The Expanding Wizard Universe: Musing on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a gorgeous film and under no circumstances to be missed by the fandom and, children and spouses of the fandom. Generally it is said to be a prequel to the Harry Potter series but I would not say it is a prequel. It is a story which has happened in the wizard world same as Harry Potter but decades before Harry was born. Harry and his friends read a book called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander as part of their curriculum. This film and the next four, as read on net, will be about adventures of Scamander while writing the book along with the happenings of the wizard world in his time.


I was disappointed with Harry Potter movies so stopped watching those after “Goblet of Fire”.  The movies dumbed down the books. The fans who have only watched the movies are now busy on net  posting mushy things about Weasley family and shipping in different permutation combination Harry, Ron, Harmione and Draco; so basically getting on my nerve. Very few pages of book covered these things. They are much more than that (as if there’s any other way when you compare the books and movies!).

After Deathly Hallows J K Rowling announced there would be no more Harry Potter books. But the announcement was in haste. The world was not ready to give up. The entertainment companies could feel there were much more scope to be encashed. Rowling was obviously in no mood to move on.

Things started with few snippets in interviews and Pottermore. Then few pages for charity. And then came the full fledged play “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child”. The manuscript of the play was released as a book. I am fuzzy about who really has written plot of the play. The craze Cursed Child generated may have been led to announcement of Fantstic Beasts movie franchise. My daughter pointed out while the end credit rolled, J K Rowling is the writer of the movie.

The movie has a twist ending in typical Rowling style. Before the ending we witnessed grand display of magical creatures. The execution is great but I would have preferred more meat to the basic plot. The actors were great especially Eddie Redmayne. I loved Dan Fogler as the No-Maj or muggle. First time a muggle has a full fledged positive role in the story. That’s not the only first timer in this film. First time we saw function of wizarding community of a country other than Britain since the film is set in America. First time we saw so many magical creatures other than hippogriff, phoenix, dragon or three headed dogs. First time grownups didn’t let the school kids fight the battle. We knew squibs but for first time we came across Obscurus.

The last two books in the original series, The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallow took readers on journeys to past and there we met the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, the love of Dumbledor’s life. I always found Grindelwald more fascinating as a villain compared to Voldemort. Voldemort was an one dimensional asexual(?) evil who could be easily defeated by school kids. But Grindelwald was all evil genius and definitely not asexual. I am so happy finally I can meet him directly in movies not through others’ memories.

Like Marvel, DC, Star Wars the universe of Harry Potter is expanding. It’s good news or bad will depend on next four Fantastic Beast films. If Rowling gets busy and shows us magic of her pen (or laptop?)once again with churning out interesting plot line then fandom would be eternally grateful. Only fear here is the studio shouldn’t make a Hobbit of this series.

Here’s toast of butterbeer to beginning of another great story about the wizard world.

P.S. Newt’s box which is bigger from inside, now where have I heard of this before!! Yes like Dr Who Newt Scamander is on one adventure after another with the box which is bigger from inside. As a diehard Dr Who fan I would like it if the Fantastic Beast movie series could somehow acknowledge the nod to Dr Who.


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