Queenie Goldstein Doesn’t Deserve Forgiveness
**Spoilers for The Crimes of Grindelwald.**
When we are reintroduced to the characters of Queenie and Jacob in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the entire ending of Jacob being obliviated in the first movie is hand-waved away with “it didn’t stick,” which … suuuuurrrrrre. The two are acting like characters out of a slapstick comedy, and Tina announces that they’re in London to get married because witches and No-Majes can get married outside of America.
Newt quickly realizes that Jacob is under a love enchantment and lifts the spell, despite Queenie’s protests. They have a conflict that leads outside, and it’s explained that Queenie wants to get married, but Jacob doesn’t—not because he doesn’t love Queenie, but because he doesn’t want Queenie to risk going to jail and losing everything for him.
During the argument, with Queenie pushing the issue, she reads Jacob’s thoughts, and he thinks, “She’s crazy.” That makes Queenie very upset, and she leaves Jacob to find Tina. At the end of the film, when Queenie has somehow stumbled into fascism and makes Jacob stay for Grindelwald’s speech, she tries to convince Jacob to join the dark wizard and go through the blue flame. Jacob, naturally, says no and tells Queenie, “You’re crazy.”
So she joins up with Grindelwald so that she can get rid of the laws that stop her from marrying Jacob.
As I watched this scene play out, I recognized what was being put on the screen and how the use of the word “crazy” was meant to make Queenie feel isolated and to pick on her own insecurities, because of feeling like an outcast due to her being a Legilimens. There’s a history of that word being used to gaslight women and in an ableist way, to marginalize people with mental illness. As someone with anxiety and depression, I completely understand that fear of being stigmatized by that word, even though I sometimes forget.
That being said, when you mind control and constantly show no respect for your partner’s boundaries under the guise of “love,” I’d personally have plenty of harsh words for you.
As I’ve said before, love spells, potions, and enchantments are rape, because they remove the ability to consent from a person. There have only been a handful of examples of love spells in the series: cringe-worthy attempts by teenage witches, and Voldemort’s mother, Merope Gaunt.
Queenie has no excuses for what she does to Jacob. It’s implied that, in the three months they’ve been back together, she constantly reads his mind without permission, and the only reason Queenie puts the enchantment on Jacob is to get him to do what she wants. Jacob already loves her; he just realizes that Queenie is risking a lot in the name of love and doesn’t want to see her in jail. He doesn’t want to break up. He doesn’t want to leave her. He just doesn’t want to get married.
And considering they’ve known each other for … what, four months? Maybe they shouldn’t. What she did was abusive and rape, but she turned herself into the victim.
The whole storyline is frustrating because the movie wants us to be moved in some way by Queenie’s pain and her isolation over the inability to find Tina or Jacob in the middle of the movie, but really it just makes her look incompetent. While Grindelwald is probably a skilled enough Occlumens to hide his thoughts from Queenie, there is still the matter of all of his crimes and the language he uses in the speech that’s enough to tell her … maybe it’s not all about love.
Queenie’s character is terrible in this movie, and her accidental baby-voice stumble into fascism is unsatisfying from both a character and narrative perspective. She may want to get married, but her ability respect Jacob’s wishes and boundaries show that her love is abusive, and that shouldn’t be easily forgiven when the character reappears in the third movie.
(image: Warner Bros.)
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