised by the prominence of Grindelwald in the book. After all, he's not really a major part of any of the other novels, so to just include him at the end feels a little bit like a cop-out.
In fact, that's not quite the case. You see, Grindelwald was actually mentioned in the very first novel, as one of the characters who has his own chocolate frog cards. It may have seemed like one name in a list of many at the time, his name was actually much more significant than it first seemed to be.
Grindelwald has only appeared in a couple of Harry Potter films thus far, but he's already been played by four different actors. In the Deathly Hallows films, he's played as a young man by Jamie Campbell Bower in flashbacks and images. When Voldemort sees him at Nurmengard, he's played by Michael Byrne.
In the spin-off Fantastic Beasts series, Grindelwald is first played by Colin Farrell and then in his true form by Johnny Depp. Although Dumbledore's appeared in way more films, he's only been played by three different actors. Grindelwald might hold the record, at least in the world of Harry Potter.
We have plenty of examples of the fact that wizards and witches live much longer than normal people. Given Grindelwald's level of skill with magic, he might have lived even longer if Voldemort hadn't ended his life. Although he was imprisoned and his life probably wasn't very good, he wasn't exactly on the verge of death with Voldemort found him.
Still, 115 is a nice long life, and he probably wasn't all that upset about his own demise, especially considering the fact of his imprisonment. Being locked in a cell gives you plenty of time to think, but after more than 50 years, you're probably all done with thinking.
In Harry's story, the symbol of the Deathly Hallows is only meant to signify the Hallows themselves. In Grindelwald's day, though, they had another meaning, one which Grindelwald chose. Much like Voldemort's dark mark, Grindelwald used the symbol of the Deathly Hallows as his signifier.
That makes sense, given what we know about Grindelwald's own obsession with those objects. It's telling, though, that after all his years hunting for the Hallows, he only ever managed to obtain one. What's more, the Elder Wand ultimately wasn't much help to him when he needed it most, in his duel against Dumbledore in 1945.
Durmstrang isn't really much like Hogwarts. Hogwarts actively discourages its students from learning about the dark arts, in large part because that kind of magic can be hugely corrupting. At Durmstrang, studying the dark arts is encouraged. It's basically part of the curriculum. That only makes Grindelwald's expulsion from the school for practicing the dark arts and harming other students all the more striking.
Durmstrang is pretty chill when it comes to the dark arts, but even there Grindelwald was extreme. Of course, if he hadn't been at a school that encouraged studying the dark arts, he might never have become the dark wizard he ultimately was.
In the world of Harry Potter, Grindelwald ends up in prison and alone, and Ginny ends up with Harry. In the real world, though, the actor who played Grindelwald as a young man, Jamie Campbell Bower, dated Bonnie Wright, the actress who played Ginny.
Although the two dated for a time, their romance wasn't ultimately meant to last. The couple broke up in 2012, shortly after the final Harry Potter film hit theaters. It seems that this dark wizard and heroic witch just weren't meant to be. Ginny and Harry will always be the perfect match in our hearts, even if they don't exist.
Depending on which movie you're looking at, Grindelwald's eye color appears to change. In the script for the first Fantastic Beasts, it's suggested clearly that his eye color is supposed to be blue. In The Crimes of Grindelwald, though, Grindelwald has heterochromia iridium, which means that one eye is dark and the other is light.
Some have theorized that this change in eye color may be a result of Grindelwald's possession of the Elder Wand, but that hasn't necessarily been the case for others. The more likely explanation is that this is some sort of goof or oversight from the production team on these films.
As Harry discovers in Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends when they were young. In fact, the two of them plotted to overthrow the wizarding world order together. Ultimately, Grindelwald carried that plan out on his own, and the friendship between them dissolved.
That friendship only came to be because they met in Godric's Hollow, which was Dumbledore's childhood home, as well as Harry's. It's fascinating to consider the importance of that place as a location in the world of Harry Potter. Over the course of the story, many hugely significant events have happened there, from Voldemort's murdering Harry's parents to Dumbledore's sister's death.
Although Grindelwald found a good friend and enormously talented wizard in Godric's Hollow, he didn't come to the village looking for Dumbledore. In fact, he came because of the connection that Godric's Hollow has to the Peverells, the brothers at the center of the Deathly Hallows myth.
When Harry visits the village, he spots Ignotus Peverell's grave. Although Grindelwald came for the grave, he wasn't ultimately able to find Ignotus's invisibility cloak, which had been passed down from father to son for generations in Harry's family, until Harry himself received the cloak. Grindelwald could never have gotten his hands on it. It wasn't his.
As part of his rise to power, Grindelwald built a prison for the purpose jailing his enemies. That prison, which was called Nurmengard, and Grindelwald did use it as a prison for the worst years of his fight to overthrow the magical establishment. After he was defeated by Dumbledore, Grindelwald ended up being imprisoned there himself.
He was placed in the prison's tallest tower with nothing but a small window, a thin sheet and a hard bed. At the time of his death, he was likely the only prisoner in the entire compound. He was a man, left inside a prison of his own making, forced to reckon with the choices that had landed him there.
There have been 10 movies set in the Harry Potter universe thus far. In that time, only two people have had their names incorporated into the title. The first is obvious — it's Harry himself. As of right now, the only other person to be bestowed that honor is Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
In the original series, there are a couple of instances where a character is referenced in the title, even though they aren't named. Those people include Sirius (the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Snape (the Half-Blood Prince). Still, Grindelwald stands in a category apart from both of them.
If you know anything about Grindelwald, you know that he was ultimately defeated in a legendary duel against Dumbledore, his one-time friend. That duel took place in 1945, and according to J.K. Rowling, that isn't a coincidence. As World War II came to an end, so too did a wizarding war between Grindelwald's supporters and the rest of the magical world.
Grindelwald's goal, which is to allow wizards to dominate muggles for the greater good, also has some similarities to Hitler's larger plans for the world. Thankfully, both men were stopped before they could bend the world to their wills.
Grindelwald's last name could mean many different things, and none of them are particularly good. First, it sounds like the word "grindill" which means "storm." It also sounds and is spelled like the Middle English word "grindel," meaning "angry." There's also the possibility that it's a reference to the Old English word "grindan" which means "to grind."
Whatever his name is supposed to refer to, it's fairly clear that Grindelwald is not a good dude. He's either a storm, angry, or he grinds his enemies into the dirt. In fact, it's possible that he's capable of doing all three at the same time.
As an old man, Dumbledore is remarkably generous and open-hearted toward all kinds of people. He doesn't believe in oppressing muggles for the benefit of wizardkind. As a young man, though, he had sympathy for many of Grindelwald's ideas along those lines.
In part, Grindelwald relied on Dumbledore's lingering resentment about the muggles who had attacked his sister when she was quite young. He felt a keen sense of injustice as a result of that attack, one that Grindelwald used to convince him that muggles deserved to be ruled over by wizards, who had powers that they did not.
Although it's tough to know exactly what he was thinking in his final moments, it's fairly safe to assume that Grindelwald had some sort of change of heart while he was locked in Nurmengard. This is mostly indicated through his interactions with Voldemort in the book.
He refuses to tell Voldemort where the Elder Wand is in the books, and he seems to understand what the implications would be if he got his hands on it. He's known the kind of power that Voldemort is seeking, and he seems to understand that no good can come of it. Dumbledore seems to suggest there's a gentle heart inside him somewhere. Maybe it came out in his last days.
We didn't know that Dumbledore was gay until after the final Harry Potter book had already been released. After that, we learned that not only was Dumbledore gay, he was in love with Grindelwald. Whether that affection was mutual is, at this point, unclear. The two were definitely close during Grindelwald's time in Godric's Hollow, but Dumbledore's romantic affections may have been one-sided.
Whatever the case may be, Dumbledore's love for Grindelwald was clearly part of what blinded him to the realities of who his friend was and the kind of things he stood for. If he wasn't in love, he may have been able to stop Grindelwald much sooner.
Dumbledore also believes that Grindelwald may know who actually killed Dumbledore's sister Ariana. All that Dumbledore knows is that, after Grindelwald used the Cruciatus curse on Aberforth, a duel broke out between the three of them. Ariana ended up being the collateral damage of that duel.
When the two finally faced off, we don't know whether Grindelwald reveals the information that Dumbledore long feared — that it was Dumbledore who ended his sister's life that night. Dumbledore's guilt is already enormous. He may not have been able to recover from the burden of that information, even if it was an accident.
As it turns out, Voldemort stole a lot of his best tricks from Grindelwald. One of those tricks is Grindelwald's ability to be summoned by his followers through the use of the Deathly Hallows symbol. This is very similar to the way that the Death Eaters can call Voldemort through the use of the Dark Mark.
It's a good, magical way for dark wizards to know where they're needed. It also serves as proof of loyalty, a kind of public-facing symbol that reminds those in the world at large about just how fearsome both Grindelwald and Voldemort and their respective supporters are.
Thanks to its many appearances in the books and movies, we know all about Harry's invisibility cloak. It makes its user invisible, and can't be detected by magic, which makes it a hugely useful tool. Grindelwald can do something very similar, only he doesn't need a cloak to make it happen.
Although no other witch or wizard can do this, Grindelwald can use a disillusionment charm to make himself invisible. This not only speaks to Grindelwald's enormous skill, but it's also part of what makes him such a tricky foe. He can be anywhere at virtually any time and can disappear without a trace.
Ariana's death was one of the first events in Grindelwald's life that kick-started his reputation as a notorious dark wizard. Although his role in her death is still unclear to this date, it's an event that increased his notoriety and forced him to flee England.
It was from there that Grindelwald began his quest to find the Elder Wand and the rest of the Deathly Hallows in earnest. Once he had done that, he began to amass a following and carry out the plans he had created with Dumbledore in Godric's Hollow on his own. He sprang into action, even as he lost an ally.
For a while, Grindelwald was the most legendary dark wizard there had ever been. His strength was unsurpassed, and his skill with magic was second to only Dumbledore's. It's interesting that there was another wizard for whom that was true. Lord Voldemort ultimately surpassed Grindelwald both in skill and in power, but he too feared Dumbledore's skill with a wand.
Still, Grindelwald must have been a little upset that Voldemort took his "greatest dark wizard of all time" title. After all, part of what all dark wizards are after is the infamy that comes with being one of the worst people to ever live.
Although it was clear to both Grindelwald and Dumbledore that Dumbledore was the only wizard who could defeat him, Dumbledore refused to face Grindelwald for years, even as he rose to power. There are likely several reasons he refused to face his old friend, including the fact that he was in love with him
On top of that, Grindelwald may have known who killed Ariana. In addition to those factors, Dumbledore may also have feared to lose to his oldest friend. He may have known that he was the only one who stood a chance, but Grindelwald did have the Elder Wand.
Another skill that appears to be totally unique to Grindelwald is that of human transfiguration, which allows him to impersonate another for an extended period of time. We see this on full effect in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, when he impersonates Percival Graves for the entirety of the movie.
While it's technically possible that he's using polyjuice potion when no one is looking, we never see him drink anything, and he takes on Percival's voice perfectly, even though polyjuice potion doesn't have that effect. It's more likely that the dark wizard knows how to transform into other people through a spell.
In general, the rules around magic have been slightly less clear in the Fantastic Beasts series than they were in the original Harry Potter films. Even so, Grindelwald is clearly skilled at casting spells without speaking, something that many great wizards struggle with. This is evident from his duels, which he often conducts in total silence.
What's more, Grindelwald also appears to be capable of conducting magic without a wand. He simply uses his hands. This skill is even rarer, and suggests that Grindelwald has a keen sense of how to hone his magical abilities with incredible precision even when he doesn't have a wand to channel the magic through.
In the first Fantastic Beasts, it initially seems as though Grindelwald is simply lying about his visions to get Credence to behave the way he wants. According to J.K. Rowling, though, that's not the whole story. In fact, he is a seer and he was lying to Credence.
That means that, in addition to all of Grindelwald's other totally unique skills, he's also capable of seeing glimpses of the future. Based on what we've seen, it seems like Grindelwald uses that ability entirely to achieve his own ends. He predicts World War II to scare people into following him, for one.
One of the most interesting things about Grindelwald is that his movement was not built on pure hate the way that Voldemort's was. Instead, it was built on a feeling of persecution and fear, and on building a sense of belonging among witches and wizards who had never had one.
In order for that movement to catch on, Grindelwald had to convince his followers, not through spells or shows of strength, instead, he had to compel them with solid arguments and compelling speeches. Grindelwald knew how to win over a crowd. That was part of what made him such a dangerous enemy to the established wizarding order.
If you needed another indication of Grindelwald's incredible power, look no further than his ability to cast bolts of lightning using only his wand. We see this power in full when he escapes from the MACUSA authorities and returns to Europe.
We've actually seen Voldemort display a very similar power when he first obtains the Elder Wand. The practical benefits of calling lightning from the sky may be somewhat limited, but it undoubtedly looks really cool and is a great way for powerful dark wizards to show the world just how powerful they are. After all, what's more evil than a lightning bolt?
In addition to his many other abnormal magical abilities, we clearly see in the first Fantastic Beasts movie that Grindelwald can heal people without a wand. Madame Pomfrey mainly uses potions for healing at Hogwarts, so this seems like a marvelous feat that would require great skill.
It's interesting that this skill can really only be used to help people. Most of Grindelwald's skills are nefarious in one way or another, but this one is compassionate. Of course, he can use that compassion to turn people to his cause, but still, it speaks to Grindelwald's complexity as a villain and a character.
When Grindelwald doesn't tell Voldemort where the Elder Wand is, Voldemort attempts to read Grindelwald's mind using Legilimency. His attempt fails because of Grindelwald's skill with occlumency, a skill that allows him to keep his mind from being read. This is just one indication of the relative power that Voldemort and Grindelwald have.
In many ways, Voldemort is the stronger wizard, but even he wasn't strong enough to break through Grindelwald's defenses. Grindelwald may not have been at his best when he finally met Voldemort, but he wasn't as powerless as he might have been. In protecting his mind, he bought those opposing Voldemort more time.
Given Grindelwald's fixation on the Deathly Hallows, it feels natural to assume that one of his overarching goals was to conquer death. We know that Voldemort had similar ambitions, even if he went about conquering death in a totally different way. Eventually, though, Grindelwald came around to Dumbledore's point of view — that there are much scarier things than death.
We know this because Grindelwald was very willing to die at Voldemort's hands when Voldemort confronted him in Nurmengard. He was ready to go, even though he'd been running from death for the majority of his life up to that point.
Grindelwald actually discovered the symbol of the Deathly Hallows while he was at school, and he became so obsessed with them that he actually started to carve the symbol in the halls of Durmstrang. As Krum says, the symbol can still be seen on the campus today.
To those at Durmstrang, the symbol simply brings to mind Grindelwald himself, as they don't know that it has a deeper meaning. It's telling that the Hallows were Grindelwald's only driving interest from a very young age, and he still only ever managed to possess one of them. They don't come to you just because you're a great wizard.
During his time in Godric's Hollow, Grindelwald wasn't living alone. In fact, he was living with his great aunt Bathilda Bagshot, the author of A History of Magic and the world's foremost magical historian. The Dumbledores were very friendly with her, and that's how Dumbledore and Grindelwald met. After Grindelwald committed his crimes, she likely tried to distance herself from that particular relative.
Amazingly, Bathilda was still alive for much of Harry's life. He goes to visit her but ultimately discovers that she's been killed by Nagini. Still, she lived to be even older than both Grindelwald and Dumbledore, which is really saying something.
Thestrals aren't evil creatures. When Harry first sees them, he realizes that only people who have seen death can see the creatures. It's fitting, then, that the core of Grindelwald's wand is the hair from the tail of a thestral. It's a core that suggests death, and Grindelwald certainly brought plenty of that.
Of course, this isn't to suggest that every person with Thestral hair in their wand is evil. It just feels like a nice touch for Grindelwald, especially given his own attempts to conquer death and live forever. Not only did he bring death to others, but he also feared it.
We've already touched on several reasons that Dumbledore is unwilling to face down Voldemort, but there's one more that we discover in The Crimes of Grindelwald. In fact, Dumbledore and Grindelwald have a magical blood pact from their time as friends that keeps them from fighting or harming each other in any way.
That's a huge problem for Dumbledore, who we already know defeats Grindelwald in 1945. In the years between The Crimes of Grindelwald and 1945, he'll have to find a way to break the pact. We know he will, but the big question that remains is how exactly he does it.
In Harry's time, Grindelwald's name is not a big deal. That's at least true in the United Kingdom, where Voldemort is a much larger threat. For Viktor Krum and other students from Durmstrang, though, his presence still looms quite large. Grindelwald also has a more personal connection to Krum, as he's directly responsible for the murder of his grandfather.
That's why Krum reacts so strongly when he sees the symbol of the Deathly Hallows around Xenophilius Lovegood's neck. That symbol is still detestable to him as someone who suffered directly at the hands of the dark wizard and his followers.
As part of his pitch to his potential followers in The Crimes of Grindelwald, Grindelwald shows them a vision of a future where muggles murder each other by the millions in World War II. He claims that his plan is to dominate muggles in order to prevent this war.
What we don't know is whether that claim is true. Of course, it's also possible that Grindelwald's actions in advance of the war will be part of what causes it to happen in the first place. He may be trying to prevent it, but that doesn't mean he'll ultimately be able to.
When Voldemort's search for the Elder Wand takes him to Nurmengard to confront Grindelwald, Grindelwald tells him that the Elder Wand will never truly be his. He's right, of course, but it's not entirely clear how he knows this information. He had a lot of time to think in his cell at Nurmengard, so it's definitely a possibility that he's sussed out the fact that Dumbledore had a plan to keep the Elder Wand from him.
Grindelwald may not know all the specifics, but he knows Dumbledore better than most, and he likely knew that Dumbledore would do everything in his power to keep the wand from Voldemort.
Like many students at Durmstrang, Grindelwald's interest in the dark arts was initially just part of his curriculum. Eventually, Grindelwald realized that he possessed quite a bit of skill in the area, and came to be fascinated by studying it. Still, it's worth considering how Grindelwald would have turned out had he gone to a school that put less of an emphasis on dark magic.
He may have had a much different trajectory, one that may have ultimately made him a healthier, more functional member of wizarding society. Some may think his descent into darkness was destiny, but we all know that choice plays a role.
It may seem obvious that a great dark wizard would like to hurt people. What's interesting about Grindelwald as opposed to Voldemort, though, is that he was much more subtle about the darkness at the heart of his ambition. He knew how to make it seem like his goals were admirable.
Underneath that, though, Grindelwald enjoyed hurting people. That sadistic side came out during his time at Durmstrang, and during his fight with Aberforth, when he used an unforgivable curse on Dumbledore's brother. He may seem like someone with goals he truly believes in, but he was also capable of incredible cruelty.
Much like Voldemort, Grindelwald had an inner circle of close supporters who he would work with to plan his various attacks. Although Grindelwald's goal is to amass as many followers as possible, his inner circle of acolytes is composed of six people, include Credence and Queenie.
Some of the other names on that list may be familiar to Harry Potter fans, including MacDuff, Carrow, Abernathy, and Vinda Rosier, all of whom would have descendants that became Death Eaters. Some people are just born to follow dark wizards who want to destroy and oppress muggles. It's almost like being raised in a racist place makes you more likely to be racist.