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- "Oh, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn't love."
- —Leta's opinion of Newt Scamander (and of herself)[src]
Leta Lestrange (c. 1896 – early September 1927) was a British-French pure-blood witch born into the Lestrange family. From an early age, she was distraught over her unstable family lineage and unintentionally bringing about the death of an infant, Corvus Lestrange.
She attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry between 1908 to 1915, where she was sorted into Slytherin, and was often the target of bullying. While at school, she developed a close relationship with Newton Scamander, but the two parted ways when she caused trouble using a Jarvey and Newt took the blame, leading to his expulsion.
In her adult life, Leta became determined to turn over a fresh leaf and live as a productive and appreciated member of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Leta had become the fiancée of Newt's older brother Theseus by 1927. In this year, she sacrificed herself for them during a rally held in Paris by Gellert Grindelwald by distracting him by destroying his skull-hookah with a powerful spell. Grindelwald's flames then engulfed Leta, incinerating her. Despite this, Leta's demise inspired Newt to openly go to war against the terrorist that had ended her life.
Leta Lestrange was born at Lestrange Manor in 1896, the only child of Corvus Lestrange IV from his rape of Laurena Kama. The Lestranges were an old pure-blood family, deemed one of the "Sacred Twenty-Eight" by Cantankerus Nott. On her mother's side, Leta is descended from a powerful and wealthy pure-blood family of Senegalese origin.
Corvus had coveted the already happily married Laurena and placed her under the Imperius Curse to draw her away from her husband and son.
Soon after Leta's birth, her mother passed away, and Corvus married Clarisse Tremblay. This union produced one child, a son, Corvus V. Clarisse also died soon after the birth. On her mother's side Leta had an older half-brother named Yusuf, but it's unlikely that they had any contact with each other, due to the family feud.
Upon learning that the Kama family had sworn an Unbreakable Vow of vengeance upon the one he loved most because of his abduction and rape of their matriarch, Corvus IV sent Irma Dugard, his half-elf family servant, to take Leta and her infant half-brother to America. Bothered by his incessant crying, Leta switched him with another baby in a nearby cabin. When the ship sank, one of the escape boats capsized and her half-brother ostensibly drowned. The baby taken by Leta ended up being raised by an unrelated woman in New York.
- Queenie Goldstein: "That was a real close friendship you had at school."
- Newt Scamander: "Yes, well, neither of us really fitted in at school, so we —"
- — Newt and Leta's unusually close relationship[src]
Leta was bullied at Hogwarts due to the gossip about her being an unwanted child and the tragic death of her half-brother.
She encountered Newt Scamander while searching for a place to hide from her pursuers, whom she had used the dark charm Oscausi on in retaliation for their malicious gossip. Newt and Leta developed a remarkably close bond, spending much time together over the holidays caring for an injured baby raven.
She was later comforted by Newt near the Great Lake, when she was upset by her own Boggart. He show her one of the Bowtruckles he had befriended on the school grounds, because he was the only one they would not hide from.
In 1913, one of Leta's experiments involving a Jarvey went too far, endangering the life of another student. It also violated laws prohibiting the possession of this creature. Rather than see his good friend expelled, Newt took the blame, and was thus sentenced to be expelled from Hogwarts in Leta's place.
- "I don't really know what Leta likes these days because people change."
- —Newt referring his and Leta's falling out[src]
By 1927, Leta had fallen in love with Newt's older brother, Theseus Scamander. They planned to be married on 6 June, 1928, and Newt was invited to be their best man. On 19 March, 1927 Leta, alongside with Newt, Theseus and Bunty, participated in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book launch at Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley. Spellbound magazine erroneously captioned the photograph from the event, leading to a misunderstanding between Porpentina Goldstein and Newton.
She was part of a delegation led by Travers, to question Albus Dumbledore regarding rumours of Newt's potential travel to Paris. Dumbledore found Leta reminiscing about her school days at her old desk, consumed with guilt about her wicked past. Lestrange accused Albus that he was the only one who not considered her bad in her youth and was wrong because of it. Dumbledore's insight into her pain led him to tell her about the loss of his sister, Ariana, and to advise her to get rid of regret.
During a visit in the French Ministry of Magic, Leta told Theseus to promise that he will be careful during Gellert Grindelwald's rally. Theseus told her about the rumour that Credence Barebone could be her long-lost stepbrother, which Leta denied. Scamander agreed with her that her brother was dead, but urged her to check the Lestrange family records to be certain, because documents never lied.
During search for the family box in the Records Room, Leta encountered Newt and Tina, who were searching for the box too. Leta discovered that the box was taken to the Lestrange Mausoleum. The Records Keeper, Melusine, sent Matagots after them because of Newt's entering under false pretences. Newt advised them not to fight the Matagots to keep them docile, but the warning came too late. Leta had already unleashed a spell. When the beasts attacked them, Newt hid himself, Tina and Leta in his suitcase. As the matagots reached the suitcase, Newt jumped out of her on Zouwu and flew straight to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
They headed to the Lestrange tomb and Leta found the Lestrange box which was taken, but they were not alone. They crossed paths with Jacob Kowalski, Yusuf Kama, Credence Barebone and Nagini. Leta stopped her half-brother Yusuf, from fulfilling his Vow under the mistaken impression that Credence was really Corvus Lestrange V. She finally confessed to inadvertently killing Corvus, proving he and Credence were not the same person and that she had no idea who Credence actually was. The conversation was interrupted by the beginning of Grindelwald's rally in the underground chamber.
Leta participated in a meeting of Grindelwald's supporters, during which he talked about his approach to Muggles and presented a vision illustrating the effects of hiding from non-immigration and the coming World War II. Grindelwald, seeing the Aurors under Theseus' command, ordered the assembled deportees and proclaimed his views, which they did. In addition, the wizard created a circle of black flames around him to divide followers from enemies. Only his true followers could cross the spell, while those under the influence of flames were burned.
Among those who joined the Dark wizard were Credence Barebone, who, despite Nagini's objection, stated that Grindelwald would help him learn his own identity, as well as Queenie Goldstein, Tina's younger sister, for whom Gellert's speech was so convincing that she was able to believe that thanks to him her biggest dream was: marrying Jacob Kowalski, which made the law of that time impossible. When Grindelwald attacked Newt and Theseus, the two most important men in Leta's life, Leta approached him, seemingly about to join his cause. At the last moment, this was revealed to be a distraction in an effort to give Theseus, Newt, Tina, Jacob, Yusuf and Nagini time to get away. Leta destroyed Grindelwald's skull hookah with a powerful spell, exploding it and knocking over Vinda Rosier in the process. Right before being incinerated by the flames, she looked at the Scamander brothers and said "I love you", though it is unclear which of them she was speaking to. She told the others to leave before she was engulfed by the flames, which incinerated her.
Leta was described as beautiful. She had intense brown eyes and dark-coloured hair.
Personality and traits
- "She was a taker."
- —Leta's self-serving nature[src]
According to Queenie, Leta was a "taker" rather than a "giver", and she did display a selfish streak throughout her youth: Leta swapped her baby half-brother Corvus for another infant simply because she couldn't tolerate his crying; at Hogwarts, she allowed Newt to take the blame and be expelled for her own childish mistake. On the other hand, Leta suffered a great deal of tragedy throughout her life, and this had a marked effect on her personality: The death of her mother soon after Leta's birth and loveless upbringing at the hands of her father left Leta damaged and confused; the unintentional role she had played in her infant brother's death left her with feelings of incredible guilt and self-loathing (to the point that her Boggart was her infant brother's drowning). Leta regarded herself as not only guilty of killing her brother (rather than the unforeseen accident it was), but as evil and a monster. She also felt additional guilt over ruining her best friend's education. Despite all this, Leta maintained a polite and considerate personality. She remained friendly towards Newt, for whom she continued to have feelings, and later got engaged to Newt's older brother, Theseus Scamander. Newt also continued to care for Leta, and even kept mementos of their time together.
In several ways, Leta's personality contradicted the "evil Slytherin" stereotype held by many students of the other Houses (Gryffindors in particular), and was in stark contrast to her father Corvus, as well as later Lestranges such as Rodolphus and Rabastan. For instance, Leta seemed to put no stock in pure-blood supremacy beliefs, despite her family being one the the Sacred Twenty-Eight. Much like Horace Slughorn and Andromeda Tonks, Leta could be said to represent the more "positive" aspects of Slytherin, in her case ambition and resourcefulness without any of the usual ruthlessness, elitism, or arrogance associated with members of the house. She also did not consider her Slytherin status as a marker of "superiority", as she quickly befriended and grew very close to the Hufflepuff Newt Scamander, the two bonding over their shared status as outsiders. While she would sometimes hex other students, she did so out of anger in the face of bullying, rather than any unprovoked malice. She was quite liked by her Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Albus Dumbledore, but struggled to get along with anyone at Hogwarts, except Newt.
Leta ultimately showed courage and selflessness when she sacrificed her life to save the Scamander brothers from certain death, much like how her fellow Slytherin Severus Snape would likewise sacrifice his life for a good cause many years later. After hearing her former teacher Albus Dumbledore confessed his own guilt over not loving his late sister Ariana enough, Leta was able to take his advice and confess to what she had done to Corvus, thereby saving Credence Barebone from Yusuf Kama's revenge.
Leta's selfless and heroic death would have a profound impact on Newt, giving him the resolve he needed to at last choose a side in the Global wizarding war, as well as inducing Dumbledore to honour Leta's sacrifice by more actively supporting the resistance against Grindelwald.
Magical abilities and skills
- Leta Lestrange: "Finding me in a classroom? Was I such a bad student?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "On the contrary, you were one of my cleverest."
- — Albus Dumbledore regarding Leta's abilities[src]
- Magical mastery: Leta Lestrange was a very powerful and talented witch, being recognised by Albus Dumbledore himself as one of his best students at Hogwarts, proving herself a very accomplished witch.
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: Leta was highly proficient in this field, given her ability to confront Grindelwald alongside Newt and Theseus for a time, saving the Scamander brothers from death at the hands of the fearsome Dark Wizard's black fire, even if at the cost of her own life. Albus Dumbledore, perhaps the greatest master of the field to ever live, considered Leta to be one of his best students in the subject. Indeed, Leta only had trouble repelling a Boggart due to her incredible guilt and self-loathing over the role she played in the death of her brother Corvus.
- Charms: Leta was shown to be accomplished with charm-work. In her third year at Hogwarts, she successfully cast the dark charm Oscausi on a Gryffindor girl who was speaking spitefully about her, sealing her mouth shut. She effortlessly located the Lestrange family records in the French Ministry of Magic Records Room using magic, along with revolving the cabinets with the Circumrota charm to reveal Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein followed with the Reverte charm to return them to their original position. She also successfully used the Summoning Charm to summon the Lestrange family tree box to her in the Lestrange Vault. In her adult life, she was highly capable in casting the Stunning Spell; in September, 1927, she used the spell in an attempt to stun some vicious Matagots in the French Ministry of Magic. She also shattered Gellert Grindelwald's skull-hookah with a powerful spell.
- Apparition: Being an accomplished adult witch, Leta was able to Apparate at will, as shown when she was able to Apparate to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with Torquil Travers, Theseus Scamander, and some other Aurors.
- Indomitable willpower: Leta's Slytherin ambition granted her an immense willpower, with her thus managing to rise up high through the Department of Magical Law Enforcement despite once failing to fit in at Hogwarts as a student, and with her determination to not be the freak that she was perceived to be by other students, and her own father. At the end of her life, Leta demonstrated her incorruptible spirit and morals by resisting Grindelwald's persuasive speech, and willingly sacrificing her own life to save her beloved friend Newt and fiance Theseus from the lethal black fire. Indeed, it was this incorruptible willpower demonstrated in Leta's final moments that induced Newt, as well as her half-brother Yusuf Kama, to finally join the Global wizarding war against Grindelwald.
- Leta most likely originates from the name Leda, daughter of Aetolian king Thestius, an Aetolian princess who became a Spartan queen in Greek mythology, of which the story of Leda and the Swan is the focus.
- In the story, Zeus takes the form of a swan and rapes her. Their consummation, on the same night as Leda lay with her husband Tyndareus, resulted in two eggs from which hatched Helen (aka "Helen of Troy", said to be the most beautiful woman in the world and an instigator of the Trojan War), Clytemnestra, and Castor and Pollux (who became the constellation Gemini).
- The name Lita is of Latin origin and means "gladly."
- The word leta is a variation of the Latin word leto, which means "to kill" or "to slay".
Behind the scenes
- Leta Lestrange is portrayed by Zoë Kravitz in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
- A younger Leta is portrayed by Ruby Woolfenden and Thea Lamb in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
- According to director David Yates, viewers will learn more about Leta Lestrange and Newt's relationship with her in future movies of the franchise.
- Leta may or may not be related to Bellatrix Lestrange. But despite Bellatrix being a Lestrange by marriage (her husband Rodolphus and her brother-in-law Rabastan may or may not be Leta's descendants for that matter), Sirius Black has previously mentioned that "the pure-blood families are all interrelated", meaning there is a possibility of at least a Black-Lestrange (and/or vice versa) union/s at any time including the distant past. As the Black family tree provided by Rowling for the production team of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix only shows the most recent eight generations of descent, it is in contrast with Harry's description of the Black Family Tapestry as "sprawling" and "dating back [...] to the Middle Ages".
- Zoë Kravitz has described Leta as "Helena Bonham Carter's great-great aunt" in an interview (Helena being the actress of Bellatrix Lestrange). Though that might have been an informal approximation, similarly to when Sirius Black described his great-great-great aunt Elladora Black simply as "dear Aunt Elladora".
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (First mentioned)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (Picture only)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay (First appearance)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- The Archive of Magic: The Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 101 specifies Leta was conceived in 1896, meaning she must have been born in the year's ninth month or later.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 67 - Leta is revealed as being already 13 towards the end of the 1910 winter term, thus she can't have been born any later than April 1897.
- She was the daughter of two pure-blood wizards, Corvus Lestrange and Laurena Kama.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (see this image)
- "Fantastic Beasts film title revealed: The Crimes of Grindelwald" at Pottermore
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Magical Movie Handbook
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 92
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Pure-Blood" at Wizarding World
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 88
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 96
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Magical Movie Handbook (see this image)
- The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (see this image)
- "EXCLUSIVE: J.K. Rowling tells SnitchSeeker about Newt's expulsion from Hogwarts, more"
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 65 - "GRAVES: You were thrown out of Hogwarts for endangering human life-"
- "Fantastic Beasts and J.K Rowling's Wizarding World" on Youtube - "Newt is this oddball who managed to get himself expelled from Hogwarts"
- "Who is Leda Lestrange? 'Fantastic Beasts' Is Only The Start For The New Character, Says Director David Yates" from Bustle
- 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' -- Meet the new cast
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 18
- "Open casting call for young people announced for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel" from Pottermore
- Zoe Kravitz: 'Beauty can't be defined by race, gender or age' by Sonia Haria on The Independent, 27 November 2017