Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Harry Potter books
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic beasts.JPG
Author J. K. Rowling
Genre Fantasy
Publishers Bloomsbury (UK) (Canada 2010-present)
Arthur A. Levine/
Scholastic (US)
Raincoast (Canada 1998-2010)
Released 2001
Sales 509,473[1]
Pages 42

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2001 book written by British author J. K. Rowling about the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. It purports to be Harry Potter's copy of the textbook of the same name mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US), the first novel of the Harry Potter series.

In a 2001 interview with publisher Scholastic, Rowling stated that she chose the subject of magical creatures because it was a fun topic for which she had already developed a lot of information in earlier books. Rowling's name does not appear on the cover of the book, the work being credited under the pseudonym "Newt Scamander".

The book benefits the charity Comic Relief. Over 80% of the cover price of each book sold goes directly to poor children in various places around the world. According to Comic Relief, sales from this book and its companion Quidditch Through the Ages have raised over £17 million.[2]

On 12 September 2013, Warner Bros. and Rowling announced they will be producing a film inspired by the book, being the first in a new trilogy. Rowling herself will be the screenwriter. She came up with a plan for a movie after Warner Bros. suggested the idea. The story will feature Newt Scamander as a main character and will not be a sequel or a prequel to the Potter adventures, with the narrative being set in New York, 70 years before Harry’s story starts.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

Fantastic Beasts purports to be a reproduction of a textbook owned by Harry Potter and written by magizoologist Newt Scamander, a fictional character in the Harry Potter series. In the series, Magizoology is the study of magical creatures.

Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, provides the Foreword and explains the purpose of the special edition of this book (the Comic Relief charity). At the end, he tells the reader, "...The amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you." He repeats the Hogwarts motto: "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus", Latin for "Never tickle a sleeping dragon".

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them contains the history of Magizoology and describes 75 magical species found around the world. Scamander says that he collected most of the information found in the book through observations made over years of travel and across five continents. He notes that the first edition was commissioned in 1918 by Mr Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books. However, it was not published until 1927. It is now in its 52nd edition.

In the Harry Potter universe, the book is a required textbook for first-year Hogwarts students, having been an approved textbook since its first publication. It is not clear why students need it in their first year, as students do not take Care of Magical Creatures until their third year. However, it may be used as an encyclopaedia of Dark creatures studied in Defence Against the Dark Arts classes. In his foreword to the book, Albus Dumbledore notes that it serves as an excellent reference for Wizarding households in addition to its use at Hogwarts.

The book features doodles and comments supposedly added by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The comments would appear to have been written around the time of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. These doodles add some extra information for fans of the series; for example the "Acromantula" entry has a comment confirming that Hogwarts is located in Scotland.

Integrated in the design, the cover of the book appears to have been clawed by some sort of animal.

Contents[edit]

  • About the Author
  • Foreword by Albus Dumbledore
  • Introduction by Newt Scamander:

 1. About This Book
 2. What Is a Beast?
 3. A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts
 4. Magical Beasts in Hiding
 5. Why Magizoology Matters

  • Ministry of Magic Classifications
  • An A–Z of Fantastic Beasts

Newt Scamander[edit]

Newton Artemis Fido "Newt" Scamander is the fictional author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, born in 1897. According to the "About the Author" section of the book, Scamander became a magizoologist because of his own interest in fabulous beasts and the encouragement of his mother, an enthusiastic Hippogriff breeder. In Hogwarts, he was sorted to Hufflepuff.

After graduating from Hogwarts, Scamander joined the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. His career included a brief stint in the Office of House-elf Relocation, a transfer to the Beast Division, the creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947, the 1965 passage of the Ban on Experimental Breeding, and many research trips for the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau. His contributions to Magizoology earned him an Order of Merlin, Second Class in 1979.

Now retired, he lives in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their pet Kneazles: Hoppy, Milly and Mauler. He has a grandson named Rolf, who married Luna Lovegood some time after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Although Rowling has never hidden the fact that she is the author of Fantastic Beasts, "Newt Scamander" can nevertheless be considered a pseudonym of hers, as he is technically the author listed on the book's cover.

In the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Newt Scamander's name appeared on the Marauder's Map. Why he was at Hogwarts was not addressed, but it is likely to be linked to Buckbeak, the Hippogriff Hagrid has at the school.

Editions[edit]

Scholastic Editions
Paperback: ISBN 0-439-29501-7
Hardcover Box Set: ISBN 0-439-32162-X (Includes Fantastic Beasts... and Quidditch Through the Ages)
Paperback Box Set: ISBN 0-439-28403-1
Bloomsbury Edition
Paperback: ISBN 0-7475-5466-8
Sagebrush Rebound Edition
School & Library Edition: ISBN 0-613-32541-9

"New information"[edit]

The book is said to predate the events of the Harry Potter series. In light of events in the Potter books, several tongue-in-cheek references to "new information" are indicated by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley's doodles in Harry's version of the book (as published for Comic Relief). A list of them follows:

  • The question 'What is a Beast?' (serving as the title of the section) is answered 'a big hairy thing with too many legs'.
  • In the Ministry Classifications, the most dangerous creatures are labelled as XXXXX, to which has been added "or anything Hagrid likes".
  • On Pg. 2 under the Acromantula section, the book states "Rumours that a colony of Acromantula has been established in Scotland are unconfirmed." In fact, Harry and Ron encounter a colony in the Forbidden Forest in the second book. Hagrid was aware of this Acromantula colony before this, and it is quite likely that other members of the staff knew of its existence. In Harry's version of the book, the word "unconfirmed" is crossed out and the following comment of "confirmed by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley" is added.
  • Also under the Acromantula section, an extra 9 X's are added to the creature's classification, probably by Ron, since it is well known that he is afraid of spiders, and the Acromantula is a gigantic, man-eating spider.
  • On Pg. 4 under the Basilisk section, the book states "there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years". This is invalid, as there is a recorded sighting in the second Harry Potter book. As such, a comment of "that's what you think" has been appended to the bottom of the entry.
  • In the Dragons section, the name "Norwegian Ridgeback" is crossed out and replaced with "Baby Norbert", referring to Hagrid's infant dragon which he hatched himself and showed to the trio. Nearby, under the entry for "Hungarian Horntail", the article begins "Supposedly the most dangerous of all dragons" to which is added in a scribble, "you're not kidding".
  • The Hippogriff section says that they "may be domesticated, though this should only be attempted by experts". This is underlined and connected to a note saying, "Has Hagrid read this book?" referring to Hagrid's domestication of a Hippogriff herd despite being anything but an expert.
  • In the Billywig section, it is noted that their dried stings are believed to be a component in the popular wizarding sweet "Fizzing Whizzbees". In Harry's copy of the book, the words "That's the last time I eat them, then" is seen scrawled under the entry in response.
  • The Kappa section claims that this creature is Japanese in origin, to which is added the note "Snape hasn't read this either". This presumably refers to the third book, in which Snape states, "the Kappa is more commonly found in Mongolia".
  • The Pixies section has them classified as an XXX level creature. The addition here takes the form of a note saying "or XXXXXXX if you're Lockhart".
  • The Puffskein entry has a note, presumably by Ron, saying, "I had one of those once" to which Harry responds, "What happened to it?" and a reply underneath says, "Fred used it for Bludger practice". This conversation also takes place between Harry and Ron in the Philosopher's Stone video game.
  • The mermaid entry describes a certain type of merpeople as being "less beautiful..." Next to that line is a note saying "ugly". This refers to Harry's encounters with mermaids in the second Triwizard Task in the fourth book, Goblet of Fire.
  • In the troll entry, a picture of a troll is drawn, next to it written, "My name is Gregory Goyle and I smell!"
  • In the werewolf entry, next to the heading "Werewolves" a note has been added: "aren't all bad". This is a reference to Professor Lupin, a werewolf and Harry's favourite teacher.

The book does not have entries for Blast-Ended Skrewts (which makes sense, as they are an illegal crossbreed), Boggarts, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, Dementors, Hinkypunks, Bicorns, Cockatrices, Banshees, Three-Headed Dogs or Blood-Sucking Bugbears. Curiously, there is no listing for Vampires in the book despite there being a listing for werewolves. Harry has encountered at least one vampire (named Sanguini) during one of Slughorn's parties in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. However the creatures are apparently the subject of a book that exists in-universe called Blood Brothers: My Life Amongst the Vampires, written by Eldred Worple, whom Harry also encounters at the same party in which he encounters Sanguini.[4] No explanation for the omission is known to have been presented by J.K. Rowling, though it is possible that werewolves are classified as beasts due to their transformation during the full moon in which they lose their intelligence until they return to normal, while vampires may have an entirely different classification (possibly being) according to the Ministry of Magic due to possessing near-human intelligence at all times.

Reception[edit]

Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly graded the book with an "A" and wrote "With its richly detailed history lessons and witty debate parsing the differences between being and beast, plus a compendium of 85 magical creatures that's chockablock with Rowling's trademark wordplay (Glumbumble is a standout), Beasts adds a vital new dimension to the Potter mythology."[5]

Film adaptation[edit]

Warner Bros. announced on 12 September 2013 that J. K. Rowling would be making her screenwriting debut with the first of a planned series of films based upon Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, part of an expanded creative partnership with Rowling. Rowling stated that the films, which will focus on the life of Newt Scamander, will neither be a prequel nor sequel to the Harry Potter series, though will be set in the same world as the book series. The first film will be set seventy years prior to the Potter films, in 1920s New York.[6] David Heyman, who produced all the Harry Potter movies, will come back to work again with the series.[7]

In October 2013, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe stated he would likely not be a part of the film.[8] According to Rowling, after Warner Bros. came wanting an adaptation, she wrote a rough draft of the script in 12 days. She said, "It wasn't a great draft but it did show the shape of how it might look. So that is how it all started."[9] In March 2014, Warner Bros. confirmed that the story would be released as a trilogy.[10][11] Any cast or director has not yet been confirmed.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Horn, Caroline (14 April 2009). "Harry Potter titles repackaged". The Bookseller. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "News". Comic Relief. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (12 September 2013). "Warner Bros, J.K. Rowling Team For New ‘Harry Potter’-Inspired Film Series". Deadline. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. Chapter Fifteen: The Unbreakable Vow page 315 U.S. Hardcover edition. ISBN 0-439-78454-9
  5. ^ Jensen, Jeff (23 March 2001). "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Quidditch Through the Ages". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Nancy Tartagloine (12 September 2013). "Warner Bros, J.K. Rowling Team For New ‘Harry Potter’-Inspired Film Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "‘Harry Potter’ producer David Heyman officially on board to produce ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’". Page to Premiere. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jk-rowlings-fantastic-beasts-will-646374
  9. ^ "J.K. Rowling wrote the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ rough draft in twelve days, wants to be an extra in drag". Hypable. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 29, 2014). "J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Will Be Trilogy". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Harry Potter spin-off 'will be a film trilogy'". BBC News website. 30 March 2014. 
  12. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/jk-rowlings-harry-potter-spinoff-to-be-made-into-film-trilogy-9225452.html

References[edit]

  • Newt Scamander. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2001. Print. ISBN 0-439-32160-3

External links[edit]