Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Released in March 2001, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the most complete A to Z listing of magical beasts that exists. It also includes the beasts’ Ministry Classification of Magical Creatures. From Basilisks to Jarveys to Werewolves, this book covers all the magical beasts you’ve only heard of and will introduce you to a host of new ones you haven’t.

Albus Dumbledore writes the foreword and explains the purpose of the special edition of this book (the Comic Relief charity). At the end, he tells the reader, “…The amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you.” He repeats the Hogwarts motto: “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus,” Latin for “Never tickle a sleeping dragon.” He also notes that it serves as an excellent reference for wizarding households in addition to its use at Hogwarts.

The book contains the history of Magizoology and describes 75 magical species found around the world. Scamander says that he collected most of the information found in the book through observations made over years of travel and across five continents. He notes that the first edition was commissioned in 1918 by Mr. Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books. However, it was not published until 1927. It is now in its 52nd edition. In the Harry Potter universe, the book is a required textbook for first-year Hogwarts students.

The book features fictional doodles and comments in it by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The comments would appear to have been written around the time of the fourth book. These doodles add some extra information for fans of the series; for example, the “Acromantula” entry has a comment confirming that Hogwarts is located in Scotland. Integrated into the design, the cover of the book appears to have been clawed by some sort of animal. The book does not have entries for Blast-Ended Skrewts (as they are an illegal crossbreed), Boggarts, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, Dementors, Hinkypunks, Bicorns, Cockatrices, Banshees, Three-Headed Dogs, or Blood-Sucking Bugbears. The chapters in the book cover:

  • What is a Beast?
  • A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts
  • Magical Beasts in Hiding
  • Why Magizoology Matters
  • Ministry of Magic Classifications
  • An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts Index

Rowling’s name does not appear on the cover of earlier editions of the book, the work being credited under the pseudonym “Newt Scamander” and the book itself being claimed to be a duplicate of Harry Potter’s own copy of the textbook. In later revised editions J.K. Rowling’s name does appear on the covers, in addition to that of the fictional author Newt Scamander. In the Harry Potter universe, Newt was born in 1897. Scamander became a Magizoologist because of his own interest in fabulous beasts and the encouragement of his mother, an enthusiastic Hippogriff breeder. In Hogwarts, he was sorted into Hufflepuff.

After graduating from Hogwarts, Scamander joined the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. His career included a brief stint in the Office of House-Elf Relocation, a transfer to the Beast Division, the creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947, the 1965 passage of the Ban on Experimental Breeding, and many research trips for the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau. His contributions to Magizoology earned him an Order of Merlin, Second Class in 1979. Now retired, he lives in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their pet Kneazles: Hoppy, Milly, and Mauler. He has a grandson named Rolf, who married Luna Lovegood sometime after the events of Deathly Hallows.

The book benefits the charity Comic Relief. Over 80% of the cover price of each book sold goes directly to poor children in various places around the world. According to Comic Relief, sales from this book and its companion Quidditch Through the Ages have raised nearly £20 million since 2001. Proceeds from the sale of Fantastic Beasts and its companion book are now split with Lumos, a charity that J.K. Rowling founded to help out children institutionalized in orphanages all around the world.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now being made into a series of five films, the first of which was released in November 2016 with an original screenplay written by J.K. Rowling. The next film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is scheduled to be released on November 16, 2018. More information on the films can be found by clicking the button below.

Fantastic Beasts Films

A-Z Listing of Beasts

The earlier editions of Fantastic Beasts featured a total of 75 magical species. The 2017 edition added six new creatures to the encyclopedia: the Hidebehind, the Hodag, the Horned Serpent, the Snallygaster, the Thunderbird, and the Wampus Cat. Each creature is assigned a classification by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry of Magic in order to give witches and wizards an idea of the creature’s level of dangerousness. The classification system includes five categories as follows:

Ministry of Magic (M.O.M.) Classification Meaning
XXXXX Known wizard killer / impossible to train or domesticate
XXXX Dangerous / requires specialist knowledge / skilled wizard may handle
XXX Competent wizard should cope
XX Harmless / may be domesticated
X Boring

The A to Z listing of beasts includes the following, along with their M.O.M. classification:

Name M.O.M. Classification
Acromantula XXXXX
Ashwinder XXX
Augurey XX
Basilisk XXXXX
Billywig XXX
Bowtruckle XX
Bundimun XXX
Centaur XXXX1
Chimaera XXXXX
Chizpurfle XX
Clabbert XX
Crup XXX
Demiguise XXXX
Diricawl XX
Doxy XXX
Dragon2 XXXXX
Dugbog XXX
Erkling XXXX
Erumpent XXXX
Fairy XX
Fire Crab XXX
Flobberworm X
Fwooper XXX
Ghoul XX
Glumbumble XXX
Gnome XX
Graphorn XXXX
Griffin XXXX
Grindylow XX
Hidebehind XXXX
Hippocampus XXX
Hippogriff XXX
Hodag XXX
Horklump X
Horned Serpent XXXXX
Imp XX
Jarvey XXX
Jobberknoll XX
Kappa XXXX
Kelpie XXXX
Knarl XXX
Kneazle XXX
Leprechaun XXX
Lethifold XXXXX
Lobalug XXX
Mackled Malaclaw XXX
Manticore XXXXX
Merpeople XXXX3
Moke XXX
Mooncalf XX
Murtlap XXX
Niffler XXX
Nogtail XXX
Nundu XXXXX
Occamy XXXX
Phoenix XXXX4
Pixie XXX
Plimpy XXX
Pogrebin XXX
Porlock XX
Puffskein XX
Quintaped XXXXX
Ramora XX
Red Cap XXX
Re’em XXXX
Runespoor XXXX
Salamander XXX
Sea Serpent XXX
Shrake XXX
Snallygaster XXXX
Snidget XXXX5
Sphinx XXXX
Streeler XXX
Tebo XXXX
Thunderbird XXXX
Troll XXXX
Unicorn XXXX6
Wampus Cat XXXXX
Werewolf XXXXX7
Winged Horse XX-XXXX
Yeti XXXX

1 The text notes that the centaur is given a XXXXX classification “not because it is unduly aggressive, but because it should be treated with great respect.”

2 There are ten dragon breeds listed: the Antipodean Opaleye, the Chinese Fireball, the Common Welsh Green, the Hebridean Black, the Hungarian Horntail, the Norwegian Ridgeback, the Peruvian Vipertooth, the Romanian Longhorn, the Swedish Short-Snout, and the Ukrainian Ironbelly.

3 Similar to the footnote on centaurs, merpeople get a XXXX rating because they should be treated with great respect.

4 According to the text’s footnote, the phoenix gets a XXXXX rating not due to aggression but due to the fact that “very few wizards have ever succeeded in domesticating it.”

5 The Golden Snidget gets a XXXX rating because “severe penalties are attached to its capture or injury.”

6 Unicorns, like centaurs and merpeople, should also be treated with great respect, thus the reason for their XXXX rating.

7 The text notes that the XXXXX rating for werewolves refers only to their transformed state during the full moon.

Annotations in Fantastic Beasts

Earlier Editions

The handwritten annotations by Harry and his friends were included in the original edition of Fantastic Beasts in 2001 and were included in the text up through the 2015 edition. However, these handwritten annotations were entirely removed from the text in the updated 2017 edition. The following annotations can be found in the earlier editions of Fantastic Beasts:

  • On the bookplate page saying “This book belongs to Harry Potter,” there is a written conversation between Ron and Hermione below Harry’s signature. Below the bookplate with Harry’s signed name, Ron writes “shared by Ron Weasley because his fell apart.” Hermione then writes “why don’t you buy a new one then?” to which Ron replies “write on your own book Hermione.” Hermione responds with “you bought all those dungbombs on Saturday, you could have bought a new book instead” to which Ron responds with “Dungbombs rule” (with “rule” underlined).
  • On the page opposite the “Contents” page, Ron has written the name of his favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons, in all capitals. Underneath “CHUDLEY CANNONS,” Harry has written “write a decent team in my book for a change Weasley.”
  • The section titled “What Is a Beast?” has an arrow drawn pointing from it to the phrase “a big hairy thing with too many legs.”
  • The section titled “A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts” has the word “brief” circled and the written phrase “you liar” pointing to it.
  • Under the section titled “Controls on Selling and Breeding,” the text notes that the “1965 Ban on Experimental Breeding has made the creation of new species illegal.” The written phrase “but no one’s told Hagrid” points to the word “illegal,” referring to Hagrid’s cross-species breeding of the Blast-Ended Skrewts (a cross between a Fire Crab and a manticore) in Goblet of Fire.
  • On the “Ministry of Magic Classifications” page, the most dangerous creatures receive the highest classification of XXXXX, meaning “Known wizard killer / impossible to train or domesticate.” The written phrase “or anything Hagrid likes” has been added to the XXXXX category description.
  • Under the Acromantula entry on page 3, 9 extra X’s have been added to the creature’s “XXXXX” Ministry of Magic classification. The extra X’s were most likely written in by Ron, who has arachnophobia (a fear of spiders). The Acromantula is a large, carnivorous spider.
  • Under the Acromantula entry on page 4, the text notes that “rumours that a colony of Acromantula has been established in Scotland are unconfirmed.” The word “unconfirmed” is crossed out and the phrase “confirmed by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley” has been written in, referring to Harry and Ron’s encounter with the spider Aragog and his family in the Forbidden Forest in Chamber of Secrets. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is also confirmed to be located in Scotland.
  • Under the Basilisk entry on page 8, the text notes that “there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years.” The written comment “that’s what you think” has been appended to the bottom of the entry, referring to the fact that a Basilisk was indeed sighted in the Chamber of Secrets by Harry Potter in the second book.
  • Under the Billywig entry on page 9, the text notes that their dried stings are believed to be a component in the popular wizarding sweet Fizzing Whizzbees. The phrase “last time I eat them then” is seen scrawled under the entry in response.
  • Under the Chimaera entry on page 12, the text notes that it is “vicious and bloodthirsty” and that “Chimaera eggs are classified as Grade A Non-Tradeable Goods.” The phrase “so Hagrid’ll be getting some any time now” has been written in below the entry, referring to Hagrid’s propensity for adopting extremely dangerous creatures.
  • Under the Dragon entry on page 22, the Hungarian Horntail breed is noted to be “supposedly the most dangerous of all dragon breeds,” to which the phrase “you’re not kidding” is written in and an arrow points to the phrase “most dangerous.” Harry had to face off against a Hungarian Horntail in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire.
  • Under the Dragon entry on page 23, the name of the breed “Norwegian Ridgeback” is crossed out and replaced with “Baby Norbert,” referring to the dragon that Hagrid hatched himself from an egg and introduced to the trio in Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • Under the Glumbumble entry on page 34, the word “bum” in the creature’s name is circled and an arrow points to it.
  • Under the Hippogriff entry on page 38, the text notes that it “can be tamed, though this should be attempted only by experts.” The phrase “though this should be attempted only by experts” is underlined and connected to a note asking, “has Hagrid read this book?” The note refers to Hagrid’s domestication of Buckbeak the hippogriff in Prisoner of Azkaban when he took over the Care of Magical Creatures class.
  • Under the Kappa entry on page 43, the text claims that this creature is Japanese in origin. The word “Japanese” is underlined in the first sentence, which states that “The kappa is a Japanese water demon that inhabits shallow ponds and rivers.” A note has been added to the entry, saying “Snape hasn’t read this either.” This presumably refers to the third book, in which Snape states, “The kappa is more commonly found in Mongolia.”
  • Under the Leprechaun entry on pages 47–48, the text notes that leprechauns “produce a realistic gold-like substance that vanishes after a few hours, to their great amusement.” The phrase “but not mine. R.W.” is written in and an arrow points from it to the phrase “to their great amusement.” This refers to Ron’s disappointment at finding out that the leprechaun gold from the Ireland mascots at the Quidditch World Cup vanished after a time in Goblet of Fire.
  • Under the Merpeople entry on page 55, the text notes that “the selkies of Scotland and the merrows of Ireland are less beautiful” than other groups of merpeople located elsewhere in the world. The phrase “less beautiful” is crossed out and a note simply saying “ugly” is written in. This refers to Harry’s encounters with the merpeople in the Black Lake during the second Triwizard Task in the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The merpeople who reside in the Black Lake are described by Harry during the second task of the Triwizard Tournament as having “faces that bore no resemblance at all to the painting of the mermaid in the prefects’ bathroom…The merpeople had grayish skin and long, wild, dark green hair. Their eyes were yellow, as were their broken teeth…”
  • Under the Pixie entry on page 62, pixies are assigned a Ministry of Magic classification of XXX. The annotation here takes the form of a note saying “but XXXXXXX if you’re Lockhart,” referring to Gilderoy Lockhart’s incompetence in dealing with a group of pixies during a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson in Chamber of Secrets.
  • Under the Puffskein entry on page 64, there is a handwritten note (presumably written by Ron) saying, “I had one of those once” to which Harry responds, “What happened to it?” and a reply underneath saying, “fred used it for Bludger practise.” This conversation also takes place between Harry and Ron in the Sorcerer’s Stone video game.
  • Under the Troll entry on page 79, a picture of a troll is drawn and next to it is written, “My name is Gregory Goyle and I smell.”
  • Under the Werewolf entry on page 83, an S has been added to the end of “werewolf” to make it plural and then a written note says, “aren’t all bad.” This is a reference to Remus Lupin, a werewolf and Harry’s favorite teacher.
  • Under the Yeti entry on page 85, the name of Ron’s favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons, is again written in all capitals below the paragraph on the yeti.
  • Under the “About the Author” section on page 87, the name “Newton (‘Newt’) Artemis Fido” is underlined and a note saying “nice name” is written above it.
  • On the very last page of the text opposite the Comic Relief information, there is a handwritten game of Hangman, a handwritten game of Tic-tac-toe, and the handwritten phrase “Harry loves Moaning Myrtle” (with “Moaning Myrtle” crossed out). In the game of Hangman, the letters G, A, S, Y, L, D, E, N, P, J, Z, K and B have all been guessed. The mystery word contains 11 letters, of which A is the first, sixth, and eleventh letter, N is the seventh letter, and L is the tenth letter. Given those revealed letters, the mystery word is clearly “Acromantula.” However, the game was lost since the human figure is fully drawn on the gallows. Next to the human figure on the gallows is a drawing of a spider with the phrase “you die Weasley” and an arrow pointing from the spider to the human figure. In the game of Tic-tac-toe, the person playing as X beat the person playing as O by making 3 X’s in a vertical row in the 3 grids on the right side of the 3×3 grid.

2017 Edition

In the 2017 edition of Fantastic Beasts, there is a new foreword written by the author Newt Scamander, replacing the foreword written by Albus Dumbledore in the earlier editions. In the new foreword, Newt refers to the events of the first Fantastic Beasts film, writing that “following the declassification of certain secret documents kept at the Ministry of Magic, the wizarding world has recently learned a little more about the creation” of his book. He goes on to say that he is “not yet in a position” to tell the full story of his activities during Gellert Grindelwald’s terrorization of the wizarding world but that he will be freer to speak on those matters “as more documents become declassified over the coming years.”

He spends the rest of his foreword debunking rumors put forth by Rita Skeeter in her published book Man or Monster? The TRUTH About Newt Scamander. In her book, she claimed that Newt was never a Magizoologist but instead a spy for Dumbledore, using Magizoology as a cover to infiltrate the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in 1926. He says that this claim is “absurd,” since “given that MACUSA had a curse-to-kill policy on all magical creatures at the time,” showing interest in magical beasts was “considered dangerous and suspect.” With that fact, Newt says that no undercover wizard would have chosen to pose as a Magizoologist in America. He goes on to say that, at the request of MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery, earlier editions of Fantastic Beasts didn’t include American beasts such as the Horned Serpent and the Thunderbird because “she wished to deter wizarding sightseers.” He says these beasts have been reinstated in this edition. In the remainder of his foreword, he admits to being the first person to ever capture Gellert Grindelwald and that Albus Dumledore “was something more than a schoolteacher to me.” He claims to not be able to say any more without breaching both the Official Magical Secrets Act or Dumbledore’s confidence. In closing, Newt says that “it is my fondest hope that a new generation of witches and wizards will find in [the book’s] pages fresh reason to love and protect the incredible beasts with whom we share magic.” Without the inclusion of the annotations of Harry and his friends, these are the only annotations to appear in the revised edition:

  • Under the “Foreword” section on page xiii, the phrase “To appear only in ‘For Wizards’ version” is written in parentheses under the word “Foreword.”
  • Under the “Foreword” section on page xvi, there is an annotation added to the bottom of the text underneath “Newt Scamander” at the end of the foreword. The annotation reads, “Editor’s note: for Muggle edition, usual guff: ‘obvious fiction – all good fun – nothing to worry about – hope you enjoy it.’”
Audiobook

On January 27, 2017, it was announced at the “Celebration of Harry Potter” event at Universal Studios in Orlando that an audiobook version of Fantastic Beasts, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne, was going to be released on March 14, 2017. Redmayne provided the narration as Magizoologist Newt Scamander, who he also is currently portraying in the film adaptations. Before the release of the audiobook, Fortune magazine reported in an article that, according to Audible, the Fantastic Beasts audiobook was the most preordered title ever for the company. The audiobook run time is 1 hour and 54 minutes. The behind-the-scenes video below shows Eddie Redmayne recording some of the audiobook at the Audible headquarters.

Purchase Here (Audible US)  Purchase Here (Audible UK)

Purchase Here (Amazon US)  Purchase Here (Amazon UK)

Illustrated Edition

On November 7, 2017, an illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts was released by both Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the US. Both the UK and US edition were illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill. The illustrated edition features full-color illustrations of each beast featured in the textbook. The cover of the Bloomsbury edition features the Occamy while the cover of the Scholastic edition features the Griffin. Prior to the release of the illustrated edition, five beast illustrations showcasing Lomenech Gill’s particular artistic style were shared: the ghoul, the manticore, the Snidget, the sphinx and the unicorn.

Purchase Here (US)  Purchase Here (UK)

Purchase Here (US)  Purchase Here (UK)

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