The Crimes Of Grindelwald, the exciting and action-packed sequel to Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sees not only the return of Newt Scamander and our 1920s friends, but also the return of some of our favourite (and not-so-favourite) Harry Potter characters. We get to see young Albus Dumbledore, played by the incomparable Jude Law, and, more surprisingly, Nagini, Voldemort’s most loyal servant. But if you’re going into the theater expecting to hate her as much as you did in the Harry Potter series, you’re in for quite a shock. She isn’t anything like you remember her.
Nagini was first introduced to us in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, specifically in the Riddle House when Voldemort had not yet returned to full strength. She was not only loyal to him, he was loyal to her. It was due to her venom that he was able to survive his first downfall, and often she would let him possess her. It was also said that the two could communicate telepathically.
We’ve seen her do much of the Dark Lord’s dirty work, from attacking Arthur Weasley in Order Of The Phoenix to killing Severus Snape in one of the most tear-jerking reveals in The Deathly Hallows. She was one of Voldemort’s horcruxes, in fact, the last one to be destroyed, and she was killed by none other than Neville Longbottom during the Battle of Hogwarts. And we were all pretty happy when she died! So, when it was announced that she would appear in The Crimes Of Grindelwald, as excited as we were to see another Potter character appear in Fantastic Beasts, we were ready to bring that hatred back. But Rowling had other things in mind, as she always does.
Nagini is nothing like what we remember her as. Firstly, and most obviously, she isn’t a snake in 1927. She’s a woman. We find out in this film that Nagini, played wonderfully by Claudia Kim, is, in fact, a Maledictus. A Maledictus, for those of you who don’t know, is a female witch born with a rare blood curse that is passed from mother to daughter, and that forces said witch to transform into an animal. While they can transform at will, one day the transformation will become permanent, and they will remain an animal forever.
This, of course, explains why we never saw her in human form during the Second Wizarding War. The transformation was already complete. But it’s also important to note that a Maledictus is not destined to become evil. What prompted Nagini to become a servant of one of the darkest wizards of all time, we can’t yet be sure. For she displayed no loyalty to Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts sequel.
When we meet Nagini in The Crimes Of Grindelwald, she is not only a performer, but a main attraction in Skender’s Wizarding Circus. To see a Maledictus is a rare thing, so Skender forces her to transform every night for strangers to behold. But during her time at the Circus, she meets Credence. The two become incredibly close, both outcasts in their own ways. And after escaping the Circus together, Nagini helps Credence attempt to find his mother, or at least, discover the knowledge of who he really is. But before they can, Grindelwald seeks the pair out, convincing them to hear him speak at the rally that takes place in the Lestrange Mausoleum. And while Credence joins Grindelwald’s cause, desperate to find out who he truly is, Nagini refuses, and this is where they part ways.
At the end of the film, we see her join Newt and the others in returning to Hogwarts, hoping that Dumbledore can find a way to defeat Grindelwald. So, the woman who later will become a Horcrux, fight against all that is good and slither beside one of the darkest wizards of all time, once was aligned with Albus Dumbledore…consider us extremely fascinated.
While we know Nagini will find herself on a dark path, we have no idea how, when, or why that will happen, or when she will transform permanently into a snake. But what we do know is that in The Crimes Of Grindelwald, she’s actually incredibly easy to relate to and sympathize with. This woman is an outcast and knows she is destined to one day never be human again. She is kind, compassionate, and refuses to give into Grindelwald’s powers of persuasion despite her loyalty to Credence. She is far from evil. If anything, she’s someone we want to root for. It’s hard to believe that this woman is also the snake who attacked and killed some of our favourite Potter characters. It just goes to show that in the Wizarding World, anything is possible.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald Is In Theaters Now.