J.K. Rowling Reveals Gellert Grindelwald Is An Occlumens!

Dec 15, 2016

Posted by: Patrick Byrne

Fantastic Beasts Movie, J.K. Rowling, News

In order to stop our minds being penetrated for the latest topics and wizarding world gossip, it is necessary for every member of Leaky to be a successful Occlumens. However, we aren’t the only ones it seems.

Following on from J.K. Rowling’s revelations concerning the houses of certain Fantastic Beasts characters, one fan on Twitter picked up on something concerning Queenie Goldstein, or more specifically, her abilities as a Legilimens:

The thought process behind the tweet revolves around the fact that Queenie, a powerful and natural Legilimens, was never able to read Percival Graves’ mind (even accidentally) and pick up on the fact that he was really Grindelwald. However, Grindelwald was not your average Joe wizard, he was evidently a man of many talents, one of which Jo has finally confirmed:

As we remember from the Harry Potter series, Occlumency is a practice in which a wizard learns to close and protect their mind from Legilimency, preventing the Occlumens’ thoughts from being extracted. As Grindelwald has now been outed as a practitioner of the skill, it would explain why Queenie would never have been able to read his inner thoughts while he was disguised as Percival Graves.

Having said that, it wouldn’t be entirely crazy to think that Queenie would then find it suspicious that Graves was hiding his thoughts. However, let’s not forget that the real Percival Graves was a powerful wizard in his own right, especially since he was head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement prior to his kidnapping. To have gained such prestige in MACUSA, the man would’ve been of great skill, with Legilimency and Occlumency acting as tools of his trade. Putting this into context, one could easily assume that Queenie therefore wouldn’t have thought anything was untoward, that Graves was just a good Occlumens thanks to his job.

It has in fact been rumoured for some time that Grindelwald was an Occlumens, a suspicion that can be dated back to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While searching for the Elder Wand, Voldemort paid a visit to Grindelwald in his cell at Nuremgard. Even he, the presumably most powerful Legilimens in wizarding history, was unable to read Grindelwald’s mind, and thus he had to verbally ask his predecessor for information. Thanks to Jo, we now have another of the European dark wizard’s skills confirmed.


(Image courtesy of Emmanuel Oquendo of DeviantArt)

In terms of the significance of Grindelwald being an Occlumens, the reveal tells us a lot about his character and gives us some possible theories. A good place to start is, of course, comparing the man to Dumbledore. As we are told in wizarding world lore, Dumbledore is a Legilimens, which means that he can read minds (as a side note, although Queenie has the same skill, her skill is much more powerful as it can delve deeper into a person). As Legilimency and Occlumency go hand in hand as polar opposites of eachother, it seems that the cliché is a perfect form of symbolism for both Dumbledore and Grindelwald, if one thinks about it.


Like Legilimency itself, Dumbledore is analytical, a seeker of truth (not intending to quote Mary Lou Barebone) as he searches for the Hallows. In short, he always delves deeper into things, just as Legilimency analyses a person’s memories and digs deep into their inner being to seek truth. As for Grindelwald, he is a closed character, a secretive, strong-minded, stubborn individual who blocks out anything that will seek to destroy his ‘Greater Good’. This of course parallels him perfectly alongside Occlumency, which is practiced so that one can block people from getting inside your mind, from getting too close to you. Putting these two together, you get get a sense of perfect symbolism, with a clash of ideals that will surely stir up magnificent tension in the upcoming sequels.

However, if one wants to scratch that bit little bit lower below the surface, one may be able to understand exactly why Grindelwald chose to study Occlumency. Reverting back to Dumbledore’s Legilimency, it would make sense that Gellert would need to learn to block him out, especially since he had ideas for the Greater Good that Dumbledore would never agree to carry out. However, I think we can find an even better explanation than that.

Going back to what we said about opposites, isn’t it true that they…attract? It is well known that in the Harry Potter series, Grindelwald and Dumbledore shared a bond that was more than just friendship, with Dumbledore even being an openly gay man. However, the same cannot be said for Grindelwald. We as an audience do not even know his sexual stance as of yet, nor how he feels about Dumbledore due to his secrecy. That being said, is it possible that, on a more personal level, Grindelwald practices Occlumency…to hide his feelings about Albus? Is he, in effect, either in denial of or is trying to suppress his sexuality? Only time will tell!

With the Fantastic Beasts Sequel still just under two years away, one doesn’t have to be a mind reader to understand that fans still want more information to keep their tastebuds tingling!

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.