Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Film)

Pillar Posts’ are round-ups and explanations of key ideas and texts that have been and continue to be discussed at HogwartsProfessor. With more than two thousand posts in our archives spread out over twelve years of blogging, we need an easily accessible file where serious readers can find — without hours of hunting — the articles they want to read. These Pillar Posts will find a home on the left sidebar of the HogwartsProfessor homepage and I’ll update them regularly.

Today I want to pull together what we’ve written here about the first film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise since its release in 2016.

It may seem irrelevant to revisit the first movie now that we have Crimes of Grindelwald but Fantastic Beasts 1: Newt Goes to New York will almost certainly be reflected in the third film and the finale, Beasts 5. As we’ve seen in Harry Potter and the Cormoran Strike mysteries, Rowling writes her series in rings, a structure that features an axis bisecting the story circle that connects first-middle-and-final parts (for a five film package, that means 1-3-5).

I focused most of my attention in 2016 on trying to come to something approximating Rowling’s final “shhoting script,” something that had to be recreated from the Heyman-Yates mish-mash of a movie, the published screenplay, and the many deleted scenes. As Rowling said Steve Kloves told her, the agony of making a movie out of a Rowling novel or script is “fitting the woman to the dress,” i.e., forcing the natural figure into the mechanical formula of blockbuster movies. I’ll let you judge how successful I was in sorting out and pasting in the scenes that we know were not included in the released movie.

Text-discovery was my focus but there was a lot more going on, from the MuggleNet Academia and Reading, Writing, Rowling podcasts to discussion of the movie’s ring structure and Christian content, not to mention the posts by Beatrice Groves, Wayne Stauffer, and HogwartsProfessor faculty Louise Freeman and Elizabeth Baird-Hardy. You can find it — close to forty posts! — all neatly organized just after the jump.

As with all of the Pillar Posts, please let me know if a link is not working or if I have inadvertently left out an article. Enjoy!

Unlocking Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text 

Preface: ‘The Original Screenplay’ – Not the Shooting Script or Even a Faithful Movie Transcript (What the Movie Makers Changed or Left Out)

Preface 2: Comparing the Original Screenplay with the Actual Film: What the Film Makers Left Out, Changed, or Deleted (with Kelly Loomis)

Part 1: J. K. Rowling, Screenwriter — Who is Working for Whom?

Part 5A: So What? The Found Text and Its Meaning

Part 5B: The Shooting Script — A Corrected Text for Serious Readers

Part 5C: Conclusions and Predictions

Interpretation and Speculation: Ring Structure, Christian Content, Elder Wand, Etc.


Louise Freeman’s Fantastic Beasts Posts:

Elizabeth Baird-Hardy’s Fantastic Beasts Posts

Guest Posts:

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