Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling


Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Author: J.K. Rowling

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US.

Overall rating: 5/5

Great for: film buffs, Harry Potter lovers and fantasy enthusiasts

Themes: Historical fiction, fantasy, screenplay, magical realism, YA,



Review: Preceding the story presented in the infamous Harry Potter series, this screenplay follows British Newt Scamander on his travels in New York City during the roaring 1920’s. As an advocate for the care and protection for magical creatures, his travel case contains far more than just a toothbrush and pyjamas. And it is the contents of this magical case that become the start of Scamander’s continual string of problems, during his time there. But that is only the tip of the iceberg of the trouble that is haunting the city…

As an ardent Harry Potter fan, I bought this without any real idea of if or when I would read it. The rich colouring and gorgeous typography on the cover makes this an exquisite addition to my book shelves. And that was enough for me. What I didn’t expect was to find myself idly flicking through the equally as elegant pages, becoming engrossed in the story, and polishing off the entire book only hours after purchasing it!

The screenplay format has deterred some from reading this. Let me just say that only a few pages in and the fast-paced plot will suck you into the world, as only Rowling knows how to, and you will forget that this is even written in an atypical format.

As a screenplay, this is a quick read. It is dialogue rich, plot-heavy and light on description. And yet the world still continues to come alive. Subtle nuances in the text bring colour to the speech and vitalize the world, as much as the characters.

Newt’s quirky personality makes him an immediately lovable protagonist. Through his perspective, we see the winsomeness and glamour in both the non-mag (or Muggle, for us Brits) New York, and the concealed wizarding community that dwells there. His excitable nature, his eccentric personality and his almost child-like fascination of the city made him appear as a hybrid of beloved characters from Rowling’s original wizarding series. And I loved him all the more for it!

Coming from a generation of individuals still awaiting their Hogwart’s acceptance letters, this made for nostalgic reading. I had read, and loved, The Cursed Child script earlier this year but found it lacking the additional touch of magic that only Rowling could anoint. Reading this, however, I felt eleven years old, again. I was once again lost in the world of the magical and the fantastic. Belief was suspended and reality vanished. Reading this was poignant and sentimental. Reading this felt like coming home again.

1 Comment
  1. Safa says

    Great review! 🙂

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