Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has Potterheads of all stripes in a tizzy. The barrage of twists making up the spoilerific ending to the story is part of it, but there are other moments too which don’t make sense alongside what fans thought they knew about their wizarding history. When creating a prequel in the wizarding world, the long lifespan of witches and wizards can make it difficult to gauge how long ago things were, since "generations" don’t work the same way. Putting together a Fantastic Beasts vs. Harry Potter timeline will help.
The best place to start is with the dates assigned to the canon statements in the books themselves, or in some cases the movies (and in one case, the stage play.) Part of the problem is Pottermore, the Harry Potter Wiki and other secondary sources fans have been using to supplement their knowledge of when things happened aren’t always reliable, using extrapolation to pinpoint dates, some of which aren’t always accurate.
There’s also the enormous overhaul of Pottermore in 2015, where quite a few stories embedded in the game version of the website were struck from the ledgers without acknowledgment. (Wookiepedia underwent something similar when Disney bought Lucasfilm, but it at least preserved the old stuff under "Legends" to denote these long assumed as "established" facts were no longer canon.)
The timeline as confirmed by primary sources:
- 1926: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- 1927: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- 1991-1992: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- 1992-1993: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- 1993-1994: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- 1994-1995: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- 1995-1996: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- 1996-1997: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- 1997-1998: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- 2017-2020: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
There are some intermediate dates which are also confirmed via text in the Harry Potter novels:
- 1881: Dumbledore born
- Feb. 24, 1897: Newton Scamander born
- 1899: Dumbledore & Grindelwald fall out
- 1908-1915: Newt attends Hogwarts
- 1943: The Chamber of Secrets is opened by fifth-year student Tom Riddle
- 1945: Dumbledore defeats Grindelwald
- July 31, 1980: Harry Potter is born
- Oct. 31, 1981: Voldemort is defeated by Lily Potter’s spell placed upon her son Harry.
So how does our latest reveal fit into all this? Aurelius Dumbledore doesn’t seem to fit the timeline properly, with Albus being born in 1881. But consider Credence is not much younger than Newt, who was born in 1897. This younger Dumbledore could have been born in 1899, and everything would still line up.
Of course, there is the little matter of the McGonagall cameo, which someone should have caught. (She is stated to be "a spritely 70" in the first Harry Potter book, set in 1991, which would have made her 6 or 7 in 1927, not the head of Gryffindor House.) But hopefully, Rowling will be a little more careful in the future since fans will be watching for precisely those kinds of errors going forward.
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