Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
|Author||J. K. Rowling
(credited as Newt Scamander)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2001 book written by British author J. K. Rowling (under the pseudonym of the fictitious author Newt Scamander) 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 (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US), the first novel of the Harry Potter series. It includes several notes inside it supposedly handwritten by Harry, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, detailing their own experiences with some of the beasts described, and including in-jokes relating to the original 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", who, in the books, wrote this textbook as seen on Harry's supply list for his first year.
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.
On 12 September 2013, Warner Bros. and Rowling announced they will be producing a film inspired by the book, being the first in a series of five such films. 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 be set in New York City, 70 years before Harry's story started. The film will be released on the 18th November 2016.
Fantastic Beasts purports to be a reproduction of a textbook owned by Harry Potter and written by magizoologist Newt Scamander, a character in the fictional 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 85 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 fifty-second 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 encyclopedia 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 added by Ron Weasley. 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) along with comic relief (such as Ron saying "you're not kidding" when talking about the Hungarian Horntail being the most fearsome dragon of all, a reference to Harry's encounter with one in the fourth book).
Integrated in the design, the cover of the book appears to have been clawed by an unidentified animal.
About Newt Scamander
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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 house.
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.
When retired, he lived in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their pet "Kneazles": Hoppy, Milly and Mauler. He had a grandson named Rolf, who married Luna Lovegood (a character who appeared in the last three Harry Potter novels) some time after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
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.
Role in the Harry Potter series
Scamander himself does not appear in the seven Harry Potter books. He is mentioned in passing in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The following beasts are listed in this book:
- Antipodean Opaleye
- Chinese Fireball
- Common Welsh Green
- Hebridean Black
- Hungarian Horntail
- Norwegian Ridgeback
- Peruvian Vipertooth
- Romanian Longhorn
- Swedish Short-Snout
- Ukrainian Ironbelly
- Fire Crab
- Mackled Malaclaw
- Red Cap
- Sea Serpent
- Winged horse
- 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
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."
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an upcoming British-American fantasy drama film inspired by the book of the same name by J. K. Rowling. A spin-off of the Harry Potter film series and directed by David Yates, the film stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Jenn Murray, Jon Voight and Ron Perlman.
- "News". Comic Relief. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- ""Five films exactly". JK Rowling Twitter feed". 13 October 2016.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (12 September 2013). "Warner Bros, J.K. Rowling Team For New 'Harry Potter'-Inspired Film Series". Deadline. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- Jensen, Jeff (23 March 2001). "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Quidditch Through the Ages". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- Newt Scamander. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2001. Print. ISBN 0-439-32160-3