Book to Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan (as most book lovers are) and last weekend, I experienced a moment that in 2011 I thought would never be possible – JK Rowling wrote a new Harry Potter movie. Although Harry wasn’t actually in the movie, it took place in the Harry Potter universe and I will gladly consume anything Harry Potter related. And I’m sure those of you who also rushed to the theatre to watch it felt the same way I did – it was absolutely magical.

The story followed a character who we see in the third Harry Potter book, the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander. Prior to these movies, we knew very little about Newt, so the information released in this movie is brand new to the Harry Potter universe.

JK Rowling recently published a series of short stories on Pottermore titled a “History of Magic in North America” which, as the title explains, tells the history of magic in North America and how it developed differently than magic did in Europe. This movie was our first in depth look inside that world, different than what Potter fans are used to. This is also the first time we’re seeing a Harry Potter film before reading the book (for those of us who have read the books) and it was a little weird. I’ve become accustomed to the luxury of knowing the story beforehand, and being able to hold my knowledge above the heads of my non-reader friends. This time however, we were all on an even playing field, me being just as surprised as they were at all of the twists and turns.

This book to film review is a bit of an odd one because the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book is actually the textbook that Harry had in his third year at Hogwarts. It’s a fun read, lots of info on the different “fantastic beasts” but even better were the scribblings by the golden trio that added some character and humour to the book. The film was definitely not an adaptation of this book, but an imagining of how this book came to be. In the movie, Newt is writing the book that Harry eventually purchases from Flourish & Blotts, which means we have now come full circle, seeing the book being written, and actually reading it.

Both were really well done, and I would highly recommend them to anyone, whether they’ve read the entire Harry Potter series or not. My hope is that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies will now bring Harry Potter to a younger generation, and will hopefully inspire young readers to go back and read the books that I grew up with and loved. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, what are you doing here??? Stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now!!

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