Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – The Original Screenplay

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – The Original Screenplay
Written by J.K. Rowling
Published by Scholastic Books on November 18, 2016
280 pages


A time and place where the actions of a handful of people… and creatures… will determine the fate of the many. Magizoologist, Newt Scamander, newly arrived in town, intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when Newt’s magical case is misplaced and some of his fantastic beasts escape into the city, it spells trouble for everyone…

My Review:

I loved this movie and this book! Now that’s a strong opening line for a review. But I can’t sugar coat it. My family and I saw the movie last weekend and I finished the screenplay shortly thereafter. Fantastic Beasts continues the wonderful story of the magic world. Ms. Rowling’s imagination has no end and I’m very happy about that.

The magical world in the America is a very different world than in England. I think Ms. Rowling’s opinions shined through into her screenplay (which I appreciate). Witches and Wizards can have no contact with No Majs (muggles). There is some very strong discrimination throughout the story which is pretty prevalent in America today. The American magical community is viewed as very closed-minded and isolated. As I was watching and reading Fantastic Beasts, I kept thinking “Newt, please take Tina, Queenie and Jacob back to England with you and lived happily ever after!”

My favorite characters have to be Queenie and Jacob. I loved their sweetness and acceptance of each other. Jacob’s realization that there is a magical world is so funny and brings a lot levity to the story. Queenie’s use of legilimency would make someone feel uncomfortable; but, she is so sweet and empathic it really didn’t seem untoward. I really loved Queenie and Jacob’s budding relationship. I hope it continues and flourishes in the movies to come.

As I was reading the screenplay, I could vividly see the movie playing out in my head. I really like this format; it makes for fun reading. Like the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts is fast-paced and quick to read. But make sure you see the movie first; it makes the screenplay so much more fun to read.



Guest Post: Researching a Story

I am very pleased to have Mr. Stuart Harris on my blog today. He is the author of The Northeast Quarter, a wonderful piece of historical fiction. He will be discussing how he researches for his stories. Please enjoy!

Did you research for the backdrop of your story or any other part of it?

I researched for some of the technical or historical details, but most of it came from first person accounts of people who were alive at the time the story takes place. A major part of The Northeast Quarter came from a promise to my mother. My parents grew up between 1918 and 1929, the time in which the story takes place. This period, between the end of WW1 and The Great Depression were years of tremendous economic upheaval in the rural areas. In fact, one might say The Depression crept into these rural areas with foreclosures, poor harvest and high interest rates while city people were enjoying The Roaring Twenties and dancing the Charleston.  My mother saw these events up close and developed a fear of what would happen to her family if America ever went through a second depression.  How would they survive it?

We also had Huey Long’s rise to power in Louisiana and Hitler beginning to emerge in Germany. In both cases, governmental power was getting easily out of control. Mother began to consider various ways to protect her family in the future.  Right or wrong, she envisioned a second Depression and the possibility of an executive order, which declared that no person could own land unless he lived on it.  She focused on one piece of property, which I’ll call Section Ten. Throughout my life she would say,

“Never sell Ten.  Promise me you’ll never sell it.  Promise me you’ll keep Ten for you and your family.”

Her strategy was that if there were ever another economic collapse, I could always go to Iowa, rent a camper and live on the property until the crisis had passed. This request for re-affirmation of my promise continued repeatedly. The last one was on her deathbed.

Mother passed away in 2006 and I own Section Ten. The crisis she envisioned never occurred, but the story of keeping her promise provided the springboard for the plot of The Northeast Quarter.

About the Author


Stuart M. Harris began writing for the theater professionally in 1991 when he was invited by the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York to attend a summer conference. The experience led the native Californian to move to New York to become a playwright. Several of his plays have been produced Off Broadway and around the country, among them. Oona Field produced by Diverse City Theater Company and Colleen Ireland, about a 90-year-old retirement home resident and her great granddaughter, that played in New York, Spokane and other cities, including Hamilton, OH, where it won ‘Best Play’ at The Fitton Center One-Act Playwriting Contest. A follow-up to Colleen was Spindrift Way, the first of ten more plays in the series. The Northeast Quarter began as a full-length play developed by the Works in Progress Theatre Lab at Manhattan Theatre Club Studios. Harris put playwriting on hold in order to weave the story of generations of Iowan farmers into his new historical novel. He lives in Brooklyn.

9781627873765-Perfect.inddDo you want revenge or do you want your land back?”

Winfield, Iowa. 1918. Colonel Wallace Carson, the ruler of a vast agricultural empire, asks Ann Hardy, his ten year old granddaughter and eventual heir, to promise she will safeguard The Northeast Quarter, the choice piece of land from which the empire was founded.  Ann readily accepts – little knowing what awaits her.  When The Colonel is killed unexpectedly the same afternoon, the world around Ann and her family begins to fall apart.

Against the background of America sliding from a post-war boom into The Great Depression, The Northeast Quarter tells the story of Ann’s struggle to keep a promise no matter what. She witnesses the remarriage of her grandmother to Royce Chamberlin, the seemingly humble banker who institutes a reign of terror over the household and proceeds to corrupt the entire town.

Over the next ten years she matches wits with Chamberlin, enduring betrayal, banishment and even physical violence.  She grows from a precocious child into a tough-minded young woman – watching, observing her enemy and waiting for the moment to make her move.

And when the moment comes in July 1929,  life in Winfield will never be the same.


Reveal: November Muse Monthly


It’s that time of the month where I have received my much anticipated Muse Monthly book subscription. Once again, it did not disappoint. The book looks really interesting and the tea looks delicious.

I love the packaging. It’s like opening a Christmas present! Here is what I received!


Mortifications By Derek Palacio

Derek Palacio’s stunning, mythic novel marks the arrival of a fresh voice and a new chapter in the history of 21st century Cuban-American literature.

In 1980, a rural Cuban family is torn apart during the Mariel Boatlift. Uxbal Encarnación—father, husband, political insurgent—refuses to leave behind the revolutionary ideals and lush tomato farms of his sun-soaked homeland. His wife Soledad takes young Isabel and Ulises hostage and flees with them to America, leaving behind Uxbal for the promise of a better life. But instead of settling with fellow Cuban immigrants in Miami’s familiar heat, Soledad pushes further north into the stark, wintry landscape of Hartford, Connecticut. There, in the long shadow of their estranged patriarch, now just a distant memory, the exiled mother and her children begin a process of growth and transformation.

Each struggles and flourishes in their own way: Isabel, spiritually hungry and desperate for higher purpose, finds herself tethered to death and the dying in uncanny ways. Ulises is bookish and awkwardly tall, like his father, whose memory haunts and shapes the boy’s thoughts and desires. Presiding over them both is Soledad. Once consumed by her love for her husband, she begins a tempestuous new relationship with a Dutch tobacco farmer. But just as the Encarnacións begin to cultivate their strange new way of life, Cuba calls them back. Uxbal is alive, and waiting.

Breathtaking, soulful, and profound, The Mortifications is an intoxicating family saga and a timely, urgent expression of longing for one’s true homeland.

Wight Tea Company: Sage Rose White Tea

I love white teas and I cannot wait to start brewing it. Yum! Yum!

It was another fun and great month of Muse Monthly!


Book Beginnings: Hidden Figures



Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name. Book Beginnings on Friday is every week by Rose City Reader.

25953369Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race  by Margot Lee Shetterly

Chapter One: A Door Opens

Melvin Butler, the personnel officer at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, had a problem, the scope and nature of which was made plain in a May 1943 telegram to the civil service’s chief of field operations. “This establishment has urgent need for approximately 100 Junior Physicists and Mathematicians, 100 Assistant Computers, 75 Minor Laboratory Apprentices, 125 Helper Trainees, 50 Stenographers and Typists,” exclaimed the missive.

My Thoughts

This book is so incredibly interesting. Learning about African American women and their role in the space program is fascinating. I watched read and watch so many things concerning the space program but they all failed to tell these amazing women’s stories.