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A brand new edition of this essential companion to the Harry Potter stories, with a new foreword from J.K. Rowling (writing as Newt Scamander), and 6 new beasts!
A set textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander’s masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world. Scamander’s years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books – the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail… Others will surprise even the most ardent amateur Magizoologist. Dip in to discover the curious habits of magical beasts across five continents…
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
With thanks to J.K. Rowling for creating this book and so generously giving all her royalties from it to Comic Relief and Lumos
Foreword by the Author
In 2001, a reprint of the first edition of my book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was made available to Muggle readers. The Ministry of Magic consented to this unprecedented release to raise money for Comic Relief, a well-respected Muggle charity. I was permitted to reissue the book only on condition that a disclaimer was included, assuring Muggle readers that it was a work of fiction. Professor Albus Dumbledore agreed to provide a foreword that met the case and we were both delighted that the book raised so much money for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Following the declassification of certain secret documents kept at the Ministry of Magic, the wizarding world has recently learned a little more about the creation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
I am not yet in a position to tell the full story of my activities during the two decades that Gellert Grindelwald terrorised the wizarding world. As more documents become declassified over the coming years, I will be freer to speak openly about my role in that dark period in our history. For now, I shall confine myself to correcting a few of the more glaring inaccuracies in recent press reports.
In her recent biography Man or Monster? The TRUTH About Newt Scamander, Rita Skeeter states that I was never a Magizoologist, but a Dumbledore spy who used Magizoology as a ‘cover’ to infiltrate the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in 1926.
This, as anyone who lived through the 1920s will know, is an absurd claim. No undercover wizard would have chosen to pose as a Magizoologist in that period. An interest in magical beasts was considered dangerous and suspect, and taking a case full of such creatures into a major city was, in retrospect, a serious mistake.
I went to America to free a trafficked Thunderbird, which was quite risky enough, given that MACUSA had a curse-to-kill policy on all magical creatures at the time. I am proud to say that one year after my visit, President Seraphina Picquery instituted a Protective Order on Thunderbirds, an edict she would eventually extend to all magical creatures. (At President Picquery’s request, I made no mention of the more important American magical creatures in the first edition of Fantastic Beasts, because she wished to deter wizarding sightseers. As the American wizarding community was subject to greater persecution at that time than their European counterparts, and given that I had inadvertently contributed to a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy in New York, I agreed. I have reinstated them in their rightful place in this new edition.)
It would take months to contradict every other wild assertion in Miss Skeeter’s book. I shall simply add that, far from being ‘the love rat who left Seraphina Picquery heartbroken’, the President made it clear that if I didn’t leave New York voluntarily and speedily, she would take drastic steps to eject me.
It is true that I was the first person ever to capture Gellert Grindelwald and also true that Albus Dumbledore was something more than a schoolteacher to me. More than this I cannot say without fear of breaching the Official Magical Secrets Act or, more importantly, the confidences that Dumbledore, most private of men, placed in me.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a labour of love in more ways than one. As I look back over this early book, I relive memories that are etched on every page, though invisible to the reader. It is my fondest hope that a new generation of witches and wizards will find in its pages fresh reason to love and protect the incredible beasts with whom we share magic.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them represents the fruit of many years’ travel and research. I look back across the years to the seven-year-old wizard who spent hours in his bedroom dismembering Horklumps and I envy him the journeys to come: from darkest jungle to brightest desert, from mountain peak to marshy bog, that grubby Horklump-encrusted boy would track, as he grew up, the beasts described in the following pages. I have visited lairs, 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 my travelling kettle.
The first edition of Fantastic Beasts was commissioned back in 1918 by Mr Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books, who was kind enough to ask me whether I would consider writing an authoritative compendium of magical creatures for his publishing house. I was then but a lowly Ministry of Magic employee and leapt at the chance both to augment my pitiful salary of two Sickles a week and to spend my holidays travelling the globe in search of new magical species. The rest is publishing history.
This Introduction is intended to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions that have been arriving in my weekly postbag ever since this book was first published in 1927. The first of these is that most fundamental question of all – what is a ‘beast’?
WHAT IS A BEAST?
The definition of a ‘beast’ has caused controversy for centuries. Though this might surprise some first-time students of Magizoology, the problem might come into clearer focus if we take a moment to consider three types of magical creature.
Werewolves spend most of their time as humans (whether wizard or Muggle). Once a month, however, they transform into savage, four-legged beasts of murderous intent and no human conscience.
The centaurs’ habits are not human-like; they live in the wild, refuse clothing, prefer to live apart from wizards and Muggles alike and yet have intelligence equal to theirs.
Trolls bear a humanoid appearance, walk upright, may be taught a few simple words and yet are less intelligent than the dullest unicorn and possess no magical powers in their own right except for their prodigious and unnatural strength.
We now ask ourselves: which of these creatures is a ‘being’ – that is to say, a creature worthy of legal rights and a voice in the governance of the magical world – and which is a ‘beast’?
Early attempts at deciding which magical creatures should be designated ‘beasts’ were extremely crude.
Burdock Muldoon, Chief of the Wizards’ Council[1 - The Wizards’ Council preceded the Ministry of Magic.] in the fourteenth century, decreed that any member of the magical community that walked on two legs would henceforth be granted the status of ‘being’, all others to remain ‘beasts’. In a spirit of friendship he summoned all ‘beings’ to meet with the wizards at a summit to discuss new magical laws and found to his intense dismay that he had miscalculated. The meeting hall was crammed with goblins who had brought with them as many two-legged creatures as they could find. As Bathilda Bagshot tells us in A History of Magic:
Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning of the Augureys and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers. As wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with their clubs, while hags glided about the place in search of children to eat. The Council Chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall.
As we see, the mere possession of two legs was no guarantee that a magical creature could or would take an interest in the affairs of wizard government. Embittered, Burdock Muldoon forswore any further attempts to integrate non-wizard members of the magical community into the Wizards’ Council.
Muldoon’s successor, Madame Elfrida Clagg, attempted to redefine ‘beings’ in the hope of creating closer ties with other magical creatures. ‘Beings’, she declared, were those who could speak the human tongue. All those who could make themselves understood to Council members were therefore invited to join the next meeting. Once again, however, there were problems. Trolls who had been taught a few simple sentences by the goblins proceeded to destroy the hall as before. Jarveys raced around the Council’s chair legs, tearing at as many ankles as they could reach. Meanwhile a large delegation of ghosts (who had been barred under Muldoon’s leadership on the grounds that they did not walk on two legs, but glided) attended but left in disgust at what they later termed ‘the Council’s unashamed emphasis on the needs of the living as opposed to the wishes of the dead’. The centaurs, who under Muldoon had been classified as ‘beasts’ and were now under Madame Clagg defined as ‘beings’, refused to attend the Council in protest at the exclusion of the merpeople, who were unable to converse in anything except Mermish while above water.
Not until 1811 were definitions found that most of the magical community found acceptable. Grogan Stump, the newly appointed Minister for Magic, decreed that a ‘being’ was ‘any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws’.[2 - An exception was made for the ghosts, who asserted that it was insensitive to class them as ‘beings’ when they were so clearly ‘has-beens’. Stump therefore created the three divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that exist today: the Beast Division, the Being Division and the Spirit Division.] Troll representatives were questioned in the absence of goblins and judged not to understand anything that was being said to them; they were therefore classified as ‘beasts’ despite their two-legged gait; merpeople were invited through translators to become ‘beings’ for the first time; fairies, pixies and gnomes, despite their humanoid appearance, were placed firmly in the ‘beast’ category.
Naturally, the matter has not rested there. We are all familiar with the extremists who campaign for the classification of Muggles as ‘beasts’; we are all aware that the centaurs have refused ‘being’ status and requested to remain ‘beasts’;[3 - The centaurs objected to some of the creatures with whom they were asked to share ‘being’ status, such as hags and vampires, and declared that they would manage their own affairs separately from wizards. A year later the merpeople made the same request. The Ministry of Magic accepted their demands reluctantly. Although a Centaur Liaison Office exists in the Beast Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, no centaur has ever used it. Indeed, ‘being sent to the Centaur Office’ has become an in-joke at the Department and means that the person in question is shortly to be fired.] werewolves, meanwhile, have been shunted between the Beast and Being divisions for many years; at the time of writing there is an office for Werewolf Support Services at the Being Division whereas the Werewolf Registry and Werewolf Capture Unit fall under the Beast Division. Several highly intelligent creatures are classified as ‘beasts’ because they are incapable of overcoming their own brutal natures. Acromantulas and Manticores are capable of intelligent speech but will attempt to devour any human that goes near them. The sphinx talks only in puzzles and riddles, and is violent when given the wrong answer.
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