Does Fantastic Beasts 2 Create A Dumbledore Plot Hole?
He teaches what?!
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald looks set to further expand the Wizarding World, shading in the details of the war waged by Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore's efforts to stop him.
With Jude Law in the role and such a rich backstory to explore, it's the latter character who is getting most of the attention, and the actor himself has recently given an interview to Entertainment Weekly where he talks about taking on the role. His answer to being questioned about Dumbledore's sexuality has garnered a lot of headlines, with Law suggesting it's something that'll be explored further in the sequels, but he also reveals a smaller yet interesting and perhaps significant detail about his character in this movie.
When asked about his character teaching Transfiguration, he replies: "He doesn’t teach Transfiguration, actually, not at this stage."
When pressed further, he says: "At this stage in his career, he’s not. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say what he teaches…"
Dumbledore has only ever been presented to us as having two roles at Hogwarts - Transfiguration teacher and then Headmaster - so this is quite the change to his story, and it raises the question of what he teaches if not Transfiguration?
The first teaser for Fantastic Beasts 2 gave us a hint, when it showed a young Dumbledore in what appeared to be the usual Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom. Then, however, it could've been for a number of reasons, such as that room being used for something else. But with another image courtesy of EW (above) highlighting him in the same room again, and this quote from Law, it really does suggest he's teaching DADA in this film, either in the main timeline - 1927 - or the flashbacks to a younger Newt at Hogwarts (the 1910s).
If that is the case, then it's an odd move for a number of reasons, not least because it's literally never been mentioned before. Dumbledore will become the Transfiguration teacher after this movie (and likely is already in the 'present day' FB timeline, because he was writing as a Transfiguration columnist from 1926), because that's his role when Tom Riddle attends Hogwarts, but you'd still think it'd have been discussed before, especially given the curse put on the role and the ineptitude of almost all the teachers he hires while Headmaster.
Making this even stranger is the presence of Professor Galatea Merrythought in Potter canon, who it's stated taught Defence Against the Dark Arts from 1895-1945 (the character is mentioned by Horace Slughorn in The Half-Blood Prince). So either the movie is writing her out for a period, or she's on some kind of leave and Dumbledore is covering for her.
Even if that were the case, though, it doesn't explain why it's never been mentioned, or why he didn't take on the role again after Merrythought's retirement. One possibility is that the Dark Arts job opens up a side to him he'd rather stay away from, or perhaps his connection to Grindelwald, in a similar way to his avoidance of Harry because of his connection to Voldemort in Order of the Phoenix.
Another theory for what he's teaching in this movie is Care of Magical Creatures. It doesn't quite match-up with the character, but it's one explanation for why he argued Newt's case so passionately.
The other option, of course, is that he's not actually teaching a subject at all. Instead, could this be an early version of Dumbledore's Army, with the maverick wizard preparing students for the Wizarding War? That would make sense, and further help explain his connection to Newt (whom he tries to defend from expulsion and later recruits for the fight against Grindelwald), but it doesn't really fit with Law's comments.
Fantastic Beasts 2 is shaping up to be an important movie for the Wizarding World, and it's going to make some interesting changes and additions to Potter lore. Hopefully, it's for the better, and it does have a satisfactory answer to this question.
Are you excited for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald? Let us know down in the comments.