Yesterday, Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling announced a film inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was published in 2001 as a Hogwarts textbook and Harry Potter series companion. The film will be an original story following Newt Scamander, the author of Fantastic Beasts, and is Rowling’s screenwriting debut.
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling in the announcement on Thursday. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.”
Harry Potter is like the ex-boyfriend you can’t get over because he keeps showing up and you’re still too obsessed with him to cut the relationship completely. Just when you think you’re free, BAM. New movie. But this isn’t some random screenwriter dabbling in the world we already know and love: This is a canon lover’s dream, and we’re all salivating over the chance to jump back into the wizarding world with J.K. Rowling as our guide.
So what do we know, and what can we expect? Let’s talk Harry Potter theories like it’s 2007.
WHAT WE KNOW:
Newt Scamander, the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will absolutely play a leading role in the upcoming film. So what do we know about him? Quite a bit, actually. Don’t ever doubt Rowling and the Potter fandom when it comes to backstory. Let’s dive into who he is and where he’s been, and then we’ll get to the good stuff and start talking about what we might get in the film.
Newt Scamander was born in 1897. His mother bred hippogriffs, which he cites as spurring his love for magical creatures. After attending Hogwarts from 1908 to 1915 (Hufflepuff, represent!), Newt went on to work for the Ministry of Magic, first in the Office of Elf Relocation and later in the Beast Division. Fantastic Beasts was commissioned in 1918 while Newt was working here.
After travelling to a hundred countries across five continents, Newt Scamander published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 1927 and quickly became the authority on magical creatures in the wizarding world. His book was a wild success and approved as a Hogwarts textbook. By the time Harry, Ron and Hermione reach Hogwarts in the mid-1990s, Fantastic Beasts is on its 52nd edition.
In 1947, Newt was responsible for creating the Werewolf Register, which kept track of all known werewolves in Great Britain. As we know, the register was poorly kept, and we run into Fenrir Greyback, who is unregistered and incredibly dangerous. In 1965, Newt also created the Ban on Experimental Breeding, which he notes as his greatest accomplishment. This ban is supposed to regulate the growth of wizard-bread creatures, like the Blast-Ended Skrewts we all know and love from Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class.
Newt also worked with the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau, where he traveled on exhibitions around the world and collected information for new editions of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Sometime in his life Newt Scamander was Headmaster of Hogwarts, but the dates and details regarding his time there are unclear.
Luna Lovegood, our favorite Ravenclaw, was married to Rolf Scamander, Newt’s grandson. Together they had two children.
Newt, Order of Merlin Second Class, passed away sometime between 1991 and 1992, but his ghost remains at Hogwarts. He makes a brief appearance on the Marauder’s Map in Prisoner of Azkaban.
WHAT WE MIGHT GET:
So, we’ve been refreshed on Newt and how he fits into the series as a whole. But what does this mean? What can we expect when this story hits the big screen?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be set in New York City in the 1920s. We haven’t seen the Americans since the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. Remember the Salem Witches Institute? There are questions about who they are exactly, and my fingers are crossed that we’ll learn a ton about them.
Albus Dumbledore wrote the foreword for Fantastic Beasts and also famously discovered the 12 uses for dragon’s blood. Newt worked with dragons for a long time; maybe we’ll see Dumbledore or learn more about him.
Fenrir Greyback, the most feared werewolf in the series, especially liked to attack children. In 1964 he was brought in by the Ministry of Magic regarding two Muggle children who had been attacked and killed. Because he was not on Newt’s werewolf registry, he was not known as a werewolf. Lyall Lupin recognized the signs and accused him of being one. As revenge, Greyback bit Remus Lupin, Lyall’s son. Was Newt involved in this? Will we see more of Fenrir and fellow werewolves? I think so, although it’ll probably be too early to see Remus Lupin again.
Remember Hepzibah Smith? She claimed to be the direct descended on Helga Hufflepuff and owned Salazar Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup. Tom Riddle befriended Hepzibah and then later killed her and used the locket and cup as horcruxes. Hepzibah’s house elf, Hokey, was framed as the murderer. I think we’ll get the chance to meet Hokey and a lot of other interesting house elves. How long to house elves live? Do they breed? Is it time to bring back S.P.E.W.?
Hippogriffs will definitely play a role, since Newt’s mother used to breed them. I’d like to learn more about Buckbeak and where he came from.
According to Newt, phoenixes are aggressive very difficult to domesticate. The only two known domesticated phoenixes are Fawkes (my baby) and the mascot for the New Zealand quidditch team the Moutohora Macaws. Teach me everything you know about phoenixes, Newt, and someone bring me Fawkes so she can heal me with her tears because this whole thing is just too much for me to handle.
This is a series. Is Quidditch Through the Ages coming next? Gimme gimme.
If I’ve learned anything from my years in the Harry Potter fandom, it’s that my predictions are probably wrong and someone much smarter than me will come up with a way to debunk everything I thought I knew about this series. But it doesn’t matter, because how much fun is this? What would you like to see in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Tweet us @LitDarling!
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