Yesterday afternoon, while doing some research on the deathly hallows with Savanah, I noticed names had been added to the full cast list on The IMDb page of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”. Olwen Fouéré is listed as “Melusine”, and though we know next to nothing beyond that, it is known that Melusine is a mythological character with a fascinating background in her own right. If you pause at just the right moment in the teaser trailer, you will see a family tree with Corvus Lestrange at its center. Connected to him is a line leading to the name “Laurena Kama”. Kama is a last name we’ve seen for months on the film’s IMDb page, specifically of the character “Yusuf Kama” played by William Nadylam. Another Kama has been added to the page, now, played by Isaura Barbé-Brown which has been confirmed by Heroic Hollywood. I also discovered a new role, “acolyte”, listed next to actress Maja Bloom’s name, though her character’s “real” name was listed previously…
“Melusine’s Secret Discovered”, ca 1450-1500, from Le Roman de Mésuline by Jean d’Arras, a 14th century French writer.
Most of my digging revolved around Fouéré’s character. The traditional Melusine story is old, and over hundreds of years she has inspired stories such as The Little Mermaid to Mami Wata, a water orixa of the West Indies. In more recent years, you might have seen her image before on your butterbeer frappucinos and morning pick-me-ups from Starbucks— she is the figure in their iconic siren logo. In the majority of her tails- er, tales- she becomes a well loved figure despite her monstrosity. This two-tailed, mermaid-like creature was said to be the patron saint of the poor and the indigent.
American illustrator Howard Pyle depicted her here in The Mermaid, 1910, as she lures the sailor to her presumably to dole out her own brand of justice. Pyle never completed this piece, leaving it in his studio in 1910 as he left for an extended European tour. He died in 1911. (We don’t suspect any foul play at the hands of watery fish-women)
She is sometimes sheltered and forgiving, other times she is menacing and fearsome. When she spread to the Western Hemisphere, she is given a more judicial role, in which she sought justice and punished men who raped and mistreated women. In some stories, manatees were believed to be her supernatural assistants, rounding up sailors who dared to mistreat women and bringing them to Melusine for punishment. She is a common figure of folklore in northwestern France, which is relevant geographically to the upcoming film. She also, quite clearly, has a connection to water. We have seen merpeople in the wizarding world before, in the Black Lake at Hogwarts, but merpeople exist worldwide. I do not want to be quick to lump her into that category, however, as there is a distinction between the melusine and ordinary mermaids. Specifically, the split tail is what separates them. The teaser trailer footage shows Newt riding a kelpie underwater as well- perhaps Newt is seeking Melusine or happens to encounter her underwater?
Another addition to the full cast list on IMDb is Isaura Barbé-Brown, originally a stage actress that made the jump into film around 2010. She will play “Laurena Kama”, whose name we have already seen in the teaser trailer. Many fans have picked this Lestrange family tree frame apart, and we can piece together that Leta Lestrange (with Zoë Kravitz reprising her role) is the daughter of Corvus Lestrange and Laurena Kama. Corvus Lestrange didn’t stop there though— he also had a relationship with Clarisse Tremblay, resulting in the birth of his son, who we know to be Credence Barebone (played by Ezra Miller). Barbé-Brown is positively stunning and has been described as “a natural” in regards to her acting abilities, no doubt she will enchant us all. The figure gazing at the brick wall with the illuminated family tree, notes, and charts remains, technically, a mystery, though many fans are assuming it is Dumbledore. Based solely on his attire, his form, and a very distinct hat, I would confidently venture a guess that this is actually William Nadylam’s character, “Yusuf Kama”, that is analyzing these genealogical maps and scribblings.
Though not a new addition to the cast list, actress Maja Bloom’s name stood out to me yesterday as well. Previously, she had been listed as playing “Carrow”, though now her role is listed simply as “acolyte”. Given that IMDb is not without fault at times (I consider it to be as credible as Wikipedia,) there is a possibility that this listed role is more accurate, and has been corrected. There is also a possibility, however, that the change to “acolyte” was deliberate in order to keep an air of mystery around this sequel. It is worth noting that the name “Carrow” comes up frequently enough in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Fans of Harry Potter have seen Alecto and Amycus Carrow before, both were at Hogwarts and Death Eaters during Voldemort’s rise to power in the Second Wizarding War. The Carrow family is one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight— a group of wizarding families identified and labeled as one of “pure” lineage by extremists.
Have you spotted anyone of interest on the "Crimes of Grindelwald" IMDb page? Who is reading the writing on the wall and keeping track of the Lestrange's familial ties? Pumpkin juice or butterbeer? As always, let us know, we'd love to talk with you.