Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Image result for Fantastic beasts book cover

So, straight from the “Belongs To” stamp, we see Ron, Hermione, and Harry scribbling about why Ron is sharing Harry’s copy and the awesomeness of Dungbombs. Ron and Harry have a hangman game going (Acromantula), as well as tic-tac-toe. One of the boys comments about Newton ‘Newt’ Artemis Fido Scamander’s name being “nice” and the author’s love of animals nurtured early in life, and though at first his career with the Ministry of Magic in the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures Department left something to be desired, he eventually transfers to the Beast Division, allowing him to flex his knowledgeable muscles. He created the Werewolf Register and passed the Ban on Experimental Breeding law. This book stems from a collection of notes whilst working with the Dragon Research Bureau and stating of the award he won, where he resides, as well as the names of his wife and pet Kneazles. Then a Foreword by Dumbledore about the book being helpful to students, but versatile to the use in common society, as well.

This edition extra special for being available to Muggles for Comic Relief, the wizarding world joining in helping the funding by mass producing Harry Potter’s copy, where wizards can locate a copy, thieves properly punished by curse, and the warning to never tickle a sleeping dragon. The Introduction has Newt describing his humble beginnings and how far he’d come through his many travels giving him plentiful experiences with all sorts of magical creatures. Newt then gets an answer from Harry to his question of ‘What is a beast?’, but Newt starting by listing three kinds: werewolves, centaurs, and trolls. Newt then clarifies how simply the label was given at its inception, as well as the Chief of the Wizard Council realizing his mistake upon seeing who came forward at the first meeting. The next Chief attempts to amend the restriction, only creatures who could make themselves understood by the Council being invited to attend, but issues were still needing to be handled: ghosts turned away and centaurs not coming, in protest of the Merpeople being excluded. The third, and start of the title of Minister of the Ministry of Magic made more progress with the classifications in divisions: Beast, Being, and Spirit. Some allowances being made in regards to centaurs requesting to stay labeled as beast and some believing Muggles needed to be reclassified as beasts, (I struggle to argue) as well as the tough to place, werewolves.

The next question to be regarded is, why Muggles don’t see these creatures, A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts to follow, Harry noting its briefness being a fallacy. Newt begins by confiding how Muggles used to acknowledge magical creatures, regardless of wizards’ attempt at hiding them, the Middle Ages art and literature showing this. He then mentions how Muggles tended to guess wrongly of what they’d seen or didn’t register seeing the creature at all, he referencing a monk’s manuscript of his own experience with a Jarvey, believing it was a talking ferret. Those being hard times for wizards, A History of Magic being recommended for more detail on the subject, Newt then moves on to how they’d chosen which creatures needed to be hidden along with themselves, some of them being invited to the meeting and when concluded, 27 creatures becoming mythical Muggle (which for some reason brings to mind Good Mythical Morning) history. More beasts become added once they’d gotten comfortable with their camouflaging skills. It becoming a law and being dealt with by whether a community didn’t handle their creature-hiding properly. Incidents including a dragon swooping down on a Muggle beach, yeti sightings becoming far too numerous, and the largest kelpie of Loch Ness reveling in its celebrity.

Newt then lists a few creatures who haven’t yet needed assistance in hiding: Tebo, Demiguise, and Bowtruckle (all covered later), the unicorn, mooncalf, and centaur introverted enough to keep to themselves, and others living in places Muggles couldn’t or wouldn’t visit, like the Acromantula’s home in the jungle and the phoenix on mountain peaks no one could get to unless with magical assistance. Then there’s those who look like “normal” creatures, or are too quick to be identified, like the Chizpurfles, Billywigs, and Crups. Another way of detouring Muggles versus by charming the areas the creatures lived, in special cases, like for the Quitaped, it is made impossible to map the spot where the creature lives. There are also creatures which need to be monitored due to searching outside there territories, like kelpie and pogrebin. The Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is commented on by Harry about how Hagrid must not have been aware of it, for buying creatures on the list. Newt then answers why magical creatures are protected so strictly, it being so the wizarding world could continue to enjoy them. Seventy-five beasts are listed within and Newt makes clear of the love he has for his work. Afterwards, giving classification explanation, the beasts then listed. (Which I will only name a few).

Acromantula is a spider which Harry marks with nine more x’s than the classification of 5, Harry then writes of confirming the spider’s existence in Scotland.

The Basilisk also gets a comment when Newt claims of no sightings for about 400 years.

Then upon learning the sweet, Fizzing Whizzbees possibly contained a bit of Billywig which is an insect, Harry swears off having them again.

Bowtruckles are tree-guardian creatures which have camouflage like a tree, and would allow bark-stripping for wands only if given woodlice.

Centaurs are classified four as a sign to be respected, like Merpeople and unicorns. They are known to excel in magical healing, divination, archery, and astronomy.

Harry makes another smart comment about Hagrid getting a Chimaera since it was among top non-tradeable creatures.

Chizpurfles are parasites looking crab-like with whopping fangs, they similar to termites.

Crups look like Jack Russell terriers with a forked tail and are not picky eaters, wizards allowed to keep them with proper documentation and proof of careful handling.

A Demiguise has invisibility capabilities, their coats sought after for being used for Invisibility Cloaks.

Diricawls were believed to be extinct by Muggles, they calling it, Dodo, but the bird merely able to relocate “magically”, the phoenix having the same talent.

Dragons are then listed by pure-breeds, there being 10, but I’ll only be listing the ones I remember mentioned or commented on.

The Hungarian Horntail, Harry agrees of it being dangerous, what with having 50 foot range with its fire-breathing.

Then the Norwegian Ridgeback, Harry changes the name to Baby Norbert, it rarer than most, hostile to its own kind, will eat sea “food” unlike other dragons, and able to fire-breathe younger than most, as well: 1-3 months.

Fairies are described as usually bad-tempered unless used for ornamental purposes; conceited little buggers, they speaking in high-buzzing form, starting as larvae and cocooning before going straight into adulthood.

The Flobberworm is mentioned being a vegetarian which are sometimes used for potions.

The African Fwooper bird resembles a Dr. Seuss creation and will drive a human mad with its song.

Harry makes fun of the Glumbumble name which makes a sadness-induced treacle.

The gnome is then mentioned and Ron’s way of ridding a yard of them being most popular, but used to also be gotten rid of by Jarveys.

The Grindylow is a light-green water demon found in lakes, eats fish, is unfriendly to Muggles and wizards, but Merpeople are able to tame them.

Hippogriffs have also been commented on by Harry, wondering if Hagrid had read this book, referencing how, while tameable, it should only be tried by professionals (but Hagrid having taught the class properly). It eats insects and small mammals and hatches within 24 hours of being laid.

The Jarvey looks like a ferret which can talk, is much larger and usually speaks vulgarly, eating gnomes, moles, and rats.

The Kappa is commented on in regards to Snape not knowing their origins being Japanese, it feeding on human blood and can be swayed to not hurt a person by giving it a cucumber with the name carved in it, a wizard’s only way of sapping its power being to sucker it into bowing, pouring the water out of its head.

The Kelpie is a demon which can change shape, but prefers looking like a horse. Its feeding method involving getting the rider to the bottom of the water, but can be made peaceful if able to put a bridle on its head.

A Kneazle is a cat-like creature with spotted fur, intelligent, and can make wonderful pets if bonded, able to sense untrustworthy people and lead the owner home, if lost.

Merpeople have different appearances like humans, of whom know them as sirens; all Selkies/Merrows/Merpeople love music.

Mooncalves live in burrows which they exit from only upon full moons, they known to dance and leave UFO patterns in wheat fields, their poo able to quickly grow plants when used as fertilizer.

The Phoenix has four X classification due to the rarity of it being domesticated. Besides the ability to reappear elsewhere, it eats herbs, its song can give courage or fear depending on the pureness of heart, and it has healing tears.

Pogrebin is a demon from Russia which looks like a rock, they stalking people until the person gives up hope, but besides hexes and Stupefying Charms, good ole-fashioned kicking can put them off.

Quintaped, A.K.A., Hairy MacBoon is a human-eating beast which is steeped in legend of they starting as human and transformed by another family who they were feuding with, but none could be captured so the mystery continues.

The golden Snidget is a rare bird which has an impressive skill of speed, it being replaced in Quidditch with the Snitch, Quidditch through the Ages referenced for more information.

Tebo is a warthog which can go invisible.

Trolls can be up to twelve feet tall, are aggressive and moronic, three types being mentioned: Mountain – largest and most cruel, Forest, and River- known to loiter under bridges.

Unicorns whilst white, are gold when young.

Werewolves are commented on by Harry as not being too bad, they only inflicted by a bite, and whilst no cure has been detected, there is a potion to aid in the symptoms.

And lastly, the Yeti, which is theorized to be related to the troll.

Interesting collection, though I feel more comments from the trio could have been utilized.

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Heroes Die

Heroes Die

Here’s a confession: I truly love this book. It has everything one would want in an action/fantasy/adventure movie, even funny dialogue, except written out on the page. The reluctant protagonist is an actor called Hari Michaelson and is a futuristic icon of the masses. It’s what reality TV could become except no one on the planet he’s acting on knows he’s from another world acting for billions of people’s entertainment. On this other world, there live fairies with dirty mouths and living in whore-houses, a new God whom Hari has pissed off, along with plenty of other folk.

There are other actors besides Hari who go so far as to get reconstruction surgeries to make themselves look elvish or whatever other sorts of fantastical creatures residing on this other world so they can try to make a living as an actor in this strange new development of the business. I don’t want to get too in depth on this, but it is quite worth the read, especially since it’s continued on as a series; but so far this is the best of the three, although if this one does whet the appetite, the sequel is just as violent and humorous as the first.