Why Are the Women in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ So Sad?

A few days ago I watched Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald for the first time and for the most part, I enjoyed it. The sequel played an interesting role in setting up what is sure to be a thrilling final three films but it also alienated some as it told a complex story that didn’t exactly reach the standards we were all expecting.

I found the movie to be better than I expected…and a bit underwhelming at the same time. But what I clearly noticed and was slightly disturbed by after watching the film was the dreadfully depressing storylines of each and every female character in the movie.

J.K Rowling, who is clearly one of the greatest storytellers in this generation, is a woman and as a fellow woman, I would expect her to create strong, powerful women in these films. And she did, for the Harry Potter movies.

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There was Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor McGonnagal, Bellatrix Lestrange, Ginny Weasley, and so many other women who were never depicted as powerful because of men. They were simply, powerful.

With so many incredible ladies to love in the Harry Potter movies, one would expect to receive women just as awesome in the Fantastic Beasts series and at first, we did in Tina and Queenie Goldstein.

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As sisters, they stood out, not because they were damsels in distress, but because they were two young women navigating themselves through the growing conflict in the Wizardling World thanks to the excelling murmurings of Gellert Grindelwald. Yes, they both had serious crushes on the two male characters that accompanied them (Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski) but romance doesn’t diminish a woman’s strength. Or at least, it didn’t.

Now both sisters have become sacks of sadness, and obviously, they wouldn’t be the only ones dealing with strong emotions in the sequel, for J.K Rowling introduced two new heroines in Leta Lestrange and Nagini.

I mean, listen to the storylines for these four women.

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When Tina Goldstein discovered that Credence Barebone was still alive she went searching for him. All the while she was doing this she was brokenhearted because she thought Newt Scamander had gotten engaged to Leta Lestrange. That left her looking all sad the entire movie and then when she realized that the Wizarding tabloids weren’t real she was gazing at Newt with those wide Salamander eyes for the rest of the film. I love romance but geez, calm down with the dewy eyes lady.

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When Leta Lestrange entered the film I was excited to see how she would be involved in the story and we soon discovered that she had a dark secret. She didn’t enter the movie as a powerful heroine who was determined to defeat Grindelwald. She was revealed to have a tragic past that left her looking incredibly sorrowful the entire movie. In fact, I think there were at least two scenes that featured her with wet eyes the entire time.

Speaking of sadness there was a quote she said that hit me hard. After telling the horrific story of how she accidentally killed her baby brother as a child she looked at Newt Scamander and said, “Have you ever seen a monster you couldn’t love?”

I was like, “Ouch.” 😢

While her story was clearly interesting it was dreadfully sad.

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Nagini’s whole existence is depressing. Because she was a Maledictus (a shapeshifter) she was part of a circus and treated pretty awful. But after meeting Credence (yes, a man saves her) she would find the will to escape. Nagini’s expression throughout the entire film is sorrowful. Like she’s always…just…well, sad.

On top of that, she literally doesn’t do anything in the film other than giving Credence support. Boring.

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And then Queenie is the saddest of them all. For Queenie, all she wants is to marry Jacob but she can’t because the law prohibits her from doing so. She practically loses it and just when she finds herself at her lowest point she runs into one of Grindelwald’s closest associates, Rosier.

When meeting Grindelwald she falls beneath his seductive ways as he promises her the world and the ability to love whoever she wants. She takes the bait and joins him despite the clear fact that it’s a bad idea.

You see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a good film but in terms of presenting inspiring heroines for young girls to look up to this movie doesn’t hit those marks.

I’m totally for darker storytelling but dark doesn’t have to necessarily mean depressing and the women’s’ storylines in this movie are downright depressing.

We know the romance between Tina Goldstein and Newt Scamander will continue in the third movie but I hope it doesn’t dominate Tina’s entire existence in the film. When Nagini returns I hope to see her in a more independent, powerful role than what we’ve seen in The Crimes of Grindelwaldand I want Queenie to return with a little bit more fire the next time around. I want to see her turn that sadness into anger, into spite, and then we can truly discover how frightening and extraordinary she can be.

All in all, J.K Rowling is a great writer and such an inspiring role model for young girls but she’s got to give her female characters better roles to play in the upcoming movie or I may just give up on this series.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

5 thoughts on “Why Are the Women in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ So Sad?”

  1. The female roles in the films may also be shaped in Rowling’s eyes by the time period. We are in what the 1930’s? 15-20 years after women’s suffrage where societal views were still fairly well established. Where the Harry Potter stories are 65-70 years later when things are a bit different.

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  2. I think it all comes down to effective writing and story execution. J.K. Rowling was able to give her female characters much character development through seven books were we saw their ups and downs. This “prequel” saga feels so rushed with so many characters (male and female) crammed in that it’s hard to give the women sufficient time to develop.

    I did like the deleted scenes of Nagini bonding with Credence as I see it can either be interpreted as a romantic relationship or a platonic yet emotional empathetic bond. Either way, his ability to show affection for someone else suggests it helps Credence to control his powers. I wish they had a scene where she offers him support or guidance so we can understand how he’s manage to tame the beast inside of him after the first film.

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    1. I haven’t seen any deleted scenes but that definitely sounds interesting. Yes, the rushed factor. It all seems very hurried and that’s unfortunate, for these films could, with better writing, be SO much better.

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      1. You can look for them on youtube or see if this link works below. I’m intrigued to know what you think of these deleted scenes and if they help to expand upon the characters. I’ve been thinking that J.K. Rowling should either cut half the characters out of her film saga moving forward OR turn the story into a Netflix/youtube miniseries.

        The benefit of a television series is that it gives sufficient time to tell a story so that all of the characters get the time they need on-screen. “Game of Thrones”, “Cobra Kai” and the upcoming “Mandalorian” series come to mind. I’m sure the Wizarding World could do it as well. Budget may have to cut down some fancy CGI and scenery but as a fan, I’d rather have more focus on the characters and their stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very, very true. One of the reasons why the ‘Harry Potter’ movies were so great is because the characters drove the story. Not the other way around. J.K Rowling is trying too hard to get us invested in characters that we’ve just been introduced rather than letting things play out and then hitting us with those heartfelt, emotional moments.

        I’ll totally check out the deleted scenes. I love deleted scenes. 🙂

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