Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them


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

Rating:

Four Stars

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…

…The Plot

“Tell me the truth—was that everything that came out of the case?”

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.

“See, they’re currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet. Humans.”

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.

…The Characters

“Tell me—has anyone ever believed you when you told them not to worry?”
“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

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.

“Newt…I don’t think I’m dreaming.”
“What gave it away?”
“I ain’t got the brains to make this up.”

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.

“Magical Congress of the United States of America.”
“So, you work for MACUSA? What are you, some kind of investigator?”
“Uh-huh.”

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.

…The Setting

“Oh, keep him? We don’t keep them! Mr. Scamander, do you know anything about the wizarding community in America?”
“I do know a few things, actually. I know you have rather backwards laws about relations with non-magic people. That you’re not meant to befriend them, that you can’t marry them, which seems mildly absurd to me.”

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.

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29 thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

  1. Seriously, if you find out where to get a Niffler from can you let me know too? 😅

    I absolutely adored the movie to pieces. It was so magical. I had my doubts, but I was definitely proved wrong! I really enjoyed the screenplay too! It may not have added much, but it definitely reaffirmed my love for the movie and made me want to see it again!!

    Great review, Beth ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will definitely let you know. I know they do Funko Pop figures of the Niffler, I will definitely be buying one of those, but it won’t be quite the same.
      The movie was amazing, honestly after seeing it I am never going to doubt J.K. Rowling again. She is just a genius when it comes to giving the Harry Potter fans what they want! I think the screenplay was a nice addition to the film, and the word but yeah it didn’t really add any more. I’ve already pre-ordered the DVD! 😀
      Thanks Lauren. ❤

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  2. You summed up my thoughts perfectly in this! I haven’t read the screenplay yet, I was a little skeptical, but now I definitely want to. I loved the movie so much! Watching it in theaters and hearing a little boy behind me asking his dad questions about the world reminded me of the magic of it and memories of seeing the first Harry Potter movie in theaters when I was little. I have to agree with you about Newt taking my favorite character spot. It has always been Luna and while she’s still a favorite there is something about Newt that I connected with more. Probably the awkward shyness 😂. Also, I so want my own Niffler now too! I actually bought a Pop! figure Niffler after seeing the movie because I couldn’t resist it. And I love how it was set in 1920’s New York. I love stuff set in the 1920’s. Great review as always, Beth! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good to hear Melissa! 😀 This is another example of a book/screenplay that works so much better after you’ve seen the original film. The movie was amazing wasn’t it? I saw it with my friend one evening and oh it was amazing. There were so many things I never saw coming and then I was completely gobsmacked when they were revealed, like who the Obscurial really was! I have a really strong urge to watch all the Harry Potter films and then go and see Fantastic Beasts again.
      Newt was amazing, I can’t think of who my favourite character before this was. Scorpius from The Cursed Child was definitely up there but from the original series I honestly can’t remember. I’m going to buy the Funko Pop figure as well (they have one for the Niffler as well) I’m just waiting until I get paid again!
      Oh yes, I hope the second one is set in New York again as well
      Thanks so much Melissa! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then I’m glad I decided to wait. I’ll have to read it as soon as I get the chance now though. 😊
        It really was! It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a movie as much as I loved Fantastic Beasts. I made my mom and little sisters go with me lol. I know right!? My jaw dropped. I had my mind made up about who it was and then it wasn’t that person at all. Also, you know the part where they’re talking about the girl Newt was seeing? When they said her last name I gasp out loud only because I automatically thought of how Bellatrix was related to her. The little connections to Harry Potter outside of the general world were so neat, like the mentions of Dumbledore. I so want to do that!
        I still haven’t read The Cursed Child but Scorpius is definitely one of my favorites. Which is probably weird since I know nothing about him beyond what I made up in a fanfiction I wrote years ago haha.
        I hope so too! I love how they’re doing more than one movie.
        You’re welcome, Beth! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I felt the same way, but honestly I think if I hadn’t seen the movie first I wouldn’t have picked up this book you know. It was seeing the movie which made me want to read the book.
        I felt the same honestly. It’s been all me and my friend have spoke about since we saw it and she spotted a lot more connections than I did but it was great seeing all the little hints to the original series. I was the same when they revealed who the girl Newt was seeing was. I think I read somewhere that she actually appears in the next film so I’m very excited for that! 🙂
        I’d recommend The Cursed Child, it’s a good book for the nostalgia alone but I think like with Fantastic Beasts it does work better if you’ve seen the play beforehand.
        Scorpius is just as amazing in the book as he is in all the fanfic I’m sure! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think I only caught a few of the connections. I can’t wait until it’s out on DVD so that I can watch it again and figure out which ones I missed. She is!? That’s going to be awesome! I bet the next movie is going to be incredible. I wonder how long we’re going to have to wait for it though.
        I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to see the play. I heard Broadway is doing it but not sure if they’ll come where I live. Either way, I’ll definitely have to read it eventually. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My friend caught a lot more than I did, when we were talking about afterwards she kept asking if I’d seen so and so and I was just like ‘no, what, really?!’
        Yeah, definitely need the DVD to go back and rewatch it loads and loads of times!
        That’s what I read, how true it is I don’t know but I really hope it is. I think I read somewhere else the next one isn’t out until 2018 so we had a while to wait!
        Hopefully one day they’ll make the play accessible for the world, but either way I’d recommend the book! 🙂

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  3. It was wonderful! The opportunity to return to the wizarding world at a different time is a different city was too good to pass up on. I was a tad sceptical to begin with at the idea of it being 5 films because I wasn’t sure how much more she could do with it, but after watching the film, I was reminded of JK Rowling’s near-endless imagination and now I, for one, can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I definitely agree, and I loved that the film explored New York, and New York in the 1920’s as well, it was like a whole new world to discover.
      I heard the thing about five films only after I saw the first and by the point I was just like ‘yes!’. I can’t wait to see how this story continues. It’s J.K. Rowling though so it’s going to be amazing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If I could pluck one magical creature out of a book to have for my own it would be that Niffler, he was so adorable! ❤
      The screenplay was good, not as good as the film for obvious reasons but reading it just brought back all the enjoyment of the film at the same time you know.
      I'm always going to want more Harry Potter, and yes I loved Newt and how Eddie Redmayne played him too. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read any of the HP books (I’ll fix this some day! Keep your tomatoes for someone else!) or seen the latest Fantastic Beast movie (I’ve only seen the classic HP movies), I’m glad to hear potterheads are adoring this movie and appreciating the screenplay book. It’s actually quite rare to see people jump at the opportunity to get the screenplay of a movie, but I guess with Harry Potter, everyone wouldn’t skip on it. And… it is a pretty book too though. 😀 Great review!

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you definitely need to read the Harry Potter books (don’t worry, no tomatoes) but you don’t need to read them to understand this film or the screenplay either. It’s great getting more from the Harry Potter world, then again J.K. Rowling could release a copy of Harry grocery list and I’d buy it. It’s a brilliant movie, honestly right now I just want to watch it again to relive it all.
      Thanks Lashaan. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. At first I was a little skeptical about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because I thought that JK Rowling was kind of milking it a bit, but I changed my mind after seeing the film. I thought that Newt was the most adorable and relatable character and I thought the premise of the film was original and very different from the original HP series. It also made me really want my own Niffler!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was the same but I think from now on I’m going to have 100% faith in J.K. Rowling and anything she releases because this movie was beyond amazing! I can’t wait to see the next one now, I’m really excited to see where the story goes from here on out.
      Newt was amazing, and I loved all his creatures as well but the Niffler was definitely my favourite! 😀

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