Did the Thunderbird and rain and Obliviate spell at the end of Fantastic Beasts affect everyone in New York City? Or just those who were standing in the rain?

This video seems to imply anybody who was indoors was also affected, but I would prefer an explanation from a canon source.

If the Thunderbird's rainstorm was the key to spreading the Obliviate spell across the entire city, I don't see how that would affect people indoors. Or maybe not even those under an umbrella. Hmmm, maybe that is why Queenie made a magical umbrella when she kissed Jacob as she obliviated his memories. Perhaps that's why he seems to remember some details.

An answer to a related question says,

The rain water contaminates the water in the pipelines and/or overhead storage tanks of the buildings in the city. As you mentioned, a guy in the shower loses his memory. There is also a shot of a woman drinking from a tap who also loses her memory. (emphasis mine)

So if the rainwater is the key to the forgetfulness, then what about all the people who were indoors and did not sip water that day?

  • 3
    It's not the Obliviate spell. It's a major point that wizards can't obliviate a whole city, which leads them to using the Thunderbird and the Swooping Evil venom. Apr 28, 2017 at 16:11
  • What I want to know is why the Aurors in the first video (seen at 0:50 and then again at 1:11) weren't affected. Apr 28, 2017 at 18:40
  • @PlutoThePlanet They presumably would've known about the venom and its effects before going out into the rain, and do something to stop it from erasing their memories.
    – Obsidia
    Apr 30, 2017 at 20:20

2 Answers 2


Yes, it apparently affected them through the water supply.

We see someone in the bathtub be affected by the Swooping Evil venom. Their face goes blank in a way that implies the venom took effect. We also see people drinking water forget as well. There are also water collection tanks on top of the roofs. The wizards are seen fixing them along with the rest of New York.

HIGH ANGLE pushing down toward the crowd as they look up to the sky. As the rain falls and hits them, people move on, docile - their bad memories washed away. Each person goes about their daily business as though nothing unusual has happened.

Aurors move through the streets, performing Repairing Charms to rebuild the city. Buildings and cars are reconstructed and streets are returned to normal.

ANGLE ON LANGDON, standing in the rain, his expression softening, growing blank as the water runs over his face.

ANGLE ON POLICE looking at their guns, confused - why do they have them drawn? They slowly gather themselves, putting their weapons away.

Inside a small family home, a young mother looks on fondly at her family. As she takes a sip of water, her expression becomes blank.

Groups of Aurors continue to repair the streets, swiftly reassembling broken tram tracks, all traces of destruction finally disappearing. One Auror, passing a newsstand, enchants the papers, removing NEWT and TINA’S mug shots and replacing them with banal headlines about the weather.

MR. BINGLEY, the bank manager, stands in his bathroom taking a shower. As the water trickles over him, he too is Obliviated. We see BINGLEY’S wife, brushing her teeth, her expression vacant, carefree.

FRANK continues to soar through the streets of New York, churning up more and more rain as he goes, his feathers shimmering a brilliant gold. Finally he glides into the breaking New York dawn, a magnificent sight.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The Original Screenplay)

But yes, the venom got into the water supply somehow. So presumably it would later affect people who were under an umbrella when they come into contact with the water in their water supply. Even under an umbrella, if they get splashed with the rain in some way, they'll be Obliviated before they even get inside. In addition, there are so many ways that people can come into contact with the water that avoiding it would be incredibly difficult. To avoid being Obliviated even if they stay indoors, they would have to not brush their teeth, take a shower, do the dishes, drink some water, or do anything else involving the use of water.

For the people who did not either get wet in the rain, or come into contact with water in any other way, which would be a small fraction of the population of New York, there are some possibilities that I can think of. The first is, it's never mentioned exactly how long the Swooping Evil venom stays active for. It could remain active for long enough where it would be impossible for people to avoid interacting with water in some way for that length of time.

The other thing is, the Aurors could still Obliviate whatever small part of the population had managed to somehow avoid any contact with water for however long it takes the venom to become ineffective. In addition, if there are any people who remember anything, it would be such a small amount that they could easily be written off as crazy. If someone starts rambling about the existence of wizards or creatures rampaging through the streets, since other people won't remember it, anyone who says anything about it will be thought of as insane.

  • 2
    Can you provide quotes from the screenplay to support your answer? It sounds plausible (as plausible as one gets with movies about magic), but I can't approve the answer without seeing quotes from canon sources. :-)
    – RichS
    Apr 28, 2017 at 5:56
  • 4
    I feel sorry for all the fish in New York Harbor. Oh wait ... fish only have short-term memories anyway ... nevermind.
    – RichS
    Apr 28, 2017 at 5:57
  • 2
    Upvoted. Nice point on how long Swooping Evil venom lasts for- I didn't think of that one.
    – Voronwé
    Apr 28, 2017 at 6:38
  • @RichS Sure! :) I've added in a quote from the screenplay that describes how various people who come into contact with water are Obliviated by the venom. :)
    – Obsidia
    Apr 28, 2017 at 16:14

The swooping evil venom obliviates bad memories.

Newt tells this to Jacob when he brings him into his case the first time.

Anyone who comes in contact with rain water is relieved of his bad memories. This includes drinking or washing oneself with the said water.

Jacob retains his memories because his time with Newt Queenie and Tina is the best time of his life, and there is no bad memory to wipe off.

The only problem I have here is that the repairing Aurors should also have been obliviated as they walked in the rain. They did not conjure umbrellas for themselves like Queenie did.

  • 2
    This would benefit from some references.
    – Aegon
    Jul 27, 2017 at 10:06
  • Please provide quotes from the screenplay, links to video clips, or comments by movie producers to support your answer. It's an interesting answer, but many people won't vote for it without citations. :-)
    – RichS
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:13
  • The swooping evil venom obliviates bad memories. I can imagine several ways to use this. Remove traumatic combat memories for soldiers with PTSD. Evil-doers could remove memories from people witnessing their crimes.
    – RichS
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:15

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