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What Is A Maledictus? J.K. Rowling Explains Nagini's 'Harry Potter' Origin Story

The final Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailer just dropped, and it contained a truly shocking revelation about a certain Harry Potter character. Yes, Voldemort's trusted snake Nagini was actually once a witch, and fans will get to see her story unfold in the new movie. But, some Harry Potter fans are confused about the terminology involved in this, so J.K. Rowling is here to set the record straight. Nagini is a Maledictus, not an Animagus, as some have been saying. So, what is a Maledictus? Here's everything you need to know about Nagini's shocking origin.

First things first, let's go over everything we know about the human Nagini in the Fantastic Beasts movies. Previous releases have revealed that Nagini is a witch who is being held as the main attraction in a wizarding circus, presumably using her power to transform into a snake to draw audiences. Though she is exploited and treated cruelly by the circus' ringmaster, Nagini befriends one of the workers, Credence Barebone, and the two manage to run away together.

But of course, every Harry Potter fans already knows that in the end, Nagini will wind up losing her human side entirely and end up as Voldemort's pet snake. That is because she is a Maledictus. This is a new term for Harry Potter fans, but J.K. Rowling has taken to Twitter to clarify what being a Maledictus means for Nagini. The first thing to know: Maledictuses are not Animagi:

Fans are already familiar with witches and wizards who can transform into animals, which are called Animagi. But Nagini is completely different from them. Her transformation into a snake was brought on by a curse rather than wizarding training, and it dooms her to eventually remain a snake forever. Animagi can continue transforming back and forth for their whole lives.

Also, despite the evil-sounding name, J.K. Rowling clarified that Maledictuses are not destined to become evil... even though we all know that Nagini winds up on the dark side.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, J.K. Rowling revealed that Maledictuses are always women, and are created as the result of a blood curse passed down from mother to daughter. So, Nagini's mother was also a Maledictus, and if Nagini ever had a daughter, she would be a Maledictus as well.

Unfortunately, we still have no word on where the curse in Nagini's bloodline actually came from, but hopefully Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will drop some backstory on us.

And with all of this Nagini talk, J.K. Rowling also took the time to shut down one of the most persistent but erroneous fan theories about Harry Potter. Although Nagini was languishing in a circus, she did not end up in a Muggle zoo. Rowling clarified that the boa constrictor that Harry Potter speaks to in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was not Nagini, despite a bunch of fans theorizing that it was.

We are sure to learn a whole lot more about Maledictuses and Nagini in particular when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald soars into theaters on Nov. 16.