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"Credence Barebone. Nearly destroyed by the woman who raised him. Yet now he seeks the mother who bore him. He's desperate for family. He's desperate for love. He's the key to our victory."
Gellert Grindelwald[src]

Credence Barebone (allegedly born Aurelius Dumbledore; c. 1901[1]) was an American wizard who lived during the 20th century. He was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, the leader of a No-Maj anti-witchcraft group called the New Salem Philanthropic Society. Due to the repression of his magic, Credence developed a dark parasitic force known as an Obscurus and became an Obscurial. While most Obscurials die before their tenth birthday, Credence lived into adulthood, which was previously unheard of in the Wizarding World, and a testament of his incredible power.

Credence was sought after by Gellert Grindelwald, who wanted to use his power to kill Albus Dumbledore, who he saw as the greatest threat to his revolutionary cause. While in search of his true identity, Credence heeded Grindelwald's call and joined his army.

Biography

Early life (1901–1905)

"A son cruelly banished
Despair of the daughter
Return, great avenger
With wings from the water.
"
—A prophecy regarding Credence, from The Predictions of Tycho Dodonus[src]
Credence Barebone was born around 1901,[1] allegedly to the Dumbledore family, as Aurelius Dumbledore.[5]
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Young Leta Lestrange with infant Aurelius in her arms

Switched in the crib by a young Leta Lestrange for her half-brother Corvus during a voyage to America in 1901,[6] when the ship that Leta, Irma Dugard and her brother had chartered passage on sank during a storm, the life boat with Corvus capsized, drowning him and his aunt. Baby Credence was taken to America and put up for adoption in Corvus's place, unbeknownst to anyone but Leta.[7]

Adopted (1905-1926)

"His name's Credence. His mother beats him. She beats all those kids she adopted, but she seems to hate him the most."
Tina Goldstein regarding Credence's adoptive family life[src]
Barebone family

Credence with his adopted family

On 21 October 1905,[1] he was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, an American No-Maj woman who led the New Salem Philanthropic Society, a hardline anti-witchcraft group.[8] She renamed him Credence Barebone, raising him in New York alongside her two other adopted children, Chastity and Modesty. Credence was the eldest of the three.

Whilst under Mary Lou's care, Credence was physically and mentally abused by her who attempted to suppress his magical abilities. She often used his own belt that left marks on his hands. The frequent abuse would cause him to become an Obscurial.

Mary Lou considered Credence's birth mother to be a "wicked, unnatural woman", suggesting that she was aware of his heritage.[8]

During one meeting, Mary Lou was physically abusing Credence but was magically assaulted by Auror Porpentina Goldstein. The open use of magic in front of a group of non-magic people required extensive Obliviation and was a major scandal resulting in Porpentina's demotion to the Wand Permit Office.

Obscurus Manifestation (1926–1927)

Meeting Gellert Grindelwald

"My vision showed only the child’s immense power. He or she is no older than ten, and I saw this child in close proximity to your mother—she I saw so plainly."
—Gellert Grindelwald explaining his vision to Credence[src]
By December 1926, Credence was losing control of his Obscurus, and it manifested in outbursts that were wreaking havoc in New York. These disturbances were noted both in the Muggle press such as the "New-York Clarion" and the wizarding press such as "The New York Ghost".[9]
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Credence meets in secret with Gellert Grindelwald, who's disguised as auror Percival Graves

During that time, Credence came in regular contact with Gellert Grindelwald, who's assuming the identity of Percival Graves. Grindelwald seduces Credence into tracking down an Obscurial that he had seen prior due to a vision he had received, as he believed Credence to be connected to it somehow. In exchange, Credence was promised to made free and taught wizardry.

On 6 December, after a failed attempt by the Second Salemers to garnish the support of Henry Shaw Senior and being insulted by his son the senator, Credence's Obscurus manifested later that night and attacked a fund-raising dinner at City Hall, killing the senator as a result. This act unwittingly exposed the wizarding world.

Obscurial attack on New York City

Gellert Grindelwald: "You can control it, Credence."
Credence Barebone: "But I don’t think I want to, Mr Graves."
— Grindelwald argues with Credence's to control his Obscurus[src]
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Credence confronting his younger adopted sister Modesty in connection with the toy wand she has been hiding

The next day, Credence found a toy wand in Modesty's bedroom. Mary Lou immediately concluded that the wand belonged to Credence when she entered the scene, despite Modesty claiming it to be hers. As she prepared to beat him yet again, Credence's Obscurus burst free. The dark force killed Mary Lou and Chastity, also causing heavy damage to the house.

Still in the form of Graves, Grindelwald arrived at the remains of the Second Salem Church and urged Credence to bring him to Modesty who had fled the destruction to her old childhood home, since Grindelwald now believed that she is the child that he foresaw.

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Credence's eyes turning white as he unleashed his Obscurus

Once there, Grindelwald told Credence that he had no further use for him and dismissed Credence as being a Squib, despite his promises. This betrayal caused Credence to reveal his Obscurus, to the surprise of Grindelwald. Although Grindelwald attempted to apologise and offered to train him, Credence willingly let loose, transformed completely into an Obscurus and went on a mindless rampage of destruction through New York.[8]

Apparent death

"We see Credence from within the black mass, his face contorted, screaming. The barrage of spells continues and Credence howls in pain... Under this pressure, the Obscurus finally seems to implode — a white ball of magical light taking over from the black mass... All power subsides. Only small pieces of black matter are left — floating through the air like feathers."
—Credence supposedly dies at the hands of MACUSA Aurors[src]
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Credence supposedly dies at the hands of MACUSA Aurors

Pursuing him to the subway station, Newton Scamander managed to calm Credence down only to engage in a battle with the treacherous dark wizard before the Magizoologist could gain his attention. Provoked by the fight, Credence resumed his Obscurial form, though Tina managed to get him to stop once more.

Rapported by the attack, Seraphina Picquery and Aurors from MACUSA arrived at the scene and proceeded to attack him with many spells, only stopping when they believed he was destroyed. However, a single shred of his Obscurus form fled the scene, unseen to anyone but Newt.

This attack resulted in Grindelwald's capture and the believed destruction of Credence. Ultimately, thousands of No-Majs were obliviated in order to protect wizarding secrecy.

Looking for his identity (1927)

Circus Life

Credence, in reality, survived and travelled to Paris, where he joined the Circus Arcanus, a travelling wizarding circus owned by the cruel ringmaster, Skender. There, Credence befriended a Maledictus named Nagini, with whom he seemed to have a close relationship.

The escaped dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald also journeyed to Paris in search for Credence, in order to utilise his abilities to kill Albus Dumbledore.

Rumours surrounding Credence's identity began to circulate. Yusuf Kama believed he was Corvus Lestrange V, the son of Corvus Lestrange IV who Imperiused Kama's mother into marriage. Kama had made an Unbreakable Vow on his father 's deathbed to kill what Corvus IV loved most, which he believed to be Corvus V.

On the run with Nagini

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Credence and Nagini plotting their escape from circus Arcanus

Having had enough with their mistreatment, Credence and Nagini plotted their escape from the Circus Arcanus, where both Kama and Tina Goldstein had located him. Credence managed their getaway by releasing several of the beasts and fleeing in the ensuing chaos. 

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Credence meets the half-elf servant of the Lestrange Family, Irma Dugard

Following this, Credence found Irma Dugard, whom he believed to be his mother, as her name was on his adoption papers. Dugard revealed that she did not want to give him up, and noted that she was merely a servant to the Lestrange household. After a brief moment of tenderness, Gunnar Grimmson the bounty hunter murdered the half-elf woman, on orders of Grindelwald to keep Credence's identity a secret from him. The Obscurus manifested and Credence attempted to kill Grimmson, but failed to do so.  

Grindelwald himself later offered Credence a chance to find out his true parentage, and gave him a map to the cemetery of Pere Lachaise. At the Lestrange Family Tomb, Credence and Nagini crossed paths with Kama; they were joined by Newt, Tina, Jacob, and Leta Lestrange, Kama's half-sister. Kama prepared to kill Credence, but Leta insisted that he was not her half-brother, as the real Corvus Lestrange died. Leta recounted her father sending her and her brother to America on a ship. Wanting to relieve herself of her screaming brother, Leta swapped him with another baby on the ship, that baby being Credence. The ship sank before Leta could switch the babies back, and the real Corvus Lestrange drowned.

Joining Grindelwald

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Credence choose a side

Credence then attended Grindelwald's rally, which ended in the Aurors storming against the host. Grindelwald created a circle of blue flames, an enchantment designed to test the loyalty of his followers: those who enter with complete fidelity shall survive; those who do not, perish. Against Nagini's insistence, Credence entered the circle and joined Grindelwald, trusting that he had knowledge of his true identity.

Credence and Grindelwald

Grindelwald reveals Credence the truth

Sometime later, at Nurmengard Castle in Austria, Grindelwald reveals to Credence that the baby bird he has been caring for is actually a phoenix. According to legend, a phoenix will appear to anyone of the Dumbledore Family in dire need. Grindelwald then presents him with a wand, as well as his birth name: Aurelius Dumbledore. 

Physical description

He has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin.[10][11] Credence Barebone often appeared to be troubled, nervous, or embarrassed.[12][13][14][15] He tends to stand with his head bowed.

Personality and traits

David Heyman: "Credence is someone who doesn’t really have a sense of who he is, and is suffering from low self-esteem. He is adopted and has been abused by his foster parent, and in having his true essence repressed, he is a metaphor for so many people who are denied the right to be who they are."
David Yates: "He’s a very misunderstood character, seduced by a mentor who wants to take him to a very dark place. And again he’s an outsider trying to find his place in the world, who has very special skills and very special things going on."
David Yates and David Heyman discussing Credence[src]
Credence was described as "troubled" and "mysterious".[16][17] Shy and withdrawn, this made him far more vulnerable to the abuse that came in response to the slightest infraction of his adoptive mother's strict rules. His timid personality also made him susceptible to manipulation by Gellert Grindelwald, who took a personal interest in him.[18]

However, when he was insulted or threatened, Credence's Obscurus form was unleashed. This Obscurus form was triggered by his negative emotions and experiences, and therefore was induced by them to act violently. This caused widespread destruction and death to those who provoked Credence. Namely, he attacked Mary Lou Barebone because of the abuse the latter inflicted on him for so long, and Henry Shaw Junior for the way the arrogant No-Maj politician had mocked him.

After being nearly killed by over 20 MACUSA Aurors on the orders of President Picquery, Credence became embittered towards most of the magical community, and, desperate to survive, and learn his true heritage, he joined the Circus Arcanus, and befriended fellow outcast Nagini. However, Grindelwald was once again able to manipulate Credence - taking advantage of the youth's desire to learn of his true heritage, Grindelwald convinced Credence to join his acolytes, convincing Credence so effectively, that even Nagini couldn't dissuade him. After finally being given a wand by his new master at Nurmengard Castle, Credence accepts his true heritage as Aurelius Dumbledore, and seemingly agrees to help Grindelwald bypass the blood pact and kill Albus Dumbledore.

Magical abilities and skills

  • High Magic Capability: While Credence had not initially developed his magical abilities due to Mary Lou Barebone, his latent magical powers were incredible, which allowed him to survive long past the age of 10, despite having an Obscurus inside him. This was possibly due to Credence being a member of the Dumbledore family. After being given a wand for the first time, Credence instinctively cast a spell that fired a bolt of fiery energy so powerful, that it instantly destroyed a mountainside.
  • Obscurus Transformation: Credence was an Obscurial, prone to unleashing or embodying an Obscurus due to years of being forced to suppress his magic. He was immensely more powerful than other known Obscurials, living longer than any previously known, and requiring over 20 MACUSA Aurors unleashing destructive spells to nearly destroy Credence, though the latter still managed to survive. Ever since then, Credence had acquired complete control over his Obscurus, being far more precise with his Obcurus attacks than before while fighting Gunnar Grimmson, with the bounty hunter being forced to constantly hold up a Shield Charm, and Apparate away to safety. Gellert Grindelwald went so far as to claim to his acolytes that Credence's Obscurus was the only being apart from himself powerful enough to defeat and kill Albus Dumbledore, the so-called greatest wizard of all time.
  • Wand versatility: Credence was able to effectively use the wand gifted to him by Grindelwald, without having been officially chosen by said wand, and Credence was even able to instinctively cast an extremely powerful spell from that wand, pulverising a mountainside.
  • Apparition: Although where he learned how to was unknown (though possibly during the travels that lead to him joining the Circus Arcanus), Credence was able to Apparate away from Grindelwald's rally in Paris.

Possessions

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    Wand: After joining Grindelwald's army, Credence was given a wand by his new master.
  • Phoenix: At Nurmengard Castle, this baby Phoenix that he has been caring for approached Credence again (now revealed to be Aurelius Dumbledore), fulfilling the Dumbledore family legend of a Phoenix coming to any Dumbledore who is in desperate need.

Relationships

Dumbledore Family

Albus Dumbledore

"And yet Scamander appears wherever the Obscurial goes, to protect him."
—Travers questioning why Dumbledore sends Newt abroad[src]
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Albus Dumbledore, seemingly his half-brother

Albus Dumbledore has developed an interest in Credence, if he manipulates his former student Newton Scamander twice into protecting the poor Obscurial out of the hands of Gellert Grindelwald. It's unknown though, if Albus is aware that the Obscurial he wants to protect is seemingly his lost brother. Later on, it seems that Credence agrees to help Grindelwald bypass the blood pact and kill Albus.

Irma Dugard

Irma Dugard

Irma Dugard, his caretaker

"You were such a beautiful baby. And you are a beautiful man. I have missed you."
—Irma Dugard to Credence[src]

Unknown to Mary Lou Barebone, the woman she believed to be Credence's mother was in fact the Half-elf servant of the Lestrange family, Irma Dugard. Dugard unknowingly ended up with Aurelius after the young Leta Lestrange switched him with her baby brother Corvus Lestrange. Irma later took care of the young Credence, signing his adoption paper and handing him over in the care of Mary Lou Barebone.

Mary Lou Barebone

"As if on autopilot, Credence removes his belt. Mary Lou stands and extends her hand, taking the belt. In silence, she turns and walks up the stairs—Credence obediently following."
—Mary Lou punishes Credence for coming home late[src]
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Mary Lou Barebone, his abusive adoptive mother

Credence feared his adoptive mother due to years of emotional and physical abuse. She beat him with the intent of teaching him to suppress and be ashamed of his magical traits. By suppressing his magic, he developed an Obscurus. It was noted by Tina Goldstein that out of all Mary Lou's adopted children, Credence was the most hated.

Credence learned over the years to willingly surrender his belt for a beating when he knew he did something wrong. He tended to be passive when it came to the beatings and he learned to take them submissively. Despite living in an environment where magic was shunned, Credence was drawn toward the ideas of wizardry and even entertained the thought of becoming part of the wizarding world. Mary Lou seemed to be aware of Credence's interest in magic and did not hesitate to beat him for it. When Mary Lou was about to attack Credence, he transformed into his Obscurus form and killed her.

Modesty Barebone

"Behind Credence, Modesty’s eyes burn. She clutches Credence’s hand protectively."
—Modesty took Credence's hand after he was insulted by Senator Shaw[src]
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Modesty Barebone, his younger adopted sister

Modesty was kind to her older foster brother and he was close to her as a result. One of the reasons Credence shared a close relationship with Modesty, was because she did not possess the same zealous attitude Chastity did in regards to their adoptive mother's anti-witchcraft stance.

Modesty was young and curious, she shared Credence's secret interest in magic. Because of this shared interest, they trusted each other. When Henry Shaw Junior meanly insulted Credence, she took his hand to reassure him. Modesty often witnessed the beatings he got from their mother and attempted to comfort him.

Modesty occasionally confided in Credence that she missed the nine brothers and sisters she had before she was adopted. When Credence found the toy wand under Modesty's bed, Mary Lou believed it to be his and beat him, despite Modesty's attempt at convincing her it was hers. This shows that she defended him when he was about to be whipped by their foster mother. After the Obscurus took control of Credence and killed their adopted family, she became fearful of him. Despite her immense fear of him, he showed no anger towards her and did not try to harm her, as she had been one of the few people in the world who had ever showed him any kindness, which he clearly respected her for. 

Nagini

"He knows what you were born, not who you are..."
—Nagini cares for Credence, trying to stop him from joining Grindelwald[src]
Nagini human

Nagini, his closed and only friend

During his time at Circus Arcanus, Credence befriended fellow outcast Nagini. This two broken souls quickly developed a close relationship, due to their similarly tragic pasts. Nagini is Credence's only friend. After they escaped the Circus together, and wishing to stay together, Nagini assisted Credence on his quest to find out his true identity. At time, Nagini became very caring and protective of Credence. An example of this is when she comfort him with a hug after they witnessed Irma Dugard's death, and refusing to step aside when Yusuf Kama was on his point to kill Credence. Despite his friend begging him to stay with her, Credence joins Grindelwald's army in the end, leaving Nagini devastated and heartbroken afterwards. However, Nagini's devastation over losing Credence induced her to officially join the Global Wizarding War against Grindelwald.

Ezra Miller later says that there is love between Credence and Nagini.

Gellert Grindelwald

"You’re a Squib, Credence. I could smell it off you the minute I met you... You have magical ancestry, but no power... You’re unteachable. Your mother’s dead. That’s your reward. I’m done with you."
—Gellert Grindelwald coldly dismisses Credence[src]
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Gellert Grindelwald, his former friend, turned enemy, turned master

Grindelwald disguised himself as Percival Graves, and used Credence to try and locate the Obscurial terrorising New York, whom he believed was Modesty Barebone, promising him entrance into the wizarding world and training to perform magic. To Credence, "Percival Graves" was his only friend, and the only person who truly understood and supported him. "Mr Graves" thus healed Credence's hands, and comforted the youth when Credence confided in him about his mother's mistreatment.

After the Obscurus attacked Mary Lou, "Mr Graves" told Credence he had no use for him, calling him a Squib, and pursued Modesty. Because of the emotional strain, Credence lost control over the Obscurus and, after "Mr Graves" realised it was him, offered his partnership and training in wizardry. Credence was deeply hurt by his manipulation, and angrily fled, now seeing Grindelwald as what he truly was. MACUSA's Aurors chased and attacked him, and when Newt and Tina attempted to calm him and protect him, Grindelwald interrupted them to provoke Credence to cause more destruction in the hopes of achieving a war between magical and non-magical people. Despite how he had earlier coldly dismissed Credence, it appeared that after Credence's magical heritage and power was revealed, Grindelwald considered him to have been unjustly treated by his mother and later the whole MACUSA, as he showed genuine emotions of rage when MACUSA destroyed Credence and later showed a level of pity when referring to how Mary Lou Barebone had nearly destroyed Credence.

It is revealed one year later that Grindelwald was so desperate to gain the New York Obscurial's allegiance because he believed that this was the only way for him to kill Albus Dumbledore without violating the blood pact, as Grindelwald believed that the Obscurial was the only wizard other than himself powerful enough to kill Dumbledore. As such, Grindelwald remains desperate to sway Credence to his side, promising to reveal the youth's true name and heritage to him. Ultimately, the desire to be his true self is too much for Credence to resist, so he joins Grindelwald's acolytes at the Lestrange family Mausoleum. Credence readily accepts "Aurelius Dumbledore" as his true name, as well as Grindelwald's gifts of a wand and a Phoenix, as well as seemingly agreeing the help Grindelwald kill Albus Dumbledore.

Etymology

Credence is derived from the Latin credere, meaning to trust and to believe, and from credentia, meaning belief.[19] Barebone is an Anglo-Saxon surname, thought to be taken from the name of an English village, Barbon or Barbourne.[20]

On the other hand, Credence's birth name Aurelius is derived from Latin aureus, meaning golden and gilded. Marcus Aurelius was a 2nd-century philosophical writer and Roman emperor. Aurelius was too the name of several early saints, such as Saint Aurelius.[21]

Behind the scenes

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Credence Barebone as LEGO Minifigures

  • Though Credence is said to be Albus' "brother" by Grindelwald, it is notable that the timeline doesn't fit, if indeed Grindelwald is telling the truth. Percival Dumbledore died in Azkaban after his imprisonment and Kendra Dumbledore died in 1899, some 2 years before his birth (if referring to the screenplay) 5-6 years before his birth (if going by the adoption certificate)[26].
    • It is possible, however, that Grindelwald meant the word as "kinsman", and that Aurelius is a close relative of Albus, possibly the son of Albus' aunt Honoria, though if speaking more euphemistically "cousin" would be both accurate and more generally applicable.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 105 sets the ship voyage to be in 1901, although Credence's adoption certificate gives the date 9 November, 1904 (see this image)
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  3. It was confirmed by the directors, as well by Ezra Miller and JK Rowling herself[citation needed] that Credence is indeed Aurelius Dumbledore, the lost brother of Albus dumbledore. Gellert Grindelwald was telling the truth. "[1]" from SnitchSeeker
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 120 It's possible when Grindelwald said the word "your brother" that he actually means that Credence is in fact Albus his half-brother. Credence can't be the child of both Percival and Kendra, if it goes against canon. Kendra likely had a child with an another member from the Dumbledore family, as Credence could not be fathered by Percival as he is inprisoned in Azkaban during that time and dies later there.
  5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 120
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 105
  7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 109
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 88
  9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (see this image)
  10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 38
  11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 43
  12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 7
  13. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 25
  14. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 37
  15. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 79
  16. 'Fantastic Beasts' Character Descriptions Revealed at EW.com
  17. "Everything we've learned about ‘Fantastic Beasts' this week" from Pottermore
  18. "Fantastic Beasts: First look at Ezra Miller's mysterious character" at Entertainment Weekly
  19. Etymology - Credence
  20. House of Names - Barebone Family
  21. Etymology - Aurelius
  22. "Filming Gets Underway on «Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them»" at BusinessWire
  23. "Ezra Miller Eyes ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ (EXCLUSIVE)" at Variety.com
  24. .@KeridoAvada Kredan is quite literally nobody. They got the name wrong! by J.K. Rowling on Twitter
  25. "'Fantastic Beasts' cast talk wands, creatures, Newt & his friends, Salem trials, more" from SnitchSeeker.com
  26. See this image.
Gellert Grindelwald's army
Leader Gellert Grindelwald
Grindelwald’s mark
Acolytes Carrow | MacDuff | Nagel | Krafft | Krall (deceased) | Abernathy | Vinda Rosier
Followers Aurelius Dumbledore​​ | Queenie Goldstein | Gunnar Grimmson
Headquarters Unidentified home | Nurmengard