Book vs. Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantasticbeastsposterThe book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was originally just a textbook in the Harry Potter series and, in the series, written by Newt Scamander. So, Rowling took this textbook and wrote it up (as Newt) for all of us Muggles to read. Rowling also wrote the film adaptation’s screenplay based on the textbook

The book is almost like a encyclopedia describing many of the beasts and creatures in Harry Potter. It also has “notes” written by Ron, Harry and Hermione. It is really cool book and it teaches you a little more about the creatures in Harry Potter.

The movie, however, is a completely different script written by J.K Rowling. It is about Newt Scamander who comes to America to research the one beast he has yet to see. But, one of his creatures gets out of his suitcase which results in him using magic in front a Muggle. This act gets him summoned before the Magical Congress of the Untied States of America (MACUSA) where he meets Porpetina and Queenie, two ministry workers. These two girls, Newt, and the Muggle Jacob end up having to hunt around the city for all of Newt’s lost creatures. Their search brings them in confrontation with a mysterious magical entity that is wreaking havoc in the city. It is revealed that Credence, an orphan under the care of a vindictive, magic-fearing woman bent of rooting out magic, created an Obscurus which manifested out of his hate for his adoptive mother. Newt and his gang were able to calm Credence down and stop him from wrecking any more of the city.  Within all this havoc Percival Graves, an Auror, is revealed to be the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald is disguise. This movie is a really great addition to the world of Harry Potter and it really gives you insight of the wizarding world in America.

The book and movie are both really wonderful and very enjoyable. The only elements they share are the named character Newt Scamander and many of the creatures mentioned in the original book. So, there really is not that much to compare because they are so different, one being an actual story while the other is more of a textbook. In fact, the script of the movie was a totally new story line written by Rowling.  I recommend reading the book and watching the movie to anyone who has the time.

-Ava G.

J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

fantastic-beastsThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter appears to be undying, coming back in the form of new books, new amusement parks, and new stories that continue to grow in popularity. J.K. Rowling’s universe now travels to America for Warner Bros. latest movie: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. 

It’s the 1920s, and wizards in America are in hiding. All signs of magic must be kept on the down-low, especially with a Muggle (Or No-Maj, as the American wizards call them) group called the Second Salemers protesting magic in the streets. Tensions are high; a mysterious shadow-like creature is terrorizing New York, and wizardry is on the brink of being revealed to the public. The last thing New York needs is an awkward Hufflepuff carrying a poorly-sealed case full of beasts around town.

Newt Scamander, an ex-Hogwarts student and magical creature extraordinaire, arrives in New York City in the hopes of purchasing a rare beast. However, instead of obtaining a new creature, he accidentally lets his own loose in the city. He and his human friend Jacob, the Ex-Auror Tina her mind-reading sister Queenie must scour New York for the lost beasts, all while evading capture from the Magical Congress and keeping an eye out for the shadowy force attacking New York’s streets and buildings.

It wasn’t until I saw magic on the big screen again did I realize just how much I’d missed the Harry Potter universe. It was, well, fantastic to be brought back into a world of wands and wizards. Eddie Redmayne plays the perfect Newt Scamander, what with his nervous stature and lovable awkwardness. He devoted himself to the role, and the character really came alive for me. Tina (Katherine Waterson), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) were also very well cast and incredibly enjoyable to watch. When Jacob could’ve easily been reduced to purely comic relief, the film turns his character into a wonderful and loyal friend for Newt. Mr. Graves, a fitting name for a villain, was convincing, but I have to say that the Second Salemer family- the Barebones- was far more chilling and creepy.

I must say what stole the show were the visual effects. All of the CG and computer-animated magic and monsters were absolutely phenomenal. I was blown away by how real everything looked, and the sheer creativeness when it came to Newt’s beasts or his briefcase was outstanding. The finale in particular used today’s technology in its full potential, delivering visual effects so mind-blowing that I couldn’t bear to blink and miss a second of it. I predict an Oscar nomination, and hopefully a win, for the cinematography in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

I highly recommend this movie to everyone, Harry Potter fans in particular. One of my friends, who has never really been a fan of the franchise, went to see it anyways and came out loving it. I want to go see it over and over, re-immerse myself in that world and see the magic again. The movie’s four upcoming sequels primarily seemed unnecessary, but I cannot wait for each and every one!

-Abby F.

Authors We Love: J.K. Rowling

jkrowling_authorsweloveJ.K Rowling is my favorite author, by far. She is the author of the Harry Potter series including three short books designed to be textbooks from the Wizarding World. She also has written three adult crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. She was born and raised in Britain with not a lot of money which influenced her to donate large sums of money after her publishing success.

She is famous for writing and creating the world of Harry Potter, a children’s series consisting of seven books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also known as Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. These books are about a boy named Harry Potter who finds out that he is a wizard. Not just any wizard, the only wizard to be able to survive the forbidden killing curse, Avada Kedavra. As the books go along, you get to see Harry and his friends (know-it-all Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley) grow up, learn magic and progress through Hogwarts, the wizarding school. You see them struggle to try and defeat Voldermort and his followers called Death Eaters who, are pretty much trying to take over the wizarding world. In the books Rowling throws in sudden twists and turns that keep you captivated and makes you not want to put the books down.

Outside of the novels, Rowling penned three mini novels that were referenced in the series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a textbook written by Newt Scamander and it describes many types of magical creatures in the wizarding world. This book, previously “owned” by Harry, Ron, and Hermione has notes about the all the creatures written in the margins. Rowling also wrote a storyline based on some of the ideas in the book which is soon to be released as a feature film.

The Tales of Beetle the Bard is a compilation of stories meant to be an in-universe collection for children. All the stories, are all unique in its own way. The version of the book sold, had pages of notes that are said to be written by Dumbledore.

Quidditch Through the Ages in Harry Potter, is an informational book about the history and rules of Quidditch. Reading this offers an in-depth explanation of how Quidditch was created by withces and wizards and how the game works.

J.K. Rowling, is an amazing author. The books she has written are just so captivating and well written. I really enjoyed reading her works and I hope everyone likes it just as much as I do.

-Ava G.

The Importance of Feminism in Literature

A few weeks ago in my English class, a student asked, “Why are all the books we’re reading this year written by women?”

I thought to myself that this question wouldn’t be asked if we were reading books written by men, like we usually do.

The representation of women in the media is important and influential. Women in literature are especially important, whether they are characters or authors. Women are grossly underrepresented in the media and it’s time we changed that.

harry_potter_coverAn example of why feminism is needed in the media, especially in the literary world, is that J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was told by her publicist to use the pen name J.K. Rowling because if she were to use her full name, Joanne Rowling, she would not sell as many books because women do not sell as many books as men as a result of society’s prejudices against their gender. Women are still not equal to men in this day but equality can be achieved step by step if we take the necessary steps.

Young girls and boys need female characters that they can look up to. Young girls as well as young boys need to know that female characters can achieve just as much as male characters can. It is important for children as well as adults to see the potential of female characters.

The majority of main characters in books are male. Female characters are usually used as minor characters or love interests. When female characters are love interests, they are reduced to just that. They become surface-level characters, who exist solely to be a love interest.

catching_fire_posterOn the occasion that female characters are well developed or portrayed as strong, they are detached, unemotional, and cold. If women are to be strong, they are not allowed to have any emotions because they are considered to be a sign of weakness. An example of this is Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins She is a strong female character yet she shows little to no emotion. If she was head over heels in love with Peeta or Gale, would she still be considered to be a “strong female character?”

Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers was asked, “So, why do you write these strong female characters? to which, he replied “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

Feminism is still relevant today– issues of equality still exist and will continue to exist unless we do something about it. People in the media such as authors and directors have the power to create complex characters who can defy gender and social norms and to break the barrier of inequality.

-Sarah B., 12th grade

The Fantasy Genre: Helpful or Not?

harry_potter_kazu_kibuishi

Cover art by Kazu Kibuishi for the 15th anniversary edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In an article published last month in The Telegraph, author Joanna Trollope declares the fantasy genre to be less “helpful” than the classics. I disagree with her assertion but I understand why she finds the fantasy genre to be less helpful than classic novels. A quote by another author, Neil Gaiman, summarizes what I learned from the article:

“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”

This quote reveals the possible consequences of dragging children away from the fantasy genre. I believe that Trollope means well by wanting children to challenge themselves with classic novels, but forcing children away from the fantasy genre will only hurt them. Readers of all ages, especially children need the fantasy genre to show them that there is so much more to our world than it appears. However, regardless of what children choose to read, is important to encourage them to continue to read.

Yet, I believe that the fantasy genre can facilitate much more imagination and intelligence than classic novels are able to. I believe that the fantasy genre is, in fact, more helpful than the classics. While I love both classic novels and fantasy novels, I find that fantasy novels are much more helpful to me than classics are. To me, they are more relatable and frankly much more interesting.

A fantasy title that has helped me grow and learn is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. These novels have left such a profound impression upon me and they have become a part of me. They offered me an entire universe to explore and escape to. They have shown me love, hope, and even death. They have done more for me than any other novel of any other genres have.

The fantasy genre is quite commonly dismissed like the way we see in this article, but those who read the genre know that it is so much more than escapism. It allows the reader to see the world in a different way. A quote that exemplifies this is:

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” – G.K. Chesterton

This quote is important because it emphasizes the very essence of fairy tales and the fantasy genre as a whole. They inspire and give hope to the reader. They make them believe in not only magic or monsters but in themselves. The fantasy genre provides a whole new world for readers of all ages. Through fantastical lands and creatures, they are exposed to new points of view and experiences that they are not able to gain from any other genre. The fantasy genre is essential for readers because it shows them that there is more to life than their own life.

-Sarah B., 12th grade

Top 5 Fictional Schools I’d Like to Attend

hogwarts

image copyright Warner Bros.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
After living in the wizarding world for the duration of the saga, who didn’t deny their muggle roots, and delude themselves into believing they possessed the ability to spell-cast? What if you could live in Harry’s world, where you would receive your attendance letter when you turn eleven and get shipped off on the Hogwarts Express for your first year (unless you’re a Squib, of course ) in September? My friends and I still reassure ourselves that our letters obviously got lost via owl post, and Dumbledore will make an exception when he discovers his tragic mistake… and we’re going on fourteen.
See also: Beauxbatons Academy of Magic or Dumstrang Institute of Sorcery

2. Camp Half-Blood from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
Don’t want to be a wizard? How about the child of a Greek god? Your friends would be your family (literally, for all the gods have some relation to one another; therefore, their children do as well). You’d have the opportunity to venture into the mortal world and perform dangerous tasks for the gods (which you would hopefully succeed). Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a demigod? I definitely would.
See also: Camp Jupiter from the Heroes of Olympus series (for those with Roman deity heritage)

gallagher_girls13. The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women from the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
The girls who attend this school have reputations of rich, genius heiresses, but they’re really clandestine agents-in-training for the CIA, under cover. I would absolutely love to be trained in the art of espionage, and going to a school that specializes in just that? Now that would be awesome. 
See also: Blackthorne Institute for Troubled Young Men (I thought it was even cooler than the girls’ spy school! For those of you who have read the books, you know who the boys really are. Those of you who haven’t– read the books; you’ll find out.)

4. The Princess Academy from Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Every girl (okay, most girls…) wanted to be a princess at one point in time, whether you idolized Snow White, or someone a bit more like Mulan. At the Princess Academy, competition and challenges prevail in order to discover the best fit for the throne; whether its testing your poise and composure in times of danger or your tolerance when it comes to the immature practical jokes of your classmates, the Princess Academy separates the arrogant from the strong, and the smart from the intelligent.

alphas_cover5. The Alpha Academy from the Alphas series by Lisi Harrison
The Alpha Academy is a school for the next generation of powerful, influential woman (sorry, boys!), “without any distractions from the mediocre world.” The girls are forced to compete — after all, there can only be one Alpha — for worldwide fame, fortune, and guaranteed success in life. The series was… okay… (not exactly my cup of tea) but being the fairly competitive person I am, I absolutely fell in love with the idea of a school where it is a part of your everyday life; a place where females are dominant, manipulation of your peers is seen as resourceful on your fight to the top, and smarts are valued, and never overlooked.

What Hogwarts house would you be in: Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, or Slytherin???

Who would be your godly parent??

What fictional school would you like to attend? 

Share in the comments!

-Danielle K., 8th grade

Book vs. Movie: Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings

hp_bookmovie Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are my favorite book series that have been turned into major motion pictures, and I think there can be an argument about which are better: books or movies.

The Harry Potter series is my favorite book series of all time, and I think the books have a lot more to offer than the movies. Movies can’t be too long or else your eyes would explode, so the producers and the directors shorten the actual stories and leave out some scenes, details, and even characters.

For example, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, there’s a very exciting scene from the book when Harry and Hermione are on their quest to find the Sorcerer’s Stone. After making it through the giant Wizard’s Chess set, they come across a table with a variety of potions. With only a riddle for their clue, they have to figure out which potion would allow them to continue safely versus which of the potions would send them back or even kill them!  I was so disappointed this scene was not in the movie because I really like how Hermoine uses her logic to decipher the riddle.

lotr_bookmovieWhen I read these series, I imagine what the characters and settings look like, but when I watch the movies I am seeing what the director visualized. In The Lord of the Rings, I imagined Helm’s Deep is a big, magnificent castle in a big, prosperous kingdom. But, when I saw the movie, it was a long wall with only one tower, one passageway, and only offered the refugees one small cave in the mountain behind the castle.

With The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series, I love the books because I can use my imagination to create pictures of the characters and scenes in my mind. But I also enjoy all the movies because the action scenes are a lot more intense than I would have thought… which is a good thing! Plus, all the cool background music adds to the intensity!

Overall, both the books and the movies have their advantages. Personally, I always read the books first so I can have fun creating the imagery myself– but then I like to watch the movies and see how someone else looks at the books. And all the cool special effects and computer graphics are really awesome!

What do you think?  You can leave a comment below and tell me which you think are better: BOOKS or MOVIES?

-Kyle H., 6th grade