Pottermore dives into the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them featurette to dissect some of the secrets it unlocks.
With the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere date only a month away, fans are positively itching with anticipation. It’s not exactly Pottermania, but it’s cut from the same cloth. Thanks to the Harry Potter books, a lot of fans knew what to expect from their film counterparts. This time, though, all we have is J.K. Rowling’s faux-textbook to give us clues. And while that catalog of magical creatures gives us insight to the beasts themselves, we don’t learn anything about the author.
Now, Newt Scamander is taking center stage with his American misadventures. His suitcase of fantastic beasts is on the loose in jazz-age New York, and he’s facing some major struggles because of it. A new featurette discusses not only Newt’s hardships, but those of the magical community in 1920s America as well.
Pottermore took it upon themselves to draw some connections between Newt and Harry’s worlds, respectively. New evidence suggests that there’s more to Fantastic Beasts than just another romp through the Wizarding world. Indeed, it seems that Newt’s story is quite the important addition to the Potterverse.
Perhaps one of the biggest points of contention in the film is the relationship between the wizarding and No-Maj (non-magical) communities. Pottermore points out the danger of the Second Salemers, whose name alone should give us pause. The Salem witch trials is one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria in the United States. Now a whole new group of people are beginning the witch hunts anew? I’m not sure how historically plausible that is. Regardless, the group does pose a significant threat to Newt’s mission and the entirety of wizardkind.
How will this affect what we know of the Potterverse? So far, that much is unclear. But, as this featurette also notes, Grindelwald is on the rise during Newt’s lifetime. Step aside, Voldemort, because the original bad boy of Dark magic is stealing your limelight in this new franchise. If Grindelwald’s anti-Muggle history lives up to its reputation, the Second Salemers certainly won’t help the No-Majs’ case.
Where there’s Grindelwald, there’s mention of the Deathly Hallows. As we learn in the Potter book of the same name, Grindelwald and Dumbledore built their relationship off shared ideologies. Among these was their fascination with the Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility.
The question is, how does this work its way into Newt’s story? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is his journey, after all. So what part does Grindelwald and the Hallows play? The tentative connection is that Newt’s escaped creatures threaten wizardkind’s discovery, which means the Second Salemers are on the rampage, which means that Grindelwald’s anti-Muggle sentiments will be reinforced as a result of this movement’s ignorance and possible violence.
Okay, it sounds like something of a long shot, but that’s the best I can do for now. Rowling has stated that Fantastic Beasts will impact what we know of Harry’s world. All in all, I think it’s safe to say that we’re in for quite the adventurous history lesson.
Despite these connections, it seems that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will remain a series all its own. However it influences the original Harry Potter saga, Newt’s tale (pun sort of intended) looks as though it will be able to stand on its own. There are new characters and places to explore, and overall a new journey to take. We’ll see how it begins November 18th.