The Fantastic Beasts are Here!


Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander in the latest addition Harry Potter Universe.

Bekah Redinger, Staff Writer

“Was it open?” “Just a smidge.” With these words, Harry Potter fans around the world were pulled  into the story of Newt Scamander. The movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe. It tells the story of “magizoologist” Newt Scamander, who arrives in New York City with a case full of magical creatures, many of which are illegal in America. Those creatures escape in New York City, and Newt, along with a non-magical man named Jacob Kowalski and workers for the Magical Congress of the United States of America Tina and Queenie Goldstein, are sent on an adventure to recapture them. The new creatures introduced in the movie include a mischievous Niffler, an attached Bowtruckle, a devious Demiguise, and a magnificent Thunderbird.

A lot of the fun in watching the movie is in observing the American version of magic. Much of the British wizarding language that fans have spent so long learning is no longer applicable, and is much different. For example, in America, muggles, or non-magical people are called “no-mags”, and the main wizarding school is no longer Hogwarts, but Ilvermorny. The American characters help to explain these things to Newt, and in doing that, they help the viewer understand the new terms. Also, because the movie is set in the 1920s, there are common elements of American culture during that time included, such as magical speakeasies, and hints of American government embedded in how the Magical Congress of the United States of America works.

One thing that many avid Potter Heads were worried about with “Fantastic Beasts” was how often the new movie would make references to the traditional Harry Potter films.  Their fears turned out to be for nothing, however, as “Fantastic Beasts” was a standalone film with its own plot, characters, and tone.  Sure, they dropped the name Dumbledore and a couple of other names familiar to the Harry Potter universe, but they were guilty of none of the crimes that the Star Wars prequels committed in reference to future events. The “Fantastic Beasts” film quelled all of the fears that fans had before it came out.  

There is a bigger story happening, however, as the story takes place at the same time as the evil wizard Grindelwald is rising to power in Europe, and no-mags in America are becoming aware of magical presence. These plots not only hinder Newt Scamander in his goal of studying beasts, but they become bigger by the end of the film, and may be the basis of the next few movies, the next of which takes place in England and Paris, and is set to be released in November of 2018. Until then, though, fans will continue to analyze American magic and the creatures introduced in the movie.