Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a book written by J. K. Rowling for the Comic Relief Charity in 2001. Written under the pseudonym Newt Scamander, it is meant to be a copy of the in-universe book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The premise is that the book has been released to the Muggle world to help raise money for needy causes. It features a foreword by Albus Dumbledore.
The prefacing About the Author indicates the book is in its "fifty-second edition."
Several different editions have been published. Besides the one illustrated at right, there is also a red-coloured paperback with art indicating the tome is "Property of Harry Potter," with "claw" gashes through the cover material. This cover is also available in hardback, bought in a bulk set with Quidditch Through The Ages.
- About the Author
- Foreword by Albus Dumbledore
- Introduction by Newt Scamander
- About This Book
- 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
Published in 2001, the book contains some references that pertain to later books. For example, the book includes a listing for an Erumpent; an Erumpent horn, described in the book as being dangerous was later featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where its danger is demonstrated. The book also contains the first mention of thestrals. However, it does not have entries for Banshees, Bicorns, Blood-Sucking Bugbears, Cockatrices or Hinkypunks.
Comments and "new information"
The book is said to predate the events of the Harry Potter series. In light of events in the Potter books, several tongue-in-cheek references to "new information" are indicated by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley's doodles in Harry's version of the book (as published for Comic Relief). A list of them follows:
- The question 'What is a Beast?' (serving as the title of the section) is answered 'a big hairy thing with too many legs', probably by Ron, referring specifically to a spider, or an acromantula or a quintaped.
- Under 'A brief history of Muggle awareness of fantastic beasts', the word 'brief' is crossed out, and is replaced by 'you liar'.
- In the section about Illegal Experimentive Breeding it says, 'But no one's told Hagrid' referring to the illegal hybrid of Blast-Ended Skrewts, which are supposedly a mix between fire crabs and manticores (though Rita Skeeter's credibility comes into question when thinking about this).
- In the Ministry Classifications, the most dangerous creatures are labelled as XXXXX, to which has been added "or anything Hagrid likes". This a reference to Hagrid's notorious enthusiastic appreciation of monsters - the more dangerous, the better, or so it appears - and oblivious underappreciation of just how dangerous they can be to someone lacking the strength and resilience of a half-giant.
- 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 Whizbees". 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 Professor Snape states, "the Kappa is more commonly found in Mongolia".
- In the Leprechaun section, where it mentions how they produce a realistic goldlike substance that vanishes after a few hours, to their amusement, is a note written by Ron, reading, "but not mine. R. W." This is in reference to the fourth book, where Ron gives Harry leprechaun gold at the Quidditch World Cup in order to pay him back for the Omniculars and later finds out during a Care of Magical Creatures class that leprechaun gold eventually vanishes.
- 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", referring to the class in the second book when Lockhart sets the pixies loose in the classroom and the students had to round them up because Lockhart couldn't get rid of them using his presumably made up spell "Pepiski Pesternomi".
- 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 Philosopher's Stone video game and in the Chamber of Secrets PS1 game, Ginny is looking over a Puffskein to make sure Fred doesn't use it as a Bludger again.
- 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.
- 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 favourite teacher.
- The words "CHUDLEY CANNONS" are written at the bottom of the last page, presumably by Ron.
- On the Contents page "CHUDLEY CANNONS" is written, and a note below it says: "Write a decent team in my book for a change, Weasley". This is probably written after the Chudley Cannons note on the last page.
Behind the scenes
- In 2013, J. K. Rowling announced that she had begun to write a screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which would focus on Newton Scamander and would take place seventy years before the events in the Harry Potter novels.