Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
J.K. Rowling’s new “Harry Potter” spinoff movie follows the oddball Newt Scamander as he navigates New York City’s wizarding community for the first time. Scamander — a British wizard and magizoologist — finds some American friends along the way during his mishaps with magical creatures and dark wizards. But among the new faces, a very familiar name was dropped during a small conversation.
In one crucial scene, Queenie uses Legilimency on Scamander to figure out the name of a young girl he was friends with back at Hogwarts. Her name was Lita Lestrange.
Queenie had spotted a framed photograph inside Scamander’s home, and pressed him for information on it. Newt, visibly uncomfortable discussing the subject, refused to divulge any further details.
But Queenie used Legilimens to read Newt’s mind anyways. “That was a real close friendship you had,” Queenie told him. Newt concedes, and admits that he and Lita were both outsiders who didn’t fit in. He said they were close for years, but doesn’t explain what happened between them.
Lita’s last name alone will give any “Harry Potter” fan a clue, though. Lestrange is the surname of an ancient Dark wizard family.
The most notorious Lestrange from the “Harry Potter” series was Bellatrix — the cousin of Sirius Black and Lord Voldemort’s most devoted follower. But Bellatrix was born with the same last name as Sirius (Black), and only became a Lestrange when she married her husband Rodolphous.
Rodolphous was another Death Eater — he helped Bellatrix torture Neville Longbottom’s parents into insanity — but not much else was known about his character or family through the books. Bellatrix was constantly in the foreground, with only small throwaway mentions of her husband in the sixth or seventh books.
Rodolphous re-entered the narrative in the eighth story, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” After being released from Azkaban, Rodolphous sought out Delphi — the love child of his wife Bellatrix and Lord Voldemort.
Since Bellatrix and Voldemort were both killed at the Battle of Hogwarts in the seventh book, Rodolphous was the only one living who knew the truth about Delphi. He told the young girl about her parents, and also revealed a prophecy to her which led to some pretty crazy time travel stuff happening in “Cursed Child.”
“It was Rodolphus Lestrange, Bellatrix’s loyal husband, who on return from Azkaban told me who I was and revealed the prophecy he thought I was destined to fulfil,” Delphi said to Voldemort. “I am your daughter, sir.”
Long story short, the Lestrange family probably has a history siding with the bad guys — we know Bellatrix would never have married into a family of “blood traitors” or Muggle-sympathizers. Which mean the Lestranges have been “bad” for a while.
So what does Lita Lestrange — who we assume is an ancestor of Rodolphous — have to do with Scamander and the next four “Fantastic Beasts” movies? According to the credits she’s played by Zoe Kravitz, so we can expect to see her again.
Scamander seems to be a far cry from the kind of wizard you’d expect to get mixed up in the Dark Arts, so perhaps Lita was an outlier in her family of Dark wizards.
Maybe it was a Lily Potter/Severus Snape situation — childhood friends who grew apart due to their differences in dabbling with the more twisted sides of magic. And were Newt and Lita romantically involved? Or was it maybe one sided, again similar to Lily and Severus’ relationship at Hogwarts?
Since Grindelwald is the main villain of the “Fantastic Beasts” series, we can see Rowling introducing some of his sympathizers in future movies. Every villain needs henchman, after all. Maybe Lita and Scamander will come face to face again from opposite sides of the wizarding war over Grindelwald’s rise to power.
For now, we’ll just add the mystery behind Lita to our growing list of burning questions we hope are answered in the movies to come.
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