At long last, and after what's felt like an eternity, the Harry Potter Universe returned to the silver screen this weekend with the highly anticipated release of the Warner Bros. film #FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem.
In addition to reopening J.K. Rowling's magical world, and introducing us to new characters, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also further explores a lesser-seen power in the magical community, Legilimency, which the act of magically navigating through the many layers of a person's mind.
Alison Sudo's portrayal of Queenie Goldstein, is easily one of the highlights of Fantastic Beasts. The beautiful and free-spirited witch possesses a knack for cooking and interpersonal skills, but more interestingly, she's also a skilled Legilimens.
Throughout the course of the film, she can be seen dipping in and out of the minds of her her sister Porpentina (Katherine Waterston), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and even her MACUSA coworkers. From blackmail to seeing a person's truest intents, this power was used somewhat in earlier installments of the Harry Potter series, but Queenie is our first close look at the talent in a more inborn sense.
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Of course, those familiar with the Potterverse will recall a few notable Legillimens in the series including Salazar Slytherin, Lord Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape and — in one instance — Harry Potter himself.
The only Harry Potter character we've seen with such an aptitude for peering into the minds of others doesn't quite come in the form of a human. After being enchanted by the four founders of Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat was able to look deep inside the hearts and minds of its wearer and decide which house would be the best fit for the incoming students.
Alison Sudol, who plays Queenie in #FantasticBeasts, discussed her unique power during an interview with Pottermore, adding some insight into the power as a whole. Sudol clarified that Legilimency isn't simply reading the thoughts of another person, but far more.
Thankfully, we'll have a full five more movies to discover more about Queenie and her fascinating powers. A Legilimens means she’s reading your whole story, she’s seeing all of your truths. If she peers in far enough, she can go all the way down."
Though some would say that being able to see into the minds of others could come in handy, she also revealed that this seeming innate ability heavily it weighs on her character, leaving her feeling ostracized.
"It can make you feel quite lonely, to have something that differentiates you from people like that."
Unlike Lord Voldemort, however, Queenie is about as pure of heart as they come, so her intentions are far from malicious. After being asked multiple times (and by multiple parties) to stop reading their thoughts, it appears that her Legilimency is more innocent and involuntary
Given the apparent shock of those whose minds she reads, even in the wizarding world such Legilimency is not common and I can't help wondering if or when Queenie will crosses the line with her powers.
According to Professor Snape, Legilimency is not a skill that should be taken lightly. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Snape delved into the moral repercussions of reading people's minds carelessly.
"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing, Potter. Or at least most minds are... It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly."
This might not have been explored fully in Fantastic Beasts, but thankfully we'll have a full five more movies to discover more about Queenie and her fascinating powers.
David Yate's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is currently playing in theaters.