Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling

JK Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I am so excited to read this. I admit, I have been reluctant to read it up to this point as it's not Harry and it's a screenplay, but I can resist no longer, I am just desperate to enter that world again, even without Harry! I love so much about it even before I open the book, such as the cover which I adore with the embossed words you can run your finger over and all the intricate symbols around the shapes of animals, and I love the swirly drawings inside the book too, often with an animal print in the centre.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling available on Amazon
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I am so excited to read this. I admit, I have been reluctant to read it up to this point as it’s not Harry and it’s a screenplay, but I can resist no longer, I am just desperate to enter that world again, even without Harry! I love so much about it even before I open the book, such as the cover which I adore with the embossed words you can run your finger over and all the intricate symbols around the shapes of animals, and I love the swirly drawings inside the book too, often with an animal print in the centre. 

Hmmm, but the screenplay format, sigh, I just don’t like it as much as the usual story format, my main gripes with it being lack of description so you don’t get to know the characters as well, and it feels all rush, rush, action, action, action. However there does seem to be some scene description here, so I am heartened by that. I’m interested that it is set in 1926, and am wondering how old would Dumbledore be then. And I am also intrigued if the First World War will be mentioned, as it is only eight years after that. And of course I’m loving potentially having Dumbledore back, at least I’m presuming he will feature in this book with his connection with Grindelwald and given the title of the latest book in this series, but maybe I’m getting over excited and he doesn’t come into this actual book. It does make me wonder, though, thinking of Dumbledore, how hard it might be for Rowling not to introduce anything about Dumbledore, or any other characters who may pop up from Harry’s world, that contradicts how they are later in Harry’s world, and I can’t help feeling slightly worried about this. I think this concern may also have added to my reluctance to read this series, as Harry’s world is just so beautifully done that I don’t want anything from these new books to spoil it, I just hope Rowling has done this with sensitivity for the passion and love that her fans feel for Harry’s world. 

The story starts with Grindelwald killing five Aurors with a white light as they approach a derelict chateau in the dark and mist, somewhere in Europe. There are newspaper reports of Grindelwald’s attacks and how he is being hunted and how Hogwarts have increased their security. Oooh, I’m excited that Hogwarts has been mentioned, and it makes me wonder when Dumbledore became Head of Hogwarts or was he just a teacher at this point, or perhaps not even working there yet, I must look at my Harry notes for details on dates.

The story, the following day, then moves to New York and the arrival there by boat of a British man called Newt Scamander, he has a brown case containing something called Dougal. Newt gets the case through customs by flicking a brass dial on it to ‘Muggleworthy’ which then displays pyjamas and a journal and an alarm clock and a Hufflepuff scarf. Oooh, I love this Muggleworthy feature, Rowling is so fantastic at lovely imaginative details like this. And I guess this means that Newt was in Hufflepuff, they are recognised for being hard workers, aren’t they, so it’ll be interesting to see if he seems to fit this attribute. I’m intrigued with it being set in New York, this could be a sensible way to set a difference and distance from England and Hogwarts and Harry, and also having the main character being an adult rather than a child brings another difference between the two worlds, and also there being a different baddie, Grindelwald rather than Voldemort, creates a distance too.

The next scene is near City Hall Subway Station where a brownstone house has been destroyed, a witness says it was done by a ghost or a dark wind with shining white eyes and that this ghost/wind then dived into the earth. Percival Graves is examining the scene, he notes a wind swirling round the building which makes a high pitched screeching noise. Then the rubble on the floor shakes and explodes, knocking over cars and people, the wind/force then swirls through the air and then goes down into the subway where a roar and howl is then heard. I’m wondering if this is Grindelwald and he is now in New York.

Newt is walking through the streets of New York following directions on a piece of paper. He is described as having a ‘Keatonesque quality’. He walks by City Bank where there is a demonstration of the New Salem Philanthropic Society. The organisation’s banner is a pair of hands holding a broken wand with yellow and red flames around it, and they call themselves the Second Salemers. The speaker is Mary Lou Barebone, she speaks the passage ‘where there is light, there is shadow, friend. Something is stalking our city, wreaking destruction and then disappearing without a trace’. She is trying to recruit followers and warns that ‘witches live among us’, she also has her three children with her. Oooh, there were the Salem witch trials in the 1600s, weren’t there, it’s a clever idea to connect those witch trials with witches in this magical world, I’d never put the two together before, and an interesting twist that it could be Muggles trying to penalise witches, rather than the other way around as it is in the Harry world, it makes me a bit apprehensive though remembering that witches then were put to death in brutal ways, I must look up the Salem witch trials. And the passage that Mary Lou says is the one printed at the start of the book, I thought it sounded suitably mysterious. And I was wondering what this ‘Keatonesque quality’ is, and after googling it is apparently in the style of Buster Keaton, who is described on Wikipedia as having ‘a face so nearly deadpan and yet render it, by subtle inflections, so vividly expressive of inner life. His large, deep eyes are the most eloquent feature; with merely a stare, he can convey a wide range of emotions, from longing to mistrust, from puzzlement to sorrow’, is this how Newt is, I wonder. 

Tina Goldstein is also outside City Bank watching the demonstration, though isn’t part of it. Jacob Kowalski is also outside City Bank and heads up the steps to visit the bank, he is also carrying a brown case. 

A Niffler, described as part mole and part duck-billed platypus, has escaped from Newt’s case and is stealing money from a beggar sitting on the bank steps, the Niffler is putting this money into a pouch in its belly. He then runs into the bank when he sees that Newt has spotted him. Newt goes into the bank after the Niffler, followed by Tina who seems suspicious of Newt. Newt sits on a bench next to Jacob while trying to spot the Niffler, who is stealing more and more shiny objects from the waiting customers. When Newt gets up he accidentally leaves a large silver egg on the bench, Jacob calls Newt back but he doesn’t hear. Jacob is then called in for his appointment with the bank manager so pops the egg in his pocket. He tells the bank manager that he had been with the Expeditionary Forces in Europe and got back to New York in 1924. He is refused a loan for his bakery. I can’t help puzzling at, and being annoyed by, Newt’s carelessness with his case, why can’t he lock it more effectively and be more careful of the egg he was carrying. But, awww, I can see me loving this Niffler, I did love them from Harry’s world, they were one of my favourite animals. I think I should have my other copy of Fantastic Beasts to hand which details the beasts. And oooh, the Expeditionary Forces in Europe that Jacob was with seems to indicate the First World War.

The egg starts to vibrate, and Jacob spots Newt and calls to him. Newt uses his wand to pull Jacob and the egg towards him and they then disappear/Disapparate, witnessed by Tina. Newt and Jacob then appear/Apparate again in a narrow stairwell in the bank. The egg hatches and a small blue snake-like bird is inside, an Occamy. Newt puts this creature into his case. Jacob sees a creature in Newt’s pocket, this is a Bowtruckle called Pickett who is described as part stick-insect and part plant. The Niffler is squeezing through the locked doors of the central vault, Newt takes out his wand and says the Alohomora spell and the locks of the door open. The bank manager then appears and sounds an alarm, Newt sends the Petrificus Totalus spell at him, and he stiffens and falls back flat onto the ground. Newt grabs the Niffler from inside the vault and shakes the coins and gold bars from him. Armed guards then arrive, and Newt Disapparates with the Niffler and Jacob, and they Apparate into a side street. Newt pushes the Niffler into his case and apologises to Jacob and reaches for his wand, clearly about to wipe Jacob’s memory, but Jacob hits him and runs off. Tina walks down the side street towards Newt, having witnessed all this, she grabs Newt’s elbow and they Disapparate and then Apparate into an alleyway. Tina demands to know who Newt is, what he has in his case and why he let it loose. She shows Newt her ID card saying she is from the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). She asks Newt if he took care of the ‘No-Maj’, meaning Muggle, and when he says no she says that is a Section 3A and she is taking him in. Oooh, I’m loving the American Ministry for Magic, and the American word for Muggle.

I do feel like I am rushing through this and can’t put it down, I think this is partly the format of a screenplay where the focus is on action so it’s hard to find a suitably slower part of the story to pause reading, also there aren’t chapters as such which would provide natural breaks, the story is just broken up slightly with a new scene but these come far quicker than chapters would, although there are some pages with just one of the swirly drawings on which seem to be a kind of chapter break. I find I swiftly read a few scenes and then go back and re-read them again more slowly so I can take in all the detail, which is a little annoying, I would much prefer if she had just written it in the usual story format. 

Tina takes Newt to the Woolworth Building on Broadway. Oooh, I love this building, it is so beautiful with its ornate domed ceiling inside, I’ve just been reading up about the building on wikipedia, it has statues of salamanders and owls! Obviously I’m loving the similarity of Newt’s surname to the word ‘salamander’ and wondering if this is one reason why Rowling chose to use the building. And I’ve just been reading another book which has owls as a symbol of magic, as well as them obviously being used to deliver mail at Hogwarts. I guess at the time this book is set in, the Woolworth Building hadn’t long been completed and was the tallest building in the world so a very iconic structure. I wonder if the Woolworth building now gets lots of Harry fans visiting it, as well as regular tourists, I would definitely aim to visit there if I was in New York.

As they enter the Woolworth Building, it transforms into MACUSA with a wide staircase and high vaulted ceilings, there is a huge dial with cogs and faces entitled Magical Exposure Threat Level and which is set to Severe: Unexplained Activity, and there is also a portrait of the president of MACUSA, Madam Seraphina Picquery. Tina takes Newt to the Major Investigation Department, the elevator they take is operated by a goblin called Red. There are Aurors in this department. Graves and Madam Picquery are there, they are debating if the recent destruction of the brownstone house was related to Grindelwald’s attacks in Europe but Graves says he believes it was by a beast rather than by a human, they agree it must be stopped as it is terrorising No-Majs and could bring about exposure of the magical world which could cause a possible war between No-Majs and magicians. Madam Picquery is not pleased to see Tina and reminds her she is no longer an Auror and sends her away without listening to her. Oooh, I’m intrigued by what Tina has done to result in being sacked. And is Graves an Auror, I’m wondering, or just some high-up official who advises Madam Picquery.

Tina goes to her office with Newt, this is the Wand Permit Office and is a small windowless room in the basement. There are unmanned typewriters typing nearby and when a form or memo is typed it folds itself into an origami rat and scurries up a glass pipe above each typewriter. I love details like this, Rowling is so wonderfully imaginative. 

Tina asks Newt why he is in New York and he says he’s come to purchase a Appaloosa Puffskein and that the only breeder of them in the world is in New York. Tina tells him that the breeding of magical creatures is banned in New York and that the breeder was closed down a year ago. Newt tells her he has been travelling for a year to places such as Equatorial Guinea, researching for a book he is writing about magical creatures and how to protect them. Tina’s boss, Abernathy, appears, he is annoyed at hearing she has been to the Investigative Team again and he is also checking she’s not been tracking the Second Salemers again, Tina denies this. Graves appears, who Abernathy is immediately submissive to. Tina tells Graves that Newt has a creature in his case which escaped and caused chaos in the bank, Graves asks to see the creature, which is when Newt realises he has Jacob’s brown case. Graves presumes Tina has made a mistake. Awww, Newt does seem like such a nice man caring about creatures so much, though disorganised and chaotic in his care of them which is a shame.

Jacob is in his small sparse room, he hears a noise from the brown case and opens it and a Murtlap leaps out and bites Jacob on the neck, a Murtlap is described as a rat-like creature with an anemone-style growth on its back. Something invisible then shoots out of the case and crashes into the ceiling and then smashes through the window. More creatures escape from the case, causing damage to the room.

Newt and Tina are walking along with Jacob’s case. A Billywig zooms over their heads. They then see a crowd outside a damaged building, a tramp is telling the policeman he saw a giant hippopotamus but Newt slyly twitches his wand at him and the tramp says it was a gas leak. Newt quickly runs into the building and to Jacob’s room, which is destroyed. He finds Jacob on the floor groaning, and examines the bite on his neck, he then performs a repairing spell on the room, and closes his case which he sees on the bed. Tina enters the room and a Murtlap grabs her arm, Newt grabs it and pushes it into the case. Newt goes to Obliviate Jacob but Tina tells him not to as Jacob will be needed as a witness. Tina criticises Newt’s treatment of No-Majs, saying he doesn’t seem overly concerned about the fact that Jacob has been bitten, but Newt retorts that America is quite backwards with laws regarding No-Majs, saying that in America No-Majs can’t be befriended or married to magical people. Tina and Newt Disapparate with Jacob to Tina’s apartment which she shares with her sister, Queenie. The Niffler appears from behind a picture on Jacob’s wall. Several of Newt’s beasts are now loose in New York. Oooh, I liked ‘finding out’ the differences between America and England’s treatment and views of No-Majs/Muggles. And I know this doesn’t really matter, but I was puzzled where Tina and Newt were walking to with Jacob’s case at the start of this scene, are they heading to Jacob’s apartment to swap the case for Newt’s case but then how do they know where Jacob lives or his name, or are we to presume his name and address were inside the case, and did Newt then admit to Tina that it wasn’t his own case she showed to Graves.

At the Second Salem Church, Mary Lou and her children are feeding soup to young children, handing them leaflets about the cause and examining them for birthmarks. Oooh, I have read about the Salem witch trials on wikipedia now, and they used to believe a mark on the skin, such as a mole, was a witch’s mark.

Later, Mary Lou and her children are being interviewed by Langdon Shaw, a journalist and the son of the newspaper’s owner, Henry Shaw Snr. Langdon tells his father and his brother, Senator Henry Shaw, that the New Salem Philanthropic Society believes that the recent destruction in the city is caused by witchcraft. Father and brother tell Langdon to leave, clearly mocking his enthusiasm as usual, and the Senator calls the family freaks which hurts Mary Lou’s elder son, Credence. Mary Lou tells Shaw Snr that they need the paper to tell people about this danger, but he asks them to leave. Later, Credence walks the streets handing out leaflets, he passes the Woolworth Building and Graves is watching him, Credence looks at Graves hopefully and moves towards him, and they talk in a side street. Graves recognises that Credence is upset, and asks if it is his mother again. Graves tells Credence that he is special and this is why he has asked him to help him. Credence’s answers imply he is looking for someone for Graves, however Credence doesn’t know if it’s a boy or girl, Graves says he can’t be clear himself but that his vision showed immense power and that the young person was aged no more than 10 and was in close proximity to Credence’s mother. Graves tells Credence that he is the key and the one he trusts, that he knows Credence wants to join the wizarding world and Graves wants this for him too but that Credence has to find the child first. Credence returns home late after his meeting with Graves and his mother beats him with a belt as punishment, it seems this is a regular occurance as Credence knows what is going to happen and takes his own belt off in readiness. His sister, Modesty, is fearful and upset. Oooh, I’m wondering if it’s Credence’s sister, Modesty who is aged 8, who Graves is looking for, and Credence later has a difficult choice to make whether to give her away or not. And so Credence and Graves clearly already know one another, and Graves knows about Credence’s family life. And oh dear, Credence must be hugely conflicted wanting to join the wizarding world and yet having to pretend to his mother that he is against the magical community, and I guess Graves achieves this loyalty from Credence by offering him friendship and respect and treating him like a trustworthy adult, which his mother doesn’t do. But I fear this makes him susceptible to being used for dangerous means by someone clever and controlling. I wonder if this is going to be another difference from Harry’s world, that the magicians in America are more fearful of their identity and often live in secret and face disapproval and suspicion from Muggles, whereas in Harry’s world they are secure and confident and look with a fondly indulgent eye on Muggles rather than being fearful of them, that Muggles have the power in America whereas the magicians seem to have the power in England and Harry’s world, or at least magicians live independently from Muggles and feel relatively safe from any threat from them. I guess it’s also a different time, as well as a different country, Harry’s world being in the 1990s whereas this is 1926. I was presuming the threat in this book was from someone rogue from the magicians’ world, Grindelwald perhaps being like an earlier version of Voldemort, obsessed with the thought of domination over his own kind, but it seems like there may also be an extra threat in America from the non-magical community. 

In Tina’s apartment, Newt and Jacob meet Queenie, Tina’s sister, who is beautiful and Jacob greatly admires her. There are several magical aids in the apartment, such as the iron working on its own and a clothes horse revolving by itself infront of the fire, ingredients for a meal floating out of the cupboard and vegetables chopping themselves and pastry rolling itself and pans stirring on their own, and dishes and cutlery and glasses flying to the table to set themselves, and hot drinks with spoons that stir themselves. There are magazines on the side called Witch’s Friend and Witch Chat and Transfiguration Today. Queenie is a Legilimens and can read minds. She and Jacob get on well and flirt together. Tina says Jacob and Newt can stay there that night, partly so she can keep an eye on Newt and ensure his animals are safely gathered tomorrow. Oooh, I can’t help being envious of the magical aids in their apartment, as I was when magical kitchen aids were detailed in Molly Weasley’s house, and the thought of how easy it must be to run a home with the aid of magic!

When Jacob and Newt are alone in the bedroom, Newt opens his case and then walks into it and invites Jacob in also. The case is a huge space inside and holds a wooden shed with equipment and a campbed and typewriter and potted plants, as well as feed for animals and a medicine chest. Newt examines Jacob’s wound and confirms it is a Murtlap bite and makes a poultice to put on it, he comments that their physiologies are different, being magician and Muggle, which is why the bite has affected Jacob more. The case also has homes and habitats for all the creatures that Newt owns, it’s like a small safari park, and he shows Jacob around and explains about each animal. There is a creature called a Swooping Evil which is bat-like and spikey and colourful and lives in a cocoon and jumps out and howls in people’s faces, Newt says he believes the creature’s venom when diluted could be good for curing bad memories. There is a Thunderbird creature called Frank, he is like a large albatross with patterned wings, when he’s agitated it causes rain and thunder and lightning to come from his wings, and when he’s calm it causes sunshine, Newt tells Jacob that Frank had been trafficked and chained up in Egypt and Newt saved him and has brought him home to the Arizona desert in America. There are Doxys and Dung Beetles and Fwoopers. There are also more Bowtruckles like Pickett, and Newt explains that Pickett had had a cold so needed body warmth which was why Newt was carrying him around, although now Pickett doesn’t want to leave Newt and rejoin his family. There are Graphorns, which are like sabre-toothed tigers with tentacles at their mouths, Newt says these are the last breeding pair and he has rescued them, they have a young one with them. There are Occamys, one being the baby who Jacob saw born at the bank. There are Mooncalves, and Grindylows, and Glow Bugs. There is a creature called a Nundu which is like a lion, and when it roars its mane bursts forth. There is a Diricawl which is a small plump bird, whose chicks can Apparate. There is an Obscurus which is a black swirling mass suspended in the air. Newt says he rescues and nurtures and protects animals and tries to educate other wizards about them. He also says he needs to find his escaped creatures, particularly one that is likely to head to an area with trees and water, so Jacob suggests Central Park. Jacob says they ought to return to Tina and Queenie, but Newt tells him they will Obliviate him and Jacob is sad at losing all these memories of magical experiences so agrees to take Newt to Central Park. Awww, bless Newt, he really does seem like a lovely man, like Hagrid really. I wonder if he can speak the languages of the creatures, he does seem to talk with them but I’m not sure if this is just how we’d talk to a dog. I also like his philosophy on not worrying, as it just means you suffer twice. And I love his case, particularly the wooden shed with equipment including a typewriter and potted plants, and I’m also wondering if this is like the Extension Charm spell that Hermione used to extend her handbag in Deathly Hallows when they were camping. But I’m thinking again why on earth doesn’t he keep this wonderful and precious case securely shut with it housing all these creatures! And it’s interesting about Newt’s and Jacob’s physiologies being different as magicians and Muggles, as they are both human. It would be good to learn more about their differences, although clearly Newt is surprised at their differences when he notes Jacob’s reaction to the Murtlap bite. And Newt is described as wearing a waistcoat and bow tie and braces, not that it matters but I wonder if Newt’s clothes are just of the time or are his choice and show his personality. 

Newt and Jacob chat on the way to Central Park, Jacob says he stayed in the army too long after the war, and Newt says he worked with Ukrainian Ironbelly Dragons on the Eastern Front during the war. Oooh, I’d like to know more about this, I presume Newt is talking about the same war as Jacob, presumably the First World War, so were magicians involved in this, but if so it brings up all kind of questions about the wonderful things magicians on both sides could have done to defeat their enemies, and were the dragons being used as weapons. 

Newt spots the Niffler in a jewellery shop, he says the Finestra spell and this shatters the glass at the shop window, there is a lot of noise and destruction with the Niffler trying to escape and Newt trying to catch him. The Niffler runs out of the shop and into the street, Newt says the Accio spell which brings the Niffler sailing towards him, but he still tries to escape by clutching at a lampost so Newt uses a spell to turn a window into sticky jelly which then traps the Niffler. The police arrive, and Newt and Jacob and the Niffler all have jewels on them. Jacob suddenly sees a lion stalking them, and as the police look at this Newt Disapparates with Jacob and the Niffler. They reach Central Park and see an ostrich running past them. Newt passes protective headgear and a body protector to Jacob and dons some himself. They reach Central Park Zoo which is now half empty with many of the outer walls destroyed. They find Newt’s Erumpent in the zoo, she is like a large rhino with a horn coming from her forehead, she is nuzzling up to a hippo and Newt says she is in season and needs to mate, he puts Erumpent musk on his wrists hoping to attract her over to him so he can shut the case over her, however Jacob then drops the bottle of musk so the Erumpent charges towards Jacob, Newt begins to do a spell but a baboon grabs his wand and runs off, they all end up on the ice and Newt angles the case towards the sliding Erumpent and she goes in. I can imagine this obviously very visual scene was designed for film in mind. And also, was it an Erumpent horn that Luna Lovegood’s father had on his wall.

Tina and Queenie are awoken by the sound of roaring in the neighbourhood, they then notice Jacob and Newt aren’t in their room. Tina goes to Central Park, and hides watching Newt and Jacob. Jacob and Newt jump into the case, and Tina then shuts the case. Grrr, this is completely my point about the case and that Newt needs to take better care of it, it does seem extremely vulnerable if anyone could pick it up when Newt is inside it, is there not some kind of a protection he could put on it when he’s inside. And it probably doesn’t matter, but how does Tina know where to find Newt and Jacob in Central Park, it being quite a large place, I can imagine the zoo is perhaps a logical place for her to head but is this near the icerink, as that’s where they are when she finds them.

At City Hall, Shaw Snr and Langdon are watching Senator Shaw give a speech. Tina is near City Hall with the case, when the streetlights suddenly go out and she feels something large and snarling rush pass her. Inside the Hall, something invisible explodes from the organ and soars through the Hall, knocking people flying, and it seems to grab Senator Shaw. He is lifted up and suspended in mid-air and then thrown down and is dead. The beast rips at the poster of Senator Shaw and then rushes out of the Hall. Oooh, I am thinking this is because of his taunting of Credence, and this is either Modesty or Credence taking vengeance.

At MACUSA, the dial on Magical Exposure Threat Level is set to Emergency. There is a meeting with wizards from all parts of the world discussing the incident at City Hall, the Austrian delegate is blaming America for a breach of the Statute of Secrecy, and Madam Picquery counters by saying the Austrians let Grindelwald escape. Tina bursts into the room saying Newt arrived in New York 24 hours ago with a case full of magical creatures and some have escaped. She opens the case, and Newt and Jacob climb out. The British delegate recognises Newt and says he is the younger brother of Theseus Scamander, the war hero. Newt sees the hologram picture of Senator Shaw’s body and immediately says an Obscurus did it. Madam Picquery states there are no Obscurial in America, and she orders the case to be impounded and Newt and Jacob and Tina to be arrested. Newt’s wand is summoned out of his hand and caught by Graves, and Newt and Jacob and Tina are magically restrained. Newt begs that his creatures aren’t hurt and says that they aren’t dangerous. Sigh, I can’t help thinking he is a bit irresponsible carrying all of the creatures around with him as he surely then risks harm to them all, if he wanted to deliver the Thunderbird to America then why couldn’t he just take the Thunderbird and left the others at home, although obviously it then wouldn’t be such an exciting story with beasts lost and rampaging around New York causing chaos! And wasn’t there an Obscurus in his case of animals when he showed Jacob around. And an interesting link to the war again, with it being mentioned that Newt’s older brother is a war hero. And it does seem like the threat from non-magical people is felt all over the world rather than just in America, which is interesting.

In the cell, Tina says she is sorry about Newt’s creatures. Jacob asks what an Obscurus is. Newt and Tina explain that when a young wizard or witch tries to suppress their magic rather than harness or control it, they can develop an Obscurus which is an unstable and uncontrollable dark force that attacks and vanishes. Tina then realises this description fits the perpetrator of the attacks in New York but she says there hasn’t been an Obscurus for centuries, Newt says they do still exist though there aren’t many of them, that there used to be more when wizards and witches were hunted by Muggles, and that he met one in Sudan three months ago, and that they don’t survive past the age of 10. Hmmm, was it an Obscurus that Graves suspected when he had Credence looking for a child. I’m also wondering when Grindelwald is going to feature, particularly if these attacks in New York are caused by an Obscurus and not him, as there’s really not been much about him so far. 

Newt and Tina are shackled and led to an interrogation room where Graves awaits them, Jacob is left in the cell. Graves has a file on Newt and says he was thrown out of Hogwarts for endangering life with a beast, and that one of his teachers, Albus Dumbledore, argued strongly against the expulsion. Graves accuses Newt of deliberately letting beasts loose in order to expose wizardkind and to provoke a war between magical people and No-Majs. Newt denies this and says he’s not one of Grindelwald’s fanatics who wants ‘mass slaughter for the greater good’. Graves brings out the Obscurus from Newt’s case. Tina is shocked to see this, and Newt tries to explain the situation to her by saying he managed to separate it from the Sudanese girl when he was trying to save her so thought it would be useful to study it but that it can’t survive outside the box, he describes it as a parasitical magical force which killed a child. Graves seems interested in the Obscurus, asking if it is therefore useless without the host. He goes on to state that he believes Newt was aiming to cause mass disruption and break the Statute of Secrecy and reveal the magical world and is therefore, along with Tina, guilty of treasonous betrayal of fellow wizards and is sentenced to death and that this will happen immediately, and he orders the executioners to take them away, and says he will inform Madam Picquery himself. Tina is in shock. Omg, this all seems a bit dramatic, I guess America has the death penalty so it makes sense it’s used in the American magical world too, but it was a bit unexpected and feels like we’ve escalated swiftly, especially as there was no trial, is it usual in the American magical world to sentence someone to death without a trial or is it Graves doing things for his own ends and not following the usual rules. And I’m wondering what exactly Graves is, and if he is an Auror then whether he also has independent aims of his own which he is acting upon, or whether he is actually a baddie. And I’m suspicious of his interest in the Obscurus and whether it needs a host or not. And I’m fascinated with Newt’s Hogwarts history, I’d like to learn more about this incident of him being accused of endangering life with a beast, and it sounds again very similar to Hagrid with him being blamed for the basilisk. And I am very excited at the mention of Dumbledore and that he was Newt’s teacher at Hogwarts. And just tying things up with the timings we learnt from Harry’s world, Dumbledore and Grindelwald will have gone their separate ways by now after being best friends and hunting for Deathly Hallows together and Dumbledore’s sister dying during their fight together. And with Newt mentioning Grindelwald’s belief in ‘mass slaughter for the greater good’ it seems like Grindelwald has accelerated his plans formed during his friendship with Dumbledore about magicians dominating over Muggles and is perhaps aiming for a war between them in order to gain this dominance, though this reminds me again that we really don’t have much information at all so far in this book about Grindelwald and what he wants and why. 

Newt and Tina are taken to the execution cell, which is a pure white room with a chair suspended over a square pool of rippling liquid. One executioner puts a wand to Tina’s head and extracts her happy memories and puts them into the pool where these happy memories play out. One of Tina’s memories is of Mary Lou about to strike Credence with a belt, with Tina then blasting a spell at Mary Lou to stop her and Tina then comforting Credence. Pickett has climbed down Newt’s arm and unlocked his shackles, so when the executioner steps towards Newt to extract his memories, Newt punches the guard while Pickett bites the executioner. Newt then releases the Swooping Evil, grabs one of executioners’ wand and blasts a spell at the other executioner who falls to the ground dropping his wand into the pool where the liquid turns into black bubbles and engulfs the wand. The Swooping Evil knocks over the other executioner. The black bubbles are reaching up to Tina’s chair suspended over the pool, her trance looking at the happy memories in the pool was broken when the wand fell in and the black bubbles began, and she is now panicking. Newt tells her to jump onto the Swooping Evil, she is doubtful but Newt locks eyes on her and tells her to trust him, she jumps onto the creature’s back and is saved. Newt gathers up the Swooping Evil, who changes back into a cocoon, and they head for the exit. Omg, this whole scene was very disturbing with Tina’s happy memories being extracted, although part of me wonders if this is cruel or if it is an attempt at kindness before someone dies, because Tina then seemed to understand less about what was going to happen and therefore was less distressed. 

Queenie must have been alerted through her mind-reading abilities that Tina is in peril, as she suddenly stops in shock while doing her job at MACUSA and dashes off. She comes across Jacob being led off by an Obliviator, called Sam. She tells Sam that she will Obliviate Jacob, and when Sam protests she reads his mind and makes reference to the woman he is having an affair with, so he then gives in and lets her take Jacob. Jacob asks if Queenie is going to Obliviate him, and she says no as he is one of them now. She asks where Newt’s case is, and Jacob says Graves took it so they head to Graves’ office. Queenie tries to open the door to Graves’ office with magic but there are counter charms on it, so Jacob just breaks down the door and they grab Newt’s case and Tina’s wand. Alarms are sounding throughout the building and Aurors are heading to the basement. When the Aurors arrive they fire spells at Newt and Tina running down the corridor, Newt sends out the Swooping Evil again who flies around and blocks the spells. Newt and Tina run round the next corner and bump into Queenie and Jacob, Queenie opens the case and they jump in, and she then exits the building. Phew, that was all very dramatic! And the Swooping Evil seems a useful and versatile creature.

Graves seeks out Credence at the Second Salem Church, and asks him if he has found the child. Credence says he can’t go on with this. Graves realises that Credence has been beaten and asks to see the wounds, and Credence shows him the sore cuts on the palm of his hand. Graves puts his thumb over the cuts which heals them, and says the sooner Credence finds the child then the sooner these beatings will end. Graves takes a chain from his pocket, which has the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, and puts the chain round Credence’s neck saying he would trust very few with this but that Credence is different, and that when Credence finds the child he is to touch the symbol and Graves will know and will come to him, he says the child is dying and time is running out and that Credence will be honoured amongst wizards forever. Graves then Disapparates. Oooh, the Deathly Hallows from Harry’s world, and Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s earlier search for them. 

Newt and Jacob and Tina and Queenie are sitting in a pigeon coop on a rooftop overlooking the city. Tina says that Graves has always insisted that it was a beast causing these attacks in the city, so they need to gather all of Newt’s creatures so Graves can’t put the blame on them. Newt says there is only Dougal the Demiguise still loose, but that it could be hard to find him as he is invisible. Tina says an old informer of hers called Gnarlak, who she knew from when she was an Auror, could help them find Dougal as Gnarlak used to trade in magical creatures. She takes them to a speakeasy nightclub called The Blind Pig, it is full of criminal witches and wizards with their wanted posters displayed on the walls, one poster shows Grindelwald and states he is wanted for No-Maj killings in Europe. Queenie orders shots of Gigglewater and a Lobe Blaster from the house-elf barmaid, and the drink duly makes Jacob giggle. Tina tells Newt she’s arrested half the people in this bar. Newt asks her about Credence appearing in her happy memories in the pool, and she says she lost her job for attacking the No-Maj Mary Lou, that all the followers at the meeting had to be Obliviated and that it was a huge scandal, but that Mary Lou beats all her adopted children and Credence the most. Gnarlak appears at their table, he is a goblin and seems respectfully feared in the club. He recognises Newt as the ‘guy with the case full of monsters’, and Newt asks him if there have been any sightings or tracks of magical creatures. Gnarlak clearly wants payment of some kind before giving information, so Newt offers him a Lunascope and a frozen Ashwinder egg, but Gnarlak spots Pickett and insists on having him, saying that Bowtruckles can pick locks. Newt refuses and Gnarlak walks away, so Newt calls him back and hands over Pickett. Gnarlak tells Newt to try looking in Macy’s on Fifth Avenue. Newt asks Gnarlak about Graves’ background, but Gnarlak says that asking questions can get a person killed. There is a cry that MACUSA are coming, Tina accuses Gnarlak of tipping them off. Wanted posters appear on the walls of Tina and Newt, as Aurors appear in the room. As everyone is running to escape, Jacob approaches Gnarlak and punches him to the ground. Newt picks up Pickett from the floor, and the four of them Disapparate. Oooh, I was a bit worried about Pickett, I was shocked that Newt could sacrifice him, I was very relieved that he got him back. And again, with the Wanted poster of Grindelwald on the wall, it reminds me that this story doesn’t really seem to be about Grindelwald. And I hadn’t realised that Mary Lou’s children are adopted.

Credence is in Modesty’s bedroom looking under the bed and he finds a toy wand. Modesty walks into the bedroom and is horrified to see Credence with the wand and insists it is only a toy. Mary Lou then comes into the room and is very angry at seeing the wand and demands Credence’s belt. Credence begins to beg, saying ‘Ma’, and Mary Lou says she isn’t his ‘ma’, that his ‘ma’ was a wicked and unnatural woman. Modesty says the wand is hers. The belt suddenly whips out of Mary Lou’s hand, cutting her hand, and as she reaches again for the belt, it slithers away across the floor. Mary Lou is looking fearful now. A ‘bestial screeching dark mass’ then springs at Mary Lou knocking her backwards over the balcony, she lands dead on the floor of the church below with her face showing the same scars as Senator Shaw. The dark mass then flies through the church destroying everything. Credence cowers on the floor. Omg, these beatings from Mary Lou do make tough reading, there are some surprisingly vicious scenes in this book, with these beatings and the executioner cell scene. I’m also thinking with Mary Lou calling Credence’s mother a ‘wicked unnatural woman’ that this may mean, in Mary Lou’s mind, that his mother was a witch and this would also perhaps fit with him wanting to join the wizarding world. Or perhaps Mary Lou just meant that his mother was unmarried, and Credence’s wish to join the magical world is just a desperation to belong somewhere, rather than him being interested in developing magical skills.

Newt and Jacob and Queenie and Tina are at Macy’s, it is night-time and the store is closed. They watch a handbag move through the store, and Dougal the Demiguise then appears holding the bag and putting sweets in it, he is described as an orangutan-like creature with silvery hair. Newt says the Demiguise’s sight operates on probability so he can foresee the most likely immediate future, and his eyes flash blue when he has a premonition. They follow Dougal, and Newt then realises that Dougal is babysitting a huge Occamy in the attic, also realising he miscounted the missing creatures from his case. Newt says Occamy are choranaptyxic, which means they grow and shrink to fill the available space, and this one has filled the entire attic roof-space. The Occamy begins to panic when Queenie accidentally knocks a Christmas bauble across the floor, Newt grabs onto its back and shouts to others that they need to put an insect into a teapot, they manage to do this, though the Occamy and Demiguise are panicking and thrashing about and looking threatening, the Occamy then shrinks to fit into the teapot so it can eat the insect and Newt puts the lid on the teapot. He assures Tina that the creatures are now all back. Hmmm, the Demiguise sounds a very intriguing creature with it having a premonition of the most likely immediate future, and also the Occamy too with its ability to grow and shrink into the available space. And grrrr, how did Newt miscount his missing creatures, I do get frustrated by him and his carelessness with these creatures. And again, like the Central Park scene, I can imagine this is a very visual scene designed for film.

Newt and Tina and Jacob and Queenie are all inside the case getting the animals settled and checking on them. Newt is reassuring Pickett that he wouldn’t have let Gnarlak keep him. Queenie sees a photo in Newt’s shed of a beautiful girl, he says this is Leta Lestrange, and Queenie recognises the Lestrange name. Queenie gets the whole story by reading Newt’s mind, though he asks her not to but she says she can’t help it. She discovers that Leta and Newt were close at school for many years. Queenie tells Newt that she feels Leta wasn’t right for him as she was a taker. Jacob then asks about wizarding schools and Newt mentions Hogwarts, and Queenie says the American wizarding school is called Ilvermorny. Frank, the Thunderbird, suddenly flaps his wings and creates thunder with his body turning black and gold, Newt says this is because Frank senses danger. Sigh, I am again concerned at the vulnerability of them all being inside the case and the risk of the case then being picked up by someone. And oooh, I was very excited to hear the name Lestrange, and I wonder where Leta comes in the Lestrange family tree, particularly in relation to the most famous Lestrange, Bellatrix, although I’ve just remembered that Bellatrix was a Black who married into the Lestrange family so wasn’t a Lestrange by birth. But I wonder what is known about the Lestranges at that point in time before Voldemort’s rise which made them so well-known, were they then known then as a family who into dark magic. 

Graves is at the Second Salem Church which is almost completely destroyed, he finds Chastity’s body and Mary Lou’s, and he recognises the marks on Mary-Lou’s face. Graves finds Credence cowering and clutching the Deathly Hallows symbol. Graves asks where the Obscurus went, but Credence is too traumatised to speak and is looking appealingly to Graves for affection and reassurance. Graves, however, is impatient for answers. Graves suddenly asks about Credence’s other sister but Credence is still unable to speak, Graves slaps Credence across the face telling him his sister is in grave danger and they need to find her. He Disapparates with Credence. Credence takes Graves to a dilapidated building in the Bronx saying this is where Modesty used to live with her siblings, he is still shocked and upset and Graves is getting more impatient with him in his eagerness to find Modesty. Graves scornfully tells Credence he is a Squib, Credence doesn’t recognise this term so Graves tells him it’s a person of magical ancestry but no power and that he is unteachable, he then says he is done with him. Ooooh, so Credence is a magical person. I’m also just beginning to wonder now if Credence is actually the Obscurus. 

Graves finds Modesty crouching in a corner cowering with fear as he approaches. The building begins to disintegrate and walls collapse, Graves then realises that Modesty isn’t the source of magic and that it is Credence, who is looking at him furiously. Credence tells Graves that he trusted him and thought he was different and that he was his friend. Graves urges him to control it, and Credence says he doesn’t want to. The Obscurus moves beneath Credence’s skin, he growls and something dark shows at his mouth, his body turns into a dark mass and flies past Graves and out of the window destroying everything in its path. Oooh, so Credence is the Obscurus. 

Newt and the others are watching the Obscurus on its path of destruction around the city, Newt says it is the most powerful Obscurus he has ever heard of. He gives his case and a notebook of instructions to Tina saying she is to look after the animals if he doesn’t come back, that he wants to try and stop them killing the Obscurus, and he then Disapparates. Tina then gives the case to Queenie and Disapparates too. Queenie hands the case to Jacob and is about to also Disapparate but Jacob begs her to take him with her, she says she can’t as it’s too dangerous but she then reads his mind with images of what he went through in the war. Oooh, another link with the war. And grrrr, so Newt can leave his case of creatures with someone and clearly has a list of instructions already prepared if he needs to do so, so why on earth didn’t he leave the case safely in England with a friend while he brought just Frank to America.

Graves approaches Credence/the Obscurus telling him he is a miracle to have survived so long with this inside him and asking him to come with him and to think what they could do together. Newt Apparates nearby, as does Tina and she urges Newt to save Credence. Tina heads for Graves but he sees her and deflects her spell and Disapparates. Credence/the Obscurus vanishes, and Newt Apparates across the rooftops following Credence/the Obscurus and calling to him. Aurors appear, shooting spells at Credence/the Obscurus, having been ordered to do so by Madam Picquery when she observed the destruction on the map at MACUSA, she has told them to destroy the Obscurus otherwise they will be exposed and it will mean war. Credence/the Obscurus is faced by armed police who shoot at him but then flee realising their bullets have no effect. Credence/the Obscurus goes into the subway station entrance by City Hall. Newt follows Credence/the Obscurus inside. Oooh, the City Hall station is described as mosaiced and Art Deco, I will have to look at pictures of this. 

The Aurors and Graves and Madam Picquery gather outside the subway station using their wands to create an invisible energy field around the station, but before the energy field is fully complete Tina dodges under it and enters the station. I’m thinking it will be Tina who convinces Credence to give himself up when he recognises her as the person who intervened when Mary Lou was beating him. 

Newt appeals to Credence/the Obscurus saying he wants to help him and that he met another like him who had been locked up and punished for their magic. Credence/the Obscurus listens and begins to hope someone could help him, and he changes back into Credence. 

Graves appears, and he and Newt duel spells at each other while Credence cowers behind Newt. Newt and Credence are on the train tracks and Graves is on the platform. Graves overpowers Newt and continually shoots spells at him causing him enormous pain. Credence is trying to resist being taken over by the Obscurus again, but as Newt cries out again and again in pain, he turns into the Obscurus and faces Graves.

Outside the station, No-Majs including reporters are gathering, they can see the energy field as a magical bubble around the station. Shaw Snr and Langdon appear, Shaw Snr telling Madam Picquery that this ‘thing’ killed his son and he will expose her for who she is and what she has done, and he urges the reporters to take photos. Hmmm, so has he identified this as magic and Madam Picquery as the leader, what does this mean for the exposure of the American magical world.

Credence/the Obscurus heads towards Graves, who Disapparates to avoid it and Apparates again. Credence/the Obscurus bursts out through the station infront of the watching No-Majs, shoots up a half-built skyscraper and then plunges back down into the station towards Newt and Graves, looking like he will kill them both. Tina screams ‘Credence, no’ and runs onto the tracks. Credence/the Obscurus stops and reaches out to Tina, recognising her as the only person who has ever shown him kindness, and she continues to appeal to him as he begins to slowly change back into Credence as he calms. The Aurors and Madam Picquery approach, and Tina and Newt put their arms around Credence/the Obscurus to try and protect him, but the Aurors attack and destroy him. Tina sobs. Graves is angry at the Aurors and is threatening towards Madam Picquery, telling her that history will record what she has done here, that it wasn’t right, that the magical laws that demand they conceal their true natures rather than reveal the magical community to No-Majs are all wrong and actually protect the No-Majs instead of protecting the magical community. Hmmm, I’m confused now, is Graves a good person after all with wanting to save Credence from being killed, or perhaps he just saw the opportunity to use Credence’s Obscurus power as a weapon to dominate over No-Majs and others, remembering that Newt had said the Obscurus couldn’t’ survive without the host. And I’m still not clear if Graves is actually an Auror himself.

Madam Picquery tells the Aurors to relieve Graves of his wand. Graves holds off the Aurors’ spells. Newt releases the Swooping Evil, which then soars around Newt and the Aurors protecting them from Graves’ spells. Newt then sends a spell that binds Graves, and Tina does the Accio spell to get Graves’ wand. Newt then does the Revelio spell at Graves, and he transforms into Grindelwald. He seems scornful of the Aurors’ and Madam Picquery’s ability to hold him, he says to Newt as he is led away by the Aurors, ‘Will we die, just a little?’. Oooh, I didn’t guess that Graves was actually Grindelwald, and there was me saying there wasn’t much from Grindelwald, and he was here all the time. And what does his words to Newt mean?

Outside people flee and the magical field breaks down, and just Shaw Snr and Langdon are left. Jacob and Queenie meet Newt and Tina outside the subway, and Jacob hands Newt his case saying he felt someone should look after it. Newt watches as a tendril of Obscurus floats through the air, no-one else sees this. Hmmm, so are we thinking this tendril then attaches to another host. And so Queenie stayed with Jacob, bless her, I do hope they can stay together when this is all over. 

Madam Picquery apologises to Newt, but then says the magical community is exposed as they can’t Obliviate everyone. Newt opens his case and lets out Frank the Thunderbird, he tells Frank he’ll miss him as Frank nuzzles him. Newt then throws the vial of Swooping Evil venom into the air and Frank catches it in his beak, and as he flies upwards storm clouds gather and lightning flashes. The vial is crushed in Frank’s beak and mixes with the rain falling on the city, and as this enchanted rain lands on people it washes away their bad memories. Hmmm, there’s a definite theme of memories in this book, good and bad, with happy memories being put into the execution pool, Queenie able to access memories through mind-reading, and the Swooping Evil venom washing away bad memories. And I guess this means that Shaw Snr won’t now expose Madam Picquery and the magical community. But does it mean that Jacob also will have been Obliviated. 

Aurors perform repairing spells on the damaged buildings and cars and tram tracks, and alter newspapers at newstands to remove Newt and Tina’s wanted posters with headlines about the weather. Madam Picquery thanks Newt for Obliviating the entire No-Maj population of the city and says they owe him a great debt, but tells him to get the case out of New York. She looks towards Jacob standing inside the subway so the enchanted rain hasn’t touched him, Queenie reads her mind and stands protectively infront of him, Madam Picquery is apologetic and says they can take time to say goodbye but that he must be Obliviated, that the law states there cannot be even one witness. Jacob begins to step out of the subway understanding what will happen and that it has to happen, he says it is for the best but is tearful, Newt tells Jacob he likes him and views him as a friend and he is grateful for his help and he’ll never forget him. Queenie says they’ll just go away somewhere together. Jacob says it has to happen, that it’s okay and will be just like waking up. Queenie kisses him, and Newt moves forward as if to stop him walking into the rain, but he steps out into the rain anyway and lifts his face up towards it, his face then turns blank and he walks off through the streets. Omg, that’s all quite emotional really, more like he was going through a form of dying. And could Newt not have just taken Jacob back to England with him, instead of him staying in America and being Obliviated, he could have helped with the care of the creatures.

A week later, Jacob exits the canning factory carrying his case, Newt bumps into him and knocks his case to the floor and when Jacob picks up his case it is heavier than before and contains solid silver Occamy eggshells and a note saying he is wasted in the canning factory and to take the eggshells as collateral for a bakery, it is signed ‘A well-wisher’.

Later, Newt is at New York Harbour preparing to leave, his case is tied up tightly with string. Tina is with him and thanks him for appealing to Madam Picquery to let her back on the investigative team. He says he will head back to the Ministry and deliver his manuscript of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Tina says she will look out for it and he says he will send her a copy of his book. They both seem to want to say more but are struggling how to. He eventually asks if he can deliver the book in person, to which she agrees, and he then boards the boat. Hurrah, eventually Newt has learned the importance of tying his case securely. 

Three months later, Jacob has opened his bakery on Lower East Side and it is a huge success, the pastries and breads are moulded into the shapes of Demiguises and Nifflers and Erumpents and other magical creatures. The shop doorway rings and Queenie appears and asks where he gets his ideas from, he replies he doesn’t know and that they just come to him. The shop doorway rings again and he looks at Queenie and touches his neck with the flicker of a memory, and the book ends with them smiling at each other. Hmmm, so did the bell sounding help trigger his memory. And is him touching his neck a sign that the Murtlap bite there means he can perhaps overcome his Oblivating.

I did enjoy this book, mostly because anything from JK Rowling and related to the magical world is very special. But I’m not quite so invested with these characters as with the ones in Harry’s world, and I think part of that is because of the screenplay format that takes away the depth of description of people’s feelings and situations. I have bought the next two books in this series though and do look forward to reading them and seeing what happens. And I’ve got ‘Newt’s’ book of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so will enjoy going through that, reading more about the animals in his case. 

But I do have questions and things I think were perhaps not explained in the depth and detail I’d expect from Rowling: 

So why did Grindelwald go to New York in the first place, was it because he heard reports of the destruction there and realised it was caused by an Obscurus and wanted to be able to use and harness the power of this creature, or was he in New York for some other reason. And how did Grindelwald, as Graves, become so integrated and in such a respected position at MACUSA, he can’t have just appeared in America in the last few months disguised as an unknown person called Graves and reached a prominent position undetected at MACUSA in such a short time, surely. Did he take over the body of a previously well-respected magician called Graves who was in a prominent position at MACUSA, by using Polyjuice perhaps. Or did ‘Graves’ only recently appear in the city but somehow magically charmed everyone at MACUSA into giving him everything he wanted. And what was Graves at MACUSA, was he an Auror, but surely that would make it even harder to believe he could have gained that position without checks being done on him, unless he took over the real Graves who was already an Auror. And how was he not detected at MACUSA.

And what is Grindelwald’s aim, exactly. In his speech to Madam Picquery, his aim seems more about a wish to increase the rights of magical people and for them to be proud of being magical, that they shouldn’t have to hide by law in order to be safe, that it’s not fair that non-magical people dominate them, which seems an ok point of view really. Does he just want to increase magical people’s rights, not take away non-magical people’s rights. But this is different from what I thought his aim was of destroying non-magical people with his killing of them in Europe before he came to America. And his original aim with Dumbledore was for magical people to dominate over non-magical people, not for them to be equal. His killings in Europe seem more to display this, but his speech to Madam Picquery seems less so. And is he showing Credence to be a tragic result of a magical person having to hide their magical nature, saying this will happen more and more unless magical people no longer feel forced to hide their natures. And does his question to Newt therefore mean that magical people are dying, little by little, by having to conceal their true natures because of being dominated by non-magical people. But also why say this to Newt and not to Madam Picquery, as it wasn’t Newt who killed Credence, does he perhaps recognise Newt as a person who will become important, although Newt doesn’t really seem that important at the moment, as far as Grindelwald knows Newt just appeared in America and caused some chaos, or was it because Newt is English and had links to Dumbledore. 

And what makes Newt do the spell Revelio at Graves, why does he suspect he is someone else, and did he suspect he was Grindelwald and if so what gave him this idea (as I obviously missed this completely myself!).

So Credence must have known he was of magical ancestry, though he obviously didn’t recognise the name ‘Squib’ that Graves called him (although I guess this could just be a European word, like Muggle is different to No-Maj), as it was him trying to subdue these magical abilities that caused the Obscurus to be formed, but did Credence recognise from Graves’ description of the Obscurus that he was this creature, and if so why would he risk discovery of this by offering to help Graves. I can see that poor Credence was desperate for the kindness that Graves pretended to show to him and was intimidated by Graves so probably felt unable to say no, but it still does seem a huge risk for him to take. And how did Graves/Grindelwald not spot that Credence was the Obscurus. I know it was rare for a person of young adult age to still be alive after they’d been taken over by a Obscurus, so Credence wasn’t someone Grindelwald would naturally suspect as he’s over 20 years of age (I think), but he’d obviously narrowed it down to someone associated with the Barebone family so wouldn’t the magical knowledge that told him this then also tip him off that he was actually talking to and spending time with the person/creature he was seeking, he said his vision showed him someone with immense power and that the young person was aged not older than 10 and was in close proximity to Credence’s mother, so he saw a lot but it seems strange he didn’t see more of the crucial information. 

And I’m wondering why Voldemort didn’t do something with an Obscurus, surely something this powerful and angry and destructive would have suited him, particularly if he could learn to control it and have it in his power. And I am also thinking of the prisoners in Azkaban in Harry’s world, would they not create Obscurus in their frustration at being subdued and controlled. And I’m also thinking trying to suppress magic is what happened to Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana, but there was no mention of an Obscurus then. There just seems to be too many instances in Harry’s world where an Oscurus could have appeared or could have been used as a weapon, I’m not sure if Rowling can create such a creature in these books but not explain how they weren’t around in the Harry books, or perhaps she does explain all this is the later books, perhaps I’m just being too impatient! 

And regarding the memories that feature throughout the book, I’m keen to know if Tina’s happy memories returned to her after they were extracted and put in the execution pool, as it would be sad to think of her without them, but how have they been returned to her. And was it just the memories of the Obscurus that were Obliviated from the public in the shower of Swooping Evil venom, or was it all their bad memories through their lives (which sounds delightful initially but do we not possibly need some bad memories in order to appreciate the good), is it possible to remove one bad memory but keep the others untouched. 

And the Deathly Hallows symbol that ‘Graves’ gives Credence seems alarmingly like Voldemort’s Dark Mark, with it being used to send a signal to gather people. Is this something that Grindelwald developed, and that Voldemort knew of and then copied for his Dark Mark.

And why would Mary Lou adopt a child from a magical ancestry. I am presuming her calling Credence’s mother a ‘wicked unnatural woman’ shows she knew his mother was a witch. Did she perhaps feel she could educate/punish him out of this. And does it mean that her other adopted children, Chastity and Modesty, were from magical parents too. And what happened to poor Modesty hiding in her old home in the Bronx, who was left to rescue her and knew she was there.

And I realise we’re not always given the names of spells used, as we are in the Harry books. Perhaps this is just another difference between screenplay and the traditional book format, and that with things moving so fast in the screenplay format there is no time for such details. But I do like these details. And regarding the spells used, I am guessing the spells that ‘Graves’ is doing on Newt in the subway station is Cruciatus, so why not name it. And I am presuming the spells the Aurors do to kill Credence/the Obscurus is Avada Kedavra, so again why not name it. But then regarding Avada Kedavra, when the Aurors aimed these spells earlier at Credence/the Obscurus when he was flying up in the air from the subway, these were white and blue lights, not the green light from Harry’s world, and it was white when Grindelwald killed the Aurors in Europe, so why the different colour for this spell, or is it not Avada Kedavra at all.

And arrrgh, I know this isn’t particularly relevant but I’ve always been keen to establish Dumbledore’s age at key moments, and I’m just confused further with this book. I had kind of worked out from the Harry books that he was born in 1914, and then friends with Grindelwald them both aged about 17 in 1931, and then in 1945 when they had their battle they were both aged about 31, with Dumbledore being aged about 77 when Harry began at Hogwarts in 1991. But this then only makes Dumbledore 12 in 1926, which can’t be right as he’s already taught Newt at Hogwarts. Online it says Dumbledore was born in 1881, which makes him leaving Hogwarts as a pupil in 1898 aged 17 when he was friends with Grindelwald and when Ariana dies, so then in 1926 Dumbledore and Grindelwald are 45, which is ok until it then makes them aged about 64 when they have their battle in 1945, and makes Dumbledore about 110 when Harry begins at Hogwarts, isn’t that too old? Online says Newt was born in 1897, 16 years younger than Dumbledore, which makes Newt beginning at Hogwarts in 1907 when Dumbledore was 26 which I guess fits age-wise for a teacher, and makes Newt 29 in 1926. I don’t know, were my dates right for Harry’s world but Rowling then realised she needed to alter his age in Fantastic Beasts, or (far more probably) am I just completely and utterly confused and wrong about Dumbledore’s age.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling available on Amazon
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