For 20 years, all anyone knew about Voldemort’s beloved snake Nagini was just that. Now, J.K. Rowling has shocked her wizarding fandom with Nagini’s unexpected origin story in the new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ trailer. Here’s everything you need to know.
When WB dropped the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, it was a feast for the eyes for all Potter fans. There were so many original franchise Easter Eggs, many had to watch it 3 times to catch them all. (cough-me-cough). But one huge reveal, forewarned by J.K Rowling the day before, was right in fans faces right from the start. After months of speculation, it was confirmed that the mysterious character played by South Korean actress Claudia Kim, is Nagini — as in the snake Voldemort turns into a Horcrux in the original Harry Potter series! If that sentence literally made no sense to you, have no fear — here’s everything you need to know about the character. Well, at least, what we know so far!
1. Nagini is actually a woman, who can transform into a snake. Perhaps one of the biggest twist in the Potter Universe in recent years, it was revealed that Nagini started her life as a woman. Whether Voldemort ever knew this remains unclear, but keeping the secret the past year has certain been hard for Claudia. “It will be so interesting to see another side of Nagini,” Kim told EW after the reveal. “You’ve only seen her as a Horcrux. In this, she’s a wonderful and vulnerable woman who wants to live. She wants to stay a human being and I think that’s a wonderful contrast to the character.”
2. Nagini is not an Animagus; she’s a Maledictus. Wizarding fans should be familiar with the term ‘Animagus’. This refers to witches and wizards — like Sirius Black and Professor McGonagall — who elect to turn into an animal at will. This is different to werewolves, who are cursed by a bite and have no choice but to turn into beasts during the full moon. As Rowling explained on Twitter, a Maledictus is a bit of a hybrid. “They’re different conditions,” she wrote. “Maledictuses are always women, whereas werewolves can be either sex. The Maledictus carries a blood curse from birth, which is passed down from mother to daughter.” Claudia expanded, explaining that her character will eventually become a snake permanently. “She does feel sometimes it’s not controllable,” Kim says. “She is bound to [permanently] transform at some point to a beast so she feels this pressure that the clock is ticking.”
3. When we first met Nagini, she’s a member of the traveling Circus Arcanus. From what we can see in the trailer, Nagini seems to be embracing her powers to perform for muggles in the traveling show. However, the final trailer also shows her growing friendship with Credence and perhaps a swing at standing against the forces of evil with a brief glimpse of her standing beside Newt, Tina, and Jacob in a tense scene. Was Nagini once a hero before she was a murderous snake? Time will tell.
4. Nagini will one day become a friend and Horcrux of Lord Voldemort. It’ll will be some time until we learn how this comes to happen, but Harry Potter fans know that when we first meet Nagini in the original series, there is no trace of the woman seen in the Fantastic Beasts. No, Nagini is simply a blood thirsty snake, who kills on command of her master — RIP Snape — and was the last Horcrux Voldemort created to keep himself immortal before attempting to kill Harry as a baby. Nagini meets her end when Neville Longbottom chops off her head during the Battle of Hogwarts. Wait, are we going to end up feeling SORRY for Nagini???
5. Nagini may be a wizard — or she might be a squib. Or she might be none of they above! Whatever she is, Claudia isn’t saying yet. “She has powers that are yet to be explored,” Kim hinted to EW. “I can’t confirm she has powers like wizards have. And she doesn’t have a wand.” No wand? Hmmm.
If you still have tons of questions — like me — then you’ll just have to wait until November 16th, when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald hits theaters. All secrets will be revealed then!