J.K. Rowling reveals a major clue about Nagini's backstory left in 'Harry Potter,' long before 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald'
Amazing details are coming up about Nagini, Lord Voldemort's snake, after the unveiling of 'Forbidden Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald.' Now we know that the snake which acts as the Dark Lord's Horcruxes is actually a woman. This is a rather unusual reintroduction of the mysterious creature that has been the Dark Lord's most trusted companion in all the series, but the introduction isn't what we expected.
For those who are new on the Harry Potter train, Nagini was a Maledictus cursed to transform into a snake. Originating possibly in Indonesia, she was a performer at the Circus Arcanus, where she met Credence Barebone and had the ability then to transform at will. Later, Nagini was seemingly trapped in snake form and belonged to Lord Voldemort, with whom she had a special bond. This was largely due to becoming a Horcrux after her master had killed Bertha Jorkins, one of the characters in the story.
After Voldemort's initial downfall, he used Nagini's venom as one of the ingredients for a Potion in order to regain strength, which eventually led to his rebirth. Later in the same year, she attacked Arthur Weasley, but he managed to survive. During the Second Wizarding War, she had to be destroyed in order for Voldemort to finally be defeated. Nagini was killed by Neville Longbottom with Godric Gryffindor's Sword and was the last Horcrux to be destroyed.
And it seems fans are upset by the casting, which featured Claudia Kim, an Asian actress. Earlier in the trailer, we see Credence Barebone at a circus when he calls out to Nagini and we see the woman transform into the snake. Guess you were surprised by this unusual revelation the Nagini is a woman, and the woman was Claudia Kim.
Nagini is one mysterious creature in the long Harry Potter story that doesn't have a back story and didn't get a history. We can excuse that omission on the basis of Rowling's comment in the film extra when she said:
"I never wanted to give this enormous dollop of backstory, but now I can tell it, which is very satisfying — and fits perfectly into the theme of this movie,"
We could only deduce that Lord Voldemort encountered her on his exile to Albania in 1981, where the snake helped save him by acting as a communication portal between him and animals, especially snakes in the forest. The only other thing we know about the snake is that it is loyal and dedicated to the Dark Lord. Nagini only tolerates the death eaters but is fiercely devoted to her Master. This can be attributed to the fact that Nagini turned into the Dark Lord's Horcrux after he killed Bertha Jorkins.
JK Rowling gives us a snippet into the big story, confirming the fact that the reason why she is able to change into a beast is that she is Maledictus, that's a blood curse. She said in a tweet when a fan asked her the difference between Animagus (a wizard who can turn into an animal at will) and Maledictus. Her reply was;
"The slow transformation into a beast is beyond their control, but they aren’t destined to be evil. 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.”
Here's what we didn't notice - there was a clue that she was human all along, because Naga means a race of snake beings. Naga in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism are a set of semi-divine beings who are half human and half serpents. They have the ability to transform into snakes at any time, preferably cobras.
They have the potential to be dangerous but are helpful to humans. They are worldly and temperamental and can spread diseases and cause misfortunes and death when angered. They either dwell in a body of water or as earth spirits. Nagini is the feminine version of the name Naga. That should give us a background into Nagini's nature next time we see her.
This hint is strengthened by the fact that her purpose is almost humanlike, as she is the closest companion of Lord Voldemort, and is shown to possess a level of intelligence higher than most snakes. In the movie, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince', Dumbledore explained to Harry a bit of what he suspected about the relationship between Voldemort and Nagini. He explained;
"I think [Voldemort] is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything; he certainly likes to keep her close and he seems to have an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth,"
Now that we have a little bit of history about the famous snake, the latest 'Fantastic Beasts' casting has upset a lot of fans. As we said before, here's the big issue fans have about the casting of an Asian woman as Nagini, as one fan tweeted;
"Listen, Joanne, we get it, you didn't include enough representation when you wrote the books. But suddenly making Nagini into a Korean woman is garbage,"
It seems the idea of an Asian woman being a servant to fascist-like Lord doesn't go down well with most of the fans. Hoan Tran Bui at Slash films has this to say;
“In a franchise that has frequently been criticized for its lack of diversity, one of the few characters of color is now doomed to become enslaved by a villain who is a thinly veiled Nazi metaphor,” Bui wrote. “Not only that, she is turned into a literal object who the heroes must kill as part of their quest. Yeah, this may be an even worse retcon than making Dumbledore gay and refusing to follow up on it.”
Rowling hasn't issued a reply to this criticism either. They are keeping their reasons close to their sleeves and are refusing to engage fans and reassure them of their thought processes, while recruiting actors for the movie. We hope that they will give us a little explanation soon.
If there are any more developments in this interesting story, we will follow it up and let you know as it unfolds. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments, let us know what you think about the movie and its casting.