12 sneaky 'Harry Potter' references you may have missed in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald'

Warner Bros.Harry Potter and Hermione Granger won’t be born for decades, but fans will still feel them throughout the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ timeline.

Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

The “Harry Potter” fandom is famously devoted. It only makes sense that J.K. Rowling, ever a loyal servant to the readers who “have stuck with Harry until the very end,” would team up with the “Fantastic Beasts” crew to saturate the new series with callbacks to the original.

On top of some cornerstone characters making a return – one in a younger body, one in an entirely different form altogether – “Crimes of Grindelwald” has multiple sneaky references to Harry’s adventures. Here are 11 you may have missed.


The Circus Arcanus has a Kappa in captivity; Remus Lupin teaches his students about that very creature.

Warner Bros.The travelling circus has a number of magical creatures in captivity.

The Kappa, which Newt Scamander describes as a Japanese water demon, first appears in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Professor Lupin teaches his third-year students about the magical creature in Defence Against the Dark Arts.

“From Red Caps they moved on to Kappas, creepy water-dwellers that looked like scaly monkeys, with webbed hands itching to strangle unwitting waders in their ponds,” the book reads.


Lupin and Albus Dumbledore had one identical lesson plan.

Warner Bros.We discover that Newt is most afraid of having a desk job.

Dumbledore was a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher before becoming Headmaster of Hogwarts. In a flashback, we see him teaching a class of young students – including Newt and Leta Lestrange – how to fend off a Boggart.

Lupin recreates this lesson decades later in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Even the wardrobes containing the Boggarts bear strikingly similarities.


As an adult, Leta revisits a desk that she carved hers and Newt’s initials into. The desk also bears the name “Nigellus.”

Warner Bros.Leta admits she was a bad student.

Phineas Nigellus Black was Sirus Black’s great-great-grandfather – and, according to Sirius, the “least popular Headmaster Hogwarts ever had.”

A portrait of Phineas Nigellus hangs in the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts, while a second hangs in a bedroom at the Black family home. Phineas Nigellus was able to assist residents of 12 Grimmauld Place, including Harry, by passing messages to Dumbledore.


The Lestrange family tree is eerily similar to the Black family tree.

Warner Bros.Bellatrix Lestrange is a member of the Black family, but took her husband’s last name.

In “Crimes of Grindelwald,” multiple characters hunt down the magical Lestrange family tree that belonged to Leta’s father. When a member of the family dies, that person’s section of the tree withers. The women are not named, but rather represented as flowers.

In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Sirius Black shows Harry his own magical family tree in 12 Grimmauld Place. When a member of the family is considered a blood traitor, that person’s section is burned off.

Read more:

The Black family tree is the


one thing that stumped the ‘Harry Potter’ filmmakers

There are notable differences between the two, but the designs are eerily similar – and clearly draw a connection between the two infamous, powerful families obsessed with their pure-blooded status.


Members of the McLaggen family have been at Hogwarts for decades.

Warner Bros.Dumbledore is the best teacher at Hogwarts, according to McLaggen in ‘Crimes of Grindelwald.’

In one scene, we see Dumbledore teaching a student how to duel in Defence Against the Dark Arts. When the class is interrupted by Ministry of Magic officials, that student boldly talks back to the man in charge.

Dumbledore tells the student to leave, calling him “McLaggen.”

In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Cormac McLaggen is a cocky, obnoxious student that tries to woo Hermione and replace Ron on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Fans of the book will know that the McLaggen family is “big in the Ministry” – which may explain the boldness of Cormac’s apparent ancestor when speaking to Ministry officials.


The Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement also has a familiar surname: Travers.

Warner Bros.Derek Riddell portrays Torquil Travers in ‘Crimes of Grindelwald,’ while Tav MacDougall portrays Travers the Death Eater in ‘Order of the Phoenix.’

In that very same classroom, Dumbledore butts heads with Torquil Travers, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He seems a competent, if harsh Ministry official – although he admits to disliking Dumbledore, which probably demonstrates poor judgement.

In the original “Harry Potter” series, Travers is the name of a vicious Death Eater. In “Deathly Hallows,” once Voldemort rose to power once again, Kingsley Shacklebolt mentions that Travers had recently escaped from Azkaban.

The Travers surname is one of the so-called “Sacred Twenty-Eight” pure-blood families, meaning they supposedly aren’t descended from any Muggles.


The ceiling in the French Ministry of Magic contains two nods to the Lovegood family.

Warner Bros.The words ‘Plimpy’ and ‘L’Éruptif’ can be spotted, two creatures that are mentioned in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’

The ceiling in the French Ministry of Magic lists a variety of magical creatures by their french names, including the Hippocampus (Hippocampe), the Graphorn (Grapcorne), and the Thunderbird (L’oiseau-tonnerre).

Two of those creatures, however, have a direct connection to the Lovegood family.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione paid a visit to Xenophilius Lovegood in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” he claimed that Luna was out fishing for freshwater Plimpies. He noted that the Lovegood family has an excellent recipe for freshwater Plimpy soup.

Hermione also noticed that Xenophilius had the horn of an Erumpent (L’Éruptif) hanging on his wall, believing that it belonged to a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.


Newt uses Polyjuice Potion to slip into the French Ministry of Magic, which is a familiar tactic.

Warner Bros.Theseus Scamander is a Ministry official.

In order to slip into the French Ministry of Magic undetected, Newt uses Polyjuice Potion to transform into his brother Theseus, who is an Auror.

Fans will remember that Harry, Ron, and Hermione first brewed this potion in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” in order to enter the Slytherin common room – but they used it again to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, like Newt, in “Deathly Hallows.”


The Sorcerer’s Stone makes a brief cameo.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.It appears that Flamel is also able to see the future, somehow.

Newt and the gang find themselves at the doorstep of none other than legendary alchemist, Nicolas Flamel.

Fans know Flamel as the creator of the Sorcerer’s Stone, the titular object at the center of Harry Potter’s very first adventure. With the Stone, Flamel is able to create and consume the Elixir of Life, which keeps him immortal.

Read more:

Nicholas Flamel’s role in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel makes for a frustrating plot hole

Eagle-eyed fans will notice the blood-red stone itself makes a minor appearance, too, when Flamel opens a cupboard.


We also see the Mirror of Erised again.

Warner Bros.Dumbledore sees Grindelwald, with whom he had a deep connection.

The Mirror of Erised is another powerful object introduced in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” As Dumbledore explains to Harry, it shows the “deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.”

“Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible,” Dumbledore tells Harry.

It’s interesting, then, to see Dumbledore himself – as a younger man in “Crimes of Grindelwald” – spending time in front of the dangerous reflection.


A beloved original character unexpectedly pops up: Minerva McGonagall.

Warner Bros.She can briefly be seen in one of the trailers.

Minerva McGonagall is the Head of Gryffindor House and the Hogwarts Transfiguration professor throughout the original “Harry Potter” series.

She pops up twice in “Crimes of Grindelwald.” She enters Dumbledore’s classroom at one point and can also be seen chasing a young Leta during a flashback scene (although this cameo will feel strange to some fans; the timelines don’t quite match up).

Read more:

The unexpected McGonagall cameo in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel doesn’t make sense


Thestrals, the same creatures used to pull the carriages at Hogwarts, are used to transport Grindelwald.

Warner Bros.MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery warns against underestimating Grindelwald — just before he manages to escape.

The opening sequence in “Crimes of Grindelwald” follows government officials attempting to transport Grindelwald from New York to Europe.

Presumably because cross-continental Apparition is highly dangerous, they choose to transport him in a carriage pulled by Thestrals. These winged horses made their debut in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” when Harry is finally able to see them; they are visible only to those who have witnessed death.

Hogwarts employs a loyal flock of Thestrals to pull the carriages to the gates of the castle when students arrive each year.

You can read our review of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” and follow along with our coverage here.

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