Included the first cast photo for the Fantastic Beasts sequel alongside the likes of Jude Law’s young Dumbledore and returning characters Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), a new character was draped over Credence Barebone (Ezra Fisher). Actress Claudia Kim plays this mysterious newcomer. We do know that she’s something called a “Maledictus” and that she’ll be an “attraction” in some kind of circus.
Pottermore released a slew of information about the Fantastic Beasts sequel, including the official title: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. With all that came a closer look at information for each character featured in the cast photo, including the one played by Kim.
Here’s what it says for the character, who sits “intimately” with Credence Barebone and not far from Dumbledore:
“Claudia Kim appears as a Maledictus, the carrier of a blood curse that destines her ultimately to transform into a beast.”
If she’s a circus attraction, then you have to wonder if she transforms in and out of whatever cursed “beast” she’s doomed to become. Will the circus master jab her with some kind of bullhook so she transforms to entertain the guests? Does that mean it could be functionally similar to lycanthropy (werewolfry)?
Perhaps a Maledictus is triggered by emotional trauma, like with an Obscurial. Could Credence also wind up in the circus? Might we see some circus freak romance happen between the two of them?
Elsewhere on Pottermore, the Maledictus “condition” is clarified only slightly. The “new type of magical curse” is different than anything we’ve heard about before:
“Claudia Kim’s character is a ‘Maledictus’ — a carrier of a blood curse that makes her transform into a beast. This appears to be different to being an Animagus, as an Animagus can transform into an animal by choice. If we break up the etymology of the word, ‘Mal’, means ‘wrongful’ or ‘ill’ — and ‘dictus’ in Latin means ‘to speak’.”
We can assume this means that Kim’s character has no control over her own transformation, but the fact that it’s called a “blood curse” tells us a bit more. In the broader Potterverse, blood-based magic definitely exists. After all, Lily Potter’s sacrifice basically gave Harry magical blood protection.
But Blood-Bourne Curses also exist, seemingly akin to genetic disorders in us Muggles. As it’s a “curse,” we’re dealing with some seriously dark magic “that resurfaces after many generations to affect descendants of the one who was originally cursed.”
Astoria Malfoy is the best example of someone suffering from a kind of blood malediction in the Potterverse. She was a pure-blood witch from the Greengrass family that married Draco, mothered Scorpius Malfoy, and actually dies during the events of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because somebody cursed her ancestor.
Malediction, however, looks like a totally different kind of curse.
Over the summer, news broke that the Fantastic Beasts sequel would involve some kind of circus, but a poster hidden in the 1926 New York of the first movie might have teased the same circus long before that.
Most assume that the circus owned by a new wizard character named Skender (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) in the upcoming film will be the Circus Arcanus from the first film, but we can’t be sure. Does that mean Kim’s character could be one of these attractions? If so, then maybe she’s “The Enchanting Snake Girl” and the mysterious “beast” she’s doomed to become is some kind of snake — perhaps even a basilisk?
Again, not much is confirmed about Kim’s character, but if she does wind up becoming some kind of snake, then expect theories to pop up that she’ll wind up being Nagini — even if that’s incredibly far-fetched.
Considering this franchise is supposed to be about “beasts” after all, perhaps Claudia Kim’s character will take on a greater importance than just another member of the growing supporting cast? Maybe she’ll be just as important as Credence, or just as dear to Newt as one of his Bowtruckles.