Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first of five films conjured out of a very thin Hogwarts textbook and written for the big screen by J.K. Rowling herself, is in many ways similar to the Harry Potter series. We start off with an awkward loner who carries a lot of baggage. There's wonder at every turn in his world, but also life-threatening danger, and though he attempts to take on the evils by himself, his newfound friends insist on helping him in any way they can.
As a newly opened door to the wizarding world, specifically 1920's New York, Fantastic Beasts is highly entertaining even to the uninitiated, the Muggles, the No-Maj. We are all aspiring baker Kowalski as he marvels at the strange creatures residing in magizoologist Newt Scamander's suitcase, the lightning-quick Apparition of the witches and wizards, and the whole other universe hidden in plain sight.
But it also hits very close to home. We are all Newt Scamander when he heartbreakingly pleads with the authorities to not hurt his beasts, they are not dangerous, do not hurt them, please. We are all Newt and Tina as they discover the depth of deception of people in power, who prey on the innocent and frightened. We are with Newt and Tina as one person takes on the role of judge, jury, and executioner; we are with them as they bring this ruthless, manipulative person to justice.
We have said it before and we'll say it again: these are dark, dangerous times. It doesn't matter where you are in the world because everything is connected. Everything and everyone. The only way forward is for us to make an effort to understand each other, empathize with one another, and open lines of communication without the sickening vitriol in online and offline spaces.
In all of J.K. Rowling's stories, the holy trifecta is magic, teamwork, and love.
There is magic to be found everywhere, if we just open our eyes. It's the teamwork and love we all need to work on.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now showing in cinemas.