The Fate of Credence Barebone

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Dec 20, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Fandom, Fans, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Films, Fun, J.K. Rowling, Movies, News, Opinion

Up until now, most of the theorizing surrounding Credence Barebone has focused on his life up to the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald storyline, culminating in the question of whether Grindelwald’s claim regarding his parentage is true. But, as we discussed in our feature on the identity of Aurelius Dumbledore, while fans are intensely interested in whether or not Credence is a Dumbledore and how that could be possible, it does not ultimately matter one way or the other–yet. What matters is whether the silver-tongued dark wizard convinces Credence that he is. If Credence believes it, then Grindelwald can use that belief to manipulate and direct Credence into the fate of his choosing.

So, the bigger question may be how does Grindelwald plan to use the desperate, neglected and exceptionally-powerful young man?

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In the closing moments of the film, Grindelwald hands Credence a wand, officially welcoming him into the wizarding fold, and spoon feeds him the tantalizing information that he has a brother, Albus Dumbledore, who now stands against him. As the shot cuts away, Credence unleashes his anger and the full potency of his power, now channeled through the wand, and decimates the side of a mountain. His untrained ability is impressive and hints at Grindelwald’s intentions.

We know that Grindelwald cannot move against Dumbledore because both are bound by the Blood Pact. We presume, therefore, that he intends to use Credence as his offensive agent. Motivated by a vengeful rage fanned into full bloom by his new mentor, Credence would prove a formidable obstacle–certainly enough to distract Dumbledore, if not actually defeat him.

But Grindelwald must have learned by now that it would not be enough to send a wild and undisciplined Credence hurtling in Dumbledore’s direction. Though Credence can wreak mass havoc and destruction in his obscurial form, the film revealed that it is possible for a skilled wizard to shield himself from the onslaught.

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When Credence unleashes his dark power after the auror Grissom interrupts his conversation with the half-elf, Irma, Grissom summons magical protections and walks from the wreckage of the building unscathed. Surely, Albus Dumbledore, widely known as the most talented wizard of his time, would be able to conjure similar defenses. So, Grindelwald has to do better than that.

Though Credence is indestructible as an Obscurus and, thus, safer in that form, this will not matter to Grindelwald. After all, Grindelwald seeks to meet out his version of justice at the expense of the weak. This is for the “Greater Good” and so the ends justify the means. While Credence will be more vulnerable in human form, he will, in Grindelwald’s estimation, have the advantage of his raw talent and of, with proper instruction and his wand, a more directed attack. He will be able to wage an assault that is unpredictable and more challenging to guard against–and if he fails in the attempt, Grindelwald loses little. But–he might gain much.

This, then, may be Grindelwald’s tactic–to gain Credence’s confidence and trust, certainly, but also to train him into a capable wizard, something Credence has already long desired. This is Credence’s greater vulnerability, and it may prove to be his undoing. His longing to be accepted, valued, significant and now powerful, could lead him into a fate of Grindelwald’s design.

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Part of that design may include flouting the statute of secrecy. Grindelwald despises such impositions on the wizarding community, feeling they are too gifted, too superior, to bow to the non-magic and hide themselves in obscurity. While preparing Credence for a larger mission, Grindelwald may also use him to expose wizard-kind around the world. In his Obscurial form, Credence can do a lot of damage, damage that will become increasingly difficult for fearful aurors to cover up. The havoc wreaked may play into the parallel escalation of global tensions leading to WWII. Who knows how much of Hitler’s reign of terror and the violence that accompanied it was his own doing or that of dark counterparts?

And sending Credence around the world to buck the status quo would provide Rowling with excellent opportunities to continue revealing new wizarding world locations. In fact, another interesting question surrounding the fate of Credence is when and where he will be provoked to confront Dumbledore. Will he challenge Dumbledore sometime in the course of the next two films or will he survive until the last? If so, will he be a part of the 1945 duel in some way? And will he still be on Grindelwald’s side at the end?

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We speculated in our piece on the parallels between Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter that there are some subtle similarities between the binding magic of the horcrux and the Blood Pact. This suggests there may also be similarities in their undoing. Total destruction–or in Harry’s case, death–was required to kill the piece of Voldemort’s soul within the magical object. So the making and the unmaking paralleled each other. If the magic of the Blood Pact followed the same line of logic, bloodshed would be required in order to break the seal.

However, since Grindelwald and Dumbledore cannot move against one another, barring some other method of breaking the pact (which Newt and Theseus may pursue in coming films), how could Dumbledore procure the blood needed to effect a magical reversal? What if the blood came from another source and an unlikely ally?

Is it possible that at some point before the end, Dumbledore wins Credence to his side? Credence would have access to Grindelwald that no one else has–and if Credence does have Dumbledore blood running through his veins, a sacrificial act on his part might be just the kind of unexpected plot twist Rowling loves to employ and just what is needed to clear the way for that great duel.

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Finally, we’ll go far out on one more spindly limb of speculation–if all of these major players are present at the final showdown, we’re wondering if it could take place in Japan. The wizarding travel agency Globus Mundi features a Japanese poster, and MinaLima just designed a special print for the Wizarding World Café in Japan, suggesting that it could be a future destination; the wizarding school Mahoutokoro is found in Japan and is likely home to prominent wizards and allies in the fight against Grindelwald; and Japan is well-known to be the site of the end of the war in the Pacific. Perhaps the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, glimpsed in Grindelwald’s vision, also foreshadow his demise. A great duel, especially one involving a wizard of Credence’s immense power, could surely cause the level of devastation seen there…

How Credence’s fate plays out remains to be seen, but what is certain, is that it is somehow tied to the future of all.





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