This article contains spoilers.
I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for the film, nonetheless, I attempted to keep an open mind about it. I mean the reviews for Crimes of Grindelwald aren’t exactly unanimous in their verdict. In fact, this might be the most polarizing film in the franchise yet. It has divided critics with a Rotten Tomatoes score holding at 40% at this current time. The disparity ranges from UK online publication Mirror’s Chris Hunneysett giving the film a glowing five-star rating to critics from sites like Hindustan Times and Slate Magazine decrying it as the worst instalment so far. If you’d like to hear our opinion on the matter, Dash has it covered. Personally, I found the film to have a lot of wasted potential. Somewhere in here is a good film. So near the end of it, I was feeling pretty disappointed. And then the ending came along with Grindelwald revealing (massive spoiler in 3…2…1) that Credence Barebone is actually Aurelius Dumbledore. Albus’ brother. I was confused and yet intrigued. I poured through the books and films, looking for any sort clues that validated his claim. My curiosity soon soured into frustration and finally into anger as I realized something. IT DON’T MAKE NO DAMN SENSE!
This was one of the most rubbish, out-of-left-field reveals I’ve seen in a long time, and I watched M.Night Shyamalan’s The Village! Don’t believe me? We’ll then let’s take a look at the evidence to support why Grindelwald’s claim is ridiculous and why this “twist” is incompatible with the Wizarding World universe.
No Canon, No Case
Nowhere in the books or films is there a clue, a hint or even passing statement that mentions the possibility for a secret Dumbledore family. So, let’s quickly run through the Dumbledore family tree real quick, shall we? There’s Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, Albus’ parents mentioned in both the book and film adaptation of The Deathly Hallows. Throughout the films and books, we know that Dumbledore has a brother named Aberforth, who had a strained relationship with the man after the death of his sister, Arianna. Notorious gossiper and tabloid reporter, Rita Skeeter wrote a book entitled “The Life and Lies of Dumbledore” and within the contents of the book, there was not a single mention of a secret brother. This was a woman who was hellbent on scandalizing prolific figures of the wizarding world. She uncovered Dumbledore’s connections to Grindelwald, Arianna’s “sickness” which was actually an Obscurus and other embarrassing secrets that the man had tried to hard to hide. If anyone would have exposed Credence Barebone as a secret Dumbledore or even find a clue alluding to it, rest assured it would be her.
Rita and his known family tree aside, I think the most damning evidence against Credence being a secret Dumbledore comes from Albus himself. In the 35th Chapter of the Deathly Hallows book, Harry and Albus are talking in a Limbo version of King Cross Station. There, Albus shares his deepest regrets with the boy. He tells him of his infatuation with Grindelwald and his lust for power in his younger days. He tells Harry about how he feared Grindelwald because, during a duel between Aberforth, Grindelwald and himself, a stray spell killed his sister. He always feared the truth that it might have revealed that he was the one who dealt the deadly curse. And yet, he never mentions a secret brother anywhere. Dumbledore had nothing to hide when he was sharing his tragic past with Harry, you know on the count he’s dead and all. I suppose one could speculate that Ariana’s Obscurus could have lived on after her death and possessed Credence. It would in the loosest sense make him his “brother” but even that theory gets shot down pretty fast when we take timelines into account. As of now, there is no precedence or proper canon to justify Aurelius/Credence being Dumbledore’s brother.
The Trouble with Time
Alright, so we’ve established that Aurelius is never mentioned in the previous books and films. Some of you might be saying “So what? That doesn’t mean he isn’t Dumbledore’s brother. Maybe this is something that could fit into the universe’s history like The Hobbit films in the Middle Earth franchise.” To that I say: no. No, it could not. Unlike those awful Hobbit films, this one doesn’t have the luxury of sliding this little reveal in between the lost years because it would quite literally be impossible. Let’s break it down. In the film, Credence was born between the years of 1907 to 1908. Let’s be generous and assume he was born in 1907. Dumbledore was born in the year 1881 and the events of Crimes of Grindelwald take place in 1927. If we do some basic math, we would see that Credence in the latest film would be at most 20 years old and Dumbledore would be 46 years old. That’s approximately 26 years of an age gap between both of them!
Maybe Mrs Dumbledore got it on with Mr Dumbledore and had a kid sometime in the future? Fat chance, seeing that Albus’ mother, Kendra died in 1899. A whole 8 years before Credence was born, so it’s highly unlikely that Credence is her kid. What about daddy Dumbledore? Maybe he had a side witch that he got it on with? Sorry, that’s a negatory as well. Two reasons for that. One, he was sent to Azkaban prison in 1891 after he attacked three muggle boys for hurting his daughter. Unless Azkaban allows *cough*conjugal visits, but I sincerely doubt that. Furthermore, he’d be pretty busy fending off Dementors. Two, even he did have an affair with another woman before being sent to Azkaban, his kid would at least be 36 years old. And Credence here certainly doesn’t look the part, even for a wizard. So unless the definition of ‘brother’ has changed recently, I frankly can’t see how Credence is Albus’ blood brother and that is what the film strongly indicates. Not brother as a symbolic term of endearment but as a biological statement.
The most likely scenario here is that Grindelwald is lying to Credence about him being related to Dumbledore. He’s probably trying to trick Credence into killing Albus, seeing that he can’t harm him due to the blood bond. I mean Grindelwald is a master manipulator after all. The problem is that his plan is kinda stupid when you think about it. Imagine if you will, Credence shows up at Dumbledore’s doorstep and tries to battle with the man. He yells at him with something like, “You abandoned me! You were my brother and you left me to die!” Dumbledore would reply saying “Dude, I’m like a 46 years old man and you’re pretty much 20. How on earth can I even be your brother? Think about that.” Maybe he’s hoping that Credence would sneak up behind Albus and take him by surprise. To that, I say, good luck buddy. Credence is naive, yes but he’s not blind. After Albus stupefies him silly, it wouldn’t take long for him to figure out that Grindelwald was lying to him. Furthermore, if that is the case then this makes the dramatic reveal at the end pretty pathetic and weak.
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, either the big reveal at the end is a giant, elaborate lie Grindelwald told Credence or J.K. Rowling has seriously screwed up her continuity. Either way, it all don’t make no damn sense! The only alternative explanation is that maybe Ariana’s Obscurus survived long enough to latch onto Credence, making him sort of Dumbledore’s brother but even that is a stretch. This confusion ultimately illustrates the primary problem of Crimes of Grindelwald that Dash stated in his review (or rant). It’s unfocused and bloated. If Yates and Rowling had just focused on making Grindelwald a compelling villain, I’m sure we would have had at least an entertaining film. Instead, they were playing the cinematic equivalent of the chubby bunny challenge. Seeing how many pointless subplots and rubbish reveals they can cramp into this film’s mouth while still have it tell a cogent and coherent story. That is the true crime at the end of the day.
Hey you! Yes you, hot stuff. Like my article? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Also, don’t forget to share it with your buds. And if you’d like to talk movies you can hit me up here: @cinesam