Warner Bros. released the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2 today, and with it came one major reveal. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, or don’t want to know, now’s your chance to turn back.
Okay, good to proceed? Well, we’ve known for a while that actress Claudia Kim has a mysterious role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and her character’s name was revealed in this trailer as… Nagini! If your first reaction was, “WTF?” you’re not alone. In a brief moment at the beginning of the trailer, Ezra Miller’s Credence whispers “Nagini” to Kim’s character, who then promptly turns into a snake. You’ll recall from the Harry Potter books and films that Nagini is Voldemort’s snake buddy, and also a horcrux. Nagini was swiftly sliced in half by Neville Longbottom during the Battle of Hogwarts.
So how does this work exactly? Well it’s actually explained, as per usual, by Rowling’s lore. Kim’s character is a Maledictus, which is a female individual whose blood was cursed from birth. That curse, per Harry Potter Wikipedia, eventually turns them into a beast. Maledictuses are always women, as the curse is passed from mother to daughter. Rowling even took to Twitter today to provide some context as to how Maledictuses are different from those suffering from lycanthropy, like Professor Lupin:
They’re different conditions. Maledictuses are always women, whereas werewolves can be either sex. The Maledictus carries a blood curse from birth, which is passed down from mother to daughter. https://t.co/wYfvPeQFRW
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 25, 2018
Even more context was provided by Warner Bros.’ official character description for Maledictus:
The Maledictus appears to be a beautiful, young woman, but she is a carrier of a blood curse that ultimately destines her to transform permanently into a beast. She is first seen as the star attraction at Circus Arcanus, a wizarding world circus, where her transformative powers are being exploited by its cruel owner and Ringmaster, Skender. But the Maledictus has also found a friend in one of the menial workers there, Credence. After they escape from the circus together, the Maledictus becomes Credence’s companion and confidante in his search for his identity.
But none of this answers how Nagini becomes Voldemort’s BFF, although it certainly alludes to a tragic end for this character. One imagines that once the curse fully takes over the woman, she somehow comes into contact with Tom Riddle or Voldemort. Or perhaps she falls into the hands of one of Voldemort’s allies first. There are five films planned for the Fantastic Beasts franchise in total so there’s still a lot of road to go, but this is a fascinating and deeply sad twist to the story.