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I was looking through some stuff on hp-lexicon when I stumbled onto a familiar sounding character:

Gondulphus Graves

I later realised the character sounded familiar because he had the same last name as the main "antagonist"/puppet Percival Graves.

He is listed in the piece as one of MACUSA's Original twelve Aurors.

The descendents of the original twelve aurors have a special place in American wizarding society; Graves's family is still influential in American wizarding politics today.

Is our friendly chappy Gondulphus related to Percival and hence why he's so beloved? Or are their last names just a coincidence?

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Yes, it's confirmed that Percival Graves was a descendant of Gondolphus Graves.

The relationship between Percival and Gondolphus Graves is explicitly confirmed in one of the Pottermore writings on the history of magic in North America, the one focused on MACUSA. Percival is indeed a descendant of Gondolphus Graves. Percival Graves is the head Auror of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the part of MACUSA which all the Aurors work for, which his ancestor had been one of the original members of when MACUSA first began.

In the 1920s the President of MACUSA was Seraphina Picquery from Savannah. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was headed by Percival Graves, a well-respected descendant of one of the original twelve American Aurors.

Percival, therefore, might have been naturally favored as his ancestor was such a distinguished member of the American Aurors.

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