J.K. Rowling has released a new clue for the Fantastic Beasts movies and the obsessive fan theories have begun


Rowling is the queen of giving us sneak peaks without explanations and now she’s giving us a sneak peak at what is to come with the Fantastic Beasts series.

J.K. Rowling has released a new cryptic, emoji-based tweet, and given  that all the emojis are animals, this tweet is probably a clue for the Fantastic Beasts movie series. There are 5 symbols – minus the magical stars at the end, which are code in the wizarding world fandom for magic.

In the past, when Jo has used 5 emojis, each one represents the 5 separate Fantastic Beasts movies. So let’s wrack our brains to figure out this new clue of what’s to come!


Clue 1: The Owl Airforce and fears of a second world war

There are two subtle images of an owl in the first movie which strongly hints at the role creatures will play going forward. In Tina and Queenie’s apartment are shelves full of magical books, including one called, “The Owl Airforce: True Life Tales of War in Europe”, by Simon Dentata. It is about the owls that were part of some kind of critter army in the first world war. The cover is of a triangular tower with an owl, wings outstretched, in front of the sun, with profiles of flying owls running up the tower.

It looks like a reworking of the owl  that is actually  carved in stone over the entryway to New York’s triangle-topped Woolworth Building, where MACUSA’s headquarters is hidden in a magical dimension. This stone owl rests as the keystone of the entryway arch, wings outstretched, and is surround by curves moving upwards that are reminiscent of flying birds. Owls play hardly any other role in the first movie and so this joined appearance, being so similar to each other, is probably trying to tell us something.

In the 1926 world of Fantastic Beasts, a dark wizard is rising, but has not yet stepped fully into the open. Aurors are tracking Grindelwald around the globe, not just because he is a threat to general safety, but because they recognize signs that could lead to another catastrophic war.  The Great War, World War I, is still prominent in everyone’s mind, both Muggle and Magical.

The hardships of war.

This war was just as disastrous in the magical communities as in the Muggle ones, with governments making choices that would spiral out of control. Even though the British wizarding world had been forbidden by Minister for Magic, Archer Evermonde, to enter this war, thousands of witches and wizards ignored his law and pitched in.

Newt Scamander worked with Ukrainian dragons on the eastern front, and his brother fought and became a war hero.  Simon Dentata’s book about the Owl Airforce shows that groups of witches and wizards used owls in the war effort, possibly to carry covert information, or as weapons.

The end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie has Grindelwald captured and bound, but hanging over this victory is his dismissive taunt that he can easily escape the Aurors. The second movie is all set to begin with Grindelwald’s escape and rise in power, reflecting the rise of the Nazis in the years surrounding 1930.  Given that the Fantastic Beasts series puts magical creatures in a place of prominence as heroes in their own right, Jo’s clue, starting with the owl, could show which animals play a crucial role in the war against Grindelwald.

Clue 2: Unicorns and purity as an elixir against death

Unicorns are creatures who shine with unobscured light, as if they are life made from purity. So what decent person could use unicorns as a weapon of war? Fortunately for Grindelwald, he has no decency to get in the way of his mission to conquer death. He has made no progress in his quest for the Deathly Hallows since stealing the Elder Wand as a teenager, and has spent decades looking for the Resurrection Stone and the Invisibility Cloak. Grindelwald is one of the most powerful wizards alive, but his quest is dangerous, and unicorn blood could keep him alive if he is mortally wounded. In Fantastic Beasts 2, we may see Grindelwald exploit unicorns with the same lack of conscience that led him to betray Credence, manipulating him with vampire-like creepiness and intimacy.

Clue 3: Acromantulas, spider orphans, and the dark night of the middle story

There is a fan theory going around that Newt is the mysterious stranger who gave 13-year-old Hagrid his spider friend, Aragog, still in an egg.  Hagrid was given Aragog in the 1941-1942 school year – his last school year as a student, since he was expelled that Spring because of Aragog.

The full Fantastic Beasts story will be told in 5 movies. Its timeline travels from 1926 to 1945. It starts with Newt’s arrival in New York on December 6th, 1926, on Hagrid’s birthday but two years before he is born. That could be an intentional clue of a connection between Newt and Hagrid, our two critter-lovers. And if the spider clue is about Aragog and his egg, that raises some really profound possibilities given that this is the clue for the third movie.

The hero’s journey.

We all know how our favorite epic stories follow the path of “the hero’s journey”, which the mythologist, Joseph Campbell, described as the main storytelling structure around the world, throughout history. In this kind of story, an ordinary person with latent powers is pushed into adventure by a mentor. This person has to make the conscious decision to follow the path, and so they first fight themselves before encountering outer foes. Once on their destined path, they fight enemies and dark forces, surviving death by miracle or their own new-found abilities, and in the end save their people and are inwardly transformed.

When the hero’s journey is told in a series, like in Harry Potter, each book or movie is the complete hero’s journey in miniature. In the first Fantastic Beasts movie, Credence is the one who makes this journey, and he will probably continue on it. At the end of the first movie, we were left thinking that Credence had died, when, according to a deleted scene, he had actually survived and was in contact with Newt. He had gone through the first stages of leaving his old, non-magical life and embracing his powers, which may have been what allowed him to survive.

What path will we see them take?

On the typical hero’s journey path, the middle of the story is when the hero faces his darkest hour and survives an ordeal that should, by all rights, have killed him. He fights with enemies real and unreal, monsters, dark beings, and arrives at the brink of death. Sometimes, the hero actually dies and is resurrected. We don’t know yet what horrors Credence and our other friends will face in the next two movies, but we can be sure that the third movie, the middle movie, will see Credence go through the ordeal of his own hero’s journey. And he will survive, and be inwardly, maybe even physically, reborn. And this is what makes the spider clue, interpreted as Aragog’s egg, perfect for the third movie.

In mythology, eggs symbolize rebirth. There is infinite, potent power in an egg. And since J.K. Rowling is giving us multiple heroes in this story of magical beasts, it could also tell us a tragic story of Newt and Aragog’s mother. In the desperate fight to come in, was she killed? Did Newt himself have to kill her? If so, Newt giving Hagrid an egg to care for is more than just a random connection. It’s Newt making sure that life goes on, redeeming the loss of the mother and placing her monster son in the hands of someone Newt knew he could trust to love and care for him, Hagrid.

Clue 4: The lizard leaves

This lizard is almost certainly our very own Newt Scamander. Newt is already a guiding force for Credence. He very quickly gained some trust from Credence in the subway, when Credence’s Obscurus was on a rampage. And in the deleted scene that shows Credence alive, he is boarding a boat with Newt, presumably back to Europe.

Before the climax of a hero story, the mentor of the hero has to die, or disappear in some way, in order for the hero to really take on his own powers. But we know from the author’s bio in Newt’s magical creature textbook that he survived at least through Harry’s years at Hogwarts, living happily in Dorset with Tina and their pet Kneazles, Hoppy, Milly, and Mauler.

If the lizard is a clue that Newt is key to the fourth movie, he will probably live, but be completely separated from Credence as a mentor, forcing Credence to fight Grindelwald on his own. And let’s face it – this is something we all want to see, after the way Grindelwald manipulated Credence as an abused and emotionally lost young man. By the mid 1940s he will be ready to fight one of the most dangerous wizards that ever lived.

Clue 5: The snake and sacred life

By now, when we see a snake in the wizarding world, our Harry Potter brains are wired to think of dark wizards, Parseltongue, and reptilian minions who do a dark lord’s bidding. But Jo is using the snake to represent the fifth movie, the end of the story when our hero will be spiritually transformed and bring healing to his people.

In mythology, snakes, like eggs, are usually  symbols of death and rebirth, but on the level of the soul. Their venom is both fatal and life-giving. Its power comes from the absolute belief that life is always waiting to return, and is worth any sacrifice. Think of the Swooping Evil in the first movie, that snake-like butterfly creature whose venom Newt used to obliviate the terrified memories of the Nomaj and bring peace to a city.

Newt did this with the help of his Thunderbird, the American Phoenix, whose very nature brings infinite rebirth. The role of the snake in the fifth and final story may become a key part of this transformation for Credence.

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Because of Newt, and his belief in the inherent worth of monsters, Fantastic Beasts has a strong theme of redemption. While Grindelwald may use the snake in this movie  as a venomous weapon, we may get to see the snake redeemed, and transformed, along with Credence, into a weapon of peace.