[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is a bonus episode of Alohomora! for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie news.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey, guys. We’re really excited for this special episode. I’m Caleb Graves.
Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.
Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.
Eric Scull: And I’m Eric Scull.
Caleb: OMG, guys! We’re getting a new Harry Potter-themed movie!
Kat: Well, not Harry Potter themed, but…
Caleb: Harry Potter universe movie.
Kat: Right. Wizarding world movie. Woo-hoo!
Eric: I just thought of “Harry Potter universe” of [being] Super Mario Galaxy but with Harry and some stars and flying around, dealing with gravity and really weird places but perhaps another day.
Eric: For this series we can gather that the new movie will not have Harry Potter in it.
Kat: I know. It’s… I’m actually okay with that.
Caleb: Me, too.
Laura: Yeah, I know. I am, obviously like I’m pretty sure everyone, floored by this news. I was at work, and I got a text from one of my best friends who playfully teases about the fact that I do a Harry Potter podcast so long after the books have gone. He texted me, and he was like, “Hey, look! You’ll have something to talk about now,” and I was like, “Wait, what do you mean?”
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Caleb: As if we didn’t before?
Laura: Yeah, just twiddle our thumbs. Then I went and checked the Facebook on MuggleNet, and I was like, “What?”
Kat: Yeah, I woke up to 27 text messages basically from everybody [whom] I know and love, and they were like, “Oh my God, look at the news!”
Kat: And it was pretty much…
Laura: It just seems like a joke – not in a negative way.
Caleb: Which is why I texted you, Kat, in caps lock, “OMG, THIS BETTER BE REAL.”[laughs] I doubted it then.
Kat: I know. Thank goodness we got the press release from Warner Bros. or I might not have believed it.
Laura: Which is pretty much the same reaction we had when the Cuckoo’s Calling thing was happening. We were delayed posting because we didn’t want to be put in an embarrassing situation where it was like, “Well, we were super wrong.”
Eric: This is much better than that Harry Potter 8 news story that came out for the April Fools’.
Caleb: Oh my God, how ironic that that’s what we’ve been talking about for the past week. But…
Laura: It almost feels very contrived because we were talking, I know, within the MuggleNet Facebook group, of like, “Oh, how did this originate?” And it almost feels like…
Caleb: It’s a plant.
Laura: … contrived to generate that kind of stir.
Caleb: Oh my God.
Laura: I honestly feel like someone placed it to be so that people are talking about [Book] 8 and be like, “It’ll never happen!” It’s not Book 8, but it’s something.
Kat: And you know what? I know Laura and I were discussing this before the show that I’m actually really happy that this isn’t a book.
Kat: Because there'[re] no expectations.
Kat: You can’t be disappointed. Whatever it is, it is.
Laura: I mean, we can be disappointed, but we can’t compare it directly to a book series and be disappointed based on that regards.
Kat: That’s what I mean. Yeah, exactly.
Eric: Well, let’s get into the press release, which Kat mentioned was released early today from Warner Bros., and we’ll just go through the points here and talk about it. This is your bonus episode of Alohomora! So,
“Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander.”
Caleb: “Series,” guys.
Eric: Keyword: “Film series.”
Kat: I know. Those are the most two exciting words about that paragraph.
Laura: It’s… just… and this was obviously the first thing that you read of what’s it going to be about – fantastic beasts – and I know we’re going to get into this – of the passion that… how in depth it is. It should have been obvious – but when I first read this I was like, “Oh my God, really?” I just… my mind never went there, and reading this I was like, “Oh my God, I haven’t read Fantastic Beasts since I was eight.
Laura: I don’t own a copy. [laughs] I rented it from the library.
Eric: Oh, gosh.
Kat: So a series is defined as what? “At least three,” right?
Caleb: I would say, yeah.
Eric: I would say, “I guess it could be two.”
Laura: It could, because a… I mean, I always think “trilogy.” I feel like it would say “trilogy” if it [were] three.
Eric: So we think this is more than…
Caleb: Not necessarily.
Caleb: Because “trilogy” implies that they’re all deeply connected, and follow-up films may not necessarily be super connected to the first one.
Laura: Yeah, these could be bottle films of…
Laura: … his adventures, and then the next one’s a totally new adventure, which is how I feel very much of what, if Cuckoo’s Calling gets adapted, how that’s going to be. More like bottle stories.
Eric: It’s going to be so weird, though, going into a film set in this world and not seeing the Harry Potter logo with the words “Harry Potter.”
Kat: So bizzare.
Caleb: Oh, that’s so true.
Laura: Oh my God, that’s so true!
Eric: Newt Scamander and the Angry Hippogriff.
[Caleb, Kat, and Laura laugh]
Eric: I mean, what’s going to happen? How is it going to be titled? Is it going to be…
Laura: I think it’s going to be called Fantastic Beasts. I think it’s going to be titled something along the lines of “Fantastic Beasts.” Very simple.
Kat: I disagree.
Caleb: I don’t think it will because that would imply it’s very rooted in the textbook. It’s more… the film is going to be more about Newt.
Kat: Right. It says, “the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander.”
Eric: Well, I still think that he will be spending most of the film… I feel like the movie will be about magical beasts. It has to be.
Caleb: Oh yeah, totally.
Eric: Yeah, so…
Laura: No, I think it’ll almost be chronicling…
Eric: His journey.
Laura: … his journey in writing this book, and it will almost culminate in the book being written. Oh my God, we’re getting so ahead of ourselves!
Eric: Okay, well, here we go.
Laura: I’m so excited!
Eric: Here’s further from the press release:
“‘Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,’ said Rowling. ‘The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.'”
Laura: This is where I started crying.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Caleb: New York, guys. We’re coming to the States!
Laura: Okay, when I was little, and it was… I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it made it seem like American wizards didn’t exist back when I was seven, and it was… I felt so sad that I would never get my Hogwarts letter because I was American – not because it doesn’t exist – and I’m just so happy to see that we’re going to see American wizards.
Laura: In the ’20s! That’s cool.
Kat: Who’s to say, “We’re going to see another wizard”?
Caleb: I mean, that would be a very… I feel like we have to see them.
Kat: I know, I’m just playing devil’s advocate. But yeah, I completely agree, and actually Rohan Gotobed, who as everybody knows played young Sirius Black in the film… he wrote a little blog about the… about his thoughts on all this, and one of the lines was, “A crossover between HP and The Great Gastby can’t be a bad thing.”
Caleb: Totally. My favorite time period.
Kat: And I just thought it was great because it’s true.
Eric: Yeah, essentially the seventy years before Harry’s journey gets underway puts it in the 1920s according to the Harry Potter timeline that has been established from the books, so I mean, Newt Scamander in New York right before the stock market crash. What could be better? Right? What could absolutely be better? Also, I’d love to see… this is the thing is J.K. Rowling is finally writing about America. I’m sorry.
Eric: Is that geocentric of me to say? You’re right. And what Laura was saying, she has very, very in few places ever mentioned the American wizards, and now our character is going to be at the heart of American wizardry. It’s just so weird that Jo would agree to a project like this because it’s so not British in a way.
Laura: And I appreciate that you said that you’re not trying to be geocentric because I want to make that clear, too. I’m not like, “Yay, America!” like, “Good, finally!”
Laura: That’s certainly not the case. In fact, the thing that intrigues me most about this is when she’s saying “the whole worldwide community,” but I’m more excited about it just because it’s a different landscape, and I’m interested because when I was initally reading Harry Potter, I wasn’t familiar with landmarks, I guess, in London and stuff when I was young, that I didn’t know what Kings Cross was necessarily, and I just want to see how she’s going to take stuff that I know of, [being] from New York, and turn that into wizarding stuff.
Eric: Well, so we got a little backstory here, which is really cool, in this release here. I’m quoting J.K. Rowling here:
“‘It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favorite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.'”
Caleb: Interesting that she uses “supposed author.”
Eric: Yeah. Thats the word I picked up. Do you think that we have another Gilderoy Lockhart situation?
Laura: I think she just means that clearly she is the author of the book.
Laura: But because Newt is given… I don’t know. I think it’s just… yeah, I think it’s…
Kat: Although a Gilderoy Lockhart-type storyline would be very funny, I feel like she’s already done that, so…
Eric: Mhm. With Gilderoy Lockhart.
Laura: What’s funny about this to me is “Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts into a film.”
Eric: I know.
Laura: I just see them for the last three years just sitting in a room like, “All right, what can we do? What can we do to keep this going?” and then they just got with that.
Kat: I mean, pretty much.
Kat: And her talking about how she already knew so much about him and all that, there’s a great little bit at the beginning of Fantastic Beasts actually, which I was going to read later, but I’ll read it now. And it’s on the page where she talks about Comic Relief, the charity that the book was orignially written for, and this is a quote from Jo. It says,
“I have always had a sneaking desire to write ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’, so when Richard Curtis of Comic Rlief wrote to me, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to help a charity I have always supported.”
So it was there, so long ago that she had a desire to write the book, and I guess it’s just always been in her head. That’s great.
Eric: And in the case of this presently she has said she’ll never say no to Harry, and if an idea inspired her, she might write more. Well, in this case, writing – or screenwriting – for a film is different enough to what she did before.
Eric: It’s different from Harry, and it’s different from writing a book because she’s writing a film.
Kat: Right. Exactly.
Eric: So it’s the exact degree of separation that she requires to be as into expanding this magical world.
Laura: And it is so interesting that she’s writing the screenplay because just… I’m a writer. That’s what I’m studying. And in high school when I had to delve into different types of writing, I hated screenwriting more than anything. It’s so different because for me it’s like when I’m writing fiction or something, you can go into all the thoughts and everything. And then screenwriting… everything has to be, “This is what they said, and this is what you see.” There'[re] no thoughts, really, that can be put on. And it’s just so different, and I totally admire screenwriters just because I had so much difficulty with it. So it’s a totally different ball game.
Kat: I’m guessing that what’s going to happen is that she is going to go through and write the script, and somebody else will do the cinematography. Somebody else will [be the] DP [Director of Photography] and come up with the shots and the cinematic angle is what I’m guessing is going to happen.
Eric: Well, I don’t know because books are so different from… I mean, with books you do go into that extra, extra detail, where writing for screen is what you see and what you think. I mean, if J.K. Rowling says she’s going to be screenwriting, she’ll be screenwriting.
Kat: No, no, I agree with that. I think that she’s going to write it more like a movie. But I still think that she’s not going to do it all by herself. I think that there will be somebody there telling her or helping her with the cinematic landscape of how things are presented in the film.
Eric: And on a film called “Fantastic Beasts,” you really can’t get away from the creature effects.
Eric: And the fact that there will need to be magical creatures in this film, and I just can’t wait to see them conceived. And there’s quite a bit of them described in Fantastic Beasts, which exists, and some of these I just can’t fathom seeing in film. I never would have expected this sort of thing to happen, but it’s happening. So here’s the rest of the press release. I’ll just read through to the end:
“‘As I considered Warners’ proposal…'”
This is from J.K. Rowling again.
“‘… an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.'”
Laura: To which they said, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!”
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Eric: To which they bombarded her with letters. She said,
“‘I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros…'”
Now, he is the CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“‘… for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.'”
Kat: Jo, we’re excited, too!
Eric: So just knowing that the film series – the little bit that we know about it… is that at least now the main protagonist is going to be Newt Scamander.
Eric: And there’s actually… in the beginning of Fantastic Beasts, there’s a brief info bit about the author, which is cool because it’s like all books can do an “About the Author” section.
Kat: So we’re actually going to jump into that history on Newt Scamander because we’re on Alohomora! here, and we like to keep it about the books, bring it back to the books, and since we have a book… I just said “book” like, twelve times. But we have a book written by Newt… supposedly written by Newt. We decided on this show that that’s what we were going to focus on. We know that we haven’t gotten to it in-depth, yet, and that is part of the bigger plan. That’s yet-to-be-released news, but this was part of the bigger reread plan. So we’re just going to touch on it a little bit today, and we will get to it at some point in the nearer future than we had originally planned. So we are going to start with the aforementioned history on Newt Scamander. I’m just going to go over the bigger points. It’s a one-page summary in the book. So his full name is Newton Artemis Fido Scamander.
Kat: Thought that was really, really funny. Poor guy has a dog name, his middle name. Anyway, so he was born in 1897. So in the film, this would put him in his mid-twenties, we’re guessing?
Kat: About 25?
Caleb: Yeah, early to mid-twenties.
Laura: Very convenient because then they could cast a heartthrob.
Kat and Laura: Hopefully an unknown.
Eric: They could cast me in this film.
Kat: Aww, perfect.
Eric: I’m 25.
Kat: The fans would love that.
Caleb: Wait, I was trying out for the role. So…
Eric: Ah, Caleb, you’ll have to fight me.
Eric: You’ll have to out-monologue me.
Kat: Well, Eric is a Hufflepuff.
Eric: [gasps] Ooh!
Kat: Sorry man. Okay, anyway.
Eric: Puff pride.
Kat: So his mother was an avid breeder of fancy Hippogriffs, it says, and she…
Laura: Fancy Hippogriffs, did it say?
Kat: Fancy Hippogriffs. I don’t know if that makes…
Eric: None those sloppy Hippogriffs.
Laura: I just picture them having tea with a monocle.
Caleb: Sorry to say, Buckbeak, you don’t make the cut.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Eric: Oh! [laughs] Buckbeak is dumb.
Laura: What makes them fancy?
Kat: I don’t know. You know how… maybe it’s like a purebred.
Laura: Do they wear little suits?
Eric: They wear… oh, gosh.
Laura: Like the penguins in Mary Poppins.
Eric: They have a lot of lace. There’s a lot of lace involved.
Kat: That would be really cute, though.
Eric: Hippogriffs are proud creatures, but once you put them in a nice, pink tutu…
Eric: … they just get… it just goes all to their head and they just get…
Laura: No, I want like a drawing, please, a fan, of a Hippogriff in a top hat and monocle…
Laura: … just having tea, discussing philosophy. That’s what I want, a fancy Hippogriff.
Kat: That would be so cute.
Laura: Get on that, people. Tweet them to me.
Kat: Okay, but anyway. So his mother, obviously, encouraged his love of fantastical beasts – ha, no pun intended. So after he graduated from Hogwarts, he joined the Ministry in the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. He was there for a few years before he was transferred into the beast division, where, oddly enough, he worked in House-Elf Relocation, which I thought was really funny.
Eric: I wonder what that means? [laughs] Relocating house-elves.
Kat: I don’t know.
Caleb: Hermione probably would not approve.
Laura: Would it be a situation like Winky, when they’re freed…
Laura: … but still are perfectly suitable, I guess, for employment.
Kat: Right. Yeah, maybe that’s how Winky ended up at Hogwarts?
Laura: I think Dobby got Winky there.
Kat: Well, I mean, and Dumbledore still, but maybe that had a part of it? But… so it says that he was almost solely responsible for the Werewolf Register, which came to be in 1947, which for those wondering, is thirteen years before Lupin was even born.
Kat: So it wouldn’t have affected him immediately at that point. But it says that he is the proudest of his ban on experimental breeding, which was passed in 1965, and I had feels for Hagrid on that one, poor guy.
Kat: [laughs] And it also said that his work with Dragon Research and the Restraint Bureau led to many trips abroad, which we now know is most likely New York…
Kat: … in which he collected information to write the book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And that’s all we know about Newt at this point.
Laura: Quite honestly, as excited as I said I am for New York, I am hoping that this is a worldwide adventure where… because we get to the beasts and you see some have Russian origins, some are from Africa. I want this to go everywhere.
Kat: Yes, please. I agree.
Laura: And I will… because everyone knows I’m the biggest travel, culture obsessed person. So I’m… that would make my life.
Eric: There need to be several locations for the film just like James Bond goes to India and Peru…
Caleb and Laura: Yes.
Eric: … and Alaska.
Caleb: All in one movie.
Laura: Oh my God!
Eric: And the moon and space.
Laura: The moon! [laughs]
Eric: Definitely space.
Kat: That would be so dope! [laughs]
Eric: Fantastic beasts in space. [laughs]
Caleb: That’s the title, just that. Fantastic Beasts in Space. Period.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: Brilliant! They’re going to hire you at Warner Bros., Eric.
Eric: I think so too. So that’s going to be… maybe that’ll be like… it’ll be like a space opera.
Eric: We’ll have fancy Hippogriffs…
Eric: … in space helmets…
Caleb: Oh my gosh.
Eric: … dancing on the moon. But anyway…
Eric: You know what I’m saying? It has to be a travel… I imagine a Steve Irwin or Newt Scamander just out of the study hall and in deep into the world. I can’t wait to see the areas of New York where these beasts will lie.
Eric: I can’t think of a metropolitan area. Why would J.K. Rowling associate it with…
Laura: [laughs] Everything is in Staten Island.
Kat: Well, she didn’t say New York City did she? She said New York.
Eric: That is hilarious.
Caleb: Right, yeah.
Eric: Didn’t she say New York?
Caleb: It just says New York. Yeah, it doesn’t say clearly the city, but…
Eric: Oh, I had thought it said New York City. Well, anyway…
Kat: So it could be upstate Rochester for all we know.
Eric: Yeah, Laura made a funny joke anyway.
Eric: So that was funny. But yeah, I just can’t picture it right now, but maybe there are magical creatures that secretly cause people to be more irate in New York City. You never know! [laughs]
Kat: Oh my God! That’s brilliant!
Laura: Is there any hipster, cool, uncool creatures…
Laura: … that are chilling in Brooklyn?
Kat: Not in the twenties. Maybe now. Maybe there’s new beasts.
Laura: Ah, maybe now that’s true. It’s in the twenties.
Eric: Maybe a wizard invented Coca-Cola and that’s why it’s so popular.
Eric: I don’t know.
Kat: Maybe we’ll find out in the movie, Fantastic Beasts in Space.
Eric: It’s going to be hard to wait the three or four years or whatever it is. [laughs]
Caleb: No kidding.
Laura: Yeah, I don’t even want to think about that. I keep thinking this is all happening tomorrow, I’m going to get a movie.
Kat: I know, I want it to come out yesterday.
Laura: I think it’s because how Cuckoo’s Calling was… there was no wait for it.
Laura: It was like I just got it.
Laura: I was like, “Oh, thank you!”
Laura: Now I don’t want to wait for things.
Eric: Can you imagine if they had been secretly filming and were ready to come out with this movie tomorrow.
Laura: Comes out tomorrow. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, this is the closest we’ve been to that wait period between books when the books were coming back out.
Kat: Guys, midnight movie showings.
Eric: Oh yeah, but these days, you know what? They’ve gotten so out of control. You know this.
Caleb: They have.
Eric: We know this. It’s not just Friday at midnight anymore. It’s Thursday at midnight, it’s Tuesdays. Sometimes weeks in advance they’ll have IMAX showings. It’s ridiculous how early they release films these days.
Kat: That’s beyond true.
Eric: There’s no point of a release date if people are going to be out on Tuesday and Wednesday seeing a Friday movie. You know… I don’t know. But that’s completely off topic except to say that we do need to know when to line up for this, which is…
Caleb: Because I will start tomorrow.
Laura: Alohomora! listener party!
Kat: Yeah, right?
Caleb: We also in Fantastic Beasts get a little bit more about Newt’s story that could give us some hints about what’s in the movie, and we’re obviously not going to go super in depth now. As we’ve mentioned, there are plans to do this in the future, but just to highlight some of the things… and this is from Newt’s point of view, an intro to the textbook as if he would have been writing it. And he talks about how this textbook is from the fruit of many years of travel and research, which, as we’ve mentioned, we know that at least part of that is going to happen in New York or at least something happens to him in New York and we hope – as we’ve said – that goes around the world. It actually quotes some of his adventures, one of which says, “From darkest jungle to brightest desert, from mountain peak to marshy bog.”
Laura: I want to see all of it.
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.
Laura: All of the above.
Eric: Laura is like, “The book says that. You better show it.”
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Eric: I guess there are certain categories we can compare the book and film to and be disappointed. [laughs]
Caleb: That’s true. Now we have expectations of these things.
Eric: Oh, gosh.
Caleb: And it also mentions that he’s visited layers, burrows, and nests across five continents, observed the curious habits of magical beasts in a hundred countries, witnessed their powers, gained their trust, and, on occasion, beaten them off with his traveling kettle.
Eric: I hope it has a name. I hope it’s like Wilson in Castaway…
Caleb: Oh my gosh.
Eric: … but it’s his traveling kettle and it’s called Kettie or something.
Kat: I think this is going to be so Indiana Jones. I’m loving it.
Kat: Loving it!
Laura: I’m… we don’t know a lot about his personality as far as how eccentric he is, how… I mean, we really don’t know much about his personality.
Kat: I think we could guess just by the fact that…
Caleb: He sounds very eccentric.
Kat: Very Luna, but I think also… and as much as I love Luna, she doesn’t always come off as very academic and I feel like Newt is going to have a really good balance…
Caleb: Mmm, that’s…
Laura: I don’t even watch Doctor Who, but that’s the feeling I keep getting of that quirky, but still very…
Laura: … academic sounding.
Laura: I could be totally wrong. I’ve never even seen an episode of Doctor Who, but that’s the impression I’ve gotten from Tumblr. [laughs]
Eric: It’s funny. Even though he shares Newton’s name – Isaac Newton…
Eric: … he feels more like a Darwin to me.
Eric: Darwin traveled studying creatures.
Caleb: Oh my gosh, yes!
Eric: So I can’t wait to see the marriage of those two.
Kat: That is such a good comparison, Eric. I love that!
Eric: Oh, thank you. Well, prior to writing Origin of the Species, Darwin traveled extensively down…
Caleb: He did.
Eric: … fly-infested, mosquito-infested swamp water in Africa.
Eric: So there’s that.
Laura: I want them to go to Africa so bad. I want them to go everywhere.
Kat: That would be incredible.
Laura: Go everywhere. Make it a ten hour movie. I’ll watch it.
Kat: Right? I mean, I think we’re all going to watch it.
[Kat and Laura laugh]
Caleb: And we also get an idea of what may be the overarching theme of some of these movies. Obviously, we know it’s going to be about his life, but in his intro he talks about a lot of his research about these beasts was done in pursuit of answering the question, “What is a beast?” Which is a really interesting idea to consider.
Kat: That seems… that question, when you bring it up like that, makes it sound like this could be… I don’t want to say a political movie, but it could bring in a lot of social themes that were happening…
Caleb: Which we know that Jo is very good at addressing.
Kat: Right! Right.
Laura: Yeah, I agree. I’m an anthropology major in addition to writing and something like that is something that’s – at it’s core – very anthropological of defining stuff like that. The whole passage that they had in this story of what – whether a werewolf becomes a beast or a man…
Laura: … and the derogatory terms of calling something a beast when the line is drawn, at it’s core, that’s very anthropological and that’s why I don’t think I’ve been… I’m getting more excited with every sentence of this whole thing.
Kat: What… if this were a book, let’s just pretend, what genre would we put this in? Do we think it’s going to go adult? Young adult? It’s definitely not going to be children.
Laura: Oh, no. I think it would be the same as Harry Potter.
Kat: But what is that? That’s undefinable to me.
Caleb: Yeah, but there was this good versus evil theme that ran the course of Harry Potter and I don’t get that as strong of a vibe with this story.
Eric: This’ll be more of an adventure…
Eric: … but I don’t know. Because it’s an adult having the adventure, I could see it being a little bit more adult.
Kat: Yeah, I agree actually.
Laura: And is it… and this is not really a good comparison, but in the way Lord of the Rings are, where they are on a journey and it’s like this big long scoping journey type deal thing…
Eric: It could be classic. Let’s go before The Lord of the Rings, you think The Odyssey.
Eric: And Odysseus encounters all sorts of magical… or I don’t want to say magical, but gods in that case, gods and goddesses.
Eric: And sea beasts and Scylla and Charybdis and all sorts, and the sirens and the harpies and… not harpies, the sirens. And everything like that is encountered. That’s what this seems like to me, except the problem is is that there are people and there will be people in these films that I don’t know if it’s going to be more Muggles or more wizards, but as much as I want to see about the beasts, you also want to see about this time period. It’s the roaring twenties!
Eric: And Newt is going to be in Muggle America. So it’s… I’m absolutely torn and I’m glad that it’s already said, it’s already known that there’s going to be a series of these things.
Kat: I know!
Kat: At least three is what we’re predicting.
Eric: Right. What is series mean? Yeah, exactly. Although, I…
Caleb: I think the door is at least open to three or more.
Eric: There will be tie-in video games and action figures and…
Caleb: All sorts of…
Kat: I mean, of course there will be.
Laura: [laughs] I love how they clarified that as if they weren’t going to do that. “Don’t worry, guys! We’re going to cash in on this as every way possible.”
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Laura: “There’ll be video games. There’ll be posters. In case you were worrying, we’ve got this.”
Eric: “In case you were worried that we weren’t going to do this, there’s going to be a third Wizarding World expansion…
Laura: Theme park.
Eric: … or a second Wizarding World expansion based on the beasts.”
Kat: Oh my God!
Laura: It’s like Animal Kingdom!
Kat: I hadn’t even considered that!
Eric: Animal Kingdom. Harry Potter Animal Kingdom.
Eric: But anyway. I looked up… Google defines series as, “a number of things, events or people of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another.” It’s actually not about any specific number.
Eric: It’s just that they’re related and they come one after the other.
Eric: So it can be any number really. There’s no specifics.
Kat: Okay, well, at least two, but I’m going to guess three. That’s my guess.
Eric: Mhm. Well, what makes a set?
Eric: Does two make a set?
Kat: A set or a pair is two.
Eric: Because set is a synonym for series.
Laura: I think three is fair.
Laura: It could take off. I mean, Harry Potter had eight.
Caleb: Forget it, I want seven!
Kat: That’s not happening.
Eric: Films, though? I wouldn’t want seven films unless there were seven books that it was based on because films can get ahead of… I don’t know if they get ahead. I don’t know what I’m trying to say here, but…
Laura: It can get tiresome…
Laura: … once movie sequels just keep coming out, like Fast and Furious 12 or whatever.
Laura: Stuff like that.
Laura: And when it’s not coming from a book, it almost seems not as legit, but I don’t know. It is still coming from a book. It’s still that world.
Eric: It’s coming from a book author, which is the real thing.
Laura: But it’s also coming from that world. All that stuff… even… I’m not… we didn’t talk about Dumbledore does a foreword in this. Could there be a cameo? I think there should be.
Eric: For Dumbledore?
Caleb: It’s possible.
Eric: You know who could play young Dumbledore? Jared Harris, actually.
Kat: Oh my God.
Laura: Third Dumbledore shirt, and then we could have another team shirt.
Eric: Because Jared looks like Richard did at a young age. And he…
Eric: That would be something profound.
Caleb: There are also three other sections in Newt’s intro to the book. We won’t go too in depth with them, but it gives us more of an idea of what could sort of show up in the films. One is “A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts.” So I think that gives us an idea that we definitely will see at least some other people in the films.
Kat: Yeah, some more Muggles.
Kat: Right, I agree.
Caleb: Another is “Magical Beasts in Hiding.” So I think that gives us more of the element of adventure, that he’ll go on to discover these magical beasts.
Kat: Yeah, and later in the show, we’re going to talk about which beasts we want to see in the film, and mine definitely fits in this category, so I’m excited, but that’s coming later.
Eric: Do you think he’s just going to have to turn over a rock where nobody would be looking and find it?
Kat: Yeah, I do. Yeah.
Eric: Yeah, that’d be cool.
Caleb: I think this is what makes me – like you said, Kat – think Indiana Jones the most.
Kat: Yes! Yes.
Caleb: And the final intro section I found really interesting, it’s called “Why Magi-zoology” – however we would say it – “Matters.” And this is a quote from the text. It says,
“Why do we continue, as a community and as individuals, to attempt to protect and conceal magical beasts, even those that are savage and untamable? The answer is, of course, to ensure that future generations of witches and wizards enjoy their strange beauty and powers, as we have been privileged to do.”
Kat: Social messages, right there.
Laura: Yeah. I mean, I’m just… I’m in an extinction class right now – that’s what I just ran from – and we were just talking about endangered species and everything, and a whole commentary can be made on something like that, which is something Harry Potter really hasn’t gone into, just environmental stuff.
Kat: No, and there’s a bird in here, when I was reading – I’m trying to find it now – but basically, it’s the dodo bird.
Kat: And they say, “Oh, Muggles think that it’s been extinct for years, but no, we just hid it from them.” So…
Laura: I particularly… like I said, I’m in an extinction class right now, and we were literally just talking about the dodo bird, and I thought that was really funny because I was reading this under the table…
Kat: Nice. [laughs]
Laura: … at the same time.
Eric: We thought Harry Potter had gone the way of the dodo.
Eric: But it hasn’t.
Kat: Very nice.
Caleb: Jo has been hiding it.
Kat: Genius! Sorry.
Laura: Yeah, this Obligatory Genius Moment indeed.
Caleb: OBG. Wait, why did I say B? OGM.
Kat: OG… oh, right.
Eric: Well, of course now is the point in the show where some of our comments that we’ve thought about have also been shared by the fans, and we want to actually open it up and read some fan comments that we got just this morning.
Laura: Over Twitter, yeah.
Eric: So here’s just a couple of tweets we got, and you can always tweet us, by the way, at twitter.com/AlohomoraMN. Oscar Fredriksson says,
“70 years before HP makes me think of the first world war playing a part in the story. Also, cameo from Albus D perhaps?”
Caleb: Yeah, the first World War will have just ended.
Eric: It will have ended. This is kind of the calm before World War II. It’s between wars. That’s, I think, what makes it kind of good because the Harry Potter series is focused on wars a lot.
Laura: Oh, we’re talking about Muggle war. Yeah, okay. I was confused. I was like, “That timeline doesn’t match up.”
Laura: Okay. Yeah.
Eric: You know they’re intertwined because of Grindelwald, or whatever, in ’42.
Laura: Oh, that’s true! We haven’t… there’s that possibility, of Grindelwald being more of a focus as being a Dark wizard than Voldemort.
Kat: But if that were the case, then Dumbledore would definitely be in the film.
Kat: And I think that would cross over too much into Harry’s story. I think that this is going to be completely, totally separate. It’s not going to touch on anybody…
Laura: Yeah, I agree.
Kat: … in Harry Potter.
Eric: They could certainly in a later film.
Kat: I mean, it could be, as an ending.
Laura: Yeah, I think there will be eventually at the end of it a cameo, at least probably by Dumbledore or something, just as a nod to it. Because it would almost be weird if it didn’t.
Kat: I mean, maybe, but…
Laura: Maybe we’ll come to love this as totally separate.
Kat: I’m going to say no. I’m going to say no.
Eric: Hmm. Okay, next comment comes from Shelby Marie. They say,
“I’m most excited to see how the early 1920s Wizarding World in the US differs from what we already know.”
Well, we don’t know all that much about the US world, as we pointed out before. I guess there’s a few floating references to Salem Institute and that kind of other things, but I just don’t know. What do you guys think? Do you think 1920s US is going to look a lot different than 1990s Britain? In the wizarding world standpoint.
Kat: Yes. I do.
Laura: Remember that the wizarding world itself is set back. They weren’t listening to NSYNC because it was the ’90s. They’re…
Kat: We don’t know that!
Laura: Do we? I think we do.
Eric: I think we do. [laughs]
Laura: I think we do, Kat.
Kat: What about the wizards who are Muggle-borns?
Eric: My point was that 1990s Britain – British world – looked like… or the wizarding world looked like 16th century wizarding world in Britain. So what’s the US one going to look like? US is newer.
Kat: I think it’s going to look just like New York. I think that… it’s so hard to say because you don’t know anything about what the wizard community in the US looks like, even in present day in the ’90s, let alone the ’20s.
Eric: Jo will have to come up with a “Ever since the founding of America, what wizards did.” And how they came over and what…
Kat: There’s going to be a whole history.
Eric: How they established…
Eric: Can you imagine just a Diagon Alley area but in New York, underneath Fifth Avenue?
Laura: That’s what I always, in my fan fiction end of my brain, always would be thinking as an American. “Where is the Diagon Alley in America?”
Laura: In Manhattan.
Eric: Well, more comments here. This one is from Michael Burson, @michaelburson on Twitter:
“I am so excited!! Newt Scamander walking around ’20s New York searching for creatures!! And Jo is writing it!! So great.”
Kat: No arguments there, Michael.
Eric: Yeah, no arguments whatsoever. Next one: Rhian. @rosso_neri says,
“I’m excited but also unsure exactly how it will pan out. But fact JKR is writing it fills me with immense confidence/optimism.”
Kat: I would agree. I feel the same reservations about exactly how it’s going to happen. And I think at this point it’s just… I know we’ve done a lot of speculating but… there’s so much news to come, there’s so much time to come that everything we say could be 100% wrong, and…
Kat: … it could be anything at this point.
Eric: And actually the same person also tweeted:
“just glad they haven’t just gone off without JKR & tried to do something based on her world without her.”
Caleb: God, so true.
Laura: That would have been awful.
Eric: That was kind of my question, going back to the press release. Could they have? I mean, could they have gone off and done something? What rights do they own, specifically?
Laura: I think they could have, but I think there would have been backlash, as opposed to this universal excitement that’s happening right now. People would have been like, “Oh, you’re going back to… you’re tainting JKR’s world and blah blah blah.” But because she’s behind it and she’s writing it, everyone’s like, “Oh my God, this is the greatest thing to ever happen.”
Kat: I think that Warner Bros. probably has a massive amount of respect for Jo…
Kat: … and if they pitched this idea to her, and she said, “Guys, no. I’m not comfortable with it, even if I wrote it myself,” I honestly think that… sorry it’s thundering really loudly here. I honestly think that they wouldn’t do it, because how are they… they can’t burn bridges with her. It doesn’t matter what they do or don’t own. Every new product that comes out still has to be approved by Jo. She has final approval, regardless of what copyright they do or don’t own. And they only have rights to the movies. They don’t have rights to her books, so they wouldn’t be able to do anything with any of the material in Fantastic Beasts…
Eric: Well, they have filming options. They have rights to create a film adaptation of her books…
Eric: … which, in this case, could include Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages. Can you imagine a Quidditch Through the Ages movie coming out? [laughs]
Kat: No, but then again I never thought Fantastic Beasts would come out, so…
Eric: Yeah, there you go.
Laura: But I also think the Quidditch portions of the films are always the most boring to me.
Eric: Only because the films treated them like, “Yeah, well, anyway.”
Kat: Boring. All right, I just think they’d be hard-pressed to do it without her, and I think that it would have been, like Laura said, really… there would have been a backlash, a really unwise decision.
Laura: It’s a risk no matter what.
Laura: It’s something that ended, even if people were mixed about the way the films turned out or whatever, in general people accepted it and are a fan of it and it’s great. So it’s certainly always a risk to go back and potentially ruin something that they finished successfully and made it through it.
Laura: But I have confidence.
Eric: Mhm. And just a couple of more comments here. This one is from @CharlotteAlice_ on Twitter:
“I am so excited! I’ve always been interested in the wider magical world-not tied to Harry’s experience, it’s a whole new thing!”
Kat: And that’s what everybody’s been saying, right?
Kat: Jo has always said – like that quote – she wouldn’t come back unless it was something she was excited about, and we knew that there would never be another book in Harry’s story.
Laura: And I don’t want one.
Kat: I don’t either. His story is beautiful and it’s perfect just the way it is.
Eric: So… [laughs] Maggie Hall, whose Twitter name is @pondsandbowties on Twitter.
Kat: Oh, a Doctor Who fan. [laughs]
Eric: Oh no. What do ponds have to do with Doctor Who? I don’t even want to know.
Laura: Amy Ponds.
Kat: Amelia Pond. It’s a character.
Eric: Oh, thank God. I thought it was worse.
Eric: I thought that there was a bathing scene where he’s just wearing a bow tie…
Laura: Oh, God. [laughs]
Eric: Forgive me.
“I had to leave my spanish class, lock myself in a bathroom stall and cry. It feels so good to have this feeling back again.”
Laura: I feel you, girl.
Caleb: God, I feel that.
Kat: I was, pretty much, trans… plucked out of my bed and placed back in the world – I don’t know – ten years ago, or however many years ago, and the excitement is very palpable.
Laura: And also just – I know everyone on staff has been saying this all day – for me, I became a part of MuggleNet at the tail end of this whole phenomenon, and it’s like, “Oh my God, this is happening, and I’m part of MuggleNet. This is so much fun.” It’s like the good old days that I was never a part of. [laughs]
Eric: I mean, we just have no idea, it’s like J.K. Rowling is writing new books. It’s her writing brand new content. A brand-new story, actually.
Eric: It’s not just the background content that we find on Pottermore, although that sometimes involves a narrative, like with Lupin’s story. This is an actual story that will be filmed and shot and surprise us and make us cry and will be funny in all the ways that Jo can be funny.
Eric: And be set in the world of Harry Potter which is… set in the wizarding world, which… even though Jo does and has her second book with The Cuckoo’s Calling, Cormoran Strike and all this other stuff – the wizarding world is why we’re all here and the fact that she’s revisiting it in such a huge way with film. It will be visual, it will be… think of what technology’s going to be able to do in two, three years.
Kat: You know what I just realized?
Eric: Go ahead.
Kat: I’m sorry to interrupt but you brought up Cuckoo’s Calling and she’s writing… that’s a series.
Kat: How does this woman sleep?
Kat: Or have any sort of life?
Caleb: Very busy right now.
Eric: Well, you know that four years, Kat, where it’s just been [laughs] where nothing happened? [laughs]
Eric: J.K. Rowling and now we have this.
Kat: How long ago do you think this came to be?
Caleb: Hmm. I don’t think it was that long ago.
Laura: Because if you think about it, Warner Bros. as far as… it’s not like they were at a loss of Harry Potter stuff. Not only do they have the expansion happening, but in case everyone has forgotten, [laughs] there was a theme park announced for California that we’ve heard nothing about, pretty much…
Laura: … and the Japan one and everything, so it’s not like there’s not stuff happening. So they almost didn’t need it, kind of, [laughs] but they did anyway so…
Eric: I just… it feels like J.K. Rowling is getting back into Harry Potter and in a big way because she’s screenwriting a series of films. I mean, come on.
Kat: I know. A friend of mine posted on Facebook a picture of Jo with a link to the article and said that when somebody finds something that they love, there’s no stopping them from doing it or whatever, and it just was so true. I mean, we all hoped that she would come back to Potter or at least the wizarding world one day, and I’m so thankful.
Laura: That just made me think, do you think the fact that Cuckoo’s Calling was well-received, versus Casual Vacancy – and I’m the biggest… love Casual Vacancy, I’m not one of the haters – but it was almost because she had success and people appreciated what was done with Cuckoo’s Calling and she’s got a TV series booked for Casual Vacancy, remember that. I’m sure Cuckoo’s Calling is going to be adapted soon… that it’s almost…
Kat: It was already optioned, I think.
Laura: Yeah, so it’s almost like she felt comfortable going back to Potter because she already has found that she could move away from it and have success. So now she feels comfortable going back.
Kat: Yeah. But again that begs the question, how long ago was this idea brought up? Has it been floating around Warner Bros. for a year? Was it brought up two weeks ago?
Eric: I think it’s fairly new. But also, I think that the idea or whatever that J.K. Rowling has is fully-formed by now…
Kat: Right. No, I would agree, just because Laura brought up Cuckoo’s Calling and its success. It’s only been public that she’s been the author for two months.
Eric: Something like that.
Kat: So this has to be older than that, and so I don’t think that so much would factor into it. I think it’s just the excitement factor. As she mentioned, she wouldn’t go back unless there was something she was excited about.
Eric: Our final comment comes from Tyler, @tylerpees on Twitter, who says,
“WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE. THERE IS HOPE.”
Eric: All in caps.
Eric: Amen, Tyler.
Kat: Amen, amen! Can I get an amen?
Eric: [as a Southern preacher] Can I get an amen?
Kat: That was very good, Eric.
Eric: Thank you.
Kat: Any time.
Laura: Okay, so like we’ve said, we have… this book is so comprehensive and it’s so deep, and I forgot how deep it was because I haven’t… I don’t even own a copy of this. I rented it when I was in the third grade from my library, and I was confused because I was like, wait, this is an actual Harry Potter book?
Eric: Laura, you have to go out and buy this book today. I’m telling you, otherwise you won’t be able to find it on shelves tomorrow. [laughs]
Kat: Which… no, he’s right.
Laura: This is very, very true. I’d be surprised if it’s even still in… if it is on a shelf, obviously bookstores will stock it.
Eric: Well, go to your children’s section. [laughs] It’s the book with the little cutesy green cover with the little…
Laura: Yeah. I remember reading it – getting it in the library – and I was confused because it said by Newt Scamander and it had the notes from Harry Potter inside of it.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Laura: And I remember it being really cheesy. But anyway, my point is that there’s so much to talk about, and we’ll get to it eventually of going deep into this book and how expansive it is. But right now, as almost a little preview to that, we all wanted to talk about… just briefly we went through it and picked one beast that stood out to us that we’d most like to see come to life in the films. So I’ll get things started. Now, I’m someone that’s a secret pyromaniac; I don’t actually set things on fire, but I just love fire as a concept and… [laughs] so this is right in the beginning of the book. One of the first creatures is the Ashwinder. It’s got a Ministry of Magic classification of XXX, so it’s moderately dangerous. And I’ll just read the description:
“The Ashwinder is created when a magical fire (any fire to which a magical substance such as Floo powder has been added) is allowed to burn unchecked for too long. A thin, pale-grey serpent with glowing red eyes, it will rise from the embers of an unsupervised fire and slither away into the shadows of the dwelling in which it finds itself, leaving an ashy trail behind it.”
Which is just so visual, such a great visual.
“The Ashwinder lives for only an hour and during that time seeks a dark and secluded spot to lay its eggs, after which it will collapse into dust. Ashwinder eggs are brilliant red and give off intense heat. They will ignite the dwelling within minutes if not found and frozen with a suitable charm. Any wizard realizing that one or more Ashwinders are loose in the house must trace them immediately and locate the nest of eggs. Once frozen, these eggs are of great value for use in Love Potions and may be eaten whole as a cure for ague.”
“Ashwinders are found worldwide.”
Okay, so this one, it’s not the most exciting, it’s not the biggest one, but just the visual… that first paragraph caught my eye so much, it was just this serpent…
Caleb: I don’t like it. I hate snakes. I don’t like it. Get it away!
Laura: I guess…
Eric: Well, Caleb…
Caleb: I know it’s not a snake, but it’s very similar.
Kat: It is a serpent.
Eric: Just keep your fires well-tended and be sure to put them out before a snake can be created.
Laura: I just love the idea that it originates from nothing, that the way it’s created is just from fire, and…
Kat: So I’m guessing that Hogwarts probably had a lot of these after the Room of Requirement fire.
Kat: Oh, what?
Eric: They were Fiend[fyre] Ashwinders. [laughs]
Kat: Yes, exactly.
Laura: I know you hate snakes, Caleb, but it’s… and I’m the same way when I’m reading all about all these weird fish things; I want none of it. But to me, that visual is just so cool, of something that’s just slithering and then turns to ash within an hour. Plotwise it probably isn’t that interesting, but I’m… as someone who hearts fire…
Kat: The other thing that I thought was cool about this is the fact that the eggs are fiery and that they’re used in Love Potions. That just is…
Laura: Ooh, that’s true.
Kat: Brilliant. Brilliant.
Laura: I didn’t even catch that.
Kat: I love it.
Laura: And that being said – also with the fire – I also love, love, love dragons, so my initial thought is just… I want to see every dragon and learn more of the differences about them. But I also… shout-out to the Mooncalves which are adorable and remind me of…
Laura: You know that Pixar short with the sheep that dances?
Kat: Yes. [laughs]
Laura: That’s exactly what I’m picturing because it says they’re little calves that go and do elaborate dances.
Laura: But yeah.
Eric: Well, of all the creatures in this book, I kind of… at least for this segment, I wanted to pick one that I knew could still live in North America since we know that’s where we’re going to be. And in particular, I ran across two creatures. This is what I like about this book, is that the creatures are interconnected and actually, I see that the creature Caleb chose is intertwined with the creature that I then chose, which is a gnome. And I know that we’ve already seen gnomes – they’re at the Weasleys’ garden – but I’ll just read the description here:
“M.O.M. Classification: XX. The gnome is a common garden pest found throughout northern Europe and North America. It may reach a foot in height, with a disproportionately large head and hard, bony feet. The gnome can be expelled from the garden by swinging it in circles until dizzy and then dropping it over the garden wall. Alternatively a Jarvey may be used…”
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
“…though many wizards nowadays find this method of gnome-control too brutal.”
Laura: Of all the creatures, you’re most excited about seeing a gnome?
Eric: Most excited about seeing Gnome versus Jarvey.
Laura: Okay. [laughs]
Eric: It’s kind of… we’ll get into… you should just go straight into Caleb’s… [laughs]
Caleb: Yes. So I also selected one that is particularly found in North America for the same reason, and I chose the Jarvey. Ministry Classification: XXX, and it says,
“The Jarvey is found in Britain, Ireland, and North America. It resembles an overgrown ferret in most respects, except for the fact that it can talk. True conversation, however, is beyond the wit of the Jarvey, which tends to confine itself to short (and often rude) phrases…”
“… in an almost constant stream. Jarveys live mostly below ground, where they pursue gnomes, though they will also eat moles, rats, and voles.”
So I chose the Jarvey mainly because it has a very… seems like it has a snarky and sort of sassy personality…
Caleb: … which definitely fits with me, so… I like the fact that it can talk and make… doesn’t really communicate in conversation, but still makes rude phrases.
Kat: You’re just trying to insert yourself into the movie anyway you can.
Eric: [laughs] We know! We know that…
Caleb: Okay, Kat, I just want to be in a movie! [laughs]
Laura: Caleb wants to be a Jarvey.
Eric: Well hey, they could probably cast American actors. Dude, guys, we could all go into the casting call, for extras and stuff.
Caleb: I mean, I’ve been thinking about this all day.
Kat: [singing] Amazing!
Eric: [singing] Amazing!
Kat: It’s not like we won’t know about it before anybody else.
Eric: Oh-ho! But the cool thing is, Jarveys can talk… I think we know that gnomes can talk. Gnomes, at least, can do these little grunts and “Hey! Let me go!”
Kat: [imitating gnome] “Get off me!”
Eric: At least in the video games, [as a gnome] “Geroff! Geroff!”
Caleb: [as a gnome] “Geroff! Geroff!” [laughs]
Eric: And so I was thinking of a scene where Newt is called to the garden of a friend to deal with gnomes and the gnomes are being chased by these Jarveys and there’s lots of expletives being thrown around. [laughs]
Eric: And the gnomes are being chased and they’re winning and the Jarvey gets a hold of him, and then Newt comes and saves the gnome but gets rid of the Jarvey.
Eric: I just saw that as being a very hands-on moment, an opportunity for Newt Scamander, the beast researcher.
Laura: Eric gets cast as the gnome…
Laura: … and Caleb gets cast as a Jarvey.
[Caleb makes chewing noises]
Kat: [laughs] Thank God!
Caleb: I’m a pi-ra-nha!
Kat: That would be amazing.
Laura: I’ll be the Mooncalf.
Eric: So we both chose our spirit beasts for this, I guess.
Laura: Oh my God, we totally seemed to!
Kat: Clearly! So of course, I chose a beast that has a Ministry of Magic classification of XXXXX…
Laura: [singing] Dum-dum-dum.
Kat: Which I believe is defined in the book as “Known wizard killer / impossible to train or domesticate”, and it is the Quintaped. It has a very, very, very long description, but basically it’s “a highly dangerous carnivorous beast with a particular taste for humans” – of course.
[Caleb makes chewing noises]
“Its low-slung body is covered with thick reddish-brown hair, as are its five legs, each of which ends in a clubfoot. The Quintaped is found only upon the Isle of Drear off the northernmost tip of Scotland. Drear has been made unplottable for this reason.”
So one of the reasons I picked this animal is because, hello? Plot potential!
Kat: He has to go find this unplottable island or whatever in the northernmost tip of Scotland. Plus…
Laura: I’m having so much trouble picturing what this looks like.
Kat: Well, there’s a picture of him in the book.
Laura: Wow. Hmm.
Kat: But it looks like a five-legged spider. Basically, if you took a pentagon, put a body in the middle, with the five legs evenly spread out, that’s what it looks like, with two giant eyes on top.
Caleb: Kat, designing nightmares since 2013.
Laura: Spirit beasts!
Kat: But I also… this is not my spirit beast.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Kat: I would kill that little guy. But I think too, that it just has… it feels epic. It feels like Shelob, or like Aragog. It feels cinematic, and that’s why I chose the Quintaped.
Laura: Over the gnome?
Kat: Over the gnome, yep. Over the gnome.
Eric: We should really read the rest of this.
Kat: Okay, so I’ll read the rest. It says,
“Legend has it that the Isle of Drear was once populated by two wizarding families, the McCliverts and the MacBoons. A drunken wizarding duel between…”
Oh my God, all these words!
Laura: They’re Scottish!
Kat: [laughs] No. Somebody else read this.
Laura: McClivert, Quintius…
Eric: I’ll take over here.
“Legend has it that the Isle of Drear was once populated by two wizarding families, the McCliverts and the MacBoons. A drunken wizarding duel between Dugald, chief of the clan McClivert, and Quintius, head of the clan MacBoon, is supposed to have led to the death of Dugald. In retaliation, so the story has it, a gang of McCliverts surrounded the MacBoon dwellings one night and Transfigured each and every MacBoon into a monstrous five-legged creature. The McCliverts realized too late that the Transfigured MacBoons were infinitely more dangerous in this state (the MacBoons had the reputation for great ineptitude at magic). Moreover, the MacBoons resisted every attempt to turn them back into human form. The monsters killed every last one of the McCliverts until no human remained on the island. It was only then that the MacBoon monsters realized that in the absence of anyone to wield a wand, they would be forced to remain as they were forevermore.
Whether this tale is true or not will never be known. Certainly there are no surviving McCliverts or MacBoons to tell us what happened to their ancestors. The Quintapeds cannot talk and have strenuously resisted every attempt by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to capture a specimen and try to untransfigure it, so we must assume that if they are indeed, as their nickname suggests, Hairy MacBoons, they are quite happy to live out their days as beasts.”
Kat: Tell me that that doesn’t sound like an amazing story.
Laura: Yeah, that does sound pretty cool.
Caleb: Yeah. Hatfields and McCoys like to the tenth degree.
Kat: Yeah, and with magic. And I feel like that story could be the plot of an entire movie.
Laura: It is certainly one of the most in-depth descriptions you see in the book that goes into a plot versus just a description.
Kat: Exactly. So I’m calling it. I’m hoping it will be in at least one of the films. Boom! You heard it here first.
Eric: Yeah. That’s just one of those scary stories that speaks to human nature. Like you transfigure someone against their will, they end up liking it, and then they kill you.
Laura: It’s like Planet of the Apes.
Eric: Oh, wow.
Laura: Not really, but kind of.
Eric: Yeah. It’s very warped in that way.
Kat: Yeah. I just like the fact that it was transfigured wizards…
Eric: Yeah. Like they just created… it’s a magical creature that was engineered by magic…
Eric: … and as a result, it was – what’s the word? – an abomination of beasts and that sort of thing.
Caleb: So that pretty much wraps up what we’re going to talk about today on the new Fantastic Beasts movie. Like we said, we’re definitely going to do stuff in the future, especially as we learn more about what could be the content of the movie. But this is just some of our thoughts. I’m sure they’ll be ever-changing.
Kat: Yeah, and we’ll definitely continue to do little bonus episodes like this if there’s anything that relates to the book. Because like we mentioned, we are a book podcast, but as you know, MuggleNet has many other podcasts for you guys to check out. Of course, MuggleCast did an episode this morning talking all about the movie and the press release, and I think our newest podcast, Hogwarts Radio will be releasing an episode later today as well. So definitely check those out if you want to get all the info on… well, not all the info, all the speculative info on the…
Laura: Different movies.
Kat: Yeah, exactly.
Laura: Different features of it. But if you have any thoughts on this – I’m sure everyone does – if you have any specific beasts that you want to see, really any of your thoughts, feel free to send them over to our Twitter at @AlohomoraMN. You can post them on our Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore, or leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287). And of course you can always send us an email at alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com.
Caleb: All right. That does it for this special episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.
[Show music begins]
Laura: I’m Laura Reilly.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to this bonus episode of Alohomora!
Caleb: Open the Dumbledore – in space!
[Show music continues]
Laura: It’s really heart-warming to see all the people on my Facebook feed that are casual friends or whatever sharing the MuggleNet link. Obviously everyone from MuggleNet is sharing the MuggleNet link, but…