Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them : whats in it?

This Fall, Albus and Scorpius aren’t the only ones traveling back in wizarding time. So what if the Ministry may have destroyed all the Time-Turners, but from November 18, even mere Muggles can take a step back to the wizarding world of 1926 – just that this time around we’re in New York.

Harry Potter fans may know Newt Scamander as the aged author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the dry required reading for the Care of Magical Creatures classes at Hogwarts. But 70 years before Harry and Ron carried their textbooks down to Hagrid’s hut, Scamander was a young magi zoologist, collecting specimens of those fantastic creatures from around the world and storing them in his briefcase. In the movie, the British Scamander visits the Magical Congress of the US. There someone lets loose a stray Alohomora spell and his magically expanding suitcase full of dangerous creatures opens, its contents escaping into the streets of Manhattan.

Along with Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (American slang for Muggle) played by Dan Fogler, Porpentina Goldstein, an employee of the US Magical Congress played by Katherine Waterston, and her sister Queenie Goldstein, a legilimens (that’s mind-reader to you, No-Maj) played by Alison Sudol, Scamander must track down those specimens—before Percival Graves, the sinister US Director of Magical Security played by Colin Farrell, finds him. Ron Perlman also stars as Gnarlack, a goblin who runs a Harlem speakeasy.

The seriously belligerent New York witching community

Scamander appears to have crash-landed in 1920s North America and almost immediately proceeded to release his entire menagerie of menacing beasties, some of whom look like they would swallow you whole as soon as look at you, on to the streets. But is that any excuse for all the angst? If Scamander doesn’t get all his pets back in that peculiarly palatial little brown suitcase faster than you can say Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, it looks like all hell is about to break loose in Manhattan.

In the times of Peril and War

The trailer confirms North America’s No-Majs are a far more threatening breed. Armed police are seen in a Mexican standoff with wand-wielding witches, while Carmen Ejogo’s President SeraphinaPicquery (head of the American wizarding community) reveals that conflict is brewing. Scamander’s arrival looks like just the spark to set the whole world on fire.

Samantha Morton’s Mary Lou and her campaign against Magic

Standing on the steps of city hall, lecturing her menacing followers, the dismal looking leader of the witch-murdering New Salem Philanthropic Society seems to be adopting a divide-and-rule policy in her efforts to convince New York that it is under threat from threatening unseen magical forces.

Is there a new Dark Wizard in town?

It sounds like Mary Lou and her crew isn’t the only evil-doers Scamander might need to worry about.President Picquery mentions attacks by a “Grindelwald” in Europe and hints that something similar has been seen in New York. In the Potter books and movies, Gellert Grindelwald was a famous dark wizard, whose early friendship with Albus Dumbledore ultimately putrefied to the point that the pair battled in 1945, resulting in Grindelwald’s incarceration for more than half a century in the continental European fortress of Nurmengard. Grindelwald wanted to use the famous Elder Wand and other Deathly Hallows to become “Master of Death”, end the International Statute of Secrecy and institute a new system in which wizards ruled over Muggles.

The mysterious Credence played by Ezra Miller

The bowl-cut-sporting Credence is Mary Lou’s awkward adopted a son, and ostensibly another No-Maj. So what’s he doing talking to Colin Farrell’s high-ranking New York author Percival Graves? And why is Graves ripping up the streets with powerful magic after declaring: “I refuse to bow down any longer?” Is he secretly a dark wizard? We’ll have to wait until 18 November, when Yates’s movie hits multiplexes, to find out.

The film has just hit theaters and it’s good time to find out if Muggles and No-Majs (Wait! Aren’t they the same thing) can perform a good Accio spell or not!

Cover Graphic : Aniruddha Das

 

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