The Fantastic Beasts Are the Real Stars of the “Fantastic Beasts” Series
One of the best things about the Fantastic Beasts series is the chance to take a deeper look at the wizarding world and the magical creatures that are hidden there. The creatures that we have met so far range from awe-inspiring and majestic to just plain adorable. Their treatment by the wizarding world and Newt’s quest to protect them brings up interesting parallels with our own situation and the amazing creatures of our own world. To celebrate the 15th annual Endangered Species Day, here are some of the coolest creatures from the wizarding world.
We may have first met Nifflers in Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but it wasn’t until Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that we all realized how lovable and frankly adorable they were. These magical creatures may be mischievous up to the point of pesky, but it’s impossible not to love them anyway, especially after we saw the clutch of Niffler babies in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald!
The Demiguise is a cool creature and is clearly the source of inspiration for wizarding spells, such as the Disillusionment Charm. The way in which wizards can take inspiration from animals is something that we should practice more of – from the way we design technology to urban planning, the animal kingdom and the complicated workings of ecosystems have a lot to teach us.
Occamies are simply awe-inspiring creatures with their fantastic size-changing ability. Here we see the wizarding world equivalent of creatures like elephants and rhinoceroses, animals that are often exploited and killed for the value of their tusks. The value of the silver lining of Occamy eggshells has led to their species being under threat, as Newt so sadly relates.
Bowtruckles are another cute yet incredibly useful and clever creature. In Pickett, we also sadly see the profit-driven side of the wizarding world, where creatures such as Bowtruckles are exploited and only valued for their usefulness to the denizens of the wizarding world rather than for their own personalities. It’s a theme that comes up again in Crimes of Grindelwald with the exploited creatures of the Circus Arcanus.
In the Obscurus, we see the blurring of beast and being. Persecution and maltreatment of these creatures reminds us that animal treatment (and human treatment, for that matter) is an area in which we still have a long way to go. The treatment of an Obscurial as a dangerous beast rather than a misunderstood being hearkens back to issues brought up in the original series concerning the treatment of werewolves and goblins.
Perhaps in seeing the magic of these fantastic beasts, we are encouraged to more deeply appreciate the magic of the creatures of our own world. This year on Endangered Species Day, let’s appreciate and remember the amazing wildlife of both the wizarding and Muggle worlds and make more of an effort not to let them fade into obscurity.