A question about Albus Dumbledore that dogged Harry Potter fans for decades might finally have been answered.
Potterheads have long pondered over a mystery set up in the very first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, back in 1997.
The book introduces the Mirror of Erised, an object which shows a person their heart’s truest desire – with Professor Dumbledore catching Harry gazing into the mirror and seeing his long-lost family.
It’s never fully revealed what the Hogwarts headmaster saw himself when he looked into the mirror, with Dumbledore disingenuously claiming: “I see myself holding a pair of thick, woollen socks.”
21 years later, however, and the mystery appears to have finally been solved, thanks to a trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The film features a young Dumbledore (Jude Law), convincing Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to act to help thwart the plans of powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).
Dumbledore tells him: “I can’t move against Grindelwald… it has to be you.”
While many assumed his reasons for not acting directly were pragmatic, the film also drops a massive clue as to the reason why Dumbledore isn’t able to do anything against Grindelwald himself.
A brief scene shown in the trailer clearly shows himself looking into the Mirror of Erised, and seeing himself with Grindelwald looking back.
The snippet appears to all-but-confirm that Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald, as previously hinted at in the Potter books.
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It’s unclear how the trailer matches up with previous suggestions from JK Rowling that Dumbledore saw his own deceased family in the Mirror of Erised – but given the 64-year time gap between the events of Fantastic Beasts 2 and Philosopher’s Stone, it’s definitely possible that Dumbledore’s greatest desire changed significantly over time… or Rowling didn’t want to give away the secret.
While the plotline will clearly come up in future, don’t expect too much of it in Fantastic Beasts 2.
Director David Yates recently confirmed the character will not be portrayed as “explicitly gay” in the film, while Law says he had no in-person scenes with Depp in the movie.
In an interview this week with Entertainment Weekly, Jude Law attempted to address the issue of the long-awaited gay plotline.
The actor said: “Jo Rowling revealed some years back that Dumbledore was gay. That was a question I actually asked Jo and she said, yes, he’s gay.
“But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted.
“I suppose the question is: How is Dumbledore’s sexuality depicted in this film? What you got to remember this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time.
“You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come.”