Will We Die Just a Little? – Deciphering Grindelwald’s Riddle


The first Fantastic Beasts movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” has probably long faded into the depths of most people’s memories. It was, after all, released several years ago. A veritable eternity in internet time. But nevertheless, with the fairly recent revelation Rowling made about the nature of Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s relationship, I thought it was time to go back and explore a small possible hint at what we’ll see from them in future movies.

Another Shocking Revelation!

Now for the uninitiated, all the way back in the dark ages of the late 2000s when Twitter was but a squalling infant and MySpace was the titan of social media, ol’ J.K. In one of her characteristic out-of-fucking-nowhere announcements revealed that, apparently, Dumbledore was really into knitting. Also, that he was gay.

As expected the fans, who had never read a single mention of this in the books, recieved the news warmly and with unanimous praise. Except, no. Instead many were just a little pissed off that this had never been mentioned. And while I sympathise greatly, as I am a magnanimous and empathetic person, I don’t really give a shit.

Yes, it had never explicitely been stated, but they were called the “Harry Potter” books, not the “Dumbledore Chronicles.” It was “and the Philosopher’s Stone” not “A Search for Grindelwald’s Stones.” Rowling likely never thought it was all that pertinent. And considering that you only have so many pages to devote to telling a story, she probably thought she didn’t need to include it.

Although it’s worth mentioning that, if you look carefully, the hints were always there. Dumbledore, usually a pretty level-headed chap, was a little… overly attached, to Grindelwald, after all. I couldn’t imagine Dumbledore getting so easily swept up in someone’s insanity without them being damn special to him. And special, he turned out to be indeed.

Writing the Gay Away?

Why? Why?! WHY?!!!

The goddamn bloodpact.

Nevertheless, the newest movie “Crimes of Grindelwald” did, in fact, have Grindelwald’s name in it (I checked twice) and young, hot Dumbledore was a main character. Yet… we got nothing. Actually rather a lot worse than nothing, we got “the blood pact.” A plot point so artificial Ed Wood is spinning around in his grave like a top coated in vaseline. So what gives? Will Rowling ever deign to grace us with some more about them that’s actually put on screen? Well, nobody knows for sure what dear old Rowling will do next, she’s a bit of a loose canon that one. But I actually suspect she might.

Now, being the eternal optimist that I am, you might be inclined to question me (tisk, tisk). So what evidence do I have of this? Well… admittedly the evidence is scant. But there may be some.

A Shockingier Revelation!!!

The Radio Times reports that Rowling has revealed, on the special features for the “Crimes of Grindewald” Blu ray, that the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald was reciprocal. And in fact that it had a sexual dimension to it. Not just that, but “It was passionate, and it was a love relationship.” She also goes on to say that “…I’m less interested in the sexual side – though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship – than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationships.” Director of the Fantastic Beasts movies, David Yates, even adds: “This is a story about two men who loved each other, and ultimately have to fight each other. It’s a story for the 21st century.”

That all sounds fine and dandy. Epic, even. But here’s just one tiny, itty-bitty, little question… where the hell is any of that?! All we got in “Crimes of Grindelwald” is the blood pact! Where was this? Where was the build-up to this? Where was the foreshadowing? Well, with my trusty pipe and deerstalker, I may have found some.

Will We Die Just a Little?

In the very first Fantastic Beasts movie, after the Scooby Gang has foiled mean old Grindelwald’s plans with a little touch of swooping evil, as he’s being taken away the ministry folks helpfully pause and allow the uber-dangerous dark lord, known for his great use of psychological warfare and the power of his words, to deliver a little message to poor Newt: “Will we die just a little?”

Will we die just a little? Will we die just a little?! What the hell does that mean? How does one even die just a little?! And here lies the crux of my theory.

As some of you may know there is an expression in French called “la petite mort.” Translated into English this phrase means “the little death.” An expression that, somewhat morbidly, refers to the sensation post orgasm. My contention is that this idiom, and not the Deathly Hallows as some have speculated, is what Grindelwald was referring to when he said the somewhat puzzling sentence to Newt. And why would he said that?


A young Dumbledore and Grindelwald making their bloodpact.

Imagine Grindelwald and Dumbledore as young men. Sitting on a ledge somewhere together. Watching the sunset. Maybe discussing plans of leaving their boring neighbourhood, with all the stresses of Ariana, behind and taking a trip to Paris. The cty of lights. Dumbledore and Grindelwald start jokingly practicing their French with each other, fantasizing about what it would be like. Maybe they blurt out completely random sentences of French. Maybe even absurd ones like “La vache est dans la baignoire.” They’re looking at each other, laughing together. Then for a moment they stare at each other, just smiling and Grindelwald says “La petite mort.” Flashing a little coy smile after he says it.

Maybe Dumbledore asks what that meant. Maybe they discuss it. Before this point they’d both been aware of their feelings, but neither had expressed them. They’d just been avoiding the topic of their love. Then suddenly Grindelwald says that and they start talking. First around the subject then about the subject. Leading into their first sexual encounter together. Perhaps Dumbledore’s first sexual encounter ever.

Then at the end of the first movie Grindelwald, having heard that Newt knew Dumbledore while disguised as Percival Graves during the interrogation scene, figured that if he said this puzzling phrase to Newt, then Newt would pass it on to Dumbledore. Maybe ask Dulbledore what Grindelwald meant with it. It would seem quite like Grindelwald to play mind games with Dumbledore, and it would’ve been a nice way to get the audience caught up on it.

A 2 Billion Dollar Candle

This arguably also shows a weakness in this theory however. Since during “Crimes of Grindelwald” we never saw Newt pass on the phrase and Dumbledore also never commented on Paris. Grindelwald did say he hates Paris, which would not be surprising if it reminded him of his estranged ex-lover, but this is pretty ambiguous.

Then again, maybe this is a bomb that has yet to drop. Maybe something will prompt Newt to ask about the phrase after all, or maybe it will come up again. Maybe it’s a mystery like the mystery of what happened the night Voldemort attacked Harry. Maybe Rowling is going for a slow burn here. A very slow burn. One that’s about 5 movies and 2 billion dollars (the expected gross of the 5 movies) long.

At the very least, I think if this was what he meant, if he was referring to orgasm and to all these moments with Dumbledore, then that suggests we will finally, after all these years, see some of their relationship uncovered in future movies. I’m not talking Pornhub material here, but I’m talking love. Moments of intimacy between them. A heart-wrenching choice for Dumbledore to stand by his morals and destroy his first love or to watch the world descend into darkness.

Or it could all just come down to a necklace. But why would Rowling put in such a puzzling reference, if she didn’t mean for it to be explained?

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Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them” and “Fantastics Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Fantastic Beasts movie series belongs to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers Studios.

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