Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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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. In his foreword to the book, Albus Dumbledore

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 and an A-Z of Fantastic Beasts Index. 

Rowling’s name does not appear on the cover of the book, the work being credited under the pseudonym “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 to 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 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have raised £15.7 million.

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

Fantastic Beasts Films

Annotations in Fantastic Beasts
List provided by Wikipedia.

  • The question “What is a Beast?” (serving as the title of the section) is answered “a big hairy thing with too many legs.”
  • In the Ministry Classifications, the most dangerous creatures are labeled as XXXXX, to which has been added “or anything Hagrid likes.”
  • On pg. 2 under the Acromantula section, the book states “Rumours that a colony of Acromantula has been established in Scotland are unconfirmed.” In fact, Harry and Ron encounter a colony in the Forbidden Forest in the second book. Hagrid was aware of this Acromantula colony before this, and it is quite likely that other members of the staff knew of its existence. In Harry’s version of the book, the word “unconfirmed” is crossed out and the following comment of “confirmed by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley” is added.
  • Also under the Acromantula section, an extra 9 X’s are added to the creature’s classification, probably by Ron, since it is well known that he is afraid of spiders, and the Acromantula is a gigantic, man-eating spider.
  • On pg. 4 under the Basilisk section, the book states “there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years.” This is invalid, as there is a recorded sighting in the second Harry Potter book. As such, a comment of “that’s what you think” has been appended to the bottom of the entry.
  • In the Dragons section, the name “Norwegian Ridgeback” is crossed out and replaced with “Baby Norbert,” referring to Hagrid’s infant dragon which he hatched himself and showed to the trio. Nearby, under the entry for “Hungarian Horntail,” the article begins “Supposedly the most dangerous of all dragons” to which is added in a scribble, “you’re not kidding.”
  • The Hippogriff section says that they “may be domesticated, though this should only be attempted by experts.” This is underlined and connected to a note saying, “Has Hagrid read this book?” referring to Hagrid’s domestication of a Hippogriff herd despite being anything but an expert.
  • In the Billywig section, it is noted that their dried stings are believed to be a component in the popular wizarding sweet “Fizzing Whizzbees.” In Harry’s copy of the book, the words “That’s the last time I eat them, then” is seen scrawled under the entry in response.
  • The Kappa section claims that this creature is Japanese in origin, to which is added the note “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.”
  • The Pixies section has them classified as an XXX level creature. The addition here takes the form of a note saying “or XXXXXXX if you’re Lockhart.”
  • The Puffskein entry has a note, presumably by Ron, saying, “I had one of those once” to which Harry responds, “What happened to it?” and a reply underneath says, “Fred used it for Bludger practice.” This conversation also takes place between Harry and Ron in the Sorcerer’s Stone video game.
  • The mermaid entry describes a certain type of merpeople as being “less beautiful…” Next to that line is a note saying “ugly.” This refers to Harry’s encounters with mermaids in the second Triwizard Task in the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • In the troll entry, a picture of a troll is drawn, next to it written, “My name is Gregory Goyle and I smell!”
  • In the werewolf entry, next to the heading “Werewolves” a note has been added: “Aren’t all bad.” This is a reference to Professor Lupin, a werewolf and Harry’s favorite teacher.