Our main goal in this article is to share all the nitty-gritty details we possibly can about connections between the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the Harry Potter one. While the title says one thing, we here at TheGamer often rise to the challenge and try to go the extra mile. What makes both these huge universes click? Beasts is basically a prequel to the Potter storyline, and as such makes for one big flashback and origins package, if ever there was one.
So, what happened between Fantastic Beasts and the Harry Potter series? Well, as it turns out, there was a lot. While, yes, there are a lot of years between the two, there's more to it than that. J.K. Rowling has been giving us little tidbits since the series ended about extra backstory and plot points. She usually does this through Pottermore or Twitter, and we have to say how grateful we are for it! There's just so much out there to learn about this series, and we hope that you come away from this article having learned something.
In our top-25 list, we are going to explore interesting lore, scenes, characters, backstories, relationship bridges, and how several plotlines in Fantastic Beasts has resulted in making important story elements stand out in the Potter films. The books, on the other hand, are a similar deal, and the following points also cover timelines and links in the literary segment a la Rowling.
25 The Riddler
It's interesting to note that during these tumultuous times, Tom Marvolo Riddle (the young Voldemort) was born. The fateful day was December 31, 1926, the same year in which Newt Scamander came to New York.
His mother, Merope Gaunt, perished giving birth to him in an orphanage that she'd run to, after father, Marvolo Riddle, abandoned her.
The muggle used a love potion to trick her into marrying him. Whether he came to hear rumors of it or not, Tom never quite forgave his father for his shortcomings. Merope's brother, Morfin Gaunt, did time in Azkaban for three years, returning to inherit Gaunt House. Tom Riddle later returned 'home', and framed Morfin (1942) for the cold-blooded destruction of the Riddle family. In truth, Tom himself eliminated his father and grandparents to create his first Horcrux, and made sure that Morfin rotted for it in Azkaban for life!
24 The Harrowing Tale Of Hagrid
Another famous name in the Beasts-Potter timeline is Rubeus Hagrid, who was born around 1931; exact date unclear. His giant mother, Fridwulfa, not only abandons her husband but relinquishes all responsibility for Hagrid as well. She left the baby when he was three years old, and never looked for him again.
Hagrid, of course, went into the system, until Dumbledore eventually found him.
The good professor raised him as his own and gave him the job of groundskeeper in Hogwarts. He had to fight to keep Hagrid on, owing to a certain incident with a spider (Aragog) that Hagrid was blamed for, with promise of expulsion from the school. This isn't the first time Dumbledore has put on his recruiter hat, he also added Tom Riddle to the Hogwarts roster in 1938. In a curious similarity of fate, Dumbledore found Riddle in the same orphanage (Stockwell) as Hagrid. The half-giant started at Hogwarts when Tom was in his third year.
23 Moaning Secret
We see yet another eventful moment on the bridge connecting the Beasts storyline to the Potter one. Remember Moaning Myrtle, the girl who perished by petrification when the basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets was out on one of its slithery strolls? She passed on June 12, 1943, in a second-floor girls' bathroom in Hogwarts. She was being bullied by Olive Hornby when she ran to hide in said bath where she met the fangs of fate.
This event threatened Hogwarts with permanent closure. After all, a student-passing under the most harrowing of circumstances is no small deal. It was around this time that parseltongue Tom Riddle was attempting to open the Chamber to further his dark aims. It's funny how good Riddle is at pinning the blame on people, because he finds Hagrid raising an Acromantula and tells on him. Later, people believe the gentle half-giant opened the Chamber of Secrets.
22 Sever-ly Connected
By the time Severus Snape began his year-one (September 1, 1971) at Hogwarts, the official timeline places Voldemort (then Tom Riddle) asking Dumbledore if he can teach at the school (1966). His subject of choice, rather ironically, was Defence Against The Dark Arts. Albus of course denied him a teaching job. Whatever talent the good professor has proven to spot in young wizards, he also apparently seems capable of realizing when that talent has turned rotten.
Riddle curses the position itself, and Hogwarts has since not seen a Defence teacher remain in that capacity for more than a year.
As ardent fans know, Voldemort applied for a teaching job purely to hide one of his horcruxes in the Room of Requirement, not to make amends in any way for past crimes. He's been planning a comeback and epic victory for a long time.
21 Professor Extraordinaire
One of the most popular characters of all time is Dumbledore, and there's a prominent connection between him and Fantastic Beasts. If you consider writing the introduction to the textbook as prominent. He gave a glowing preface for Newt Scamander in the textbook, which the tome technically is.
Suffice to say, Scamander is popular with any Hogwarts student who has taken up a subject involving magical beasts.
This textbook is what the 2016 movie revolves around, though the events in the story come from multiple channels. Even the Potter movies make adequate mention of Scamander. Dumbledore once saved Newt from expulsion involving a dangerous twist of fate with a creature; similar to what happened with Hagrid, come to think of it.
20 A Very Real Bridge
We are so looking forward to seeing Dumbledore as his young self in the next Fantastic Beasts movie. There are already plenty of important connections between him and the arch-villain of this franchise, namely Grindelwald. Harry Potter canon reflects the part about Newt Scamander's past, and here in Beasts, we get to see a lot of Grindel and Dumbledore. Aside from the theory that the two of them might be more than friends, owing in large part to Rowling's reveal about Dumbledore's orientation.
A major battle (NOT the Second Wizarding War) is going to take place, and Dumbledore will be going head to head with Grindelwald, both of whom are at the peak of their magical potencies. The 'professor's' allies in Beasts include a whole new cast of characters: Queenie, Jacob, Tina, and of course, Newt.
19 Grindel-Whatdyaknow -- Part I
With so much linking Grindelwald to the Deathly Hallows, there's little wonder why we are so focused on the concept. It was in the Hallows where Dumbledore and he crossed paths, over the Elder Wand. In a flashback in Fantastic, we see Gellert Grindelwald (flashback played by Jamie Campbell-Bower and his Beasts version by Johnny Depp) seeking out said Wand in Godric's Hollow. Dumbledore, his brother Aberforth, and sister Ariana team up against him only to discover that the whole thing was a trap set by Grindel.
Grindelwald used Dumbledore to get his way.
One of the scenes in Beasts sees Colin Farrell playing Percival Graves, who in one instance is really Grindelwald in disguise. Whether polyjuice potions were involved or not, Grindel was working undercover at MACUSA purely to stir up trouble between wizardkind and muggles.
18 Ariana Obscura
Beasts is all about the Obscurus; in some crucial part, anyway. Grindelwald's much sought-after item, and which Ariana is rumored (fan theory) to possess. By extension, this links her to the Deathly Hallows. Grindelwald desperately wishes to have it, which means he's sure to cross paths with Ariana in Fantastic Beasts 2. Rowling has stated that while Ariana cannot use magic, it doesn't mean she's a Squib. Rather that it 'exploded out of her.'
This leads us to wonder if there's more to Ariana than meets the eye, how she could be the link between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, and what her fiery contributions could probably be in a faceoff between them.
In the small chance that you're doubtful of a story bridge connecting Fantastic Beasts to the Deathly Hallows, call to mind that there's an unedited scene where the latter's infamous symbol comes up. In almost Robert Langdon fashion, Rowling seems to employ symbolism to a fine degree. When Percival Graves, played by Colin Farrell, is portrayed as being Grindelwald in disguise, he gives Ezra Miller's character a necklace to help him seek out the three objects of the Hallows.
This necklace is designed after the classic circle-within-triangle-divided-by-wand symbol of the Deathly Hallows.
Since Grindelwald has already discovered and claimed the Elder Wand, we're left assuming that he's on the lookout for not just the Resurrection Stone but also the Invisibility Cloak. And seeing as how the latter is supposedly a Potter family heirloom, the plot seems to be thickening.
16 Mamma Bella
Beasts and Potter canons collide on the topic of the Lestranges. Queenie sees a photo inside Newt's suitcase and learns that the young woman (played by Zoe Kravitz) is related to someone special. Well, nothing is spoken out loud, yet, but the reveal that the lady in the picture is Leta Lestrange holds great plotline promise.
Despite being Sirius Black's cousin, Bellatrix could well be related to Leta. The confusion arises around the fact that her maiden name is Black and she went on to wed Rudolph Lestrange who, along with his brother Rabastan, were loyal Death Eaters. They actually stood by Lord Voldemort in the First Wizarding War; 1970s. Does this make Leta their mother, and Bellatrix the daughter-in-law? Remains to be seen in Fantastic Beasts 2 (or later).
15 Seeking The Chaser
Let's deviate a bit so we can touch upon other concepts linking the two franchises. So, let's talk Quidditch. There's reference made to it in Fantastic Beasts, where you won't find any Quidditch being played at all. The sport is primarily featured in the Potter movies. The reference that we're, um, referring to is when Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne, if you didn't already know) comes to New York for the first time.
There he meets up with Mary Lou Barebone (played by Samantha Morton) who asks him if he's a Seeker.
When he replies, "More of a Chaser, really" that's when fans knew they were being let in on a factoid: Quidditch did indeed exist through the ages. One of the newspapers at the start of the movie displays the headline, 'Soccer: The No-Maj Quidditch?'
14 Notable Mentions
Also (albeit briefly) in Fantastic Beasts is Minister of Magic Hector Fawley, who served the British office from 1925-1939. According to official history, as penned by J. K. Rowling, he didn't take Grindelwald's threat as something to be concerned about. As a consequence, he was forced out of office when the big bad wolf raised its dark head.
Next, there are two important mentions of Hogwarts in Beasts. A newspaper headline remarks on increased security at the school due to the Grindelwald fiasco. Remember when Jacob enquirers, at the end of the movie, whether there are any wizarding schools? Never mind what Queenie said, but Scamander set him straight, saying that Hogwarts is the best of its kind. As far as our hero's school-house is concerned, he's a Hufflepuff. Newt's seen wearing the scarf near the movie's end when he takes an ocean liner back to England.
13 Credence Hallows Revival
We grazed the topic earlier, now let's dig right in for real. The Elder Wand is one of three 'hallowed' objects, aside from the Invisibility Cloak and the Resurrection Stone. Combined, they're a sure-fire path to invincibility. However, there is absolutely no direct mention of them in Fantastic Beasts, nevermind Grindelwald and his megalomania. Credence Barebone's character, with his passion for all things magical despite himself not being able to perform any, comes with a necklace that depicts the Deathly Hallows symbol.
He clearly believes in it.
This is certainly covered in Book 7, and in Fantastic Beasts has gone on to provide a major cause for bonding between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Ironically, this mutual passion also breaks them up.
12 Marital Bliss
There's a little something about Newt and Tina that you might have missed, despite being the ardent fan you are. In the movie's finale, we see Newt packing up his magical suitcase and leaving for England. He leaves a MACUSA auror behind, namely Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein, a good acquaintance of his. He leaves with the promise to return once his book is published.
This is the infamous 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them' textbook. In the real-life books (i.e. Hogwarts Library), we see Newt and Tina living happily somewhat after in the English countryside; their retirement spot, to be precise. It's markedly interesting to note that their grandson, Rolf Scamander, follows in Newt's magizoology footsteps. Interesting fact: Rolf later marries Luna Lovegood.
11 Witchy Diplomacy
The Second-Salemers, officially called the New Salem Philanthropic Society, are the de facto secret bad guys of the Fantastic Beasts storyline. We see them only hereabouts, and far from the Harry Potter plotline. However, there has been mention made of them in the Potter-verse, specifically in the book Goblet of Fire.
Apparently, these villains were planning a second Salem Witch Trial, which was forced to close shop because of the 1994 Quidditch World Cup.
How are the two connected? Whoever came up with the idea to invite the Salem Witches Institution to the sport as a delegation was a certified genius. This women's group based out of Salem accepted the invite, and thus a major series of unfortunate events was avoided, relatively speaking.
10 Not So Obscure Any More
This is one of the most central objects in Fantastic Beasts, with major connections to the Potter-verse. Essentially, an Obscurus is a burst of repressed magic sourcing from young wizards. The one who 'lets loose' is called an Obscuriel; like Ariana. It's powerful enough to end its host, but Credence manages to exceed expectations in this regard. A deleted scene from the movie shows how the power was physically extracted from him.
The fatal backlash of an Obscurus is evident in the case of Dumbledore's sister, Ariana, who perished from its magical impact. And yet, it is this very power that Grindelwald wants to harness, Grindelwald who is a dear friend of Dumbledore's. Suffice to say, such relationships and sorrows shaped the future professor's outlook on life. This, in turn, inspired several of his actions, including in regard to Harry, in the Potter books/movies.
9 Gaze Into My Mind
We learn in Beasts that Queenie Goldstein is capable of performing Legilimency, which essentially makes her a trained psychic. In her case, it's a natural talent, one that she's proven more than competent to handle. Snape's similar use of legilimency in Order of the Phoenix saw him relying on a potion to get the truth out of Harry. With Queenie, an accidental activation of her own instinct, and surges of strong emotions coming from her unwitting targets, helps her read people's minds.
Lord Voldemort was a seasoned legilimens, which was the reason Snape was trying to train Harry to block Voldy's intrusions.
It's unclear whether the noseless Potter-verse arch-villain was a natural or trained legilimens. In Fantastic Beasts, we get to see another side to this oft-underestimated skill, and how dangerous it can be.
8 What's The Exact Time... Line?
This may seem like an odd time to write about such a core-concept, but we feel it needs to come up somewhere, without detracting from the other points, which are just as essential to our topic. How does the year of events fit into the Beasts-Potter timeline? Part one is set in New York City, Fall season, 1926, where Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) progresses his magizoology mission only to inadvertently be caught up in a sinister web of events.
His 'mission' being that he pens a book, aptly titled 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them', a work that was commissioned in 1918 and that's taken Newt around the world, leading up to his New York visit. It's published a year later, in 1927. The storyline in the Harry Potter books begins sixty-five years later. Fantastic Beasts as a film series has received the go-ahead to produce five movie installments.
Back to our favorite professor... Did you know that Albus Dumbledore played the role of newspaper columnist? He did, back in the day, probably to pay his way through his younger years. What was he the columnist of, you ask?
Of all things, Albus wrote for 'Transfiguration Today', a publication that has been mentioned around the Potter-block now and again.
You'll find Dumble's article mentioned in the 29th Nov 1926 edition of the Daily Prophet. We so adore finding such trivial but curious instances involving our beloved characters. Writing this point gave us an attack of nostalgia, transporting us back to that pivotal opening scene in the first Harry Potter film where Dumbledore makes his way to the Dursleys and encounters a transfigured Mrs. McGonagall.
6 The Cat Lady
Speaking of McGonagall, here's another 'origin' event concerning her. She was offered a prominent post in the Ministry of Magic, but turned it down. This isn't classic Minerva, in fact, she had legitimate reasons why she said no, owing in large part to her future goals as a wizard in her own right. This is straight from the horse's mouth, Rowling's words on Pottermore, the famous fan-site for all things Potter...
"...Minerva was unhappy in London and found that she missed Scotland. Finally, after two years at the Ministry, she was offered a prestigious promotion, yet found herself turning it down... Hogwarts, asking whether she might be considered for a teaching post. ...in the Transfiguration department, under Head of Department, Albus Dumbledore (Pm)."
5 Newt News
Let's take a quick detour into this Newt Scamander guy whom we've been covering thus far. Played by Eddie Redmayne, this is the lead character in Fantastic Beasts, with many a pun to his name. Newt is to animals as Rowling's other character-names are to their respective fields of expertise... Pomona Sprout in Herbology, Septima Vector in Arithmancy, Remus Lupin who's really a werewolf... If you haven't already guessed, Newt is short for Newton. Our hero is officially Newton Artemis Fido Scamander, and he came very close to being expelled from Hogwarts.
Albus Dumbledore was there to save him, the situation involving a dangerous creature accidentally let loose.
It's been a point of debate whether or not he actually graduated, but the books say he did. Whereas his brother became a famous war hero (WWI), Newt served in the Ministry of Magic.
4 Dumble & Grindel
We touched upon this point earlier, so let's explore the intricate (you might even call it complicated) relationship that these two bigwigs share in the Fantastic Beasts storyline. The 'professor' graduated from Hogwarts in 1899. Fresh out of school, his agitated mind was bent on trying to fix the whole Muggle-Wizard issue. The covert clauses of the International Statute of Secrecy disturbed both Grindelwald and him. Here's the strange bit: the duo planned to gather the three Deathly Hallows objects, and use them to take over the muggle world, with the end goal of establishing lasting wizard rule!
Along the way, as is often to happen, a disagreement broke out between the two. This was followed by a battle in which Dumbledore's sister, Ariana, perished. The guilt of manifold moments leading up to this one made Dumbledore give up his pursuit of wizard supremacy and choose the relatively humble life of a professor.
3 Grindel-Whatdyaknow -- Part II
Here we'll touch upon any details that we might have omitted in a similar point earlier. Aiming to weaponize an Obscurus, Gellert Grindelwald (second only to Voldemort in dark strength) had quite a shady time growing up. He studied at Durmstrang Institute, from which he was expelled at the age of sixteen for being involved in "twisted experiments" in the Dark Arts.
Armed with the excuse 'For the greater good', Grindelwald aimed to collect and use all three Deathly Hallows.
As previously mentioned, he had a long-standing relationship (more than friendly) with Dumbledore growing up. The Beasts plot has made it subtly clear that he won't remain in MACUSA custody for long. In the Deathly Hallows book/movie, years later, we see he has raised a prison-fortress called Nurmengard in Europe, pursuing the same goal as before; conquer all muggles.
2 The Greatest Wizarding Duel Of All Time
This is precisely what the face-off between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in 1945 came to be called. The Grindel-threat was growing out of proportion, forcing Albus from his office in Hogwarts to the battlefield. In rich irony, Grindelwald is captured and incarcerated in his own Nurmengard where he was busy all these years gathering an army of revolutionaries for his cause.
It so happens that Grindel remained in the fortress until his and Lord Voldemort's paths crossed, as the latter sought the Elder Wand for his own nefarious purposes. During this phase of events, Voldemort ended Grindelwald. As you can see, dear reader, there is much left unanswered, and so we await the other movies in the Fantastic Beasts lineup to see what the filmmakers have done with the script.
1 The Wizarding Wars
This is the central battle-theme in the Fantastic Beasts storyline. The First Wizarding War began in 1970, tensions for which go back all the way to the 40s. Obviously, we'll be seeing more of this only in future Beasts movies. This was the time Voldemort, NOT Grindelwald, reigned from the shadows, a dark rule that concluded in 1981 when he attempted to eliminate Harry Potter and 'perished' in the process.
Contrary to what some fans have been assuming, the Second Wizarding War also involves Voldemort, NOT Grindelwald, when in June 1995 the noseless one reclaimed his physical form with the help of Peter Pettigrew, and renews his dark deeds from the shadows. After the shocking 1997 destruction of Dumbledore by Snape, the timeline grows even darker. It is at this time, in March 1998, that Voldemort finds and eliminates Grindelwald in Nurmengard, grabs the Elder Wand, and begins preparations for a final face-off, this time directly against Harry Potter.