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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Hits Close to Home

A spectacular feast for the eyes, J.K. Rowling's new story is also a mirror of our changing reality.
IMAGE Warner Bros.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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About the author
Dyan Zarzuela
Council of Cool 9, Managing Editor, Columnist
Stalks celebrities, watches TV, marathons movies, curls up with books, and flails at concerts for a living. Also: semi-hardcore Whovian.
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A community page where you can share your feels and show your skills! Learn more here
Elaine Dela Cruz 5 hours ago

When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.

You'll make a home out of the darkness that when a ray of light suddenly hits you, you'll try to avoid it. You'll try to cover your eyes. You'll try to cover your ears from the voices trying to help you get out of it. You'll try to hide because your mind and body will go against your will to come out and live. Because the darkness that used to scare you, now comforts you in a way you thought has helped you survived life. And you'll try to live. Day by day. In the darkness. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to start. Not knowing who is with you. You will try to live until the darkness that once surrounds you is now within you. And everyday, it's gonna be a cycle of subtle torture. But let me tell you a secret. The darkness won't make you whole.

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You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?

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