Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Author: Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling).
Genre: Literature, fiction, adventure, fantasy, animals.
Publication Date: March 12, 2001.
Summary: A spin-off of the Harry Potter series as one of the textbooks taught at Hogwarts, introduced by Dumbledore. Presented as Harry Potter's own copy (with notes by him, Ron, and Hermione added into the margins). The book introduces the reader to the important study of Magizoology, and outlines the centuries of arguments of classifications of "beasts" versus "beings" (finally agreed upon in the 19th century), the establishment of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, a brief history of the awareness among Muggles of fantastic beasts, the many methods the magical community uses to conceal those creatures and allow them to live peacefully beside people, and the strict controls of selling and breeding. The book also lists 75 so far discovered species (including all 10 species of dragons), in addition to their MoM-official danger classifications, habitats, behaviours, and physical appearance.
My rating: 8.5/10
My review: I love this book; it is so much fun! For one, I love animals, so the description of many familiar, as well as made up mythical beasts are very fun and amusing to read. I love the numerous references to scholarly books and research done by psychologists on our world (e.g. The Philosophy of the Mundane: Why the Muggles Prefer Not to Know or Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles). The political aspect of the world is also fascinating. Having to classify sentient creatures that are neither beast nor human is an interesting insight into some of the more complicated matters of the wizarding world that the Harry Potter books don't have the chance to go into too much. But my favourite part about this book by far is the parallels Rowling constantly draws with our world and our mythology. Things like the Loch Ness monster actually being a giant kelpie (a creature that can transform once humans come near), or the Diricawl, known to us as the Dodo - a creature that can become invisible at will, and has never actually gone extinct. One of the best aspects of the wizarding world, to me, has always been how smoothly it weaves with our accepted world. This book is a good addition to the Harry Potter canon for any true fan.
♥ Not until 1811 were definitions found that most of the magical community found acceptable. Grogan Stump, the newly appointed Minister for Magic, decreed a "being" was "any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws."²
²An exception was made for the ghosts, who asserted that it was insensitive to class them as "beings" when they were so clearly "has-beens." Stump therefore created the three divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that exist today: the Beast Division, the Being Division, and the Spirit Division.
♥ Imperfect understanding is often more dangerous than ignorance, and the Muggles' fear of magic was undoubtedly increased by their dread of what might be lurking in their herb gardens.
♥ The International Confederation of Wizards has had to fine certain nations repeatedly for contravening Clause 73. Tibet and Scotland are two of the most persistent offenders. Muggle sightings of the yeti have been so numerous that the International Confederation of Wizards felt it necessary to station an International Task Force in the mountains on a permanent basis. Meanwhile the world's largest kelpie continues to evade capture in Loch Ness and appears to have developed a positive thirst for publicity.
♥ Interestingly, Muggles were once fully aware of the existence of the Diricawl, though they knew it by the name of "dodo." Unaware that the Diricawl could vanish at all, Muggles believe they have hunted the species to extinction. As this seems to have raised Muggle awareness of the dangers of slaying their fellow creatures indiscriminately, the International Confederation of Wizards has never deemed it appropriate that the Muggles should be aware of the continued existence of the Diricawl.
♥ Though at first enjoyable, Fwooper song will eventually drive the listener to insanity² and the Fwooper is consequently sold with a Silencing Charm upon it, which will need monthly reinforcement.
²Uric the Oddball attempted at one time to prove that Fwooper song was actually beneficial to the health and listened to it for three months on end without a break. Unfortunately the Wizards' Council to which he reported his findings were unconvinced, as he had arrived at the meeting wearing nothing but a toupee that on closer inspection proved to be a dead badger.
♥ [Jobberknoll] makes no sound until the moment of its death, at which point it let a out a long scream made up of every sound it has ever heard, regurgitated backwards. Jobberknoll feathers are used the Truth Serums and Memory Potions.
♥ Mooncalves perform complicated dances on their hind legs in isolated areas in the moonlight. These are believed to be a prelude to mating (and often leave intricate geometric patterns behind in wheat fields, to the great puzzlement of Muggles).
♥ It is to the writings of Parselmouths who have kept and conversed with these serpents that we owe our understanding of their curious habits. It transpires from their records that each of the Runespoor's heads serves a different purpose. The left head (as seen by the wizard facing the Runespoor) is the planner. It decides where the Runespoor is to go and what it is to do next. The middle head is the dreamer (Runespoors may remain stationary for days at a time, lost in glorious visions and imaginings). The right head is the critic and will evaluate the efforts of the left and middle heads with a continual irritable hissing. The right head's fangs are extremely venomous. The Runespoor rarely reaches a great age, as the heads tent to attack each other. It is common to see a Runespoor with the right head missing, the other two heads having banded together to bite it off.