Note: This is not the movie script. This is the review of the 2017 revised edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
‘Beautiful’, ‘Intriguing’, and ‘Nostalgic’ are few of the adjectives I would use to describe the 2017 edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. While, this book is an interesting and informative non-fiction for witches & wizards, it is certainly an entertaining fiction for Muggle readers. But for those amongst Muggle readers who, like me, feel that the world of Harry Potter is as real as our real world, this book will turn out to be an enthralling piece of non-fiction that is sure to delight them.
Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)
Publishing Date: March 14th, 2017
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
To begin with, I am giddy with delight for the beautiful hardback book jacket, eye-catching illustrations, and pretty typography. This is a very pretty book. And the beauty of this book makes it even more exciting to read. Secondly, I love the fact that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been entirely written from the point of view of the wonderful Newton (Newt) Scamander, a Magizoologist. I like him! It is his writing that transports us Harry Potter fans to the world of magic quite effectively. It is his writing that makes this book feel a non-fiction, rather than fiction.
I found every section of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them quite interesting to read. The book begins with a Foreword, where the author debunks some of the wild claims made by Ms. Rita Skeeter. This is followed by an Introduction that is divided into several sections. The Introduction details how the author came to write this book, what is a beast (this is very informative and amusing), Muggle awareness of fantastic beasts (loved the bit about the Franciscan monk and his encounter with a Jarvey), Magical beasts in hiding and the various charms used to hide them, and finally, the author reminds us why Magizoology matters to us. It is a good introduction and I quite liked it.
Following the Introduction, we come to learn about a wide range of Fantastic Beasts with strange magical powers and beauty. Presented in an alphabetical order, we read about magical creatures that we have read about in the Harry Potter books and many others that we had never heard of before (at least, I didn’t!). The description of each Fantastic Beast is quite detailed and there are several vivid illustrations. It filled me with wonder to read about the fantastic magical abilities of the fantastic beasts. Reading about the creatures was not only interesting, but also, quite amusing. Below is a list of the ones I found quite amusing and fantastic.
- Ashwinder- Quite fascinating
- Basilisk- It was really amusing to read that this super-dangerous creature is produced when a chicken egg is hatched beneath a toad. A really simple creation process for an exceptionally dangerous beast.
- Billywig- Funny insect whose sting gives powers of levitation.
- Clabbert- It was funny to think of a large pustule on its forehead that glows when close to danger. It made me think of vehicle sirens.
- Dragon- The author has described eight species of Dragons, all of which were very fascinating to read.
- Kelpie- Apparently, the Loch Ness monster is a Kelpie. Scary powers!
- Lethifold- Very scary, but, I really enjoyed the story of the wizard who escaped a Lethifold using the Patronus charm.
- Quintaped- Pretty ugly (well, that’s an oxymoron), but, very interesting to read about how they came about.
- Thunderbird- Cool powers
I liked reading the footnotes, which are in plenty and very helpful. The detailed information about the Fantastic Beasts felt so real to me, that while reading it, there were times when I almost forgot that I couldn’t actually have a Puffskein for a pet and couldn’t use fairies for house decoration. On the downside, I do have one flaw to point out that I found quite irritating and that lended to some dissatisfaction. This flaw was the lack of illustrations for many magical creatures, which were quite difficult to imagine even with a detailed description. Now, tell me- how difficult it is to imagine a cross between a monkey and a frog (a Clabbert) or a dead wood with finned paws and very sharp teeth (a Dugbog). Also, it would have been nice to have more illustrations just to satisfy the curiosity of avid Potter fans.
Newt Scamander has done a really good job in writing this book. It is more than an escape to a magical world for all Harry Potter fans. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is revisiting the magical world we Potter fans so love and appreciating magical creatures who form an integral part of the magical world. I am also glad to learn that royalties from the sale of this book will go to two wonderful charities Comic Relief and LUMOS, who are doing magic beyond the powers of any wizard. This book is definitely ‘a must-have, must-read for all Muggle readers’.