Saturday, December 24, 2016

Did Tina or Newt Win the Allegiance of the Elder Wand? Day 12 of the 12 Days of #FantasticBeasts

On the twelfth day of Fantastic Beasts, my true love gave to me... A twist in Elder Wand lore!

Welcome to day 12 of the 12 Days of Fantastic Beasts! Forgive me for being a day late in this post, but below I present my highly speculative theory on the Elder Wand in Fantastic Beasts.


Crossed Wands by Kayla Perkinson

On The Elder Wand from Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts

We know the Elder Wand will figure into Fantastic Beasts somehow, some way. We’re just not sure of the timing.

Per canon, somewhere between 1899 – 1945, Grindelwald stole it from the wandmaker Gregorovitch, stunning him in the process to claim the allegiance of this most powerful wand. In 1945, Dumbledore won the wand off Grindelwald when they dueled. However, for the exact timing of Grindelwald’s claim, we only know that it was as he rose to power.

Two key questions present themselves:
  • Does Grindelwald already possess the Elder Wand during this first movie?
  • If the wand owes its allegiance to Grindelwald at the movie’s beginning, does it still by the movie’s end?
I believe that Grindelwald is in possession of the wand at the beginning set in Europe. The previously unknown powerful spell that he casts, which kills five Aurors at once with a white flash of light, is meant to hint at this.

We do not see Graves using the Elder Wand throughout the course of the movie, because to do so would make Graves’ friends and co-workers question why he suddenly has a new wand. However, from established canon, the wand does not need to physically change hands for its loyalty to switch to the witch or wizard who disarms its owner.

The truly murky question comes about the ending, the scene in the subway. Newt shoots out a spell which lashes around Grindelwald like a whip, making him lose balance and drop his wand. Graves’ wand. Tina immediately Accios it.

Did Newt disarm Grindelwald? Or did Tina?

Fandom is already debating the nuances of this bit of wand lore. But I believe: Why not both?

Teamwork, and not going it alone, has always been a crucial theme for Rowling. She will be eager to explore a new depth to the elements of power and corruption that the Elder Wand represents. She will not wish to merely repeat what we have seen before through Draco’s disarming of Dumbledore in Harry Potter.

So why not add the dimension of a team disarmament? It would be quite fitting with the WWII theme as well.

Except there is the complication that we know Grindelwald has possession of the wand when Dumbledore disarms him in 1945. However, we also know Dumbledore to be the master of manipulation.

Here’s my best guess of what Rowling is doing with the Elder Wand. She’s adding nuance to its lore. If the wand owner is defeated in a team effort, then the wand splits its loyalty. Both Newt and Tina have a claim to the Elder Wand, but neither can claim it as their own without the other.

Because the wand no longer responds to him, though he is still in physical possession, Grindelwald goes on a mad rampage throughout the series to find and kill Newt, totally discounting Tina’s contribution…just as he has all along.

Dumbledore, however, understands. Knowing that the odds of Tina and Newt being able to claim the wand and defeat Grindelwald are low due to its split loyalty, Dumbledore offers up a plan. If Grindelwald overpowers Newt, perhaps a pretend death, and wins back the part that was loyal to Newt, would the wand then be ineffective in a battle that included Tina, still part owner, unbeknownst to Grindelwald?

If Newt can use elements from his Beasts to wipe out a city full of memories, I’m sure he can come up with something to brew a version of the Draught of Living Death.

Thus would explain Grindelwald’s:
Will we die, just a little? (p. 257)
He knows one of them must die to secure the loyalty of the Elder Wand.

What's your theory on the Elder Wand? Do you think Grindelwald had already claimed it before this story began? And if so, did Newt or Tina win its loyalty?

Be sure to check out all posts for the 12 Days of Fantastic Beasts! And Merry Christmas to all celebrating!!

About the Book:
Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts

Explore JK Rowling's secrets, one clue at a time!

Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts is THE guide for all Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them fans eager to experience anew the excitement of of finding clues and sharing speculation, just like they enjoyed during the height of the Harry Potter series. New fans will be amazed at the secrets lurking underneath the surface of Rowling's newest film. Diving deeply into the story's mysteries, S.P. Sipal offers a detailed analysis of the analogies, myths, and clues JK Rowling hid on screen and on page to charm her fans once again.

Discover and explore such questions as:
  • Is there an Animagi hidden in the story?
  • Why will there be FIVE movies?
  • What secret is Modesty hiding?
  • Did Frank wipe out ALL the memories from that fateful night?
  • And was Grindelwald already in possession of the Elder Wand?

S.P. Sipal has analyzed the mysteries behind the Harry Potter series for over a dozen years. A sought-after presenter at fan, writing, and academic conferences both at home and abroad, her books have also delighted writers, teachers, and fans alike. Now she turns her expert attention to investigating the beginning of Rowling's exciting new series. Join her as she prepares you to dig into the layers of subtext yourself to claim what treasures await...before the Niffler beats you to it.