Monday, August 28, 2017

Credence Barebone 2.0: What Will His Regenerated Form Be in Fantastic Beasts 2?

Hi All,

I've got a new video up on Credence Barebone's role going forward in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that I hope you will like. In it, I speculate that we will see a progressive change, or regeneration, in Credence from film to film. A bit like Doctor Who, but hopefully keeping the actor Ezra Miller throughout these transformations.

Please let me know what you think. And I've listed the full transcript below the video.

Also, today and tomorrow only, my publisher is offering FREE Kindle promotion for my fan theory book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. You can get your free copy here: Free Ebook!


Hello. Welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I’m Susan Şipal.

Who’s your favorite doctor? I’m particularly fond of the ninth and tenth. Or, if you’re not a Doctor Who fan, perhaps you prefer Gandalf the White. But what I’m really curious about at the moment, is what form will Credence take in Fantastic Beasts 2.

I covered many theories like this in my book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, and hope you’ll check it out.

Hey all you Whovians out there – who’s your favorite doctor? Whether you prefer the zany spin of Tom Baker or Peter Capaldi’s maturity, or maybe, like me, you’re anticipating Jodie Whittaker’s fresh take, it’s the ability of the Doctor to regenerate that keeps this series going. This constant evolving also speaks to an important theme of the show – the need of the Doctor to continuously expand his consciousness.

Regeneration or rebirth is a very popular theme across all literature. It’s the apex of the hero’s journey that allows the reader to experience the catharsis of a transformed life within themselves. How literal that rebirth is depends on the nature of the story. In fantasy, a character may pass through the Underworld and return to life. Whereas in comedy, a character may die of embarrassment and live to screw up another day…just a bit wiser.

In Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling had Harry skirt along the edge. He passed through death in King’s Cross to return to do battle at Hogwarts, but she left the reader to decide just how much of it was all in his head.
With Fantastic Beasts, however, I see strong hints that we’re going to get more of a Doctor Who type of regeneration with Credence Barebone.

We all know by now that it’s been confirmed that Ezra Miller will return to his role as Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts 2. Most of us knew this when we watched Newt Scamander follow that wisp of escaping Obscurus from the City Hall subway station. Or at least when we heard the interview with producer David Heyman about the ending scene that had been deleted with Credence leaving on a ship.

The filmmakers were very careful to show us in Fantastic Beasts 1 just HOW Credence could come back. At least twice we saw the Obscurus gather back into the form of Credence Barebone, even after a massive explosion. But surely, after that last devastating blast, that small tendril of Credence that remained must somehow be transformed from what he was before.

I explored in my Magical Circus Series where I think Credence might show up in the next film – as part of the Freak Show of the Circus Arcanus. Now I want to explore more what transformation we can expect to see in him personally. How will we recognize the tremendous change that has surely taken place inside? Will he have a change in appearance or personality? Or will he have newfound powers? And how will the filmmakers show this to the audience, considering that it is the same actor?

Pottermore’s recent announcement gave us one key clue that Credence may not reappear exactly as before. The article stated: “Credence will be back in a ‘mysterious’ way.” Mysterious. Does that mean we will not recognize him at first? Or will he not recognize himself?

Perhaps the blow Credence received from Madam Picquery’s Aurors was so devastating that his memory has been altered. And, if so, will Grindelwald use this to his advantage? Perhaps presenting himself to Credence as the one person who stood by him when others abandoned him.
Personally, I anticipate that we’ll get a hint of all of the above. With memory serving as such a key theme throughout the first film, I expect Credence will suffer from some sort of memory lapse as a result of the explosion. I also expect that we’ll see an outward shift in his appearance to reflect the greater inner change he has experienced. And this transformation of character will possibly set a pattern of incremental changes for each film going forward.

Which brings me back to my last video. We explored the ancient idea of metempsychosis, a Greek spin on reincarnation where the soul can transmigrate from animal to human or human to animal. Ancient spiritual groups like the Pythagoreans taught their initiates to unite the four elements within oneself to seek enlightenment. To purify their current life in order to achieve a higher level in their next. And if they can retain their memories of their previous life, they will finally escape the cycle of reincarnation to live divine.

Birds have always provided a symbolic link to the spirit or soul. From the ancient Egyptian concept of the Ba, to the Holy Spirit as a dove in Christianity, the flight of birds well represents this freedom of the soul without the body. Within Fantastic Beasts, we saw lots of bird-like creatures. I can’t imagine a stronger hint at the soul than a dove in the lighted window of a church. But we also have the Occamy and Swooping Evil, and Frank the Thunderbird, who was surely the beastly soul of the film.

For Fantastic Beasts 2, I’ve theorized we will see another bird that relates even more strongly to the soul and regeneration. A Phoenix. David Yates stated in an interview that we would see a new beast of Chinese origin in the next film, and I speculated in my Magical Circus Acts video that Claudia Kim may have a bird act, that this could possibly be a phoenix.

Indeed, I have a theory for the ultimate role of the phoenix at series end which, if I’m right, would be a major spoiler. It’s highly, highly unlikely that I am, because I’m going quite “out on a limb” with this one, but I thought I’d give you a warning before proceeding because some of you have expressed concerns in the comments about being spoiled.

Jo has openly stated in interviews of Fantastic Beasts being about the beast we all have within and the way we make beasts of others. Couple that with my theory of a possible subtext of a graduated metempsychosis based around the number five and human and animal transmigration of souls, and I think we could see a beastly reincarnation at the end of the series.
Could Credence undergo a cycle of regeneration at the end of each film until he eventually attains a level of spiritual enlightenment that the ancients whispered about in their secret rites? Will we see his appearance or personality advance from film to film until he is finally freed of his human form and elevated to immortality at series end?

And who better in the Wizarding World universe to embody this immortality than Fawkes?

Yes, that Fawkes. Dumbledore’s phoenix.
Could Fawkes literally be Credence Barebone’s final regeneration?

I know this is highly unlikely, but let me show you some tantalizing hints.
We all know that phoenixes are reborn, regenerated, from ashes. Harry saw this for himself when he first met Fawkes.
We’ve also already seen Credence exploding into ashes, to survive only as a tendril…”like feathers,” as Rowling states in the scriptbook.

In a prior video, we talked about the explosive nature of Credence’s Obscurus and its links to the Atomic bomb which ended World War II. However, that theory does not contradict this one. Rather it links it to another theory – what Grindelwald meant by “Will we die, just a little?” In that theory, I speculated that Grindelwald and Newt might try to take the Obscurus onto themselves – Grindelwald to better use its powers for his “greater good” purposes, and Newt to save Credence.

Dying just a little. Sounds a bit like reincarnation.

However, if either Newt, or more likely Grindelwald, were to separate Credence from his Obscurus, it could be the catalyst that detonates a massive Obscurus bomb while freeing Credence’s soul to transfigure into the newly born Fawkes.

As Fawkes, Credence would not only be a potent symbol of peace for the ending of the Fantastic Beasts series, but would provide a transformative framing for the historical next. If Fawkes, the bird who linked Voldemort to Harry through their wands, was Credence, his presence and shared feathers would add new depth and meaning to a story we’ve already experienced. Your understanding of Harry Potter would be transformed by the story arc of Fantastic Beasts.
Honestly, I have to say as an author, I think this is such a fabulous idea that if Rowling is not plotting it for her series, I fully plan to do it for two of my own!

But as I mentioned in my last video, I very much believe this Fantastic Beasts story arc will be a team effort. It will take the full power of the four members of the Team, the four elements, to support the fifth, Credence, in the freeing of his soul. And that is why the pentagram is such a powerful symbol for this series.
As I acknowledged, I’m very probably wrong about my Fawkes theory, but I do believe we’ll see a progressive regeneration of Credence throughout the series…whatever his final form may be.

Before I finish, I’d like to point you in the direction of JK Rowling’s Lumos organization, who is having a fundraising effort on Crowdrise. You can both help end the institutionalization of children and reunite them with their families while scoring cool gear for yourself and being entered to win a trip to the London set of Fantastic Beasts 2! Join me in donating. I’ve provided a link in the description below.

What do you think about the possibility of Credence regenerating with each film? Do you think there’s any slim chance he could finally be Fawkes? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Be sure to check the description box below for any links I cited and videos mentioned. And please subscribe for future theories. Also, don’t forget to check out my Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts at Amazon or your local bookseller.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I Can See Thestrals Now. A Celebration of a Life of Love.

Today we celebrate Harry Potter's and JK Rowling's birthday. But I'm remembering someone who had this day long before either of them. My father.


Hi. It’s July 31st and fandom is celebrating the birthday of Harry Potter and JK Rowling. But I’m remembering the birth and life of someone who had this day long before either of them. My father.

For those of you following my videos for fan theories to Fantastic Beasts, this is not one of them. I've been wanting to share this message for a long time, but it's taken me eight months until I could talk about it.

I used to tease my dad about sharing Harry Potter's birthday. I wish I still could. For me, my father was the original Harry Potter, even if not by name. Because he was a man who always knew the power of love and always spread that magic freely.

In Order of the Phoenix we read how Harry could see Thestrals following the death of Cedric from the last book. When Rowling explained this delay due to it taking time for death to sink in, my initial reaction was skeptical. But having experienced it close hand, I understand much better now.

However there’s an aspect within Cedric’s death that isn't talked about much, and in reflection of my own father’s passing, I’d like to speak to it here.

Harry was right by Cedric’s side when he was killed. Harry touched his body. Harry claimed his body. He took his body home to his parents for burial.

I had experienced death before my father. But not as personally. Although I was in the hospital with my grandparents when each one died, I was in a waiting room far away while doctors and nurses in the ICU cared for them in their final moments.

With my father, we were fortunate enough to do things differently. We knew death was approaching, and as it was my father's wish to go home from the hospital, we honored that request. My father spent the last four months of his life at home, surrounded by friends and family, cared for by those he loved most. Until the very last breath.

We would not have been able to do this without the excellent care and support provided to us by Palliative Care and Hospice. Hospice staff are loving, caring professionals and volunteers who face Thestrals every single day. They do this so that your loved one can make their final journey from a comforting place of love and safety.

Death is perhaps the greatest binder of humanity. We all face it. We all experience it of those we love. Seeing Thestrals is a beautiful metaphor for the change in life that death brings. Although not always possible, how fortunate are those who can meet it by the side of those we hold most dear.

So I dedicate this video to the man who taught me throughout his life, even unto death, the magic of love, and to the people who helped me and my family give him the love and support he needed into his next great adventure.

Jo once said that Harry’s story would not have been the same if she’d not experienced her mother’s death. So I think it fitting on her and Harry’s birthday, as well as my dad’s, to remember those who ride fearlessly upon Thestrals, guiding others into the beauty of love’s final gift.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What the Magical Circus Acts Might Look Like in Fantastic Beasts 2

I've got a really long video for you today. But I think it will be of interest to more than just Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Fans. Writers of especially historical stories could find some inspiration in seeing these vintage images of circus and freak show performers and hearing their amazing or often tragic life stories. So I hope you will enjoy this peek into what I think we might see as both performers and characters in JK Rowling's upcoming Fantastic Beasts 2. Also, please check out the rest of my videos on fan theories for the films!

Video Transcript:

Hello. Welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I’m Susan Şipal.

Today we’re continuing our in-depth look at the magical circus coming in Fantastic Beasts 2. A circus is always an intriguing subject, and one of the main reasons is because of the fascinating people who work there. How much more so, then, in a magical one?

I covered many theories like this in my book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, and hope you’ll check it out.

Before we get started, there’s cast news to report. Actor Derek Riddell will appear in Fantastic Beasts 2 as a character named Torquil Travers. As Travers is the last name of one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters, might we expect Torquil to be a younger version or a relative? And, if so, might he be one of Grindelwald’s new followers? We should definitely expect to see some of Grindy’s cohorts announced. And thanks to Mr. Scamander on Twitter, link below, for also giving me a heads-up about this announcement.

But new cast members are the subject for another day. Today, I thought it would be fun to try to catch a glimpse under the big tent that was teased at the end of FB1.

As presented in my prior video on the Circus Arcanus, I fully expect this troupe to be comprised of magical people performing for Muggles. In a series that, far more than Harry Potter, is set to critique the separation of two very different populations – the No-Maj and the Magical – what better way to explore the fringe where these two worlds collide than in a circus freak show of the day?

Any time you have a group of people who are marginalized and subordinated from another population, there are always some communities where the two groups interact. Usually on the fringe. A magical troupe performing for and possibly hoodwinking the No-Maj would defy MACUSA law and exist on the outskirts of either society. What a perfect place for Rowling to explore critical themes of tolerance and coexistence. Thus, I believe this magical circus will perform a starring role in not only Fantastic Beasts 2, but the whole series to come.

However, the only guide we have to this furtive look under the big top is the graphic arts team of MinaLima…a thoroughly unreliable narrator at best. Because, as they have stated in an interview, they would not reveal any clues even if they knew them. So we’ll have to rely solely on the publicity poster they designed for FB1 for any clues there may be.

Of course, we also have to consider how much information Rowling would have given to MinaLima in designing this poster. The artists have said in interviews that not only did Rowling provide key headlines for the newspapers featured in FB1, but they met with her a couple of times to ensure they had accurate information for creating the rest of their graphic work. Also, everything they created had to pass her approval. As to whether that included any hidden clues, they did not know and would not say even if they did. I’ve linked to the interview in the description below. So, much of what is in this poster could be just their own research about circus performers at the time. But a clue or two could be hidden…if you know where to look.

In the days before movies reached every town and TV every household, traveling shows were a primary source of entertainment for many people, especially those living outside big cities. And this was not limited to the United States. Many countries had traveling shows or circuses, and many of these shows traveled outside of their nation’s borders.

Nor were traveling shows limited to the circus. They could consist of acrobats and jugglers, magicians and wizards, freak shows and sideshows, zoos and rodeos…and any combination of any of these. Shows often combined or expanded and traveled together to draw larger crowds.

What I see in Circus Arcanus is a multinational troupe that combines elements of several of these shows. Thus it perfectly plays on the international movement of the films.

You'll see in the MinaLima poster that they incorporate various popular circus and freak show performers. We’re going to look at them one by one.

Because I have a ton of images to show you, none of them my own, I’ve created a Pinterest page to give credit where credit is due. Not only to the sources where I obtained these vintage images, but also to the original performers who inspired them. I’ve linked to biographies where I could find them because I don’t want us to forget that these were real people, with often tragic stories to tell.

As with any circus, there are acrobats and animals.

And a fearless lion tamer…

With the images to come, I want you to notice how closely some of the MinaLima drawings resemble their vintage counterparts. Here's an image of one of the most famous fat women, Lucy Moore, of mixed race heritage.

MinaLima also included the famous half lady Mademoiselle Gabrielle, who was born without legs.

Bearded Lady Annie Jones, who campaigned to have the word “freaks” abolished from the business.

One of the most famous two-headed girls, Millie and Christine McKoy, were born slaves in North Carolina. Once freed, Millie and Christine learned to speak five languages, dance, and sing, and even performed for Queen Victoria.

Then there are the so-called “giraffe neck” ladies from Burma, who are the Kayan of Myanmar.

And for the final lady in the circus, we also have a sword swallower.

For the men, we start off with tattooed strong man Rasmus Nielsen of Denmark.

A giant beard man, such as J. Bullesbach…

Lionel the Lion Man, whose real name was Stephan Bibrowski, and who had rare condition that covered his body in hair.

One of the most famous strong men was Eugen Sandow, a German man who is credited as the father of modern body building.

And then there is General Tom Thumb. Charles Stratton was perhaps one of the most famous circus performers P.T. Barnum ever promoted.

I’ll talk more about this mystery man in a bit, but it’s possible he represents albino performers who were quite popular, such as Tom Jack, the Ice King.

And then we come to the man who, to me, seems to be the ringmaster. But he’s not styled like any of the other ringmasters I’ve found, which we’ll also talk about in a bit.

Next we move on to the Freak Show side of the circus, starting with Infant Demonic. Grady Stiles, who went by the name of Lobster Boy, had a condition where his fingers and toes were fused together. As an adult, Stiles became an abusive alcoholic and was convicted of murdering his daughter’s fiancé. He was then later killed himself by a murderer hired by his family.

Although called Borys the Brute, this hypnotist looks similar to a man named Albani, a Swiss mentalist who was especially popular in Paris and Berlin, until World War II closed the clubs.

We also see a two-headed baby…

And Nigelle le Narcissique, known as “Homo Amphibia,” who “freakishly devours own tail whilst singing popular Gaelic folk songs.” This one, I think, may be one of Jo’s own creations.

And finally, Snake Girl, always one of the most popular attractions of any freak show. Here is Nala Damajanti, one of the more famous snake charmers from France. In my last video, we looked for clues in support of a theory developed with Suvi Holm that the Snake Girl represented here may be Merope Gaunt Riddle. What I’d like to do now is go back to certain of these characters in the MinaLima poster to seek out other possible clues.

Where I think we will find these clues, are in the deviations. As so many of MinaLima’s representations look remarkably similar to their real-life counterparts, often down to the exact same pose, then it’s possible that in the few places that are strikingly different, Rowling may, and I repeat may, be twisting them to match a character in her story.

The first curiosity I want you to notice is with the lion tamer. First off, look closely at that lion. It’s got two heads. Count them, only four legs. Now, I know we had a two-headed girl and a two-headed baby, but usually, in most Muggle circuses, you don’t get a two-headed lion. I think this is our first clue that Circus Arcanus must be magical. Then, notice how the lion tamer is speaking, the jagged green lines, no whip like other tamers. Is that an indication of a spell?

Next up is the mystery man. I labeled him as a possible albino act earlier, but it doesn’t really fit. What at first appears to be hair seems to have spokes in it, like feathers or a fan…as some acrobats used. But, it doesn’t look like he’s holding a fan. I think it may be a headdress. In fact, his forehead looks like it may be covered in a mask. To be honest, I’m completely mystified with this character and would love your input in figuring him out.

I could also find no similar match to our exotic ringmaster. It’s possible he represents a magician, as these traveling shows were also quite popular and tended to play on the exotic allure. Notice Carter the Great is The World’s Weird Wonderful Wizard!

He also has a hint of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, The Mikado, about him. I only mention this very slim possibility because The Mikado was also a story that used a foreign fantasy locale to hide current political satire. Finally, I wonder if this character could represent Skender, the owner of the wizarding circus, whom Ólafur Darri Ólafsson will play. I won’t say much about this character in this video as I intend to cover him more in the next.

Borys the Brute Hypnotist, with that name and that green stare, definitely hints to me that he’s using the Imperius Curse on unsuspecting No-Majs. Which, if so, would emphasize the outlaw nature of a magical show that performs for Muggles. And what to make of Homo Amphibia…especially that devouring its own tail bit? Is this Rowling’s twist on the ouroboros…which is a snake, worm, dragon, or even sometimes a phoenix eating its tail. Shown in either a circle or infinity loop, the ouroboros symbolizes many things, including rebirth, the eternal cycle of time, and even, get this, to alchemists, the Philosopher’s Stone. I find the possible hint of the ouroboros especially intriguing because of the shape that large snake is taking around Snake Girl. Infinity. But, as all this relates to another video I’m working on, I’ll hold off going too deep for now.

But the ouroboros brings us back to Snake Girl, who is our last and still most compelling mystery character. When Claudia Kim’s casting was first revealed as a “featured attraction” in the magical circus, most everyone, including myself, jumped to the conclusion that she would be Snake Girl, and justifiably so. But perhaps that theory was just a bit too…convenient.

If we assume for a moment, and that's a big assumption, that Suvi and I are correct in my last video about Merope Gaunt being the Snake Girl, she would still be dead before the main action of Fantastic Beasts 2 takes place. So, either a new Snake Girl would need to be found, as the act generally is a very popular one, or a different act brought in to replace hers.

Perhaps Kim is simply the new Snake Girl. Or, perhaps her character’s name was left unrevealed not because it would tell us that she was the Snake Girl, but because it would hint that she was not.

Before discussing another possible act for Kim, I’d like to connect you with a tidbit David Yates tossed out months ago, even before the official release of FB1. The Leaky Cauldron reported from an interview that Yates said FB 2 would “feature” a new creature, one from China. Of course, that got all fandom scurrying to locate this new beast, and the most likely candidate is a phoenix. Fans have long wanted to see how Dumbledore obtained Fawkes, and others have theorized quite well that Fawkes must have come from Newt.

But…why have a magical circus if you cannot introduce a new magical beast? So, I believe the new beast could very well be a phoenix, but it will come by way of Claudia Kim’s character in the magical circus.

In searching over many of these vintage images of circus performers, one I saw quite frequently was the Bird Girl. There were various acts like this across the US and Europe. You already know where I’m going, don’t you? Don't you think a phoenix would make quite an impressive circus act? He could appear and disappear as if by magic. He could sing a beautiful haunting tune that would leave the audience feeling healed…and then rush to tell all their friends to come and lay down their own money to see it.

However, if Kim did have a phoenix act, it would not be with Fawkes. Rowling stated in a 2005 interview that Fawkes never belonged to another human before Dumbledore. So I’m proposing that this would be a different phoenix, one more fitting with Chinese tradition, the fenghuang. The fenghuang’s mythology is quite complicated, but the points I’d like to highlight are that it nests among the highest mountaintops, that it symbolizes peace and harmony, and yin and yang, that it’s only loyal to those who are “without darkness and corruption,” and that its feathers are of the five primary colors which are said to represent many things, including Confucius’ five virtues.

As five is such a key theme for Fantastic Beasts, which I’ve got another series of videos on, I was especially fascinated to see all the symbolism of five related to this bird. If I’m right about this theory, I believe Kim’s role will be a pivotal one in the series. I do think that Dumbledore’s Fawkes will be introduced by way of this character and her phoenix, but exactly how will have to also be the subject of a future video.

One last little note about circus acts…I also came across lots of fortune tellers and psychics while hunting out these images. Wouldn’t you love to see Rowling give another spin to divinations?

What do you think? Is it possible that a phoenix would allow itself to be used in a bird act if it were very loyal to the witch? Please share your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss my next and, I think, last video of this series, which will explore what life might be like for Credence inside one of these traveling shows (if it occurs, of course), and the character of Skender. Remember to check out my Pinterest page, link below, for credits and more details on the images shown. Also, don’t forget to check out my Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts at Amazon or your local bookseller.