Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling (Newt Scamdander)

fantastic beasts text.jpegTitle: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Author: JK Rowling writing as Newt Scamander

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 14th March, 2017

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 144

Price: $24.99

Synopsis: A brand new edition of this essential companion to the Harry Potter stories, with a new foreword from JK Rowling and an irresistible new jacket by Jonny Duddle and line illustrations by Tomislav Tomic and six new beasts.

An approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander’s masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensible introduction to the magical beasts of the Wizarding World. In this comprehensively updated edition, eagle-eyed readers will spot a number of new beasts and an intriguing new author’s note. Scamander’s years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books – the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail…Others will surprise even the most ardent Magizoologist. Dip in to discover the curious habits of magical beasts across five continents.

‘No wizarding household is complete without a copy’ – Albus Dumbledore.

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hp20_230The Hogwarts textbook that inspired the movie of the same name, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been res-issued, with the addition of six beasts that Newt discovered during the course of the movie. Writing as Newt Scamander, JK Rowling brings the magical creatures of the wizarding world to life. From the treasure seeking Niffler to the water horses and kelpies, to the breeds of dragon that populate the world, and the American Creatures that Newt was forbidden from revealing after his 1926 visit to New York, including the Thunderbird, Horned Serpent and Wampus Cat, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them brings to life a new facet of the world of Harry Potter.

Each creature is included because they have been classified as beasts and not beings, even ones who can speak such as centaurs, who opted for this classification. And then each is given a Ministry of Magic classification form one X to XXXXX:

X- Boring

XX – Harmless/may be domesticated

XXX – Competent wizards should cope

XXXX – Dangerous/requires specialist knowledge/skilled wizard may handle

XXXXX – Known wizard killer/impossible to train or domesticate

In this new edition, we are sans the delightfully amusing annotations about Acromantulas from Ron and Harry, and the addition of “anything Hagrid likes” to the dangerous classification. It is nonetheless a delightful addition to the Harry Potter and Hogwarts libraries of fans of the series, and Tomislav Tomic’s illustrations add to the beauty of the book and for several creatures, gives the reader a chance to get an idea of what the larger and sometimes more dangerous creatures look like.

Each animal has a short description based on Newt’s observations, and the American creatures reference MACUSA – the Magical Congress of the United States of America and hint at the secrecy of these creatures and only publishing them now being related to the stringent fears of magic that the film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them shows.

As a fan of Harry Potter, I enjoyed reading this and seeing the new additions to the new publication were enjoyable. They gave more depth and interest to an already established world, and was nice to see that Newt is still going within the Harry Potter universe, and staying true to his character as presented in the 2016 film based on the text book.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by JK Rowling

fantastic beasts.jpg

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Author: J.K. Rowling

Genre: Fantasy/Screenplay

Publisher: Little, Brown/Hachette

Published: 18/11/16

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 291

Price: $39.99

Synopsis: 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 . . .

Inspired by the original Hogwart’s textbook by Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original screenplay marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. A feat of imagination and featuring a cast of remarkable characters and magical creatures, 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 for any film lover or reader’s bookshelf.

The film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will have its theatrical release on 18th November 2016.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them started life as a text book by magizoologist Newt Scamander, used by students at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books. From that mention, it became a book for fans to buy, with the proceeds going to charity. Fifteen years later, a screenplay has been written for a movie, featuring the renowned (and fictional) Newt Scamander as he journeys to New York to continue his journey of discovery. However, his magical suitcase goes missing, and it is not long before things start to go wrong, and before MACUSA, the American equivalent of the Ministry for Magic, and No-Majs (Muggles), start to notice. One poor Muggle gets caught up, and it is up to him, Newt and two sisters to find the beasts and ensure the secrets of the wizarding world are kept a secret. Alongside this adventure is the subplot of the Second Salem group, trying to enforce their views and bring back a new age of witch hunting. Though it is just the screenplay of the film that was released on the same day, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is delightful, and it ties in nicely with the backstory to the Harry Potter novels, giving fans insight into the days of a text book author, how another nation viewed magic and dealt with secrecy, and also hinted at things to come with mention of a wizard who history told the wizarding world was dangerous, in the days before Voldemort attended Hogwarts and rose to become the most feared wizard within the world of Harry Potter.

Set in 1926, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a tight, well-told story that has the potential to continue on in further movies. I have not yet seen the movie, and do not feel that reading the screenplay first will ruin the experience for me when I am able to: it has given me a peek at the New York wizarding world, and some insight into the characters, but only a little, and the movie will only build on that. Reading a screenplay can be a little different to reading the book: as it is less descriptive, imagining the settings and characters takes a little more time than with a novel, however, if you know the actors in the movie, then knowing what to imagine is a little easier, and I have an idea of who to expect in the role.

Another great story of the wizarding world from JK Rowling; I look foward to seeing the movie.