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.



Transcript:


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.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Is Merope Gaunt Riddle the Snake Girl Featured in the Magical Circus Arcanus in Fantastic Beasts 2?

Pottermore recently announced that a magical circus is coming in Fantastic Beasts 2. As I had a theory stating exactly this back in February, I was extremely exited with this news.

So, I've been thinking more on what this circus might look like, and who might be in it, in a new series of videos. Here's one with Suvi Holm of Finland on who that Enchanting Snake Girl might be.

The transcript is below the video, in case it gets removed again. Hope you like it!



Transcript:


Hello. Welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I’m Susan Şipal. In the recent announcements regarding Fantastic Beasts 2, the filmmakers stated that there would be some “surprising nods” toward Harry Potter. Suvi Holm and I have a theory as to what one of these nods might be, and we'd like to see what you think.

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

In my last video on certain time elements that may link Fantastic Beasts 1 to future films, I pointed out an intriguing date on the Circus Arcanus publicity poster. It noted that the circus was leaving for Europe after their final performance on December 13th. With the 5-day crossing possible in the 1920s, that’s just enough time for them to reach England, if that’s their destination, before New Year’s Eve…the night of Voldemort’s birth. A link that provides a lot of tantalizing possibilities, and we’re going to explore one of them now.

First, I’d like to point out that it’s not too far a stretch to imagine that the circus either originated in Europe or has been there before as the owner, Skender, may not be American. The publicity poster shows that the circus has been on tour in New York, not that they are based there.

I also said yesterday in the first part of this series exploring the mysteries of the Circus Arcanus, that I planned on three videos. But the material is growing, and thus I now expect this will be the second of four.

The focus on today’s video is thanks to Suvi Holm of Finland, who shared the key clue and beginning ideas with me. Suvi, if you’ll remember, was also the mastermind behind Dumbledore as a possible Demiguise Animagus theory.

Suvi found a very curious link between Merope Gaunt Riddle, Voldemort’s mother, and a circus. In Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore and Harry took a dip into Dumbledore's memory of visiting Tom Riddle's orphanage. Mrs. Cole, the matron, says that when Merope came to them on the night she gave birth to Voldemort, they wondered if Merope had come from a circus. This was purely because of the unusual name, Marvolo, that she gave her son. However, it still provides a link from Merope to a circus.

Suvi thinks that the Snake Girl pictured in the Circus Arcanus poster could be Merope. Together, she and I have pieced together the following evidence to support this theory, and why I think it not only possible, but likely.

We first see Merope in the scene where Harry and Dumbledore dip into a Ministry Official’s memories of visiting the Gaunt home. As part of this scene, Marvolo and Morfin speak to each other, and Merope, in Parseltongue. Though Merope is too cowed to respond, she clearly understands everything they say. If she weren’t being threatened by her father and brother, she would probably speak it. So, she should possess the ability to call snakes to her.

If you look at the image of the Enchanting Snake Girl in the Circus Arcanus poster, you’ll see that the snakes are wrapped around her rather than her transforming into one like an Animagus. This could be the mark of a Parseltongue. And who is the one known female Parseltongue of this time? Merope Gaunt Riddle.

Dumbledore believed that after Tom Riddle left his wife, Merope lost the use of her powers to take care of herself. But Dumbledore also admitted he was speculating. It is not specified exactly when Tom Riddle abandoned his pregnant wife. She may have been alone several months. What was she doing to support herself? Dumbledore also assumed she was staying in London, but is it possible that she used her unusual abilities to join a circus and traveled with them even to New York and back? And that something that happened in that circus injured her health or made her lose the will to live?

Now let’s jump across the pond to Credence. Many have theorized that Credence could be descended from Isolt Sayre, including several of this vlog’s followers, whom I’ve credited in the description below. The key clue seems to be the use of the word Squib. Grindelwald said he could smell Squib on Credence when they first met. Why was this important to have in the script, besides showing Grindelwald’s true colors? Because it could be a possible link to Credence’s heritage.

The most famous Squib established by Rowling in American wizarding history is Martha Steward, Squib daughter of Isolt Sayre and James Steward. Isolt’s mother and aunt were Gaunts. I don’t think Rowling would have made this connection if she didn’t somehow expect to use it in the story, not just the backstory. Through Isolt, Credence would thus be of Slytherin blood. If so, it’s very possible he speaks Parseltongue.

Marvolo Gaunt also called his daughter Merope a Squib. Though we saw through Dumbledore’s guesses about her use of a powerful love potion to bind and hold Tom Riddle that she most definitely was not.

Credence and Merope sure have a few things in common. What if they met during those last two weeks of her life? With her background of abuse and repressed magical power, she would clearly sympathize with Credence. In fact, I think it entirely possible that Merope would be the point of entry for Credence into the circus.

And what if, in witnessing her snake act, Credence discovered he could talk with snakes? Might Merope have recognized him as a distant Slytherin kin and taken him under her wing…or scale?

And might she have entrusted him with the one heirloom she still possessed?

The only thing we know that Merope did to support herself during this time was to sell her Slytherin locket just before Christmas. For a mere 10 galleons. Caractacus Burke said he performed numerous spells on it to ensure it was legitimate. But, remember, the locket had been faked somewhat before, though admittedly only with a substitute. Regulus Black switched Voldemort’s Horcrux locket out with a similar one when he visited Voldemort’s cave with Kreacher. Could the real Slytherin locket have been faked even earlier as an exact duplicate?

A curious thing about the Caractacus Burke Pensieve scene is that it’s the only one of the Voldemort-related memories that’s not presented from within. Harry and Dumbledore do not dip into Burke’s memory of that night Merope came into his shop, or even of Dumbledore interviewing him. No, it’s just of Burke taking shape in the Pensieve and talking about a night long past. It’s possible, therefore, that Rowling is hiding something important here that she could not from within a Pensieve scene that is supposed to reveal the complete truth. Like that Merope slipped Burke a fake locket after he’d examined the real one.

Merope was fully aware of what that locket was worth. She was present when her father talked about its value in front of the Ministry official. Perhaps she’d hoped to pass it on to her child, but, knowing her life was short, determined it would be too risky to leave an article of such extreme value with an infant in an orphanage.

We saw how Merope was careful to give her child a name that she’d obviously thought about in advance. One that someone else might recognize. Maybe she entrusted the real Slytherin locket to someone close to pass on to her child when he left the orphanage. A task that the new owner was unable to complete due to his own death.

Hepzibah Smith, the elderly collector Tom Riddle stole the locket from, said it had special powers. It’s unclear whether we ever saw any of these hidden powers as those that were displayed in Deathly Hallows could have stemmed from its power as Voldy’s Horcrux. But having worn it during a crucial time in her life, maybe Merope discovered some of its original magic.

What would happen if Slytherin’s locket found its way to another of his descendants with unusual powers, Credence Barebone? In Credence’s hands, might Slytherin’s ancient magic find new life? Think about it: how incredible Credence would be if he not only has the massive powers of the only Obscurial known to live past age ten, but is also in command of hidden gifts from Salazar Slytherin.

Remember, it was when Tom Riddle discovered his heritage that he really grew in power.

I freely admit I’ve slipped from fan theory into fan fiction as I have little evidence to back up the possibility of Merope passing off a fake locket and then entrusting the real one to Credence, just conjecture. (And don’t blame Suvi for this part of the theory!) However, if Rowling includes Merope in the story, it will be for a specific purpose. Merope may be just the person uniquely qualified to pass on special knowledge to Credence; whether it comes with a locket is just bonus.

The biggest negative against Merope’s inclusion in Fantastic Beasts 2 is that the recently released details says the film will take place months after the ending of FB1, when she is already dead. However, I could envision a brief prelude to the second film that shows Merope meeting Credence, and perhaps her entrusting him with something hidden, before the main part of the film takes place months later.

This Merope as the Snake Girl theory would definitely fulfill the statement that FB2 would connect with Harry Potter in surprising ways. While many people have anticipated a link to Voldemort, it would be just like Rowling to twist it and instead provide the link to his mother.

I’m not fond of Fantastic Beasts as a Voldemort origin theory, and I don't think that’s where it's going. But, because of the dates of the first film, I do think there must be some sort of connection. I do not think we will see the birth of Voldemort. I believe the connection is going to be more on what Merope might have left that will find its way to Credence rather than explaining more about Voldemort to us. Whose story we already know.


But for my theory to hang together, the timing is crucial. So I circle back to my last video and the dating of Circus Arcanus’ trip to Europe. Rowling knows her timeline. Why construct a timeline that has this magical circus arrive in Europe, probably England, right on the eve of Voldemort’s birth unless there was a connection somehow? To me, Merope seems to be the critical link to explain that purpose.

Yes, Rowling would have to fudge her canon a bit to make this work, but she does have an out. Dumbledore admitted that he was conjecturing about Merope’s whereabouts and magical abilities after Tom left her. He had no way of knowing if she’d gone abroad since she was in London for the birth. That's why the date of the return trip to Europe for Circus Arcanus is so important.

And to those of you who may think it’s ridiculous to look at this level of detail from a book published in 2005 for clues to a film coming out in 2018, think about this:

  1. The original text book for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was published in 2001. Rowling has said in an interview that ever since writing that book, Newt’s story has been playing in her mind. So ideas for Newt were jostling around in that very crowded brain when Rowling penned these Pensieve scenes.
  2. Beyond mere ideas, writers can have books in various stages of completion for many, many years. I have one that’s been in progress for over 15.
  3. And retroactively making something fit is always a possibility. It’s easy enough for Rowling to go back to a prior published manuscript and look for clues that she can now tie into a new story.

Speaking as a writer, if Suvi and I are right about this, it's frightening to think how far out and how much in detail Rowling plots her stories. I just can’t wait to see if any of this is true, and if not, what she has in store for us instead!

What do you think? Could the Snake Girl be Merope Gaunt? Please share your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss my next video in this series, which will further explore the mysteries of the magical circus.

Be sure to check the description box below for links to the prior videos I mentioned. Also, don’t forget to check out my Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts at Amazon or your local bookseller.


Monday, May 22, 2017

What Does the Huge Squire's Sign Mean in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

I've got a new YouTube video out on that huge Squire's sign that we see atop the building where the Team gathers to watch Credence as the Obscurus overtakes him toward the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The way the sign was emphasized in both the film and the script book seemed a bit odd to me, and made me think that JK Rowling might be hinting at something.

In this video I offer up my own theory, but as I'm not positive it's right, ask for your help in figuring it out.

I've also included the transcript below the video in case you prefer to just read it.

Hope you enjoy! And I'd love to hear your thoughts and theories in the comments!



Transcript:

Hello. Welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I’m Susan Şipal.
There’s a huge Squire’s sign that Newt and Team gather under to witness Credence as the Obscurus in his final rage of destruction. Does that sign have a hidden meaning? And, if so, what is it?

I first covered this theory and others like it in my clue book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, and hope you’ll check it out.

Today’s video is a bit different. I’m doing this one not because I have a strong theory to present to you. But rather because I know there’s something there and I want your help figuring it out.

Ever since I first saw the movie, I’ve been pondering that huge Squire’s sign that the Team gathers under at the beginning of the climax scene. The fact that it’s named specifically in the script book as well tells me that this sign has a purpose in being there. But what is it?

For months, possible meanings have percolated in the back of my mind. I’ve looked at and discarded a few as I’ve researched the word squires.

One theory that is very tempting to latch onto relates to my last video: Credence as the Atomic Bomb. There are two men in the Manhattan Project with the last name Squires. Arthur Squires was a chemical engineer who worked under Percival Keith, named in my Atomic Bomb theory as a possible source for Graves’ first name. This Squires was instrumental in establishing the bomb used on Nagasaki. The other, Lombard Squires, was an engineer and worked with plutonium inspections.

As the Squires sign appears in the scene that’s a prelude to Credence blowing up, there could definitely be a correlation between one of these guys, and maybe there is more there than what I’m picking up on. But for some reason, this explanation just doesn’t ring true to me.

Still I’m listing links to the two Manhattan Project Squires in the description below if any of you would like to investigate further.

So, my best guess is still the one I put in the clue book in December and takes a dive into classic British literature, which we know Jo has done before. Namely, The Canterbury Tales.

The Squire’s Tale is unusual for the stories the pilgrims tell on their way to Canterbury. The young squire who tells it never gets to finish it. Indeed, it’s a long, rambling, romantic story that, if finished, would seem to be longer than any of the others.

What intrigues me most about the Squire’s story, beyond the parallel name, are the presents offered as gifts at the beginning. A knight rides into court where a lavish feast is being held and offers the king the following magical gifts from a far away king:

A brass steed – to transport him anywhere he wishes to go in the world within 24 hours without harm.

A mirror – for his daughter - to see clearly into the true nature of people, whether friend, foe, or lover.

A ring – also for the princess - giving her the ability to understand the language of any bird and speak to them as well, and to understand any herb’s remedy.

And finally, a sword – that strikes lethally through armor and then has the ability to heal the wound.

You can probably already see what fascinates me with this correlation. For Fantastic Beasts, we have the brass steed’s power to apparate. Plus, as I posted in my Jacob’s Occamy video, there is the possible link to Jacob riding the Occamy in future films. I’m very grateful to Kelly L. for pointing out to me that in the extra features of the recently released DVD, concept art shows someone riding the Occamy. I anticipate Jacob’s Occamy is how he’ll keep up with his magical friends.

Two, the mirror that sees into someone’s true nature is also present in Fantastic Beasts with Queenie’s Legilimens ability.

Three, for the ring, my thoughts are theoretical, but I link back to my Tina as an Animagus theory, specifically the pigeon seen in the Second Salem Church. If I’m right, she should possess the ability to talk to and understand birds.

And finally, four, swords – Newt’s sword is his beasts. We’ve seen him use his creatures both defensively and medicinally. Swooping Evil, in particular, was used to stun the Aurors at MACUSA while Newt and Tina made their escape, as well as provide the necessary potion to restore security to the Wizarding World. I expect we’ll see even more, and greater, defensive and healing powers from Newt’s beasts in future films.

Notice one more thing: How the two gifts given to the princess correlate to the two magical skills I’ve attributed to Queenie and Tina.

One aspect I think is crucial to consider in figuring out the meaning of Squire’s is the location of this sign. Not only in its prominent placement on top of a skyscraper, but also in the sequence of the film.

First, the team is all gathered together observing the rampaging Obscurus below. Mostly, they stand behind the sign, effectively at its tail.

Next, take a look at the trip Credence’s Obscurus makes from Modesty’s origin home in the Bronx to the City Hall subway. He starts in the tenements, turns right into what seems to be a more prosperous or business area, heading directly to that very prominent sign. He then swoops up and pivots directly in front of that sign before veering off to the right. Almost as if he were on a journey…or a pilgrimage?

All in all, this entry to the final stand-off scene between Newt and Tina against Grindelwald to save Credence seems designed to draw our attention to this moment. It’s in the tail-end of the Squire’s sign that we see the team first united to save a very troubled young man with enough power to cause serious harm. Is this highlighting the main thrust of the rest of the series to follow? Each team member using their own talent to that end?

Could this sign then not only point to the nature of the Squire’s gifts, but also to what the team will bring to helping Credence rid himself of the Obscurus?

How I could see these “gifts” being put to use going forward:

Queenie’s Legilimens’ skill is obviously useful in helping her get into Credence’s mind and understand his pain. After all, people are most easy to read when they’re hurting.

If Tina has been watching over Credence as a bird, and has the ability to talk to animals including magical beasts, maybe she can speak to the Obscurus directly. Newt did say that Credence was listening to her…maybe it wasn’t just the man, but also the beast inside.

For Newt – he somehow was able to separate the Obscurus from the Sudanese girl. Perhaps with more skill, he can use his beastly sword to not only separate the Obscurus from Credence, but this time heal the Obscurial as well.

And then there’s Jacob – I’m not quite sure how riding an Occamy will contribute toward saving Credence, unless the Occamy provides special transportation power that simply Apparating does not.

For those of you more familiar with New York and its history than I am, I want to show you one more thing. We saw in Madam Piquery’s magical map the path the Obscurus was taking. So it seems that the Squire’s sign was somewhere around here.

Does that mark any landmark which might be important to the story or series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

One more curiosity I want to share with you. Notice the name of this building in the backdrop of Times Square during Graves and Tina’s battle. Kingly Court. The Squire’s Tale starts off in just such a place.

Chaucer’s Tales are revered for the insight he gives into English social strata during a transformative time following the Black Plague. Is Rowling perhaps using an allusion to Chaucer to offer a critique of our own modern society facing a major catastrophe? Or, could she be taking the viewer, an international mixture of people of various beliefs and social classes, on a spiritual quest?

While I think this theory has merit, I’m still not convinced it’s what Jo means. So, please, share your ideas in the comments. What am I missing? What do you think? Maybe together we can come up with an even better theory.

Be sure to check the description box below for extra information and links I’ve provided. 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. Until next time!



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Touch of Magic BookTube Review for Martina Boone's Lake of Destiny + #Giveaway

Hi all,

I was fortunate enough to be a beta reader for Martina Boone's newest venture: Lake of Destiny, an adult contemporary romance set in the Scottish Highlands and filled with a hint of magic and touch of history.

I loved the warmth and humor of the novel so much, I decided to create a new playlist on my YouTube channel and start A Touch of Magic BookTube Reviews. Please check out my review of Martina's novel in the video below and subscribe to my channel if you'd like to see more.

You can also enter to win a paperback copy of Lake of Destiny by clicking the link toward the end of the video.

Are you excited to read Martina's newest release?


Transcript:


Hello I'm Susan Şipal and today I’d like to share something new with you. As an editor and author, I read a wonderful lot of books. So I’m starting a playlist to share those that have touched me the most. A Touch of Magic Reviews will be all about books…with just a hint of magic.

Having worked in the publishing industry for over a dozen years, I’ve read a lot. And I definitely have some strong opinions of what I like and what I don’t, as evidenced by my love of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, not to mention my desire to spend an insane amount of time analyzing and speaking about them.

However, the Wizarding World is not my only passion. I love beautifully-written and thought-provoking books in both fiction and nonfiction. I’d like to share with you some of those that have touched my heart or my life. Though I may cover anything from adult romance, like today’s offering, to next week’s non-fiction. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron, they all have something in common: they inspire magic.

Martina Boone is an award-winning author best known for her Heirs of Watson Island series from Simon Pulse. She was born in Prague but defected to the US as a child. Though Martina spoke several languages, when she was teased for stumbling with English, she determined to learn “all the words.” If you read her books, you’ll discover she has done so brilliantly.

I was fortunate to be a beta reader for Martina early on, and I became a fan of her work from the moment I read her very first story. I immediately wanted to start a fan page. Then she came out with her young adult Heirs of Watson Island series. Compulsion was released in 2014, with Persuasion and Illusion following in 2015 and 2016. With my love of mythology, I immediately had to dig beneath the surface to discover all her stories’ secrets. Martina combines a fully contemporary story with just a touch of fantasy to make it all seem so vividly alive and magical.

Perhaps, however, her best skill is breathing life into delightful characters. Her people are so real I find myself talking to them even after I turn the last page.

As she is now venturing into contemporary romance with a touch of magical realism. I’m sure she’ll thrill many adult readers with her new series: Celtic Legends.

Martina’s newest book is a sweet contemporary romance, but with definite heat. Set in Scotland, it’s filled with a hint of magic and touch of history about Bonnie Prince Charlie and Rob Roy MacGregor. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander will love it as well as those who enjoy Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, and Susan Mallery. It’s written with warmth and humor, which is the combination I love best.

Anna Cameron is healing from wounds of the past while courageously forging a fresh path for herself by starting a new career in a foreign country. Connal MacGregor is a man who could have had it all, but turned his back on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to protect his most prized treasure – his young daughter. The two come together to not only help a small town in need of economic revival, but to push each other in their own personal recoveries.

According to the back cover: “For centuries, Loch Fàil in Balwhither has been known to locals as a "thin" place, one where the veil between worlds peels back on Beltane morn to reveal the face of a person's one true love.” But this “Sighting” can just as often wreak havoc in one’s life as bring joy. And setting up a festival surrounding the Sighting has recently divided the villagers – a wonderful cast of characters that are engaging and quirky and lend both conflict and depth to the story. It’s Anna’s job to unite the locals and bridge their argument with Connal while allowing her heart to open to the magical possibility of what her Sighting in the loch will reveal.

And through it all is Martina’s lyrical writing, interwoven with myth and magic to charm and satisfy the reader.

Who would you hope to see in the Lake of Destiny for your own Sighting? And if you met the person you were destined to love, would you tell them?

Lake of Destiny is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold. I've included links to online retailers in the description below.

I'm so excited to share Martina’s newest release with you, that I'm offering a giveaway for one paperback copy. Just follow the link in the popup above or in the description below to the contest entry page. There you can choose various methods to gain entry points, including subscribing to my YouTube channel, joining Martina's newsletter list, and spreading the word. One winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, May 9 from all the entries. So get those points up by entering as many ways as you can!

Have you read one of Martina Boone’s books? I’d love to hear about it. Please share your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to check out my other playlist, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, where Wizarding World fans and I share theories of what’s to come in future films. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future videos for both reviews and theories! Until next time!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Breaking News: Jude Law to Portray Albus Dumbledore in #FantasticBeasts2

News of the casting for the younger Albus Dumbledore has excited Wizarding World fans! Jude Law has been cast to portray Dumbledore for the next Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film. The Pottermore announcement also hints at surprises coming to fans in how Dumbledore will be portrayed.

I've got a new video covering the announcement below and discussion is ongoing in the comments on my YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out and subscribe.

Transcript is below the video.

Video:



Transcript:


Hey guys, we’ve got some breaking news for Fantastic Beasts 2. Albus Dumbledore has been cast! I’m Susan Şipal with Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts to bring you the news.

So, fresh off my most recent video, Is Dougal the Demiguise Really Dumbledore in Animagus Form, we’ve got new reports which include a couple of hints for Albus Dumbledore’s role in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 2.

Pottermore announced, and JK Rowling Tweeted, that Jude Law has been cast to portray our favorite Headmaster of Hogwarts in the days before he was Headmaster. Pottermore confirms that at this point in the story, Dumbledore will be Hogwarts’ Transfiguration professor.

Jude Law is a well known and respected actor, nominated for many awards for both film and theater, including two Academy Awards. He has also starred with many previous Wizarding World alumni, including Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp.

For all of us speculating as to what secrets the new (old) presentation of Dumbledore will reveal, here’s an interesting quote in the Pottermore article from David Yates: “I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as J.K. Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.” (via Pottermore).

Unexpected facets…very different time. Looks like we need to continue our prior discussions on what surprises and twists we can expect from this younger Dumbledore. Especially now that we know the actor who will portray him.

We also get a slight reveal of the upcoming plot as the article states: “Its sequel takes the story deeper into an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world, where Newt and our other heroes must decide on their allegiances.” (Pottermore)

Truly, it’s not too much to go on as we knew the films would get darker. But this does place Newt firmly as the main protagonist and brings up the possibility that the Team may not go forward totally united…at least for a while.

The article also confirms the Fantastic Beasts 2 release date as November 16, 2018, and that filming will begin this summer, though it doesn’t state specifically which month.

What do you think about this casting? Are you excited to see what Jude Law will bring to the role of Dumbledore? Do you think there is the possibility that there could be a split of allegiance among Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and check out my other fan theory videos in the playlist. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future film updates and any clues they may hold.



Monday, April 10, 2017

Will Dumbledore be a Demiguise Animagi in Upcoming Fantastic Beasts Films?

I posted a new video over the weekend that is theory of one of my viewers, Suvi Holm of Finland. She believes the Dougal the Demiguise may be Dumbledore in Animagi form or at least that Dougal gives us hints as to what Dumbledore's Animagi form is.

Since the video posted, I found this note on Pottermore at the bottom of their page Everything You Didn't Know About Animagi:

Minerva McGonagall was taught by Albus Dumbledore himself
Does that mean Dumbledore was an Animagi too?

I hope you'll watch the video and share your thoughts as well! And be sure to subscribe and check out the other videos on you YouTube channel.

Video



Transcript


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

Fans have long speculated that Dumbledore may be an Animagi. Does JK Rowling give hints through Dougal the Demiguise as to what his animal may be? And if so, will we see him in this form through the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films?

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

The theory I present to you today is not mine but rather the brain child of Suvi Holm of Finland, one of the followers of this vlog. She shared it with me a few days ago, and the idea has grown on me so much, that I asked to present it here since she's not interested in doing a video herself.

As Suvi says, “Twinkly eyes, invisibility, craves sweets, seems to know future,” Dougal and Dumbledore seem to have a lot in common. They also share silvery hair, a wizened face, and blue eyes, as Dougal’s “flash a brilliant blue” (p. 211) when he is having a premonition. Could all these links indicate that Dougal is really Dumbledore in Animagus form? Or, is the characterization of Dougal designed to hint that Dumbledore's Animagi is a Demiguise?

As a Transfiguration professor, it would make sense that Dumbledore would be an Animagi, as Professor McGonagall is. We receive further hints that this may well be the case in the Transfiguration Today article floated across the screen of Fantastic Beasts. Above Dumbledore’s section regarding a Metamorphagus’ ability to vanish (which Suvi speculates may relate to Grindelwald), is the article: "How to Identify Unregistered and Unlawful Animagi."

Dumbledore told us all the way back in Philosopher’s Stone: "I don't need a cloak to become invisible.” (p. 213)

As a Demiguise, invisibility would come naturally, which would make flitting about Hogwarts unseen a whole lot easier. But this could also explain his knack for knowing what's happening all about the castle and his insight into the most probable future.

Suvi 's original theory is that Dougal IS Dumbledore. Which would mean that Dumbledore is present spying on both Newt and Grindelwald and would explain why Dougal is so eager to get out of that case all the time. She and I have discussed this possibility, and while I think this is a great theory, I’m inclined now to believe that Jo used the characterization of Dougal to give us hints towards Dumbledore's Animagi form. Perhaps that’s mostly because I would hate to lose Dougal as a character in himself.

We know we’ll be seeing Dumbledore in upcoming films. A much younger and gayer Dumbledore. Perhaps also a bit grayer still in his developing ethics. May we also find out other secrets which fans have longed to know? Will we see how he obtained Fawkes? Perhaps Dougal gives us a hint here as well in his careful babysitting of the Occamy. Maybe as a Demiguise, Dumbledore had more intimate trust with exotic, magical birds.

Another thing about Dougal that I’d like to point out is the special bond that seems to be developing between him and Jacob. Dougal is literally physically attached to Jacob for a good part of the scene with the Occamy. It's almost like he forsees that Jacob is a safe haven or that there is something special about this No-Maj who cares so much about magical creatures. I look forward to seeing what develops between Jacob and Dougal in future films.

For sure, I’ll be on the lookout for Dougal and any stray Demiguise sightings in upcoming films. Which, as Newt says, will only be spotted “with immense difficulty” (p. 185) We’ll have to keep an eye out for stray floating candy!

While I’m not sure if Dougal is Dumbledore, I’m highly convinced now that we will see Dumbledore as a Demiguise somewhere along the way.

Again, I wish to thank Suvi for sharing her theory with me.

As a reminder, you can still get my free ebook: Egyptian Myths in Harry Potter, containing nine of my favorite theories.

Just click on the link I’m providing above and in the description below. It also comes with discount coupons to my other books and on my story consulting services.

What do you think about Dougal and Dumbledore’s possible relation? I’d love to hear your theories. Please share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to subscribe. You can also find me online at these other places, though I’m most active on Twitter. Until next time!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Might Credence Barebone Run Away to Join the Circus in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2?

Have you wondered what will happen with Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts 2? We know he survives because we saw a wisp of Obscurus escape the subway station. Plus, Ezra Miller has already been announced in the returning cast. :-)

But, without a family and the Second Salemers, how is he to support himself? How will he get to Paris to be in the next film?

Here are my thoughts in this video, which is also on my YouTube channel. The transcript is pasted below.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!




Transcript:


Hello and welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts.I’m Susan Sipal.

We know from clues which producer David Heyman has dropped that Credence Barebone continues into the next film. But with his family all dead or gone, how will he support himself? And how’s he gonna get to Europe?

I think I’ve found a clue within the film itself. And it all starts with unlucky #13.

In a prior video, I analyzed Rowling’s Use of Unlucky #13 to mark key clues. Since then, I’ve found a very prominent placement of 13 in the setting of Fantastic Beasts.

This theory to follow is similar to those found in my most recent release, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I hope you’ll check it out for even more clues.

As we approach the climax of the film, Graves walks past a particularly intriguing poster in an alley on his way to Credence, having been summoned by the Deathly Hallows necklace. It’s on a poster advertising the Circus Arcanus. Notice the prominent 13 begging our attention.

You can get a much better view of the poster on MinaLima’s website where they have a full-color advertisement that the newspaper it is based upon.

MinaLima are the graphics artists who designed for all eight Harry Potter films as well as Fantastic Beasts. They said in a recent interview, that some of the details they work into their material are direct from JK Rowling…but they won’t say what.

Notice some of the key details in this beautiful poster:
  • Circus Arcanus has been touring in New York during the course of the movie, which dates mostly around Dec 6-7
  • Their final show is on the 13th
  • Then they are leaving for Europe.

And we know already that the next film is based in Paris.

The Circus’ cast includes:
  • A snake girl
  • Borys the Brute hypnotist
  • Homo Amphibia

Surely some of these have some magical elements.

This so-called Freak Show reminds me of when “freak” was used previously in the film, with very nasty connotations.

Remember in the Shaw tower scene how the Senator called Credence a freak, twice? Once he directed it toward the family as a whole, and later to Credence specifically. The senator’s abuse showed the true nature of this politician and made Modesty react protectively toward her older brother.

Then there is the fact that the Circus is traveling to Europe. In an interview shortly after the release of Fantastic Beasts, Producer David Heyman said a scene had been cut that showed Credence getting on a ship. Could he have been bound for Europe? And might he have ended up on the same ship as the circus?

Credence is in desperate need of true friends. He may be drawn to the magic seemingly represented in Circus Arcanus. And to others suffering from society’s scorn and fascination.

He might feel that he’s found a true home with people like himself. And there may very well be a witch or wizard living within the Circus.
  • The Snake Girl could be a Slytherin Animagus
  • The Hypnotist using the Imperius curse.
  • And the Homo Amphibia may be a magical beast?

The Circus Arcanus may be nothing more than a decorative poster created by MinaLima, like the one in Deathly Hallows that hung in the Luchino Caffe where the trio dueled the Death Eaters after having fled from Bill and Fleur’s wedding. However, there is more to this one.
  • With the repetition of the word “freak,”
  • The circus poster leading to a pivotal scene,
  • The cut scene of Credence heading onto a ship,
  • The circus performers linked to magical elements (not just clowns as in the Deathly Hallows poster), plus they are heading to Europe,
  • And the theme of abuse of those outside society’s norms, especially children, there is just too much here to ignored.

And remember, that theme of abuse of children is one which is very important to Rowling. The concern that JK Rowling weaves into Fantastic Beasts for neglected and abused children is a reflection of her real-life crusade to help those that are institutionalized worldwide.

Lumos believes that no child should be denied a family because they are poor, disabled, or from an ethnic minority.

If you would like to support Jo’s foundation to help the millions of children in institutions, I hope you’ll click on the donate button and give to Lumos Foundation USA.

Please share your thoughts on Credence joining the circus in the comments. Also please subscribe and check out my playlist for more theories. Remember morevideos are on the way.

In the meantime, don’t forget to checkout Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts at Amazon or your local bookseller.

Until next time.