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The Interesting Connection Between Stranger Things 4 And Harry Potter

Contains spoilers for "Stranger Things 4"

The first installment of "Stranger Things" Season 4 is here and after months of speculation, we finally get to see the new antagonist in action. The Upside Down has thrown a lot at the characters over the past three seasons, including the fearsome Demogorgon and the scheming Mind Flayer. However, the latest villain poses a horrifying new threat that's been brewing since before Season 1. While the previous residents of the Upside Down relied on pre-established gates to venture into our world, this season's baddie can reach into Hawkins at will. This monster, nicknamed Vecna, can make telepathic connections to his victims, who he terrorizes with sinister visions before ruthlessly taking their lives.

Vecna is portrayed by newcomer Jamie Campbell Bower, who does an incredible job playing the character at varying stages. It's ultimately revealed that Vecna was originally a human, whose desire to break the monotonous cycle of humanity resulted in unprecedented telepathic powers. He becomes a ward of Dr. Brenner, whose questionable actions in Season 4 have sparked a debate among fans. At Hawkins Lab, Dr. Brenner christens him One, the first test subject in the experimental program that Eleven is subjected to. Although Eleven thwarts his initial plan to rid the world of weakness, Vecna's exile in the Upside Down only makes him stronger. 

As it turns out, playing a dark wizard is a recurring motif for the actor. Prior to appearing on "Stranger Things" as Vecna — the namesake of a famous lich from Dungeons & Dragons — Bower portrayed a like-minded character in another popular franchise.

Jamie Campbell Bower plays young Gellert Grinderwald in the Harry Potter franchise

Along with his performance as Venca aka One, Jamie Campbell Bower has also made appearances in the Wizarding World as a young Gellert Grindelwald. Grindelwald is a key character in "Harry Potter" lore, specifically in relation to his friendship, and later rivalry, with Albus Dumbledore. Although Grindelwald only makes brief appearances, glimpses of the character in J.K. Rowling's novels hint at his importance. Bower can be seen in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" (via IMDb). In his later years, Grindelwald is portrayed by Johnny Depp and Mads Mikkelsen.

For those who need a refresher, Grindelwald attended the wizarding school Durmstrang, after which he traveled to Godric's Hollow, where he befriended Dumbledore. The two young men bonded over their lust for adventure and incredible magical talent, using their combined intelligence to search for the elusive Deathly Hallows. 

They dream of a world where Muggles submit to the superiority of wizards, although they have vastly different rationalizations for their supremacist position. Enticed by ambition, the pair plan to run away together, but a violent confrontation between Grindelwald and Dumbledore results in the death of the future Hogwarts headmaster's young sister, Ariana. In the aftermath, Grindelwald abandons his friend and wrecks havoc on the wizarding world. 

Even though his screen time is limited, Bower manages to establish the character's foundation in a way that foreshadows the chaos Grindelwald will eventually leave in his wake. He brings that same intensity to Vecna, and "Stranger Things 4" is stronger for it.