In the Harry Potter books, Severus Snape told Harry the following while teaching him Occlumency:

"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."

However, in Fantastic Beasts, Queenie is shown possessing an extremely strong ability to read minds, to the point that she can actually read the "sentences" forming in a person's head in real time. Is there a reason for these conflicting portrayals?

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    I noted this while watching the movie, also that here job at the ministry seemed to consist of fetching tea which made me wonder if she (aside from the cooking) was commensurately under-skilled or deficient in "regular" magic... she does seem to be written in the roll of damsel in distress.
    – Toby
    Nov 22, 2016 at 16:04
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    "The plot demanded it, Lord Malak"
    – SethWhite
    Nov 22, 2016 at 17:54
  • @Toby: I guess you meant "role". Nov 22, 2016 at 18:19
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit whoops I did indeed. Rolls are tasty too though. Ironic typo considering she loved a baker ;-)
    – Toby
    Nov 22, 2016 at 18:34
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    May be similar to the way in which Polyjuice was introduced as being extremely rare and then ended up being used by every Tom, Dick and (especially) Harry. Dec 22, 2016 at 23:46

3 Answers 3


Queenie's talent is inborn, while others had to learn theirs.

Snape says the mind isn't a book to read at leisure. But Queenie seemed to do just that. Love to know more about Legilimency.

J.K. Rowling: Snape had to train a slight natural ability. Queenie was born with a great talent, though she's not infallible.


Also, her skills weren't as great as she was letting on:

J.K. Rowling: While Queenie could read your mind right now, she doesn't always draw the right conclusions from what she's reading. It's like she can constantly hear a tape of what you're thinking, but she's not that good at interpreting it so she still makes mistakes about people. That's just fun to write.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them DVD: The Goldstein Sisters


Queenie seems to be an unusually powerful Legilimens

Alison Sudol, the actress who portrays Queenie, discussed her character's powers in a 2016 interview with Pottermore; what she describes is quite commensurate with Snape's description:

[S]he sees into people. She's not just reading what you're currently thinking, she’s reading you. Being a Legilimens means she's reading your whole story, she's seeing all of your truths.

This was brought up a little more in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

"She's basically a complete and utter magical empath," Sudol tells EW. "She's able to read people — so it's not just reading somebody’s thoughts. She's can [sic] read into someone's story, she can see people's goals.

Where Queenie mainly differs is that her Legilimency is more passive than active; that EW article describes her as a "magical antenna", though I'm not sure where they pulled that from.

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    It's true that in the movie, she clearly mention that she can't "turn it off" during the scene where she talk with Newt about Leta Lestrange. Maybe that's what they were referencing with the magical antenna analogy. Nov 22, 2016 at 15:28
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    When she says "Being a Legilimens means (…)", it suggest it's not specific to her character but to legilimency. This seems to be a case of script writers not taking consistency into account too much. Nov 22, 2016 at 16:28
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    Such an useful ability. She couldve been a healer or the next dark lady. Instead, she serves drinks :/
    – user68762
    Nov 22, 2016 at 17:30
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    @Nowhereman, I disagree. My understanding of that quote is that there are two competing terms: Legilimency and a Legilimens. Legilimens is a spell which allows you to perform Legilimency, which Snape uses on Harry. A Legilimens is a witch/wizard who unconsciously reads people, without use of the Legilimens spell. Nov 22, 2016 at 18:16
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    @EvSunWoodard Note that Pottermore is a news site as well as a repository for Rowling's writings. An interview with an actress doesn't achieve a special level of canonicity just because it's on Pottermore Nov 22, 2016 at 18:52

Think of it as Tonks being a natural "shapeshifter" (metamorphmagus) and the normal people who have to use spells to transfigurate. Legilimency is the same thing it seems, you have the spell normal people use, and you have the people who have it as a natural gift.

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