It is a well-known fact that Gellert Grindelwald was the darkest wizard of wizarding history just before Voldemort appeared. As much as his reputation, very few is known about his history and real motivations. Considering our information is extremely limited about him ( mentioned at Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows book a few times and 2 Fantastic Beasts movies ) it is challenging to identify what drives him in truth. So, our question for today’s topic is:
“Is the slogan “For The Greater Good” actually enough to make someone put into the area of greyness?“
WHICH ONE WAS THE “DARK LORD?”
The easiest way to understand where Grindelwald stands – in the area of greyness or black- is to compare him with his successor: Lord Voldemort. Both were masters of dark arts, the most powerful wizards -except Dumbledore- during their reign of terror, respectively. But their way in handling things, their visions were seriously different. What Grindelwald desiring was to make his people, the wizards the ruler of the world. To make them hide in shadows no more. He did not like Muggles but did not prefer to kill them when it is not needed either. For him, they were not ” disposable” but of a different position. To serve them, beneath their society. Hıs main goal was to free wizards out of hiding. As at the least, from his perspective.
“ It is said that I hate the non-magic. I do not hate them. I do not. For I do not fight out of hatred.
For Tom Riddle/Voldemort, it is completely a different story though. After all, he was a murkblood. His father was a muggle who abandoned him before even born. So his hatred and disdain for muggles came -literally- from birth. Despite being cruel, Grindelwald was familiar with the concept of love, while Voldemort was completely avoided it. His vision was to rule the Wizarding World and, Muggles were just insects to be crushed. He and his followers were slaughtering entire muggle families just for entertainment. So, we can’t say he had any good intentions, unlike Grindelwald. Voldemort came too far in dark magic to split his soul into Horcruxes, Grindelwald would not do it. He loved life. And it is said Grindelwald had regretted the things he did after his defeat.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO
So, we can claim one of Grindelwald’s masterships was speech. He knew how to convince the crowds. One can claim some joined him out of fear, but most of his followers joined him for he convinced them. Convinced them his purpose was just. As his famous slogan says: “For the greater good”. So, I believe he was not as cruel as Voldemort.
But the thing Is, while there are movies to come, we know Grindelwald terrorized the wizarding world. Mercilessly slaughtered all on his path if needed to achieve his goal. Yes, his slogan and goal are the key things here. If you claim you are murdering or causing uproars in society for the greater good, is it enough to justify yourself? Would it be enough to pull you from the area of black into greyness? Or is that just an excuse to justify what you are doing? While I know he is a manipulator, I believe he was not evil, or at the least, not in the area of black. As I said, there are movies to come but, I can say already he is not pure evil, unlike Voldemort.
There is a saying “You are what you do”. Despite what you said about who you are, or how your goals are noble, you are how you act. And, I know this may cause some contest but, I don’t think killing his enemies when necessary is a pure evil thing. He led a war, and (at least in his view) he did what he did for the goodness of his people. Despite regretted his acts later. And even this, being regretted shows he did not lose his humanity, unlike Voldemort.
And the thing is, I believe if an act (despite how extreme it is) contains some goodwill in it, I would call it grey. For me, the colour black is only when the act came from full of hatred, disdain or such emotions, without any means to justify it. For this reason, at least for now, I would call Grindelwald grey. Or, at the least, not evil as Voldemort as.
But I’m aware of that the slogan “For the greater good” is also can be used as a mean to hide behind it. When you do terrible things, you can justify yourself easily. Claiming you do what you do for not out of hatred, but the goodness of the majority. So, when looked from this point, it is a great slogan to shield yourself.