Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (J K Rowling)

With Fantastic Beasts..., I have finished reading all the Rowling books published so far. (Well, I haven't read Tales of Beedle the Bard, but that isn't exactly a "published" book!). Yes, I meant Rowling as in J K Rowling, the genius who wrote the Harry Potter series. I'm always surprised by the fact that so many people who follow the Potter series are unaware of the fact that there are two companion books (three, if you count Beedle the Bard) to the series -- Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

At 60-odd pages, this book is very short. It was written by Rowling to benefit the charity organization, Comic Relief. (A portion of the cover price of each book sold goes directly to poor children in various places around the world.) Those well acquainted with the Potter series will remember that this is the title of the Care of Magical Creatures textbook at Hogwarts, written by Newt Scamander. This book purports to be Harry's copy of that textbook and uses Scamander's name as the pseudonym for Rowling.

The book describes the magical creatures in Harry's world, including many that we encountered in the main series. It starts off with a foreword by Albus Dumbledore, followed by a couple of short chapters defining magical beasts before going on to describe 75 magical beasts with Ministry of Magic classifications ranging from "boring" to "known wizard killer".

The best part of the book was the doodles by Harry and Ron reminding of different incidents that took place during the series. For example, there's one doodle next to a paragraph on the ban on experimental breeding that says nobody's told Hagrid about it, referring to the fact that he broke this law in Goblet of Fire by breeding Blast-Ended Skrewts. However, the significance of these doodles would be lost on anyone who hasn't read the series (at least up to the fourth book).

It would have been much better if the book had more illustrations or if it had even more details about the creatures. It's pretty hard to imagine all these creatures without having a clue as to what they look like. In spite of that, I enjoyed the book thoroughly and found a lot of interesting bits of information about creatures mentioned in the books. And I'm simply amazed by Rowling's ability to invent all this stuff.

Rating. 7/10


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