***Contains spoilers for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – continue at your own risk!***
Yeah, that’s somewhat of a weird title. But bear with me! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen J.K. Rowling’s new film about the many adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander three times. Yes, you read that right, three times. As a result, I’ve noticed a few things, but the biggest glaring question I have is…
Wait for it (for the sake of post excerpts)…
What the heck is going to happen to Jacob Kowalski in the next film?
As I’m sure you know, the No-Maj we all grew to love (as did Queenie Goldstein) chooses to drench himself in the diluted Swooping Evil-extract shower brought on by the majestic Frank the Thunderbird. This shower has strong Obliviative properties (is Obliviative a word?), and as such, our beloved Jacob loses all memory of the wizarding world and of his friends.
Or does he?
In the film’s last scene, we see our bumbling, unexpected (but totally expected) hero finally won his hard-earned bakery. It just so happens that many of his pastries are in the shapes of some of the wee beasties (Demiguise, Erumpent, and Nifflers, if I recall correctly). The question that’s been rolling around my mind has been: Why? Shouldn’t all of his memories been erased? But Amy! you might cry, didn’t Newt say that the Swooping Evil’s goop erases only bad memories? Yes, yes, that’s true, but I think J.K. Rowling threw another hint in there. I think Jacob didn’t lose all of his memory due to one simple thing – his Murtlap bite.
In the book version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling explicitly mentions that the tentacles growing on the Murtlap’s back offers some protection against curses and hexes. And in the books, Hermione soaks Harry’s hand in Murtlap Essence to sooth his injuries inflicted by detention with Dolores Umbridge in the Order of the Phoenix. Murtlap Essence sooths cuts and burns. This led me to think that some of the similar properties might have transferred to Jacob when he had been bitten in the neck by the Murtlap in the movie.
Newt does mention Jacob reacted differently to the bite than a witch or wizard would. I don’t think it’s a far stretch to guess that the Murtlap bite warded off the worst of his Obliviation and that its inherent protective properties, coupled with the properties of the diluted Obliviation rain, ensured that he retained at least some of the positive memories of his encounters with Newt and his fantastic beasts, Tina, and Queenie.
And, I did reach out to J.K. Rowling on Twitter regarding the bite/consuming growths connection. As of yet, I have not heard a thing.
I am sure others have made this same stretch, but I thought it could be a fun little Easter egg to see what happens in the next films. What do you think?