In light of the release of the newest member to the Pottermore franchise (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), I thought it only right I take this time to remind people of just how great the Harry Potter fandom really is.
Look how glorious this is. LOOK AT IT
There are those that scoff at the mass hysteria caused by the Potter phenomenon, and those that turn up there nose at “magic books for kids”. Those people are idiots, and I have no need for their negativity in my life. The Harry Potter books have brought something wonderful to this world, and their impact on history cannot be denied. Regardless of the social implications that each book addresses, such as conversations on the class system, feminism and the questionable treatment of children whilst in positions of responsibility (I’m looking at you, Snape); each of which are subjects on which I can talk for hours (oh god do not even test me), it’s first and foremost a bloody good story.
Indeed, if it wasn’t for The Philosopher’s Stone, it is quite likely I would still be the meanest little beast towards my older sister. That book brought us together and encouraged me to realise that my Robin was not just for biting and stealing from, but instead a wonderful sister with some excellent conversational topics. We’ve spent years bonding over each new story – going to midnight releases, opening film nights and getting signatures from Lizo Mzimba from Newsround whilst standing next to the Hogwarts Express. For that reason alone I would champion the series, but that is a purely personal point. For the wider audience, it offer a connection to millions of people you’ve never met, and an emotional impact that lasts a lifetime.
I can actually still remember finishing the last book at around 5 in the morning the day after waiting in line to pick it up, and feeling, possibly for the first time in my life, that heart wrenching pain of knowing something was truly over. That devastating moment of coming out of another world and knowing that whilst you can always revisit it, it will never hold quite the same mystery as when you first stepped in. It’s possibly this reason that I was so excited over the release of the new film this year. This is a new chapter to an old story, offering insights into a reality that has so much yet still to offer. Whilst I will obviously miss the characters I grew up with (more than is probably healthy), having the chance to find out more about the history and backstory of the original content is something that I didn’t even realise I needed so much.
Thankfully, I am not the only one with a fanatical Haz Poz love in my friendship group (even if SOMEONE still hasn’t finished the books *looking at you Ross*). As a team, we have spent so long waiting for this that by the time it came round, we were pretty much a mess, which was not helped by a most traumatic event during our first viewing. Indeed after spending Saturday being quite hysterical, our cinematic enjoyment was horrifically cut short (about 25 minutes before the end) due to a town wide power cut. After telling each other in slightly high pitched tones that it would be fine and it would be back on again soon, we were shepherded outside and after about half an hour were eventually forced to give up, cue much lamenting, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Returning bright and early Sunday dinnertime, we tried again, only momentarily holding our breath at a particular section in case of any other technical mishap (of which thankfully, there were none). And I have to say, it was completely worth it.
Standard team selfie – this was before the film had even started
This new film is lucky in the fact that is has no primary source material to try and adhere to. Sure, there are certain canonical facts that will need to be referenced (Omg Dumbledore and Grindlewald must have a dramatic and heartfelt kiss or I shall not be pleased) and elements from is titular book that it must imitate, but mostly it is free to be whatever it wants. And thankfully, what it wants seems to be pretty splendid so far. Unlike the original films, which whilst holding a place in my heart will never truly please my inner fangirl, these new ones don’t have to live up to in-depth and intricately previously-written plots. With only the very bare bones of a story, they are free to travel though time and geography as they please. And I for one am more than happy to applaud the choice of starting point in 1920’s New York.
(side line – fancy a fun fact about New York? The Big Apple is powered by the largest commercial underground steam system in the world. It’s bigger than the next nine largest steam systems combined and powers over 2000 buildings, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, and the United Nations headquarters. That’s why there are all those iconic pictures/videos etc of steam shooting up through the pavement grids – it’s an actual steam punk city)!
The characters are new and the producers are able to take them in any direction they like, without fear of retribution or shouts of “miscasting”. Obviously we will be following Newt throughout the coming series, but the introduction of characters like Queenie (my one true love) and Narlack (shout out to my main man Ron Pearlman) is nothing to be sneezed at. If they continue in this vein, there will be a whole new cast to add to an already pretty excellent (if fictional) family.
Overall, being allowed back into a world that we mere muggles (or “no-majs”) have been fondly reminiscing over for years is a present that 15 year old Eleanor didn’t think she’d ever get, and one that 25 year old Eleanor is more than happy to receive.
Farewell for now, my naughty little Nifflers.