It’s finally time, you guys… As author/goddess J.K. Rowling recently said, now is “the dawn of the Age of Hufflepuff“!!!!! Could there be any better news than that?!
Well, if you’re not a die-hard Badger like Karen, maybe you don’t care quite as much about that and you’re just excited about a new story from the Harry Potter universe. Fair enough. Either way, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, this is a good weekend to be a Potterhead!
Like any other obsessed fans, we got tickets to see the film on opening night, November 18th. Here’s our review:
Nancy: I liked the movie, mostly because we were back in the Wizarding World! The movie was a good set-up for this pre-Harry Potter-era, and I’m very excited to see what happens in the next four movies.
Karen: I agree; being back in the Harry Potter world was definitely the best part for me. In fact, if I weren’t already a Harry Potter fan, I probably would not have enjoyed this movie. I don’t think it really stands on its own. Then again, as you say, it’s the first in a series of five films, so maybe that’s okay!
Nancy: My favorite scenes were the ones with the Niffler creature and a very powerful wizard we’ve never met before, Percival Graves. Also, there’s a scene where a strudel pastry is made magically. Yum!
Karen: YES! I wish I could cook and bake with a wand! But I also really enjoyed seeing all the pastries made the old-fashioned way by Jacob Kowalski, the American No-Maj who gets mixed up in wizarding business. Actually, I think he was my favorite character.
We can’t get into really reviewing the movie for Potterheards without getting into the magical details, so get ready for SERIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen the movie!
7 Things Harry Potter Fans Would Recognize
(a.k.a. Things We Noticed, Looked Over to Our Friends, Pointed at the Screen, Smiled Excitedly, and Nodded Knowingly At)
Nifflers and Bowtruckles
First introduced in Goblet of Fire, Nifflers are furry, dark-haired creatures who like to find treasure (and according to this movie, hoard quite a bit of it magically in their bodies!). The Niffler in FBAWTFT is quite a sassy scene-stealer, and like Ron Weasley, we would all like to have one as a pet.
Niffler: Best. Character. Ever.
Bowtruckles are small, twig-like creatures that guard wand-wood trees. They first appear in Order of the Phoenix, in Professor Grubbly-Planks’ Care of Magical Creatures class. Like most class subjects, with the exception of Defense of the Dark Arts, Harry Potter has trouble with Bowtruckles in school. Newt Scamander’s favorite Bowtruckle, named “Pickett,” plays a key role in FBAWTFT.
“Call me Groot one more time and I’ll bite you!”
Newt is a Hufflepuff
It’s been long established that Newt is a Hufflepuff, but it was nice to see his house subtly represented with his scarf in his suitcase.
Karen heading back to Hogwarts and Hufflepuff House a few years back. Maybe she’ll see Newt at a reunion some day!
When Percival Graves interrogates Newt, he name-drops Professor Dumbledore, but as we come to realize in one of the last scenes in FBAWTFT, Graves knows a lot more about Dumbledore than he lets on… Rumor has it that a young Dumbledore will be appearing in the next movie!
The Deathly Hallows
When Graves gives a necklace to Credence, it’s very clearly the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, which represents the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak, and the Elder Wand — all things Voldemort and Gellert Grindelwald were seeking.
Left: Credence; Right: Percival Graves (with the Deathly Hallows hanging in the back!)
At the beginning of the movie, newspaper headlines bring the audience up to speed on what’s going on in the Wizarding World. At one point, we see the headline, “Soccer: Quidditch for No-Majs?”, so it looks like Quidditch is just as popular in North America as it is in Europe.
In addition, the helmet and protective gear that Newt gives Jacob to protect his skull and body looks a bit like an early version of Ron’s Keeper uniform. Newt also answers, “I’m more of a chaser, really,” when asked if he is a seeker of truth. Could Quidditch play a role in some of the later films? We’ll see!
Newt’s Hogwarts school chum was Leta Lestrange, whom we’ll see in the sequels. She’s from the family that Bellatrix Lestrange (boo! hiss!) married into.
Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein (and future Mrs. Scamander)
Even though the romance between Newt and Tina has just begun in FBAWTFT, we’re pretty sure they’re eventually going to live happily ever after! As we already know from Pottermore, their marriage eventually leads to their grandson Rolf Scamander, also a magizoologist, who marries Luna Lovegood.
Did we miss any other connections between FBAWTFT and the original Harry Potter books? Leave a comment and share! And also tell us: What did you think of the movie? What do you think will happen in the sequels?
Nancy can’t decide if it’s worth saying “Fuh-Baw-Tuft” (FBAWTFT) or just say the full title as is. “Fuhbawtuft” does potentially sound like a magical spell…
Karen was disappointed there wasn’t more Hufflepuff stuff in the movie. Hopefully her house will get their due in future films!