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

The Long and Short of It

Call it stuffy, but there'a a charm about long-winded sentences. 
People my age - and by that I mean the early-to-mid thirties - have had a disgusting time with school texts, which were expressly chosen for their remarkable abstruseness. Most of us were put off with the language, given the  endless probing into seemingly harmless pieces of text and losing marks to our seemingly erroneous interpretations (at this age, I am told that I am never wrong, I can decipher things the way I want; evidently an adult's imagination holds more value than a teenager's). Abstruse works were seldom long-winded, but vice-versa always held true, and does so - to some extent - even now. Excerpts from classics (I remember Shakespeare's pieces - abridged, they said but that didn't make a spot of difference at that age) lacked any modern adherence to placements and abounded in queer, archaic phrases jumbled in a sentence spanning three lines; we were taught conjunctions like 'nevert…

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Genre: Classic, Drama Rating: 5/5
There is no arguing the sheer brilliance of John Steinbeck. The long list of accolades and the controversy he had courted in his days (some of which still continues) is proof of his influence in the current society. Some deem him (astoundingly) mediocre, partly on account if his opinionated take on events; others, consider his work as American classic. Neither argument is completely false, though I, personally, align myself with the latter. If it would be possible to keep aside for a moment, the political ramifications of Steinbeck's work, one cannot deny the strength of his writings. He does not waste words; his economy only accentuates the somewhat lean personality of the settings and the characters. Everything is stripped unappealingy bare and covered flimsily with sardonic humour. A bit like J.D. Salinger, in some ways, but with a bigger lens on the society.    
The man is a Nobel laureate (the logic of which, too, is widely contested), and his…

The Fatal Englishman - Three Short Lives by Sebastian Faulks

Genre: Biography
Rating: 4/5
There is something romantic about the English way of living; it has perhaps become more so now. Even the English themselves no longer stay the same way as during the wide span of time of Sebastian Faulks' work. It certainly wasn't romantic back then. The English have had their share of the good and the bad; they have been hated and revered. And through all of this, like in every other civilisation, the society and its principles have ruled the overarching impression we have created of and about them. But really, we are all humans; how different can we be after all ? Not much it seems. 
The Fatal Englishman  is set over seven odd decades, and chronicles the prodigy (in more ways , referring to things beyond just talent) of three remarkable British citizens. The common tie is the fact that they all died terribly young, barely having touched the thirties. They all hailed from different aspects of life - Christopher (Kit) Wood - a well-remembered (if not…