Books

Book 583: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts #2) – J.K. Rowling

Of course I was going to read this. It actually arrived in my mailbox the same day we saw the film (the first time :-D). If I’m honest, I’m impressed I only saw it twice AND it took me this long to read it. There was a lot to take in and with so much dialogue, reading this sooner would’ve helped A LOT.

With this being a screenplay, I can totally cop-out and say read this review of the film: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’: Beasts? Check. Crimes? Check. Fantastic? Not Quite., from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour blog because Glen Weldon NAILS it.

I’m not planning to go into the major spoilers of the franchise so you should be okay to read as long as you don’t highlight the closing line of the book, but if you don’t want to know ANYTHING, then don’t read this! You’ve been warned.

What I enjoyed most about this book/script was the presentation. Similar to the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the physical representation is a piece of art. There are numerous depictions of the animals from the first film/book and from this one. One of my favorites was the zouwu:

These little details of the animals and the props add so much to these publicly released scripts. I found it interesting (and clutch) that the people who were responsible for the look and feel of the film were also the designers of the book. I don’t feel like that is usually the case when they release a novelized version of a film and it’s definitely not the case when they re-release a book that a film is adapted from (which is more understandable because they’re usually so loosely adapted).

Where I felt this story shone was through the moving the characters of Tina, Newt, Jacob, and Queenie forward. I don’t know if I like where they’re going, but I can appreciate learning the smallest amount more about them. I don’t know how or if things will get back to where they were, but I hope they do.

I also loved Rowling’s continued emphasis on love and acceptance, and not overlooking the little people (or animals):

“Well there are no strange creatures—only blinkered people.” (20)

“Oh, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love.” (236)

“Grindelwald doesn’t seem to understand the nature of things he considers simple.” (269)

As dark as Harry Potter got and as dark as I’m sure this will one will get, Rowling writes her works with such lightness and hope that you can’t help but believe in the future.

There’s not a lot more to say without spoiling the film or the script. I will say that I saw a lot of clickbait about characters (yes there appears to be a pretty big timeline lapse, but let’s see what Rowling pulls out of her hat) and who controls the Elder Wand. There are so many takes and so many details that I’m sure accidents are bound to happen, but let’s see how Rowling handles it or explains things, I mean she’s already done plenty of retconning.

Recommendation: I know a lot of people didn’t like this (the film version at least) and I can understand why, but I truly appreciated it. I wish there was less exposition about people’s past, but overall the story is moving forward.

Opening Line: “…you’ll be glad to be rid of him, I expect.”

Closing Line: “It is your birthright, my boy. As is the name I now restore to you. Aurelius. Aurelius Dumbledore.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)

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