Note: Contains major spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has its issues in terms of Harry Potter canon and the overall timeline, but arguably its biggest problem is how it fails its female cast.
One moment in particular during the explosive finale stands out as a seemingly unnecessary use of an well-worn film trope. However, a new theory suggests that maybe all is not what it seems when it comes to the fate of a major character.
Major spoilers await, so this is your last chance to avoid them if you still haven’t seen the Fantastic Beasts sequel.
Still with us? So, in a textbook case of fridging, Zoë Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange is tragically killed by Grindelwald after she decides to sacrifice herself to give Newt, his brother (and her fiancé) Theseus and the others time to escape.
This happens shortly after we get a lengthy exposition sequence where we learn that Leta is haunted by the death of her half-brother. When she was a child on a stormy sea voyage, she swapped him for another baby, only for her real brother to drown.
But this emotional depth to Leta is all she gets before she’s killed off and, barring flashbacks, unlikely to be seen again in the Fantastic Beasts series. However, a theory by Reddit user amanyggvv suggests that Leta’s presence may still be felt in future movies.
Delving into Harry Potter canon, they suggest that Leta might have set a Sacrificial Protection charm as a result of her death, much like Harry’s mother Lily did to protect him from Lord Voldemort. In order for the charm to work, a person must sacrifice their own life out of love to save the life of one or more people.
As part of it, the person making the sacrifice must be given the option to live, but choose death, something that Leta does when she willingly confronts Grindelwald which, crucially, comes after he has given her the option to join him.
So in that aspect, Leta could well have set the charm in motion and if that’s the case, it means that Grindelwald may not be able to harm either Scamander brother.
The charm prevents the murderer from harming those protected and any spells cast on them will wear off quicker, potentially giving them the edge in the battle against Grindelwald. Then again, it could be a bit awkward if Leta has only protected Newt…
However, there are some issues with this theory, namely that for the charm to work, the person sacrificing themselves can’t fight back against their murderer.
Leta definitely goes to strike Grindelwald in the final battle after duping him into thinking she’s joining his side, but it could be argued that she’s not fighting back and is only trying to take his attention away from everyone else. Tellingly, she doesn’t fight back as Grindelwald goes to strike his killer blow, though.
The other potential issue is that we don’t actually know if this charm can be made by someone outside of the Potter family. In the series to date, we’ve only seen Lily and Harry successfully make a Sacrificial Protection charm work, so it could be specific to their bloodline.
What’s more, it’s unclear if Leta’s connection with either Newt or Theseus is strong enough to have the bond needed for the charm to take effect. It’s hinted that it’s been years since Newt last saw Leta, after all.
Still, if the theory was proven to be correct, it would be a neat way to add some much-needed meaning to Leta’s sacrifice, other than bringing the Scamanders closer together. It wouldn’t completely resolve the frustration over Fantastic Beasts wasting Leta, but it’s a start.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is out now.
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