With the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise, fans of ‘Harry Potter’ are getting a lot of backstory into JK Rowling’s Wizarding World (though based on some reviews it would seem some would much rather have been left in the dark), including new information about characters from the original novels that Rowling claims she knew all along. And to be perfectly honest, I am inclined to believe the woman, because she does know how to world-build, and the evidence often is right there in front of us. Today’s topic is about Nagini, who in the ‘Harry Potter’ books was Lord Voldemort’s terrifying and massive snake servant, and also one of his Horcruxes.
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In ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald,’ we learn that she is actually a human who could turn into a snake (a transformation which apparently became permanent at some point), which Rowling claims was always part of her backstory, and she even hinted at in the books. According to a recent statement by Rowling:
“These movies have given me the chance to tell a story that I knew all along about Nagini, who appears only as a snake in Potter. Now, there were always hints that she had been human. In her name — because the Naga are, in mythology, a race of snake beings. So the name was an allusion to the fact that she may herself once have been human.”
Not only that, but in the ‘Harry Potter’ books, there were other hints as well. Rowling did have odd passages of a baby-sized Voldemort feeding from Nagini, describing it as Wormtail “milking” Nagini which he then feeds to Voldemort in a bottle, a situation which fans have long debated about whether he was drinking her poison or whether she actually produced some kind of milk. Was this a hint that she was once a human woman?
In book seven she is even disguised as an elderly human woman while waiting to ambush Harry in Godric’s Hollow, another very clear hint that she was once a human being. Now that I think about it, she may even have still been able to transform into a human being and the “elder woman” may just have been what she looked like at that age. Which makes me wonder, if she could be human, what happens to her over the course of the last ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies that would make her want to stay in snake form and abandon her human form?
Of course, there is always the chance that Rowling is just very good at spinning everything to look like she “planned” it all along, but I happen to be in the camp of believing that she is just a damned good writer, and does her homework before she begins, including outlining and detailing backstories for all her characters, even ones that some writers may have simply said “it’s just a snake.”
What are your thoughts here? Did she plan it out all along? Did you ever suspect Nagini was more than your average snake? Feel free to share your opinions below!