Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
Written By: J.K. Rowling
Illustrations by Minalima
This enchanting tale begins in Europe, 1926. We then meet Newt Scamander, the chaser of truth, as he arrives New York. He claims he came to New York to buy an Appaloosa Puffskeins. We later find out he’s really there so he can bring Frank the Thunderbird home to Arizona. Newt stumbles across a crowd who are watching Mary Lou Barebone’s lecture about how we should be fearful of magic, and the wizards who are all around us. She has three adopted children: Credence, Chastity, and Modesty. I like the creative naming of the children, their meanings being the complete opposite of what Mary Lou Barebone is;
Credence: belief as to the truth of something
Chastity: the state of being pure
Modesty: being humble, free from vanity
As Newt is watching Mary Lou, he’s being watched by Tina Goldstein. She works for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). She spies the latch of Newt’s case opening on its own, and suspects he is entering America with dangerous magical creatures. She’s recently lost her auror status at MACUSA, and is intent on finding out exactly what Newt is up to in hopes that she can regain her status.
MACUSA are concerned with the dangerous magical activity that’s been going on in the city, and are also extremely worried about an evil wizard named Grindelwald. Percival Graves, who also works for MACUSA, suspects it’s the work of an Obscura, which is an unstable, uncontrollable dark force that busts out of a witch or wizard who has been trying to suppress their magical abilities. Percival’s been secretly pushing Credence to try and figure out where the obscura is.
A Niffler escapes from Newt’s case and they set off on a wild goose chase, running into Jacob Kowalski who was on his way to the bank in order to inquire about a loan so he can open his own bakery.
Newt carries a briefcase which, like the TARDIS, is much bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. In this case Newt carries extraordinary creatures:
Newt’s case is accidentally switched with Jacob’s case when they run into each other. He tracks Jacob down, and discovers many magical creatures escaped from the case while he was separated from it. Jacob, agrees to help Newt find his missing creatures. Tina hunts Newt down, suspecting him of breaking magical law, thinking if she can land a big arrest she may be able to regain her auror status. She thinks it’s one of his creatures that have been wreaking havoc on the city, so she agrees to help him find his creatures and recruits her sister Queenie (my favourite character, she can read minds).
There are parts of Fantastic Beasts which are quite comical. But at its heart it’s an enchanting, adventurous, dark, page-turning mystery. You don’t need to read, or know about Harry Potter in order to be able to enjoy this story.