One generation before You-Know-Who, there was Gellert Grindelwald, one of the most feared and dangerous dark wizards in wizarding history. His goals were not very different from Lord Voldemort’s. Like the Dark Lord, Grindelwald believed wizards were superior to Muggles, and he wanted to exert control over those he deemed to be less than him.
Interestingly enough, some of the disturbing things Grindelwald has done are also things Albus Dumbledore has done. As many fans of the Harry Potter series know, before Dumbledore became a professor at Hogwarts, he and Grindelwald were very close. They had big dreams for the wizarding world—big, disturbing dreams like controlling Muggle-kind. However, everything changed when a tragic event created a rift between the two wizards.
So who is Grindelwald? Read on to find out, and get ready to cast obliviate because spoilers abound for the Harry Potter series and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
He Broke Albus Dumbledore’s HeartPhoto: Warner Bros.
From the lips of the goddess herself, J.K. Rowling said this about the heartbreak suffered by everyone’s favorite twinkly-eyed Headmaster: "Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him."
That said, in his final moments, Grindelwald exhibited some remorse, which may have stemmed from his loyalty to Dumbledore. When Voldemort demanded the whereabouts of the Elder Wand, Grindelwald, knowing that Dumbledore possessed it, didn’t give up his old friend and flame, as he tells Voldemort, “Kill me, then! You will not win, you cannot win! That wand will never, ever be yours.” Voldemort wasn’t too pleased with his answer and killed him shortly after.Was this truly twisted?
He Formed a Dark ArmyPhoto: Warner Bros.
Every Dark Wizard needs an army, and Grindelwald was no exception. After the tragic duel with the Dumbledores, Grindelwald fled to Europe and rallied his supporters. It is believed that members of Grindelwald’s army committed many crimes and murders for their cause, or as they called it, “for the greater good.” They waged war for years, committing several terrorist attacks in their effort to overthrow the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.Was this truly twisted?
He Was a Wizard SupremacistPhoto: Warner Bros.
The final books in the Harry Potter series revealed many uncomfortable truths about Albus Dumbledore. One of the most noteworthy ones was that he, along with Grindelwald, wanted to reshape the Wizarding World and control the Muggle population for what they believed was “the greater good.” Their desire to overthrow the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy so that witches and wizards wouldn’t have to conceal their true selves was in itself a noble cause, but Grindelwald’s ambition twisted it into something far more sinister.Was this truly twisted?
He Was Expelled from Durmstrang for Practicing the Dark ArtsPhoto: Warner Bros.
So this one shouldn’t be much of a surprise since Grindelwald is known as one of the most dangerous Dark Wizards of all time, but we all have to start somewhere. Not only did he practice the Dark Arts, but he experimented with them and used his friends as his test subjects. Now that’s house solidarity.
Grindelwald was expelled for these actions from Durmstrang Institute, a school that already had a fairly liberal attitude towards teaching their students Dark Arts. That should give you an idea of how disturbing these experiments were. To add insult to injury, Grindelwald vandalized school property before leaving, tagging the school walls with the mark of the Deathly Hallows.Was this truly twisted?