Fantastic Beasts and how I found them

I had been waiting three long years for this moment. This time, I traded my Hogwarts robes for an orange vest and a black bowtie. It was finally the premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

 I was excited, but I was skeptical. As an executive member of the Wilfrid Laurier University Harry Potter Alliance, I was really banking on this movie being a success because it’s the theme of our Yule Ball next week and we really didn’t have time to change to another theme.

But why would I — someone who spends my free time online doing Harry Potter role-play and writing fan fiction — be skeptical?

I’ve been very vocal about my disappointment with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It seems I called the general “fan fiction” verdict before the fans settled upon that conclusion as well. It made me wonder if there was any magic left for me to love, or if I should just cling to the original seven books and plug my ears against this new nonsense.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them made me completely forget about that disaster and rekindled the love Harry Potter and the magical world brought me.

If you’re going to enjoy a happy story about some animals, you’ll get that, yes. But this franchise jumps immediately into a dark atmosphere that I would compare to the tone of Half-Blood Prince. 

The film retains the charming style that permeated the Harry Potter franchise. As it is written by J.K. Rowling, you also find that witty, sometimes sarcastic humour often found in the Harry Potter books, as well.

Her writing style is very evident in the plot of this film. I didn’t find the plot difficult to figure out — both major plot twists I solved within the first five minutes, but the story is still so intricately crafted. Little details tie into the major plot later in the narrative, just as they did with the original Harry Potter.

The story, without doubt, is separated from the canonical narratives we have grown to love. You shouldn’t go in expecting to know everything about the magical beasts (or where to find them).

The magic is different this time. But the magic we love lives on.  

There are enough “Easter eggs” in the film to keep us hardcore fans happy, but this is a unique story that compliments the original series very gracefully and tactfully.  

There’s something beautiful about seeing this story for the first time. I don’t really remember when I was first exposed to the stories of the original Harry Potter franchise. 

With Fantastic Beasts, we followed the casting. We followed the writing, production and promotion, all without knowing the end result.

For me, that worked to the film’s advantage.

Even though I figured out both major plot twists very early on, getting there was still a wild ride. I laughed. I cried (three times to be exact). I clutched the arm of my friend sitting next to me.

Never for a moment did I think this was a fan fiction. This is real. This is canon. This is my Harry Potter universe.  

I couldn’t be happier.

If you like historical fiction, see this movie. If you like visual effects, see this movie. If you like Harry Potter, see this movie.  

So here I’m sitting, still in my Newt Scamander cosplay, telling you to buy your ticket as soon as you can. You will not be disappointed. 

Without a doubt, I will be seeing this film again while it’s still in theatres. I’ll buy the DVD — and that’s big for me.

Like so many other people, Harry Potter has had such a profound impact on my life — things I cannot explain in the confines of this article. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was welcoming me home.  

So can you say that I’m excited for the next four films in the series? Just a smidge.

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