Thursday, June 4, 2009

J. K. Rowling - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

J. K. Rowling - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Publisher: Topeka Bindery | ISBN: 0613325419 | edition 2001 | PDF | 152 pages | 3,2 mb

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2001 book written by English author J. K. Rowling to benefit 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 Quidditch Through the Ages have raised £15.7 million. In a 2001 interview with publisher Scholastic, Rowling stated that she chose the subject of magical creatures because it was a fun topic for which she had already developed a lot of information. Rowling's name does not appear on the cover of the book, the work being credited under the pseudonym "Newt Scamander".

Fantastic Beasts purports to be a reproduction copy of a textbook owned by Harry Potter and written by magizoologist Newt Scamander, a fictional character in the Harry Potter series of novels. In the series, Magizoology is the study of magical creatures.

Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, provides the Foreword and explains to the reader the purpose of the special edition of this book (the Comic Relief charity). At the end, he tells us Muggles that "...the amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you." To his Wizarding community, he says, "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus", which is the Hogwarts motto. The phrase is Latin for "Never Tickle A Sleeping Dragon".

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them contains the history of Magizoology and describes 75 magical species found around the world. Scamander collected most of the information found in the book through observations made over years of travel and across five continents. The fictional author 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 fifty-second edition.

The book is a required textbook for first-year Hogwarts students, having been an approved textbook since its first publication. It is not clear why students need it in their first year, as students do not take Care of Magical Creatures until their third year. However, it may be used as an encyclopaedia of Dark creatures studied in Defence Against the Dark Arts classes. In his foreword to the book, Albus Dumbledore notes that it serves as an excellent reference for Wizarding households in addition to its use at Hogwarts.

A highlight of the book is the numerous doodles and comments in it by Harry and Ron (and one by Hermione). Based on some of their comments, they were 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 Hogwarts is located in Scotland.

Integrated in the design, the cover of the book appears to have been clawed by some sort of animal.