Skip to main content

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The Original Screenplay) by J.K. Rowling

Well, this was only the movie script, and I can only imagine how the coursebook might be. Dear God, isn't it a relief to relapse into that world, and especially if Rowling herself creates it. Mind you, I couldn't help but compare between the playwright Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and this one, and the difference is so stark. Both have good stories - maybe Fantastic Beasts has less complicated a plot as The Cursed Child - but the latter comes nowhere close to the heart-warmingness of the former.

I began Newt's journey on the big screen. We went for an evening show and we were thrilled as children. Personally, I have been a huge fan of Eddie Redmayne after the BBC adaptation of Birdsong, so it was easy on my eyes to accept him as the sprightly, yet demure Newton Artemis Fido Scamander. The setting was perfect - a 1920s USA, with everything in dull grey and black and brown - an overall dreariness, which was uplifted by the lush, navy blue overcoat-bearing Newt. And of course, his battered brown suitcase eager to burst open. The scenes never drag, and characters get introduced fast and we quickly move on to more important things, such as the recent series of unexplained event bugging the Muggle world, the ongoing witch-hunt and escaped beasts on the loose.

As I said, the plot is quite uncomplicated; though a background on Harry Potter's universe would enable readers/audience additional squee-worthy moments - for instance SPOILERS AHEAD the locket that Graves lends to Credence, the Lestrange reference, Grindelwald, Newt's Hufflepuff scarf and so on. Javob Kowalski's character is a delight, an absolute antithesis to Dudley Dursley. Kowalski is an aspiring Muggle baker trapped in the daily grind of a canning factory, and his world is turned upside down - quite literally - when he gets unwittingly sucked into the realm of Newt's world. The two witches - Porpentina and Queenie - complete the gang. Porpentina - Tina for short - is an Auror who got demoted following her violent outburst at the one of the witch hunters; her sister Queenie may not as ambitious, but is exceedingly kind, loving and beautiful enough to turn the head of the Muggle (or No-Maj in the American parlance) Kowalski.

Having seen the movie - and wishing I had a niffler or a bowtruckle for a pet - I bought the book (or the screenplay, if you may). If anything, reading it was even better. Now that I had all the scenes in my head, I could only marvel at her choice of words which couldn't have been more apt to describe whatever I had seen. Rather, the writing brought out better the depth of Newt's feelings towards his flora and fauna (though partial as I am towards Redmayne, I think he too did a fantastic job of developing a chemistry with his brood). Credence reminded me strongly of Dumbledore's sister Ariana, and my heart went out to him. Rowling excels at describing emotionally vulnerable characters such as these, be it in her flagship world of witchcraft and wizardry, or in her other works like The Casual Vacancy and the Cormoran Strike series. Living our daily lives, we get bitter and inconsiderate; we forget the traumas we must have faced ourselves, too mired in living in the present and judging people basis our reactions and experiences. Little do we spare for the different, we do not stop to fathom the reasons and pass our judgements in a reflex. Rowling's work, besides providing the obvious charm of a world I can happily escape into, keeps us readers firmly grounded in the realities and nudges us towards being bigger at heart. I cannot speak for others, but it does me a lot of good to have a characters guide like Harry or Newt or Neville or Hermione to look up to.

It may be a good thing that Rowling stopped penning more on the life of Harry Potter and has begun on this project concerning Newt (as you all must know by now, there are expected to four more movies based on three books on Newt), given that wizardry universe is no smaller than the Middle Ages of The Lord of The Rings and needs spin-offs to clarify and further root our understanding and appreciation of certain characters. As for this particular installment, its a mighty brilliant start and has already set the pace pretty nicely for things to come. 


Popular posts from this blog

Man-Eaters of Kumaon - Jim Corbett

Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

This one is decidedly a classic, so there is little point in reviewing this book. It is a beautiful one, without doubt. 
Personally, I avoid any form of entertainment (books, movies, plays, anything) which features cruelty - either directly or tacitly - towards animals (I have not yet seen any of the Planet of the Apes movies, Ant Man was uncomfortable too). So deciding to read this book took a certain degree of convincing. 
Much credit goes to the beautiful cover of the book. This one is an Aleph Classics (co-founded by David Davidar of The House of Blue Mangoes fame, and Rupa Publication) edition. In terms of sheer elegance, the cover design is unmatched.

The palette concept of jungle green coupled with the late afternoon sun creates an ambiance even before you delve into the pages. I picked out the book from a thin pile on a shelf in the little HigginBothams book-store near Charing Cross in Ooty, one biting winter evening (more on that later), such w…

Higginbothams of Ooty

It took us some time to decipher that the name of the crossroad was Charing Cross. After all, it is an unexpected name for an Indian crossroad in Tamil Nadu, and the mildly opinionated chap driving us to our hotel had a heavy accent. Charing Cross turned out to be a triangular enclosure, with an imposing fountain (we later discovered that it was named the Adam's Fountain; it is three-tiered, the second one topped by four very colourful cherubs). Since we had arrived in the middle of the afternoon in the thick of winter, the roads were thronging with people and vehicles. Shops were bustling and business appeared brisk. Our driver skilfully negotiated the traffic as we passed woollens shops, gift houses, eateries, groceries and mobile-phone shops. 
We returned to the market later in the evening, after having deposited our luggage. Both my husband and I had been fending off a nasty bout of flu and needed to restock our now near-empty medicine pouch. Charing Cross in the evening (thi…

Top 10 books to read when you are depressed

Books are handy weapons to stave off blues - be it the dregs of the Sunday evening or a nasty bout of flu. When you are depressed, it takes herculean efforts to shake off the feeling. And I'm not even talking about the more severe, clinical form of depression. I can't get myself to pour myself a glass of water the day after Diwali; on Fridays on the other hand, I am the epitome of eternal sunshine. For such moody, dull days, these top 10 books are the surest way to dust a little sparkle in your life.
1) Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog): This is Jerome K. Jerome at his absolute best. It was published some 130 years back and is still capable of eliciting raucous laughter. It is the honest journal of three young, bumbling flatmates and their dog on a river cruise. Look out for some meandering, pedantic pages, but they offer some relief from the relentless humour. 
2) James Herriot'sDog Stories: If you love animals (and dogs, in particular), this is the ultimate…