Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Review & Easter Eggs

November 20th, 2016 by

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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!
spoiler-alert

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.

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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.

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“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.

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Karen heading back to Hogwarts and Hufflepuff House a few years back. Maybe she’ll see Newt at a reunion some day!

Albus Dumbledore

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.

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Left: Credence; Right: Percival Graves (with the Deathly Hallows hanging in the back!)

Quidditch

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!

Leta Lestrange

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.

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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?

icon_nancyNancy 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…

 

icon_karenKaren was disappointed there wasn’t more Hufflepuff stuff in the movie. Hopefully her house will get their due in future films!

A Visit to Hogsmeade: Chesnut Hill Harry Potter Festival

October 31st, 2016 by

festival-signIf you’ve been paying any attention at all, then you know that both Nancy and I are GINORMOUS Harry Potter fans. We’ve been to LeakyCon (more than once), we’ve been to the Quidditch World Cup (again, more than once), and we’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (you guessed it — more than once). So when we heard about a Harry Potter Festival not too far from our home of New York City, we said, “Blimey, let’s do it!”

The event: the 2016 Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival in Philadelphia, PA. They block off the street, set up booths, and invite wizards, witches, and Muggles alike to enjoy Butterbeer, browse magical artifacts, watch shows, and just generally bask in the magic.

Unfortunately, Nancy came down with spattergroit right before the festival. (Or maybe it was just the flu — but she didn’t go to St. Mungo’s for an official diagnosis, so who can say for sure?) I was obviously sad about this, but I was also determined to make it to Hogsmeade. So I grabbed a substitute friend, and off I went!

Click on my photos to see some highlights from my trip:

Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of all the amazing costumes and sights that day. Wish I had asked Colin Creevey to share some of his pics! But you can see some additional pictures in the event’s official photo galleryHow would you dress up for a Harry Potter festival?

— Karen

Karen wore a Hogwarts shirt to the festival, but sadly it was so cold that she covered it up with her jacket the whole time. How she longed for the Hufflepuff scarf she had left at home!

More about Karen »

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

October 13th, 2016 by

harry-potter-seriesSubmitted by Grace, Age 10 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

Harry Potter is the best series I’ve read! It is an adventurous series and it’s also amazing.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — FINALLY!

July 31st, 2016 by

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Rehearsal ScriptA few months ago, we shared the exciting news that the official 8th story in the Harry Potter saga was on its way. Well, the wait is now over: As of today (Harry Potter’s birthday), the Special Rehearsal Edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is now available!

If you recall, this is a printing of the full script for the new Cursed Child stage play in London, which follows the lives of Harry and his family 19 years after the main action in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. At first, we thought only those lucky enough to watch the play would be able to see what unfolds, but thanks to this printing, wizards and witches all over the world (including us!) can now catch up with the Boy Who Lived.

Let’s all do a Dumbledore dance of joy!

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Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems…

If you want to see how some other Potterheads celebrated the occasion, check out this video from Scholastic, the American publishers of the Harry Potter books. We both used to work there, but sadly, we left way before The Cursed Child came about. So we were not part of this “MuggleMob” — although we wish we could have been!

So, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, what are YOU doing to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildDid you attend a midnight release party? Did you clear your calendar for today in order to read uninterrupted? Are you wearing any gear to show your house pride? Leave a comment and share your Cursed Child activities!

And obviously, please share your thoughts on the book too! (But please, no spoilers! We haven’t finished reading it yet. Speaking of which… gotta go!)

Harry Potter #8: Coming Soon-ish!

February 15th, 2016 by

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Image from Pottermore.com

If you’ve spent even a nanosecond on Kidsmomo, then you know that we are HUGE Harry Potter fans. We’ve been to LeakyCon, we’ve been to the Quidditch World Cup, and we’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — multiple times each. But here’s one thing we’re not doing: going to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the upcoming play that J.K. Rowling calls the official “eighth story in the Harry Potter series.”

Obviously, we’d love the ability to apparate in London to see the show when it opens this summer, but it’s a bit far for muggle travel. So we were ecstatic to hear the latest Harry Potter news a few days ago: The full script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released in print and digitally at the same time that the play premieres this summer — on Harry’s birthday, July 31st, 2016!

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. In case you haven’t heard of the play before, here’s the scoop: The story takes place 19 years after the main action in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So Harry is an adult, but that doesn’t mean life is all rainbows and sunshine, of course. Here’s the official description:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Until a few days ago, the only way to experience this new story would have been to see the play in London — and unfortunately, portkey travel is not included in the ticket price. But now we can all celebrate the news that the script will be published for muggles, wizards, and witches all over the world to enjoy.

The first printing of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be a “Special Rehearsal Edition,” which will reflect the script during the play’s preview period. Later, a “Definitive Collector’s Edition” will be published with the show’s final version (many plays make small changes during preview performances).

So now the biggest question is: Will you get the rehearsal edition of the script as soon as it comes out, will you wait until the definitive version is available, or will you just get both? Personally, I’ll be looking for an ever-expanding bag like Hermione’s so that I can buy and carry both versions!

— Karen

Despite being a Hufflepuff, Karen is not a patient person, so it’s going to be hard waiting until July to read the script. Maybe it’s time for a re-read of Deathly Hallows!

More about Karen »

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

December 5th, 2015 by

Chamber of SecretsSubmitted by Samantha, Age 8 from Oregon

Rating: ★★★★★

Its an amazing book to read it has alot of imagination in it. I love the end of the book its really intresting.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

December 25th, 2014 by

Submitted by Lillian, Age 10 from Illinois

Rating: ★★★★★

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anybody who has read the other 5 books first.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

November 25th, 2014 by

Chamber of SecretsSubmitted by Stewart, Age 10 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

This book is really awesome. If you love fantasy read this, but beware it is the second book of a series. It is the best book I have ever read.

LeakyCon 2014, Part 3

August 17th, 2014 by

leakycon-lets-geek-outOver the past couple of days, we’ve been sharing our experiences from LeakyCon 2014 — first honoring some committed costume champs and then giving you a digital portkey to the new Diagon Alley area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

Today, fire up the floo network because we’re taking you on one final tour of this year’s Harry Potter fan convention!

When we tell people about LeakyCon, sometimes they ask, “What do you do all day?” Dude, what do we NOT do?

We watch Quidditch, party to wizard wrock, dance, shop, discuss, and get snitchwiches delivered by BRoom Service at 2:00 in the morning — just to name a few of our recent activities. Check out our pics below to see how wizards get it done!

(Btw, in case you were wondering, snitchwiches are peanut butter + Golden Grahams + honey sandwiches. Soooooooooo good!)


That’s it for our LeakyCon 2014 coverage. Hope you enjoyed the peek into our wizarding gathering!

#Peeves was here - LeakyCon 2014

LeakyCon 2014, Part 2

August 16th, 2014 by

wizarding-world-of-harry-potterYesterday, we introduced you to Draco, Dobby, and multiple Bellatrix Lestranges — just some of the costumed characters we encountered at LeakyCon 2014.

Well, today we have even more pics from our time at this year’s Harry Potter fan convention. And if you weren’t jealous of us based on yesterday’s post, well, we are delighted sorry to taunt you with show you this gallery from the highlight of our trip… Diagon Alley!

That’s right, we got special admission to the new area of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. While all the Muggles were kicked out at 10:00 pm, LeakyCon attendees got to stay until 2:00 am!

See the pics below from our adventures in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade during those witching hours. Then come back tomorrow for even more LeakyCon 2014 coverage!

Thanks to our friend, Carly, for contributing photos!

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