J.K. Rowling has launched a new website and it features plenty of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Rowling announced the new site yesterday via a Twitter post, then advertised it further by directly responding to a Fantastic Beasts fan question with a link to her new FAQ section.
OK, let's try that again! New website https://t.co/xSpgZaxXkw— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 20, 2016
In her welcome page, Rowling addressed the busy year she has had and expressed her gratitude towards her fans for their enthusiasm towards Fantastic Beasts.
“I didn’t plan for the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to come out in the same year, but that’s what ended up happening, with the result that 2016 meant an almost total re-immersion in the wizarding world. I’ve been absolutely delighted with the reception of both pieces: the stakes are always very high when you return to a well-loved creation, and after almost a decade of refusing to do spin-offs or remakes, I feel overwhelming relief that both long-time fans and newcomers have enjoyed what we’ve done.”
Since the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on November 18 of this year, fans of the Harry Potter series have been abuzz with questions about the plot, the future of Fantastic Beasts 2, and how the new movie ties in with the rest of the Harry Potter magical universe. Fantastic Beasts is based on a 2001 book of the same name written by J.K. Rowling for charity.
However, fans cannot turn to the Fantastic Beasts book for guidance throughout the rest of the film series: the book is written as a textbook based on main character Newt Scamander’s exploits with magical creatures, but it does not contain a narrative of his personal life or any other characters in the Harry Potter universe. The only hint towards future Fantastic Beasts sequels hidden within the book can be found in the fictional author’s note, in which Newt thanks his wife, Tina Goldstein.
With so much mystery surrounding the rest of the Fantastic Beasts series, J.K. Rowling has decided to address the more burning questions asked by fans. The new post on her site also allows Rowling to clarify how some of the concepts in Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them work. Rowling had been answering many Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter questions on Twitter, but this is a more cohesive way to pool all the answers together.
Rowling clarified some of her particular choices about the Fantastic Beasts characters. For example, she wrote that Newt Scamander began Fantastic Beasts going through non-magical customs instead of wizard customs because “he was transporting magical creatures at a time when this was illegal. No-Majs were far easier to fool than the wizarding checkpoint would have been.”
Newt’s introduction in Fantastic Beasts displays his savviness as a wizard and his willingness to bend the law a little – or a lot – in order to protect his precious creatures.
Rowling also discussed what it means to be an Obscurus. The concept of an Obscurus did not appear in the Fantastic Beasts book and was introduced in the film, and they are presented as what happens when a magical child tries to suppress their magical capabilities. Rowling decided to get a bit more specific than the Fantastic Beasts film did:
“An Obscurus is developed under very specific conditions: trauma associated with the use of magic, internalized hatred of one’s own magic and a conscious attempt to suppress it.”
These three keys illustrate why Voldemort, then a young Tom Riddle, never became an Obscurus while growing up angry and alone in an orphanage: Riddle was enamored by his own magical abilities, not disgusted by them, and he used them to intimidate other children.
Harry Potter also never became an Obscurus, despite having a traumatic and abusive childhood that held similarities to Credence Barebone’s in Fantastic Beasts. Rowling explains:
“While Vernon and Petunia had a confused hope that if they were nasty enough to Harry his strange abilities might somehow evaporate, they never taught him to be ashamed or afraid of magic. Even when he was scolded for ‘making things happen,’ he didn’t make any attempt to suppress his true nature, nor did he ever imagine that he had the power to do so.”
Notably, however, Rowling does not discuss whether or not Ariana Dumbledore, the sister of Albus, was an Obscurus or had any Obscurial tendencies. Since the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, fans and journalists have been speculating about Ariana’s magical abilities.
Movie Pilotused quotes from Harry Potter to make the connection. After being viciously attacked by a group of Muggle boys who saw her practicing magic, Ariana retreated within herself and began to repress her magic.
“It destroyed her, what they did: She was never right again. She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless.”
She did not remain sweet and harmless forever and accidentally killed her mother when she lost control over her magical abilities.
At the end of her Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them FAQ, Rowling offered one hint: “I’m being asked all kinds of excellent questions about Fantastic Beasts that I can’t answer right now, because the answers would give away too much about future plots. If your burning question isn’t here, you are probably safe to assume that it will be answered in the sequels!”
Since the theory that Ariana was an Obscurus is a popular one, and there are four Fantastic Beasts films left that will cover her lifespan, it is possible that Ariana’s potential Obscurial tendencies will make an appearance in the Fantastic Beasts sequels.
Rowling also answers questions about Horcruxes, Apparition, and Grindelwald’s disguise in Fantastic Beasts; while we do not have access to a sequel just yet, Rowling’s FAQ is the next best thing.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]