Fantastic Beast Flashbacks: The Five Things We Want to Know about What Happened BEFORE Newt’s NY Adventure

Even though Fantastic Beasts slipped to number 2 on the Thanksgiving holiday box office (it’s hard to beat a Disney Princess with a boat and the Rock in her corner), it is still a bona fide hit.  Audiences are already clamoring for the next installment, eager to find out what happens next to Newt, his creatures, and his friends; however, some of the most exciting unanswered questions of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them don’t concern what happens next, but what happened before that case of critters took a bite out of the Big Apple.

One of the wonderful aspects of this new cinematic sojourn into the Wizarding World is its mystery. Unlike the previous eight Harry Potter films, this one is not working from a novel that has already laid out its plot and characters for us. Astute Potterphiles have, until now, not seen a film without knowing, at least generally, what to expect. As more of the story unfolds in upcoming installments, here are five thoughts on unanswered questions from the film that we hope to have unraveled in the future. Beware, there be dragons (and nifflers, and major spoilers) ahead.

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Official ‘Carve the Mark’ Book Trailer Released: New Series by Veronica Roth

ctm-ew1More about The Current and the gifts it gives…. hmmm. How long until Facebook is swarming with “What is your Currentgift?” quizzes?

There’s not much in it that we haven’t heard about already, although I found the imagery of carving the flowers from the wood interesting.

wecanbemendedcoverUpdate:  This just in:  those who pre-order Carve the Mark will receive a free gift of an epi-epilogue to the Divergent series*, updating us on Tobias’s life after the series ends.  Hmmmm—-  they do know how to pique my interest!  Stocking stuffer, anyone?

*note it is not billed as an epi-epilogue to Allegiant, showing marketing savvy!  But of course, the question is, is this fodder for the new TV series that may or may not come to pass? And which will probably be without its two box office stars if it does?

Christian Content in Newt’s Adventure? Third Thoughts about J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

fb17We’re working our way through the Seven Keys to J. K. Rowling’s artistry and meaning to work the locks on the novelist of renown’s first screenplay, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So far, we’ve covered the Ring Composition structure of the Newt Saga’s first installment and Narrative Slow Release, the over-arching questions that the author introduces in the opening episode of her various series. There is a fairly lively discussion still going on at both those threads and I hope you’ll join in to share your comments and corrections.

The key I want to take in hand today was once fairly controversial among serious readers of Harry Potter, not to mention the dedicated legion of Harry Haters, academic and church divisions. That key, of course, is the Christian content and traditional symbolism of the Hogwarts Saga. When I first wrote about this in 2002 at perhaps the height of the Potter Panic, Harry Potter had become something of touchstone or litmus strip for devotion or apostacy among certain Evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox sects. Back then few professors were interested in Rowling’s work except as a cultural artifact and evidence of a world-wide return-to-the-intellectual-cradle.

fb28My demonstration in the book which eventually became How Harry Cast His Spell that the first four novels were nigh to overflowing with Christian symbols and artistry (and magic!) taken directly from the English literary tradition’s extensive vault and my argument that this was actually the reason for Harry’s global popularity were both well received among serious readers, less so with church ladies and academics. Now this radical idea is usually found in the “we’ve always known that” file of Rowling appreciation. Which is good news.

Today I want to open the discussion of the Christian content in Fantastic Beasts. I think, after seeing film once and having read the screenplay in the Scholastic 297 page edition, that Beasts promises to be at least as misunderstood as Harry’s adventures were and for much of the same reasons. The movies will have a traditional message and it will almost certainly be as obscured by cultural war concerns and virtue-signalling as was the Hogwart’s Saga’s artistry and meaning. For much more on that, join me after the jump. Spoilers everywhere below! [Read more…]

The Back Story We’re Not Told (Yet): Second Thoughts about J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

fb21Is Newt Scamander working as Dumbledore’s secret agent in Fantastic Beasts? I think so.

Last Sunday I posted my first thoughts about J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts screenplay-as-filmed and the response to that  post has been rewarding and exciting. If you haven’t read that long-playing post, please do. The short version is that Rowling, whose Harry Potter series and individual novels were written on the traditional story-telling turtle-back template of hyper-parallelism (tagged ‘Ring Composition’ by anthropologist Mary Douglas), has not departed from form but has written her first screenplay on the same model. The blowback in my inbox this week, from Potter Pundits who have seen the film but not read the screenplay text, and from two traditionalists who have read the screenplay but not seen the movie, has been uniformly positive.

In the week since I wrote that post, Fantastic Beasts has been blowing its competition out of the water in box office sales. Reviews have been positive for the most part but, really, do Potter-philes read reviews to make the go/no-go decision? We’re all but obliged to see the film and read the screenplay, if only to keep up in conversation with other Harry-heads about Newt’s adventures (and complain about while secretly looking forward to seven years of Harry Potter on teevee beginning in 2018).

fb30Today, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, I want to take the next big step in understanding Fantastic Beasts to fuel those conversations. In this marathon discusssion, I’ll be pointing out the probable parallels we should expect, not between scenes in this movie, but between Rowling’s series artistry here, just begun, and that of her Hogwarts Saga, complete, and her Cormoran Strike mysteries, of which unfolding work we have the first three books. I think there are significant pointers in the first Beasts installment about what the five film franchise will divulge just as there were in Harry’s Philosopher’s Stone and Cormoran’s Cuckoo’s Calling. Hint: it’s the back-story to-be-uncovered in each chapter.

The big reveal is that Scamander and Grindelwald are already well known to each other — and that Newt’s mission impossible from a certain Transfiguration professor is to find and subdue his nemesis.

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the published screenplay, you might want to stop here. If you’ve already enjoyed the story once or twice (or more) in the week since it opened, join me after the jump for a first sally in what very well may be an almost decade long adventure in story interpretation and speculation. [Read more…]

Thanksgiving Thoughts on Terrific Treats from Fantastic Beasts!

Image result for wizarding world of harry potter foodWe hope that all our readers have had a lovely day of gratitude with loved ones and friends. We are, here at Hogwarts Professor, very grateful for you! Though many people really focus on the serious side of being thankful, we hope you already know that we do take gratitude seriously, but we also take seriously the other factor that is critical to Thanksgiving: food! J.K. Rowling has said that one of her favorite books, when she was younger, was Elizabeth Goudge’s The Little White Horse. One of her main reasons for loving the book was the fact that readers are always told “what was in the sandwiches.”  That is undoubtedly one of the reasons many of us love the Hogwarts Adventures as well. We are here for the food!

While we try to recover from a turkey coma, let’s have some fun with some of of the Wizarding Eats from the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Spoilers Ahead, Beware!

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