I have now viewed the Crimes of Grindelwald three times. I must add that despite the confusion and concern that many have expressed about the story, for me the story adds interesting character and plot developments that add much to be uncovered about the wizarding world that we all love.
A concern that I have seen expressed, and one in which I want to discuss further here, is the creation of the Blood Pact and the perceived implications that this has on established canon.
From what we can gather from the film, Dumbledore and Grindelwald used ancient magic, presumably blood magic, in order to create a permanent bond between the two. This bond, as far as we know, prevents either from attacking the other. Therefore Dumbledore is unable to directly act against Grindelwald, despite politicians such as Travers imploring him to act due to his magical potency. Many have expressed disappointment that it wasn’t Dumbledore’s love for Grindelwald that prevented him from confronting his former flame. However, I believe that, arguably. the Blood Pact is a physical expression of his love for Grindelwald. While Grindelwald’s motive was likely one of self preservation and providing cover for all possible outcomes by disarming his equal, I believe that Dumbledore’s motive was that of love; he couldn’t possibly conceive of a situation where he would be in conflict with his intellectual and emotional soul mate.
The second concern that I have seen expressed, and in my opinion an unfounded concern, is that the Blood Pact must have been created after the death of Ariana due to the pact specifically being aimed at preventing conflict between the two wizards. However, to understand why I believe that this is a non issue we need to look at the specifics of the language used. If we assume that the Blood Pact prevents either from attacking the other then this of course makes an aggressive confrontation impossible. However, we have never been given a detailed description of what took place during the duel in Godric’s Hollow. The only facts that we have is that Grindelwald and Aberforth came to blows, that Dumbledore tried to intervene, that a duel ensued and that the conclusion of the duel ended in Ariana’s death.
I agree that it would be impossible for the Blood Pact to have been created after the duel, we know that Grindelwald fled Godric’s Hollow immediately. Therefore we have to assume that it was created before the duel and therefore leads me to conclude that Dumbledore did not act aggressively within this duel.
I believe that the detail is important and the Blood Pact specifies that they can’t attack each other, but not that they can’t act in self defence. I think that we can assume that Dumbledore was acting in defence of his brother during the duel, therefore he didn’t necessarily attack Grindelwald during this confrontation. It wouldn’t be the first time that we have heard a confrontation be described as a duel without Dumbledore acting aggressively.
During the Battle of the Department of Mysteries Dumbledore and Voldemort both duelled each other. We know that while Voldemort was attempting to slay Dumbledore, Dumbledore was solely trying to prevent any harm coming to himself or Harry. The only magic that he used against Voldemort was defensive. With this knowledge in mind can we not assume that this was also the case in the duel that happened almost a century previously? This therefore brings us onto the actions of Grindelwald. While we know that he doesn’t object to the use of violence to achieve his own aims, we know that the Peg limits aggression towards Albus and indeed we only know that he showed aggression towards Aberforth. We have no knowledge as to whether he acted aggressively towards Albus in this duel, and the evidence we do have suggests that this would be impossible.
With the evidence provided I have to conclude that the Blood Pact provides no issues with canon, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were both involved in a duel at Godric’s Hollow, that we do know, and with the only other evidence provided we can only conclude that the Blood Pact was performed before this duel and that neither combatant acted aggressively towards the other until the conclusion of their story in that fateful duel in 1945.
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments down below.