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.