‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ by J.K. Rowling [Book Review]

One of my most anticipated movies of 2016 was J.K. Rowling’s first attempt at screenwriting, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and when I learnt it would be released as a screenplay, it shot to the top of my TBR list for the 2017 Reading Challenge. The movie absolutely didn’t disappoint, but having never read a screenplay before, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Author: J.K. Rowling
Released: 2016
Pages: 294
Category: #12 A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read
Rating: 6/10


“Newt Scamander: ‘My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.’”

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a screenplay adapted from the “textbook” of the same name. Starring magi-zoologist Newt Scamander, the plot follows his arrival in New York City accompanied by a mysterious suitcase of beasts, who escape and cause havoc amongst wizards and no-maj’s (American non-magic folk).

As a screenplay, it is obviously speech heavy, but it also includes a large number of stage directions and location information, adding to the overall feel of the story. The characterisation is where this book really shines: Newt is the loyal, loveable loner, and the three supporting characters, Tina, Queenie and Jacob, are all truly wonderful individuals.

I didn’t enjoy reading the screenplay anywhere near as much as I loved watching the film, but it was fun to rediscover the characters before the movie is released on DVD/Blu-Ray. The plot is also less impressive than other J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith works – I think the true magic of this piece of writing is in the cinematography of the film itself.

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