As any Ravenclaw worth her weight in galleons knows well, the death of Voldemort was inextricably linked to the life of Nagini, his beloved pet snake who also zealously hoarded a piece of the Dark Lord’s soul. She was the evil wizard’s most loyal companion and his final Horcrux, their bond amplified by the fact that Voldemort could speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes. Though the first seven Harry Potter books never explicitly confirmed it, there was also an implication within them that Nagini and Voldemort’s connection ran deeper—that she was more perceptive and more intelligent than the average snake. But Potter fans have never quite been able to pinpoint exactly what it was that set her apart—that is, until the trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released on Tuesday. The clip may confirm a deliciously dark theory positing that Nagini is in fact a Maledictus—a cursed witch who turned into an animal.
The theory began taking shape last year, when new details about the second Fantastic Beasts film were released on Pottermore. Early cast photos confirmed not only that Ezra Miller’s character, Credence, would return for the sequel, but also that he would be accompanied by a mysterious woman, played by Claudia Kim. We don’t know much about her character yet—but we have been told that she is a Maledictus, “someone who suffers from a ‘blood curse’ that turns them into a beast.” It would seem fitting, then, that this new witch might transform into Nagini. She’s shown briefly in the trailer, around the 1:07 mark, hanging out on a rooftop with Credence, where the two are clearly up to some Obscurial dark magic.
Some sharp fans have also noted that there’s a second clue around the 1:17 mark, which shows a circus poster of a woman who looks like Kim tangled up in a giant snake; the word “Maledictus” is splashed underneath the image. It was revealed last summer that Kim’s character, whose name has not yet been revealed, would enter the story as a “featured attraction at a wizarding circus,” so that sounds about right. The circus, by the way, is called the Circus Arcanus, and it’s run by a man named Skender (played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson).
A closer look at the poster can be seen in this tweet:
Little is known about Nagini’s origin story and how she and Voldemort joined forces, though there have been theories that the two met when he was in exile in Albania. However, the potential revelation that Nagini is in fact a cursed witch would explain the snake’s heightened abilities, which were formerly attributed to the fact that she harbored a piece of Voldemort’s soul. And this detail would certainly also add another layer to her ultimate demise, when Neville Longbottom slashes her head off with the sword of Gryffindor. Ouch. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters on Nov. 16.
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.About a Book Harry, his owl, Hedwig, and foppish professor Gilderoy Lockhart pay a visit to London's "wizarding" bookstore, Flourish and Blotts.Photo: Photographed by Mark Seliger for the October 2002 issue.Greenhouse Efx
Ron, Hermoine, and Harry take Herbology instruction from Professor Sprout, played by Miriam Margolyes. Ron is holding a just-picked Mandrake. Note earmuffs, which protect the students from its fatal cry.
Photo: Photographed by Mark Seliger for the October 2002 issue.Stoned
Hermione Granger has been literally "Petrified." She is attended to by Madame Pomfrey (played by Gemma Jones), Harry, Ron, and Colin Creevey (played by Hugh Mitchell).
Photo: Photographed by Mark Seliger for the October 2002 issue.The Boy Who Lived
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, in the spider-infested cupboard where he is forced to live. “I was totally scared out of my wits,” Radcliffe says of auditioning for the role.
Photo: Photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the October 2001 issue.The Gryffindor Quidditch Team
From left to right: Leila Sutherland (Alicia Spinnet), Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood, team captain), Emily Dale (Katie Bell), Danielle Tabor (Angelina Johnson), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), and James Phelps (Fred Weasley).
Photo: Photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the October 2001 issue.The Life-Size Chess Match
Rupert Grint, who plays Harry Potter’s best friend, Ron Weasley, rides one of the live chess pieces that guard the hidden Sorcerer’s Stone at Hogwarts.
Photo: Photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the October 2001 issue.Photo: Photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the October 2001 cover.PreviousNext
Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.