Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Dear, dear Newt, he is quite an interesting fellow. His full name is Newton Artemis Fido Scamander. I don’t blame him at all for going by simple, old, “Newt”. Considered a magizoologist because of his vast knowledge of magical creatures, he really is a chip off the old block. His mother is a breeder of Hippogriffs, those legendary half eagle/half horse creatures. Sorted by the magic sorting hat to the house of Hufflepuff when he first arrived at Hogwart’s, Newt eventually graduated and became employed by the Ministry of Magic’s Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Here he began an illustrious career.
In 1947, at the tender wizarding age of 50 years old, he created the Werewolf Registry. He argued for a Ban on Experimental Breeding law which was eventually passed in 1965. By 1979, after many years of research regarding dragons and how to effectively restrain them, he was awarded the prestigious Order of Merlin, Second Class. At this high point Newt decided it was time to retire. Newt and his wife, Porpentina, (below)
packed up their pet, Kneazles (looks like a domestic cat with the tail of a lion),
and moved to Dorset.
In Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books, fans may be surprised to learn that Newt does not actually appear as a character. Despite being such a contributor to magical knowledge, he is only mentioned in passing. It seems that with this film Newt is finally getting his due.
The story-line of the film centers around a meeting Newt attends in the United States. Arriving with a magical briefcase filled with specimens of strange and dangerous creatures, there is a mishap. Yes, you guessed it. Those strange and dangerous creatures escape the magical briefcase and run amok in New York. In addition to the thrilling adventure of trying to capture the escapees is the high drama of strained relations between Wizards and non-magical people, particularly an extremist sect who want to rid the world of all wizards. And with mayhem and destruction following in the wake of magical creatures on the loose, it is a grim prospect, indeed, for wizards everywhere.
What kind of magical creatures might be featured in the film? Based on past Harry Potter books, fans might expect to see:
• Acromantula - Giant, sentient spider capable of speech and doesn’t mind eating humans (or wizards). Aragog is an acromantula worthy of mention as one of Hagrid’s pets and lived in the Forbidden Forest. Aragog’s exploits included bad stuff and good stuff. In case you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets yet, I won’t spoil it by telling you the details.
• Basilisk - Another fantastic beast resembling an enormous serpent-like lizard, (and when I say enormous, imagine a fifty-foot long lizard), it can turn you to stone with one glance into its citrine eyes and blast a poisonous plume of gas your direction. And all while living for hundreds of years. A single tear from a Phoenix is the only cure. Also featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the basilisk is a creature of great notoriety that is also mentioned in such memorable works as Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Bestiary.
• Doxy - This nasty, little piece of work also goes by the name the Biting Fairy. I believe that title speaks for itself.
• Grindylow - As a tentacled water demon, this magical beast will probably douse any fiery passion for swimming a person may have.
• Nargle - Thieving woodland creature that prefers to live in mistletoe. little is known of the Nargles and what they look like…
If you find yourself at odds with any of these beasts you will need to be well prepared with proper antidotes, charms and spells. Inventory your supplies and see if you have any Phoenix tears properly bottled, Butterbeer cork conveniently arranged for easy access (necklaces and bracelets are good ideas), and, perhaps, a garden full of Dirigible plums so that you can always carry a fresh one in your pocket.