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In the winter of 2016, I was in a rather bad place; my grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer, I was struggling at work and felt behind at uni as well as struggling to make new friends. I had already been suffering from depression for five and a half years at that point, including having suicidal thoughts and harming myself.
And then Fantastic Beasts came out, and it changed everything.
I had already been a Potter fan for years, from the age of eleven, and Hogwarts became a home for me just as it had for so many people. Potter was one of the key things that helped me survive secondary school, and it’s something I’m still obsessed with today. I wasn’t too sure on ‘Beasts’ at first, worried it might ruin the magic of Potter and just be a cash grab - but then I gave the film a chance, and I haven’t looked back since.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows Newt Scamander, a Magizoologist, in New York when several of his beasts escape from his magical suitcase. He meets three friends along the way and... well, I won’t give TOO much of the plot away!
I immediately found myself drawn to Tina, the leading lady of the film; there are so many similarities between the two of us, from being the older sister to being awkward and “gawky." Having read the original textbook, I knew she later ends up married to Newt and living in Dorset—I immediately fell in love with their awkward and thus-far-slowburn relationship, and their goodbye in the film is one of my favourite scenes. Seeing Tina on-screen gave me some kind of courage that I hadn’t known I needed—I felt like I could be myself, that I was represented in this magical world J.K. Rowling had created, and that it was okay to be the awkward gawky older sister.
I love the other characters too; Jacob the No-Maj/Muggle who represents how all of us would react if we were given a chance to witness the Wizarding World firsthand; Queenie, the beautiful Legilimens who’s so lovely. I have a particular soft spot for Credence, finding that his story in the film reflects what can happen if we try to hide who we really are, if we try to bottle it up and suppress it.
Now, with less that 25 days until I get to witness the second film, Crimes of Grindelwald, in the cinema, I’m finding myself thankful for this film and for the future films to come. I’m thankful for JK Rowling and for the cast and crew of these amazing films - each of them has brought something so special to our lives, and I’d personally be truly lost without them.
I cannot wait to see what’s in store for the Wizarding World, for these characters who are already shaping who I become as I enter adulthood.