Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald revealed Credence Barebone is Aurelius Dumbledore, but what if he's actually Albus Dumbledore's son instead? From the start of the series, J.K. Rowling and the rest of the creative team behind the Fantastic Beasts movies have been playing fast and loose with the Harry Potter timeline, changing certain story arcs and even breaking Harry Potter canon, sometimes when it doesn't need to be.
Now that the Fantastic Beasts series is in full swing, plenty of big-name characters are starting to be introduced, such as Dumbledore, who played a somewhat small role in The Crimes of Grindelwald but should have a much more significant role as the story progresses in the following three Fantastic Beasts films. And considering that his family as at the crux of the entire franchise, it will be interesting to see how the latest twist plays out.
In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald's ending, Credence joins Grindelwald in his mountain fortress, desperate to find out what his true identity is. After spending the entire film being led to believe that Credence was a member of the LeStrange family, fans were shocked (and fairly unimpressed) by the final bait-and-switch, as Grindelwald turns Credence's chick into a Phoenix (now the bird of the Dumbledore family), and tells him that he's Aurelius Dumbledore.
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Credence Being Albus Dumbledore's Brother Doesn't Make Sense
Grindelwald's revelation to Credence seems quite conclusive, and that has led to plenty of fans theorizing how on earth Dumbledore has a secret brother, and who else in the Harry Potter world he is probably related to. On the face of it, this is pretty simple; Albus's parents (Kendra and Percival) either had another son together, or one of them had a child with someone else. However, there are some big questions that this raises, especially as Albus's parents didn't exactly lead long and happy lives. Kendra died in 1899, and Percival was sent to Azkaban around 1890, and died shortly thereafter. Given that Credence/Aurelius was born in 1901 at the earliest, there is no way that Aurelius can be a full brother to Albus.
The fan-favorite theory, then, is that Aurelius is a half-brother to Albus and Aberforth, and the son of Percival and Voldemort's grandmother. However, there are some big issues with this theory; starting with the fairly huge assumption that it would be possible for a witch and wizard in Azkaban to be intimate, to carry multiple children to term in prison, and that the Dementors would be happy to see children ferried out of the prison. From everything we know of Azkaban and the Dementors, this just doesn't make sense. Plus, should Merope Gaunt's mother have been in Azkaban, it's highly unlikely that she would have stayed sane enough to be able to have a relationship and two children in 1901 and 1907.
So, if it's not possible that Percival fathered Credence/Aurelius, thanks to being locked away, then could Kendra be his mystery mother? The short answer is no - Kendra was killed in June of 1899, and, again, Credence/Aurelius wasn't born until 1901 at the earliest, so it's not possible that Kendra is his mother. Which means that it doesn't seem possible is Credence/Aurelius is Dumbledore's brother. Unless Dumbledore isn't Kendra and Percival's son (which would rewrite his entire story), Grindelwald is lying... but about what? He could be lying about the connection entirely, using a transfiguration spell on the chick to turn it into a phoenix and laying some devious plan to get Credence/Aurelius to hate Dumbledore. Or, he could be lying, but only about the "brother" part.
Credence Is A Dumbledore - Is He Albus' Son?
Instead of being Albus' brother, Credence/Aurelius is much more likely to be Dumbledore's son - a secret love child that only Grindelwald (and potentially Aberforth) ever knew about. Dumbledore was born in 1881, thus making him about 19 years old when Credence/Aurelius was born. It's possible that Dumbledore could've fathered a child around the time, and perhaps chose not to be with the young witch after she became pregnant. The prophecy about Credence/Aurelius describes him as "a son cruelly banished," which perfectly fits with a child sent back to America after Dumbledore didn't want him. Perhaps the woman on the ship with them was actually his mother, not his aunt, or was an aunt sent to collect the child after his mother died in childbirth.
With Credence/Aurelius being born in 1901, it's also probable that Dumbledore's affair with Credence's mother was going on in 1899 at almost the same time that he was with Grindelwald - or, as Grindelwald fled at the end of their summer together, after Ariana was killed, immediately afterward. Rowling confirmed that Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald; locked in grief over the loss of both his lover and his family, did Dumbledore turn elsewhere for affection and comfort? And, having done so, did he write to Grindelwald and tell him about the situation?
This would certainly explain how Grindelwald knew of Credence/Aurelius's connection to Albus - he may even have met the witch in question. As for why no one else knew about it: Dumbledore didn't tell anyone, and this would have been such a short-lived fling that, in the drama surrounding the deaths of his mother and sister, no one would have paid too much attention to a witch passing through. Dumbledore himself wouldn't have told anyone, either - because he was ashamed, and then later, because he believed his son died because he rejected him.
Page 2 of 2: Why Credence Being Dumbledore's Son Is Better
Why Credence Being Albus Dumbledore's Son Is Better
Not only does this theory make the most sense, explaining how Credence/Aurelius was born, the age gap, the total lack of previous information on him, and how Grindelwald knew about him in the first place, but it also makes the franchise a whole lot more interesting. Grindelwald is lying to Dumbledore's son to manipulate him into killing his father; a son that Dumbledore doesn't even know he has, meaning that Albus may very well attack and kill his own child. This lets Grindelwald get past the blood pact to attack Dumbledore, not just physically, but emotionally. Either Credence/Aurelius succeeds, and Dumbledore is dead, or he fails, and Grindelwald can reveal the truth about him, destroying Dumbledore emotionally. It's a truly devious plot, and one we'd love to see play out.
This could be why Dumbledore is so moderate by the Harry Potter years, why he is adamantly non-violent. Killing your own son and dueling your ex-lover will do that to a person. It also goes a long way to explaining the intensity of the relationship between Dumbledore and Harry himself; Dumbledore still mourns the loss of his own secret son, and Harry mourns his parents and searches for a father figure. In Harry, Dumbledore is attempting to right the wrongs he did to Credence/Aurelius.
The Dumbledore-Son theory also makes The Crimes of Grindelwald's LeStrange bait-and-switch a whole lot more satisfying. Many viewers were frustrated with the feeling that the entire film set out to reveal Credence as Corvus, and that Leta's confession was a let-down that made the whole convoluted thing feel like a waste of time. However, if it explains why Dumbledore thinks his son is dead, suddenly there is a point to this meandering plotline again.
Problems With The Dumbledore Son Theory
Of course, this is not a perfect theory, and there are a couple of potential issues to be dealt with. First up, and most obvious, is why Grindelwald would introduce him as a brother, rather than a son? Presumably, though, this isn't too difficult to explain. Credence/Aurelius is desperately seeking his parents - if he were to find one, he would be lost to Grindelwald. However, if Grindelwald convinces him that he has a brother, and that brother killed their sister (and by extension, their mother), then Credence/Aurelius can be taught to see Albus as the one who stole his family and now wants to kill him, too. It's simply easier for Grindelwald to manipulate Credence/Aurelius if he presents Albus as his brother, rather than his father.
Another issue that the Dumbledore-Son theory creates revolves around Albus' sexuality. Rowling has previously described Dumbledore as gay, which would make it a lot less likely that Dumbledore would be fathering a child on a woman. Of course, this is also fairly easily dealt with - like many people, Dumbledore may have been closeted and had a relationship with a woman early in life (especially after having his heart broken by Grindelwald). This may even be a great opportunity for the franchise to do some sensitive exploration on the topic of coming out, and showing how people in the Wizarding World would react to that. Alternatively, Dumbledore may be bisexual, pansexual, or elsewhere on the spectrum of sexual orientation.
Of course, this is all just speculation at the moment, and there are myriad possibilities to explain Credence's parentage. Grindelwald may be lying about everything, for some unknown reason - to gain Credence's trust and better manipulate him, perhaps. Albus Dumbledore may actually be a half-brother to Aberforth, secretly the child of his maiden aunt Honoria, who is also the mother to Credence (and the woman on the boat). Dumbledore might be revealed to have a whole host of other brothers and sisters that Rowling neglected to mention before now. Who knows? Fantastic Beasts seems to have little concern for canon, so quite literally anything could happen.
What we do know is that we're likely to get at least some explanation for this Aurelis twist in the next installment: Fantastic Beasts 3. With three films to go, it's unlikely that we'll get the whole story next year, but fans are sure to get at least a little more information to shed light on this shocking revelation. All we can hope is that Rowling finds a way to tie up Fantastic Beasts' loose ends - and that if the Fantastic Beasts franchise continues to under-perform at the box office, all five films are still made, so that fans aren't left wondering.