It’s not a retcon: How the Aurelius Dumbledore timeline works


After viewing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, one of the main questions on fans lips was ‘how is Credence Barebone, Aurelius Dumbledore? Just, how?’

The timeline made no sense. After all, Dumbledore’s mother Kendra died in 1899, long before Credence could have potentially been born … right?

Up until now, most people believed that Albus Dumbledore was born in 1881, therefore making his mother, Kendra, and sister, Ariana’s deaths occur in 1899. Of course, this would then mean that the Fantastic Beasts timeline couldn’t make sense since Credence/Aurelius wasn’t born until 1900 at the earliest (we don’t have an exact date or year but I’ll get to that later).

Now, a disclaimer. In the kindest way possible, it’s fandom-wide known that JK Rowling isn’t the greatest with dates. So, while I know 1881 did appear as Dumbledore’s birth year on her website way back when, we are just going to put that aside for the moment because everyone makes mistakes. In fact, she tweeted something similar the other week:

Basically, what I’m going to try explain today is why I think Kendra and Ariana both died in 1900, not 1899, shortly after the birth of Aurelius, and how the Dumbledore family timeline fits.

To show how I came to this conclusion, we’re going to start with Albus Dumbledore’s age and work it back from there.

In the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay we’re told that Dumbledore is 45 years old at the time of events, which would be the end of August/first couple days of September. We also know from the Harry Potter books that his birthday is some time in late July or early August, meaning Dumbledore had literally just turned 45 at the time of Crimes of Grindelwald in 1927.

So, working back, this puts Albus’ birth year at 1882 and, because his birthday was before September 1st, his first year at Hogwarts at 11 years old was in 1893. He then would have left after his 7th year exams in the summer of 1900.

This means Kendra and Ariana, both died in the year, and summer, of 1900. Not 1899.

Now that that’s cleared up, I can explain how their deaths being in 1900 instead of 1899 really affects the Fantastic Beasts timeline.

Disclaimer that this next part is absolutely theory based, not canon, since we don’t actually know when Credence/Aurelius was born.

As we know from the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay, the boat with Leta, Corvus and Credence set sail in 1901. This means the boys had to have been born in either 1900 or 1901.

Before I start (because I know this is going to be asked), I know they both appeared as young babies in the film but A) this was a memory from a six year old Leta. Of course she couldn’t tell them apart and B) we already know that screen accuracy when it comes to age doesn’t matter in the movies; Leta didn’t look six in that scene and Jacob is canon twenty six in the first film. So, yes, we’re going to ignore how old or young they looked in the memory scene:

Now for the theory part:

I think the shipwreck in 1901 was the real life SS City of Rio de Janeiro which sank off the coast of America in February 1901. Did it sink off the coast of the wrong side of America? Yes. But, artistic license. The ship was called the Rio de Janeiro, which is exactly where we’re headed to in Fantastic Beasts 3, which I feel cannot be ignored for something as silly as the ship never ported in New York. Or Rio, for that matter.

Magic, guys. Magic and artistic license in a magical universe of witches and wizards, so let’s not discount it just yet.

Accepting that the ship Leta, Corvus and Credence were on sailed in February 1901, this puts their birth years most likely in the year 1900.

This is now where everything ties together. If Credence/Aurelius was born in 1900, and Kendra didn’t die until 1900 – the entire timeline fits.

Corvus may still have been born November 9th like the adoption certificate says (the MinaLima one with the infamously confusing wrong year), whereas Credence/Aurelius would (in line with this theory) have been born five months earlier, in June.

Ready for part of my personal Fantastic Beasts theory? Here’s what I think happened:

Kendra Dumbledore is Aurelius’ biological mother. She was pregnant with him during the entire school year while Albus and Aberforth were at Hogwarts and she was home alone with Ariana. I think Kendra waited until Aurelius was born in June, just before Albus & Aberforth returned home, to tell Ariana about him (for obvious reasons) but Ariana couldn’t control her emotions and her Obscurus exploded, killing Kendra.

Where was Aurelius during this outburst, you ask? With Kendra’s sister, Honoria, the aunt who was with him on the boat to America.

I do have more to this theory, but that’s for another time. For now, the TLDR; is that Kendra and Ariana died in 1900 right after Aurelius was born and the timeline for him being Kendra’s son and Albus’ biological brother fits.

What do you think? Have any questions? Come discuss with me over on Twitter, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

– Maura