J.K. Rowling on the true meaning of Fantastic Beasts


J.K. Rowling, David Yates, Newt Scamander, and others discuss the ins and outs of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been kicking around theaters for a couple of weeks now, and doing quite well for itself. Now, Warner Bros. has released a lengthy behind-the-scenes video featuring interviews with the likes of Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), director David Yates, producer Lionel Wigram, and author J.K. Rowling. Watch it below. Together, they ruminate on the past, present, and future of the series.

“I was in the Wizarding world for 17 years,” Rowling says, “and if you’ve been with something for 17 years, it doesn’t leave you. I knew I was only going to write seven Harry Potter novels, but it’s there, that world is still in my mind.”

And we got to experience it. For me, the most interesting parts of the video were when Rowling talked about the overall themes of the series, and how they’ll play out in future installments. For example:

"Although the title is Fantastic Beasts, to me, we’re talking about beasts that are in everyone, and the way that we make beasts of others. It is such a dangerous thing to do, to draw a line around a group and say, ‘You’re wrong, you’re inadequate, you’re insufficient, and you should be treated thus.’ That’s at the heart of most of what I write. And it’s certainly at the heart of this movie."

Who’s the real monster? Humanity. Twist!

Rowling on the beasts

But that does dive with what we saw in the movie, what with groups like the Second Salemers trying to eradicate witches and wizards from existence. It fits with Grindelwald’s agenda, as well.  “Grindelwald is a wizard who is incredibly intolerant of non-wizarding people,” a producer says. Surely we’ll see more of that as the series goes on.

Rowling makes some fun comments about the various beasts in the movie:

  • “I love the bowtruckle! His name’s Pickett, he’s not quite fitting with his branch, which is the technical term for a lot of Bowtruckles.”
  • “We have met nifflers in the Potter books. They are odd little tumbling creatures who are attracted by anything shiny. Deceptively they are very adorable thieves, and create mayhem.”
  • “The erumpent’s quite a fierce creature, almost an indestructible creature. David Yates, he injected it with a playfulness that I hadn’t expected, which is delightful.”
  • “The demiguse can become invisible; you can make an Invisibility Cloaks from the pelt of the demiguise – which is why they’re hunted and endangered.”
  • “The occamy is chronatypsic [grow and shrink to fit available spaces], which is a word I invented. It’s sort of a winged serpent, part bird, part snake. It lays eggs of pure silver. All of these creatures are endangered. They can’t hide themselves, they don’t understand they’re supposed to hide.”

She also touches on another theme important to a lot of her stories: groups of outsiders coming together and forming bonds. “My heroes have always been those who will always say, ‘I see how it is, but it doesn’t have to be that way.'”

"This time instead of a trio, I’ve got a foursome. There is a friendship that develops, that is the most important thing in the movie – that’s what carries you on."

Will that foursome continue to be at the center of the movies going forward? We’ll have to wait to find out.

Next: The feminist women of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

And naturally, Rowling “absolutely adore[s]” Jacob Kowalski. So say we all.