Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Does Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore really have as many Harry Potter canon plot holes as is commonly claimed? Since Fantastic Beasts 3 came out, the plot holes are becoming clearer. J.K. Rowling is a master storyteller, with a reputation for weaving complex narratives across multiple mediums. When she created the original Harry Potter story, she'd crafted a long, complicated timeline to understand every character's part in her ongoing narrative. As a result, Harry Potter fans have grown unused to the idea of there being gaping plot holes in the Fantastic Beasts prequels.
That's a major reason why the release of Fantastic Beasts 3 has been controversial, though not as much as its predecessor. There are several departures from the accepted Harry Potter canon, and Fantastic Beasts 3's plot holes continue. Sometimes these are minor issues; McGonagall's age plot hole doesn't make sense, but there's also the question of apparating on Hogwarts grounds. But even the greatest twists of Fantastic Beasts 3 seem to defy Harry Potter canon, most notably Newt's inconsistencies and the broken Blood Pact between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
These issues are, however, being overstated. It's important to remember that this is Rowling's world, and she knows far more about it than any reader or viewer. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter operates according to ill-defined rules that are only partly understood by people. Meanwhile, it's also important to remember that The Secrets of Dumbledore is only the third installment in a five-part Fantastic Beasts series. Some of these inconsistencies are actually stories that haven't been finished yet. It will be impossible to understand how some of the major plot twists affect the Harry Potter canon until Fantastic Beasts 5 hits cinemas, but that doesn't mean some of the plot holes can't already be explained.
The Elder Wand
Let's start with what may be the most significant Fantastic Beasts 3 plot hole — the Elder Wand. As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows revealed, the young Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald were obsessed with the legendary Deathly Hallows. Grindelwald was most interested in procuring the fabled Elder Wand, which is believed to be the most powerful. Sometimes referred to as the "Deathstick," the Elder Wand is unique because it has an "allegiance" to a master. It can only be claimed by another when that master is defeated. Grindelwald successfully took possession of the Elder Wand when he heard rumors the European wand-maker Gregorovitch had acquired it and ambushed him in his workshop.
Grindelwald didn't wield the Elder Wand in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. From an in-universe perspective, he attempted to impersonate another wizard, so he had to settle for using his wand. From an out-of-universe perspective, Rowling didn't want viewers to deduce who Graves really was until the end of the film. Regardless, though, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows demonstrated that a wizard didn't need to specifically wield the Elder Wand for their defeat to pass on its allegiance. So, when Grindelwald was pinned by Newt Scamander's Swooping Evil, and then disarmed when Tina took the wand out of his pinned hand, Grindelwald should've lost mastery of the Elder Wand. And yet, by Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, that clearly hasn't happened.
As with so many of these Fantastic Beasts plot holes, the solution may well be that viewers (and, indeed, readers of the original Harry Potter books) don't know all the magical rules underpinning J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World. It's safe to assume the Elder Wand was crafted by a wizard who imagined it being passed down from one bloodthirsty sorcerer to the next, by way of combat. Given that's the case, it's possible the Elder Wand didn't count Grindelwald's defeat. After all, technically, he was beaten by a beast and not a wizard when his arms were pinned to his side by the Swooping Evil. If this isn't the case, then Fantastic Beasts would ruin Harry Potter canon again.
Jacob Kowalski's Return
On the face of it, the return of Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts, as well as his entrance into Hogwarts, also ruins Harry Potter canon. Jacob explains that he hadn't truly forgotten everything that happened to him in the first film - just the bad things (and Queenie filled him in on those bits). Fans and critics alike have been quick to point out that the wizards were supposed to have Obliviated the entire population of New York City in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and that the Obliviate spell doesn't work like that.
Ironically, this particular Fantastic Beasts inconsistency is the easiest to resolve, because it's not a plot hole. Although the wizards may have used Obliviate spells to reinforce New York's collective amnesia, Jacob lost his memories because he was exposed to a diluted form of the Swooping Evil venom. And Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them does indeed include a scene where Newt explains that Swooping Evil venom, when properly diluted, erases bad memories. Presumably, Jacob's mind was clouded and confused for a while after exposure — explaining why he didn't recognize Newt when he bumped into him. But the good memories began to break through to the surface again. That would neatly explain why his bakes were in the shapes of the fantastic beasts he had so enjoyed meeting. Seeing Queenie, at last, would have finally jolted his memory, and made him realize that these strange imaginings were true. However, the plot hole of Jacob being able to enter Hogwarts in Fantastic Beasts 3 is not so easily explained.
Apparating on Hogwarts Grounds
A more awkward plot hole is that there are several scenes in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Secrets of Dumbledore where wizards Apparate onto Hogwarts grounds (as well as Jacob wielding a wand and being let into the castle). As any Harry Potter fan will know, it's supposed to be impossible to Apparate on the grounds of Hogwarts - a major plot point that even means Dumbledore has to take Harry Potter off-site to hunt Horcruxes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hermione Granger is well-known for reminding Harry (and readers) of this fact. And yet, on the face of it, it seems that Rowling has forgotten her own rules.
There are a couple of possible solutions to this one. The first, and surely the simplest, is that the spells that may prevent Apparition on the Hogwarts grounds weren't put in place until after Fantastic Beasts, maybe even the Muggle Hogwarts rule (though this one is doubtful). Perhaps, at some point in the war, Grindelwald will send in a strike team to attack Hogwarts, and Dumbledore will create those restrictions in response.
It's worth noting that Hermione learned of this block because she'd read Hogwarts: A History. Which, would presumably only mention these spells if they were tied to some historical event. Another possibility is that — at least in the Fantastic Beasts timeline — the anti-Apparition spells did not cover the main footpath over the Hogwarts bridge. After all, it's already known that Dumbledore was able to lift those spells over the Great Hall to allow Apparition classes to happen. Notice that, on both occasions, when wizards Apparate into the Hogwarts grounds, they appear in the same place. The Muggle rule could've been lifted solely for Jacob's sake in Fantastic Beasts 3, but the plot hole is pretty glaring.
The Mystery of McGonagall's Age
The casting of Fiona Glascott as the young Professor McGonagall in The Secrets of Dumbledore took many by surprise. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — set in the 1990s — McGonagall said she'd only worked at Hogwarts for "39 years." Over on the Pottermore website, J.K. Rowling had revealed that McGonagall started working at Hogwarts just two years after graduating. Putting all these details together, Minerva McGonagall should have been born in 1935. Therefore, she certainly shouldn't have been teaching the young Newt and Leta over two decades before she was born. There's no real fix for this Fantastic Beasts plot hole, other than to accept that Rowling appears to have changed her mind about McGonagall's backstory. It's as yet uncertain whether or not this was purely for fan service, or because the backstory Rowling has fashioned for McGonagall has interesting thematic parallels to Queenie's story. Perhaps McGonagall will be more important than people think.
All this is frustrating. Though, it's not exactly a significant plot hole. Indeed, it's only a problem in light of the broader Harry Potter canon Rowling has revealed on Pottermore. After all, there's no reason a teacher has to stay at Hogwarts all their lives. It's possible McGonagall left Hogwarts sometime after 1945, only to return 39 years before Harry Potter and his friends would attend. This is annoying to committed watchers, but this Fantastic Beasts 3 inconsistency is not really too important.
The Blood Pact
The Blood Pact between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald is a fascinating new twist in the Fantastic Beasts saga, but it does cause some plot holes. It was presumably forged when Dumbledore and Grindelwald were close friends — closer than brothers, in Dumbledore's words — and when they imagined they would always be side-by-side. As many know, those expectations were dashed; Albus' brother, Aberforth, saw through Grindelwald and confronted the two wizards. Wands were drawn, and a ferocious three-way duel broke out at Godric's Hollow, which tragically led to Ariana Dumbledore's untimely death. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Albus reflected that he didn't know who was responsible for the spell that killed Ariana; he believed all three wizards were casting Killing Curses.
But the Blood Pact apparently restrains Dumbledore and Grindelwald from acting against one another. In this way, Fantastic Beasts ruins Harry Potter canon. It's important to remember, that the Blood Pact is a brand new idea in Harry Potter canon; at present, we have no way of knowing how it works. Does it actually stop the two wizards from fighting each other? Or does it mean that, should Albus kill or injure Grindelwald, he will suffer the same fate? This plot hole is explained in Fantastic Beasts 3 when the blood pact is broken after Grindelwald draws his wand against Dumbledore. Nothing really happens to them (unless Fantastic Beasts 4 shows differently), and the two are now free to have their famous duel. It will be interesting to see if Rowling takes to Pottermore to clarify the Fantastic Beasts plot hole, and explain how the Blood Pact really works.
Credence Barebone is Aurelius Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore reveals the shocking truth of Credence's real identity as Aurelius Dumbledore, and Aberforth's illegitimate son. This revelation has shaken the Harry Potter fandom to its core, as it seems to contradict everything we already knew about the Dumbledore family. Aberforth would seem to be far too young to be a father, much less have a son that's Credence's age. That's why Fantastic Beasts 2 sees Albus disclose a Dumbledore family legend about Phoenixes, only for Credence's pet bird to turn into a Phoenix. Even Credence's first name Aurelius is intended to signpost this; "Albus" means "white," "Ariana" refers to "silver," and "Aurelius" is "golden." The name Grindelwald gives to Credence fits perfectly with the naming traditions of the Dumbledore family (Aberforth excluded).
The credits claim that the woman with the young Credence was his aunt, which probably means she was Albus' spinster aunt Honoria, acting to preserve what remained of the family reputation. But this isn't a Fantastic Beasts inconsistency. Rather, it's a major plot hole that The Secrets of Dumbledore resolved, and will clearly be important in Fantastic Beasts 4. Ezra Miller reassured fans that they needed to trust J.K. Rowling. And he rightly believed that Fantastic Beasts 3 revolved around the theme of "why" is Credence — why is he a Dumbledore, why was he sent away, why do the history books not record his existence in the Dumbledore family line? In light of The Secrets of Dumbledore, people can accept that, at least this story, doesn't ruin Harry Potter canon.
Newt Scamander’s Fantastic Beasts Inconsistencies
The Fantastic Beasts series creates a major plot hole for the protagonist, Newt Scamander. First, the focus shifted, and Dumbledore essentially became the main player of the entire franchise. Newt has his own list of accomplishments, such as a ban on experimental breeding, and his famous Hogwarts textbook. Despite these accolades, The Order of Merlin receiver is never listed as being involved with Grindelwald's downfall. Surprisingly, none of his exploits in the Fantastic Beasts series are even mentioned on his Chocolate Frog card, and it seems like J.K. just wanted a new hero, rather than keeping it focused on Dumbledore. Newt is overshadowed by Credence's identity, Grindelwald's plans, and Dumbledore's involvement. A prequel series focusing on Dumbledore would've been forgiven, even welcomed. However, the protagonist's bait-and-switch, and the lack of magical beasts, leave people feeling cheated out of what was promised.
Fantastic Beasts 3 Didn't Successfully Address The Harry Potter Canon Plot Holes
The only Fantastic Beasts plot hole that was fixed in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is Credence's identity. While this is a major wrap-up on something that previously angered many, it's still not enough. During the timeline, McGonagall continues to be a Professor at Hogwarts, so this inconsistency lives on. Though the Blood Pact is broken in Fantastic Beasts 3, the plot hole remains regarding Ariana's death and when the blood pact would've occurred. Fantastic Beasts ruined Harry Potter canon with Jacob's appearance in Hogwarts, apparating into Hogwarts grounds, and keeping his memories despite Obliviation. The Elder Wand plot hole remains unexplained, and will hopefully be addressed by Fantastic Beasts 5. Finally, Newt Scamander is only a secondary protagonist in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. While he does play a major role regarding the qilin (a unicorn-like creature that can single out people who are pure of heart), it's clear that Albus Dumbledore is now the main hero of the franchise, making many of Scamander's story threads seem a little superfluous to the main thread.