Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Release Date: November 18th 2016
J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut is captured in this exciting hardcover edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay.
When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.
Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader’s bookshelf.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When the film was first announced I wasn’t sure what to think; the trailer looked amazing but it could never be as good as the original series with Harry, Ron and Hermione could it? Then I saw the film and I fell in love with the story, the characters, the setting, and above all the creatures. I immediately got a copy of the book so I could read the screenplay and relive the experience all over again.
Travelling to New York in the 1920’s, when the wizarding world is still left reeling after Grindelwald’s attacks, all Newt has with him is a battered suitcase full of magical creatures. New York is only supposed to be a pit stop but when his Niffler escapes in front of the bank, attracted by the large amount of coins and shiny trinkets on display, Newt finds himself in serious trouble.
Inside the bank Newt ends up bring along a muggle, Jacob, for the ride not sure what else to do when Jacob finds one of Newt’s eggs in the midst of hatching and when the Niffler makes a break for the vault. Fully intending to wipe Jacob’s memory once outside the bank Jacob flees before Newt can cast the spell, and a mix up with their cases means Newt has a battered suitcase full of pastries, and Jacob the one full of magical creatures.
When some of the creatures end up escaping Newt, Jacob, and Tina, an ex-auror from the Magical Congress of the United States of America, have to track them all down before they reveal magic is real and cause a war with the muggles the wizarding community are ill equipped to handle.
However Newt’s creatures loose in New York are not the only issue the city is facing, or even the worst. Grindelwald is still at large and people are in fear wondering where he will strike next, the Second Salemers are launching a tirade against magic and all it stands for, and there is an Obscurial loose in New York striking down muggles at will without limit or consequence.
Newt’s sole priority, and only concern in the beginning of this story, are his creatures. He keeps them safe, cares for them, and all he wants is to be able to show the world that they are not to be feared. Newt’s intelligence isn’t so much in his knowledge of spells but in his knowledge of the magical creatures he encounters and what they can offer the wizarding world.
Of all the characters we have met in all of the Harry Potter books Newt is probably my favourite; he’s kind and caring, slightly awkward at times, and above all he really cares about the creatures he is looking after. He is a character I can really identify with and not just because we’re both Hufflepuffs.
If you’ve read the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them then you probably know all about the creatures we meet in this film. Seeing them on the big screen was amazing, each of them had their own unique traits and quirks which made them more interesting to learn about. We heard a little about the different types of magical creatures in the original series but they were never expanded on much aside from a few, Buckbeak and the dragons come to mind, and this is probably because Harry was more interested in Defence Against the Dark Arts than he was Care of Magical Creatures.
As a muggle, or a No-Maj in New York, I really enjoyed seeing the wizarding world through Jacob’s eyes. His reaction to some of the things he sees alongside Newt are what I imagine a lot of ours would be if we came face to face with real magic. Jacob largely sees the good and the wondrous side of magic rather than the death, destruction and fear the rest of New York experiences.
Tina seemed more exasperated with Newt than anything else. For the most part she follows the rules, the big ones anyway, and when she realises Newt has not only released a magical creature in New York but left a No-Maj with knowledge of magic she is determined to take him in. Tina seems to have a habit of bursting into places at the wrong time but she clearly cares about doing what is right even when that may mean bending the rules a little.
There were plenty of other characters we met in the book and who were given real life in the film. I loved reading about the Second Salemers; their goal, their aims, but most of all the children Mary-Lou adopted and what happened to both Credence and Modesty. It was also interesting learning more about the magical governing body of America, MACUSA, and the witches and wizards who worked there.
While there is a lot of information available on Pottermore about the magical world of America I hadn’t read any of it before seeing this film, or reading the screenplay. Nonetheless I loved seeing the wizarding world outside of Hogwarts and outside of England. America have their very own school of witchcraft and wizardry, their own governing body, and their own rules and idioms for dealing with and referring to muggles. Everything was more hinted at than anything else, just a small part of a larger story, but it was more than enough to give you a good idea of what the wizarding world was like, not only in New York but in the 1920’s. I loved all the references back to the original series because even though Fantastic Beasts is set decades before the Harry Potter books there is still plenty to learn from them which only adds to the original series. I am very excited to see more of Grindelwald and Dumbledore, and hopefully see their story unfold first hand rather than through long ago memories.
Similarly to The Cursed Child with Fantastic Beasts you really need to see the film to get the full experience. While there are parts in the book you can’t see on the big screen there are a lot more aspects to this story you can only fully appreciate when you see them. All in all Fantastic Beasts was a wonderful addition to the Harry Potter world, and I am already looking forwards to the next film and the next screenplay.
And if anyone knows where I can get my own Niffler please let me know.
What did you think of Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.