My Thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

This will obviously contain lots of spoilers for both Fantastic Beasts movies. 

I saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on Thursday night with one of my best friends, Emma. We are HUGE Harry Potter/Wizarding World fangirls. I met Emma in college in 2011 and therefore we never got to see a Harry Potter movie in theaters together. We were thrilled that we could finally go together (we couldn’t go to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because we live in different states). We both have A LOT of thoughts about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We spent about 2 hours discussing after the movie. 

My overall opinion on Beasts 2 is a mixed bag. There were parts I loved, parts I liked, and parts I couldn’t stand. 

I’ll start with what I loved. . . 

Jude Law aka Albus Dumbledore aka Hot Dumbledore. Jude Law was perfection. He was so Dumbledore. He embodied everything that Dumbledore is and was . . . he even had the sparkle in his eye!

  • Fun fact: My friend and I have been referring to Beasts 2 as “Hot Dumbledore” and November as “Hot Dumbledore Month”. We now even use “Hot Dumbledore” as an expression like “Hot Damn.” For example . . . “Hot Dumbledore, Jude Law is attractive!”
  • Random point – When Dumbledore looks into the Mirror of Erised he sees himself and Grindelwald with the Elder Wand. Since the Mirror of Erised shows your strongest desire, I think that Dumbledore wishes that he and Grindelwald could have remained together and found the Elder Wand together. I think Dumbledore wishes he could have kept Grindelwald from becoming evil and abusing power.  
  • I cannot wait for more Dumbledore! 

Newt Scamander and his fantastic beasts, especially the Nifflers. Eddie Redmayne was great in his reprisal of Newt. He’s just so adorable and awkward. 

  • Huge props to the casting department for the actor who played the younger Newt! I actually thought it was just Eddie Redmayne at first. 

Being back at Hogwarts!!! I starting tearing up at the first image of the castle. 

  • Side note about Hogwarts: Yes, Minerva McGonagall should not have been there per previous canon dates. However, I am not as pissed about this as a lot of others are. Was is necessary? Absolutely not! Did it add anything to the movie? Nope! But, did it really make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of the Wizarding World? Not at all. 

Grindelwald’s manipulation and rise to power. Now, I was very upset with the decision to keep Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. I don’t think it was handled well at all. He totally could have been recast considering Grindelwald was literally only in 2.5 seconds of Beasts 1. I decided just to look at Grindelwald as a character and separate Johnny Depp from it.

  • People like to compare Voldemort and Grindelwald, but we have to remember that Grindelwald was first. Voldemort drew inspiration from Grindelwald. Grindelwald is terrifying because he is a master manipulator. A woman willingly and excitedly killed a child because Grindelwald told her to! 
  • I thought the film did an excellent job of showing how manipulative and persuasive Grindelwald is. My first thought was that he is a perfect representation of a cult leader. He is able to identify vulnerable people and manipulate them into joining his side. A great example of this is Queenie. Now, I know people have been debating whether Queenie is acting with free will or if something in the tea cursed her. I 100% believe that she is acting with her own free will. Grindelwald was able to target her and use her greatest desire (ability to marry Jacob legally) to persuade her to join his forces. She has become brainwashed, but not from any magic. She was the perfect victim. I thought this was a great and totally unexpected arc for Queenie. I can’t wait to see what happens next to her. 

Nicolas Flamel. His run through the house. The Sorcerer’s Stone. Everything about him. I loved it. 

Now for what I did not like. . .

The overall plot.

  • I totally get the purpose of this movie. It was all a set up for the next three movies. It was a filler. I just wasn’t invested in the whole “Who is Credence!?” plot. It was ok, but not what I expected. More on Credence later. 

The ridiculous amount of unnecessary characters and subplots. 

  • There was just too much going on in this movie. It was hard to keep up. I was confused as someone who is extremely well versed in the Wizarding World and its canon.
  • Was the whole Leta Lestrange’s half-brother subplot necessary? It did not add anything. I was just confused by the extra character. Actually the whole Leta Lestrange arc was weird. I was expecting something different after her mention of in the first movie. That being said, Zoe Kravitz was spectacular in the role. 

Nagini’s lack of a role. I was so excited when JKR revealed that Nagini was a Maledictus. I couldn’t wait to find how she became Voldemort’s right hand. Unfortunately, Nagini was just a prop in Beasts 2. She basically stood next to Credence and looked scared. I know she will play a bigger role in the next movies, but I’m disappointed that we have to keep waiting to learn about her. One thing that I did really like about Nagini was that she ended the movie with the good guys at Hogwarts. Nagini was a good guy! What happens between now and Voldemort that makes her change?! I can’t wait to find out! 

  • The transformation scene from human to snake was so creepy! Very well done! 

The big reveal about Credence’s identity. There are three options for the meaning of Grindelwald’s big reveal. . .

  1. It’s all a lie. I think that it’s a possibility that Grindelwald is messing with Credence. His proof is that the Phoenix bonds to Credence. The phoenix was with Credence throughout the entire movie, but did not reveal itself until Grindelwald said Credence was a Dumbledore. Seems mighty convenient to me. Also, at the beginning of the movie, Grindelwald says that Credence is the one that needs to kill Dumbledore (I know that Grindelwald can’t kill Dumbledore because of the blood pact). It seems unlikely, but maybe Credence was the perfect victim to use. Grindelwald can manipulate him into hating the Dumbledores and eventually use his Obscurus to kill Albus. I think this theory is a possibility, but it’s not my top choice for what I believe is true. 
  2. It’s the truth. If this is the case I will be FURIOUS. My love and admiration for J.K. Rowling will be over (I’ll still love all that she’s created). If this is the truth it will not only change canon, but fundamentally change who Dumbledore was. There is no way our Dumbledore wouldn’t have told Harry about another brother. There. Is. No. Way. And if Dumbledore knew he had another sibling he would NEVER neglect them. And wouldn’t Aberforth have mentioned another brother?! It’s just not possible. I just. I can’t. Also the dates don’t match up at all. Dumbledore’s mother was dead and his father was in Azkaban by the time Credence was born. It’s just not possible. And for all those who say well what if Percival Dumbledore escaped Azkaban! It is possible! Yes. But, that would be overly complicated and far-fetched. Anyway, if it is true I will be devastated. I don’t think that it will be this option though. I don’t think (and am hoping and praying) that JKR would do this.
  3. The most likely option . . . Credence is the host for the same Obscurus that was Arianna Dumbledore’s. After Beasts 1, we all realized that Arianna Dumbledore likely became an Obscurus after the muggle attack. I believe that her Obscurus survived and somehow traveled to find another host. Credence is that host. This would make it possible for him to be part Dumbledore . . . the Obscurus was part of Arianna and is now part of Credence. Dumbledore mentions early in the movie that the Obscurus is like an evil twin. I think this supports the host theory. The Obscurus is only one part of Credence. And Arianna is part of that Obscurus. I wish I could articulate this better, but this is the theory I believe to be true. 

If it is anything besides my first or third theories I will be so damn mad and disappointed. 

Young Grindelwald’s eye.

  • I absolutely LOVED that Jamie Campbell Bower and Toby Regbo were back to play the young versions of Grindelwald and Dumbledore. HOWEVER, why did they give young Grindelwald the super creepy right eye when he didn’t have it in Deathly Hallows. It was totally unnecessary . . . they could have just come up with a reason why Grindelwald’s eye became all weird. 

Overall, I’m disappointed and confused . . . which is a really hard feeling to grasp for a Harry Potter world movie. I’ve never felt this way after a Harry Potter movie. I so wanted to love it. I’m reminding myself that this movie’s purpose was to set up the rest of the series. Fingers crossed that the next three movies will be amazing! 

BookCon 2018 Recap


This past weekend I attended BookCon in New York City with my good friend, Kelsea. We had previously attended BookCon when it came to Chicago in 2016. We’ve been dying to go again, so we decided to splurge this year and buy ourselves VIP tickets (I highly recommend VIP tickets if you are looking to go to BookCon).

We had an epic time! It was a fun-filled, exhausting, and a book lovers dream.

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what to expect when I went to BookCon back in 2016. This year I was able to prepare and plan out my day which is an absolute MUST DO if you plan to attend. I used the BookCon website and publisher websites/social media to plan out my days and find out when events are occurring. This is especially helpful to find out about advanced reader copy (ARC) drops. I also used twitter during the two days of the convention. I turned on the alert notifications for all of the publishers and authors I was interested in. For example, PenguinTeen tweeted out the “passwords” to receive certain ARCs. I wouldn’t have known this if I didn’t have their tweet notifications on.

IMG_9516One of my favorite parts of attending BookCon is getting to meet some of my favorite authors. It is amazing to be able to talk with them and express my appreciation for their writing. This year I got to meet (from top to bottom & left to right) Alexandra Bracken, Tomi Adeyemi, Abbi Jacobsen, Marissa Meyer, Laini Taylor, the Dear Evan Hansen guys, Stephanie Garber, and (not pictured) S.A. Chakraborty, R.F. Kuang, and James “Murr” Murray. FYI most of the authors at BookCon required a purchase for signing, but also signed items brought from home.

I always get nervous before meeting authors because I don’t know what to say! However, all of these authors (except the Dear Evan Hansen guys because it was extremely quick) were so easy to talk to! It sounds cliché, but they are book lovers just like us!

I unfortunately only attended one panel at BookCon this year due to scheduling conflicts. There were a lot I wanted to go to, but it just didn’t work out. I did attend Magic & Power with Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, Marissa Meyer, and Brandon Sanderson which was super interesting and fun. I did get to attend a panel at Barnes & Noble the night before BookCon with Renee Ahdieh, Melissa de la Cruz, Marie Lu, Ransom Riggs, and Sabaa Tahir. It was awesome to be able to see some of the authors that I wouldn’t be seeing at BookCon.


Another huge aspect of the BookCon weekend is getting swag, free books, and advanced reader copies. It is so much fun to look at your haul at the end of the weekend. I added two pictures of my BookCon 2018 haul! I only brought 3 of those books with me to be signed and purchased 7 there. In total, I got 13 books (and 1 laptop skin) signed from 10 different authors.

I also received several highly anticipated ARCs that I am super pumped about – Rule by Ellen Goodlett, Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, and The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell. I am extremely excited IMG_9511.JPGabout all three of these books. Rule was the first thing my friend and I did on Saturday morning…we went immediately to the NOVL booth to get it.

I did not know that ARCs of The Devil’s Thief would be available, but I was talking with the girls at the Simon Riveted booth and they let me know it would be a prize at their carnival game. I was thrilled!!! I was unable to get it on Saturday due to atrocious lines for the game, but I made sure to be at the booth at exactly 11:00 on Sunday. I was over the moon when I won The Devil’s Thief. For those of you who haven’t read the first book (The Last Magician) in this series by Lisa Maxwell, I highly recommend it! It has all of my favorite things…time travel, fantasy, historical elements, magic, and heists. Also the cover is GORGEOUS.

Four Dead Queens was probably the “biggest” ARC I was able to get at BookCon. Prior to the event, PenguinTeen announced they would be having a secret ARC drop of a highly anticipated 2019 release. I knew it would be a long shot, but I wanted to at least try to get one. I went to the PenguinTeen booth about 20 minutes before the designated drop time and it was a madhouse! There were swarms of people all waiting and a ton of security. I luckily ran into two girls, Ivy and Drew, that I had met the previous day in line. We decided to stick together, and that was the best decision I made. Drew decided to check out the other side of the booth while Ivy and I held our spots. Penguin announced they were moving the line and everyone scrambled to get there. Since Drew already went that way, she was able to get a great spot in line. Ivy and I joined her and all three of us were able to get copies of the secret ARC, Four Dead Queens. Huge shout out to Ivy and Drew because I would not have been able to get a copy if I hadn’t joined with them. Meeting people is one of the most fun parts of BookCon. There are a lot of lines involved, so it’s nice to talk with the people near you in line. And it can pay off in situations like this!

BookCon was a blast and a huge success! By the end of the weekend I was exhausted and so sore, but it was 100% worth it. It was so fun to be surrounded by authors, books, and book lovers. I can’t wait for next year!!

Welcome to Tales of an Avid Reader!

Hello, my name is Lisa! I love to read, but I have never written my reviews down before. I recently started writing brief reviews on GoodReads, but I have decided that I wanted to make my own blog dedicated to my reviews and my love of reading.

I plan to gradually add my reviews from some of my favorite previous reads. I also just got back from BookCon and I received several highly anticipated advanced reader copies. I can’t wait to dive into those and post my reviews here!

I am really looking forward to sharing my reviews!

Please visit my ABOUT page if you’d like to learn more about me 🙂