Leta Lestrange and Severus Snape: A Slytherin Connection, a Slytherin Fate?

Dec 13, 2016

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling, Movies, News, Yates Interviews

Ever since audiences laid eyes on Newt Scamander’s photograph of a mysterious woman bearing the infamous name of Lestrange, speculation has been widespread. (And, no, she is not Bellatrix Lestrange’s mother, as suggested here. Bellatrix hails from the family of Black. She married into the Lestrange family.)

But what is more interesting than what we don’t know, is what we may be able to deduce from what has already been revealed.

J.K. Rowling seems to appreciate thematic and plot-line symmetry. Consider the Harry Potter series.

Rubeus Hagrid cradled Harry as a small child, spiriting him away from the tragic site of Voldemort’s attack in Godric’s Hollow. And Hagrid carried Harry, presumed dead, from the Forbidden Forest after Voldemort’s “final” attack and supposed triumph.

Harry’s relationship with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger echoed the friendship between his father, James, and his three friends, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They were all fiercely loyal to one another. Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs put themselves in harm’s way, monthly, to watch over their friend, Moony (Lupin), the werewolf.

In the same way, Ron and Hermione put themselves in danger constantly for the sake of their friend, Harry, in hopes of helping and protecting him over the course of seven years (and books).

There’s the fact that Albus Dumbledore executed the downfall of the two greatest dark wizards of all time. Dumbledore dueled Grindelwald and, though he was not present for Voldemort’s demise, carefully prepared Harry and orchestrated the event in his favor, even down to his own death.

Which brings us to one of the continuing themes. Sacrifice.

James sacrificed himself to protect his family. Lily sacrificed herself to protect Harry. Dumbledore sacrificed himself to give Harry every advantage in bringing about Voldemort’s death. Snape sacrificed himself to keep Harry safe until the last possible moment. Harry sacrificed himself to weaken Voldemort, destroy one more horcrux, and make him all the more vulnerable for others who might succeed in his place.

And what of Snape? Watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and you can’t help but be reminded of Snape and Lily.

Snape and Lily became fast friends, bonding over magic and their status as outcasts. Snape, growing up in Spinner’s End, the awkward son of a muggle father. Lily, first wizard in the family and rejected by her hurt and envious sister.

But the friendship was strained when Lily sorted into Gryffindor, while Snape joined Slytherin house. Still, Lily tried to maintain the closeness that had been a comfort to them both. The tension only increased, however, as Lily, more socially adept, gained other friends and became more and more uncomfortable with Severus’ increasing interest in dark magic.

Finally, the friendship reached a breaking point. Lily turned to ready-and-waiting friends, like James Potter, and Snape became the arrogant Half-Blood Prince and master of potions, embracing his bitterness and becoming the dark wizard he was already believed to be.

He was a Slytherin, and so he acted like one.

But what does this have to do with Leta Lestrange?

We know that Newt is a Hufflepuff. Brave, loyal, and just. Caretaker of fantastic beasts and friends. We do not know to which house Leta belongs but, given the family history of the pure-blood Lestranges, it is very plausible that she was also a Slytherin.

Like Lily and Snape, their friendship was perhaps first born out of their mutual awkwardness. Not fitting in, they gravitated toward each other. Newt acknowledges to Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts that people don’t like him. It must have been nice to have a friend, even a Slytherin friend.

In a familiar turn, it would seem from Newt’s pained reaction to Queenie’s inquiries that there has been a rift between the two. What may have caused this? If their relationship paralleled that of Lily and Snape, it could have been Leta’s interest in dark magic, Grindelwald, and his causes.

But where that divergence caused a break between Lily and Snape, it is also possible that Newt, loyal Hufflepuff that he is, stuck by her. Or tried to. Where Lily was in a much healthier place, Newt was admittedly unliked and might have, in his insecurity, ignored the warning signs and red flags for longer than he should.

What might this have cost him? Could it have, as The Leaky Cauldron suggested, contributed to his expulsion from Hogwarts? Could it have gained him an uncomfortably-close association with Grindelwald? Could it explain why Grindelwald appears to single Newt out and speak to him directly at the close of the film? Do they know one another, or is Grindelwald’s taunt simply a power play, meant to mess with Newt’s mind?

If J.K. Rowling holds true to her precedent of constructing parallel storylines, it’s very possible that Leta Lestrange has a part to play here.

We already know she will appear in the next film and, as CinemaBlend reports, David Yates expounded:

“Yes. Leta Lestrange comes into the second movie. She’s quite complicated and damaged and confused and Newt is absolutely still in love with her, so she has a kind of power over him, and she, yeah, she’s a kind of tragic figure, so we will see a bit more of her in the second movie.”

But could she be more than just a tragic love interest? Could she, like Snape, have a greater role to play?

It’s all speculation, of course, but what if there are more sacrifices to be made and friendship and love trump ambition in the end? What if, once again, J.K. Rowling uses the unlikely to change the course of events? What if it turns out that another Slytherin saves the day in the classic quest to defeat evil?

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.