Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald piled on the twists at the end of the film. Of course, the one everyone is talking about involves Credence's family, but what about Leta Lestrange? While everyone had focused on who Credence is, and if he's Corvus Jr., the son of Leta's father, she's been treated as unimportant, much like the Lestrange family tree doesn't bother listing the women born to the family. But her sacrifice changes the outcome that might otherwise have befallen the Scamander brothers. Is Leta Lestrange really dead? Warning: Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald follow.
Going into these movies, the name "Lestrange" was one Potterheads associated with pureblood politics and fanatical devotion to the cause of Muggle domination Voldemort preached. Bellatrix Lestrange was one of Voldemort's most loyal death eaters, driven mad by her time in Azkaban, a character who murdered without a second thought. Her husband, Rodolphus Lestrange, was so loyal to Voldemort, he looked the other way when rumors surfaced Bellatrix had slept with him.
A family this puritanical about wizard superiority must have had it running as a strain throughout the generation, or so the logic went. Obviously, Leta would join Grindelwald when the time came or perhaps was already a double agent.
But the movie pulled the rug out from under this theory. Leta was not an evil person. She'd made a single foolish choice as a child, when she switched out her brother for someone else's baby, accidentally dooming Corvus Jr. to die. But join Grindelwald? Never.
Despite the film keeping fans on a knife's edge over which way Leta's choice would go, it turns out she was a Ministry of Magic loyalist through and through. She an Auror of great ability and someone who loved both Scamander brothers so much, she sacrificed her own life so they would survive.
Her death was a tragedy, in retrospect perhaps unavoidable. The Lestrange family was apparently a name Grindelwald saw as desirable to have among his followers. When he spotted Leta, he made her a personal offer to join him and his cause. For a second, he hesitation seemed to suggest she might follow him. Instead, she pulled out her wand and attacked. Leta wasn't the only one to die in this film, but she was the first one Grindelwald killed directly.
Poor Theseus is now left to grieve the loss of his wife-to-be, while Newt mourns the loss of a friend who was with him until the bitter end. But Leta had spent her whole life chased by the regret of what she'd done as a child. She also suffered knowing her father never cared for her, he only loved the son he had, the one she accidentally doomed to die.
In another wizarding character, those gnawing feelings would have eventually driven them over to Grindelwald or Voldemort. But not Leta. She may have seen herself as a monster, but she had the strength of character to die as a hero. Let us hope both Scamander brothers honor her like one.