When the Harry Potter film franchise ended with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PT2, the world thought it would be starved of Harry Potter based films. While there were two additional books, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it felt like we were about to lose one of the most magical, creative and exciting worlds ever brought to life on screen. Yet while J.K. Rowling stated there wouldn’t be anymore accompanying novels to the series— as I sob in my seat— she had a couple of exciting surprises up her sleeve in the form of other media. The stage show, which opened to roaring success, brought the Harry Potter legacy into another generation, while there was still some more filmmaking on the horizon in the form of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Fantastic Beasts started out as a small companion novel to the initial Harry Potter universe. Written for the UK Comic Relief fund, readers and fans quickly became excited about the idea of more animals than owls, rats and dragons. There was, as we found out later on, a whole world outside of Hogwarts that had a vast spectrum of spectacular creatures big and small. And here, the film was born. Touted for 5 films in total, Harry Potter fanatics such as myself cheered sweet songs of joy. The link between the two film franchises though, lives on. Take a look at some of the most exciting Easter Eggs from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
15. Hufflepuff Power
No sooner has the film kicked off with a disturbing and interesting shot of evil magic, then we get to see our hero for the next few years; Newt Scamander. Newt, who was the initial author of magical beast book ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, sets off on a journey that will bring him closer to beasts of a different persuasion, starting with New York City. Coming across the ocean by boat, Newt lands at baggage control and is asked to open his case. As suspicious as the audience is, border patrol clearly want to know where to find Newt’s fantastic beasts. Yet, with the flick of a switch— bam— the case is opened and what’s inside? His Hufflepuff scarf and some bits and bobs. From this point on, we know that Newt is a Hufflepuff and that Hogwarts might surely be mentioned. Hufflepuff pride is strong, with this one.
14. The Deathly Hallows
In a move that will surely bring more Easter Eggs further down the line, Percival Graves, Head of Magical Law Enforcement, gives a chain to mysterious young Credence, by way of slight persuasion to stay on side. By this point, we don’t know the link between the young boy and Graves, but it sure feels like the start of something big in the Wizarding World. The chain given, however, isn’t with lack of interest. One end of the gift sees the Deathly Hallows symbol, something we became hugely aware of during the original Harry Potter films, namely Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (go figure). What does this mean, though? In the initial series, this same— or similar— chain is seen around the neck of Xenophilius Lovegood. How has he come across this? Nothing J.K. Rowling comes up with is by chance, so I’m sure we’re due to find out sooner rather than later.
13. Leta Lestrange
Just as we think Newt and confused heroine Porpentina Goldstein have a little something going on, Porpentina’s sister Queenie comes across something a little more than interesting in Newt’s ‘Mary Poppins’ briefcase. What she finds is a picture of a lady. A lady, we soon find out, who is called Leta Lestrange. This is interesting for two reasons; firstly, who is she and where is she? And secondly, don’t we know that surname already?! Lestrange… Hmm. Oh, drat! Doesn’t a certain Bellatrix Lestrange ring a bell? Voldemort’s right-hand lady and all around evil maniac, Bellatrix is a loyal witch dedicated to the dark arts. So in what way do Leta and Bellatrix find themselves related? We know that these films will see us visiting the first great Wizarding War further down the line, but does this have anything to do with the link between the seemingly good Leta, and the actually evil Bellatrix. Family drama! Get the popcorn out.
12. “Are You A Seeker?”
In a line that feels like it could become the classic quote from the franchise, Mary Lou Barebone, hilariously named but genuinely sinister leader of the anti-wizarding group Second Salem, points to Newt in a crowded New York street “…are you a seeker? A seeker after truth?” to which, excellently, Newt replies “I’m more of a chaser”, and rushes off to hunt down his escaped magical creature, Niffler. Not all Easter Eggs have meanings, and to hear talk of Quidditch (a chaser is a position in the game) is a lovely, no-strings-attached link between the wizarding world we know, and the one we’re about to learn much more about. After a couple of other Quidditch references for good measure— although none more fun than this one. I get the feeling that we may end up seeing a little more of the wizarding sport before the next 4 films are out.
11. Grindelwald Rising
The great Wizarding War is mentioned a fair few times within the initial Harry Potter series, especially as a hark back to earlier times that defined the personality and hero-status of Albus Dumbledore. And considering we’re about to embark on the whole series of films that charts the rise of Gellert Grindelwald and the dark forces, this is one of the most obvious, but largest Easter Eggs on the list. Grindelwald is a massive background character who forms a shadow over the whole of the Harry Potter series for reasons we will talk about later. His influence can not be overstated. And he is *SPOILER ALERT* an even bigger part of Fantastic Beasts. Exceptionally gifted and more than evil, Grindelwald, under the guise of Graves, tries to persuade Credence to control his dark Obscurus (pent up magic— come on, keep up!), most likely for his own evil ends. And we all know how that ends.
The mention of Albus Dumbledore in any capacity during the Harry Potter franchise brings some little smiles to all of our obsessed faces, and while we know he was alive during the 1920s when this film takes place, I still got a surprised and excited feeling when I heard his name. Percival Graves asks Newt, “What makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?”. We all know, expulsion from Hogwarts or not, Newt was one of the good guys. Graves raises a good point. What has happened to make Dumbledore so fond of Newt? And when, just when, are we going to see Dumbledore appear physically, not just in words? This is all too much! With the great battle between Grindelwald and Dumbledore taking place in 1945, when Rowling states the final film will take place, we can guarantee there will be fireworks to look forward to. Let the games begin.
9. Wizarding Sweets And Invisible Tricks
One of the more magical, throw-away parts of the initial Harry Potter franchise was the invention of wizarding sweets, which were, surprisingly, different to standard Muggle sweets. First of all, they were enchanted by charms which allowed them to do all sorts of exciting things (chocolate frogs that actually sprung and bounced, anyone?) but charmed food turns up in Fantastic Beasts too, or at least in its own little way. During one of the scenes, when a child is eating a lollipop, one of Newt’s beasts has gone invisible and is taking bites out of an apple walking down the street. This is a sneaky little hark back to a scene in Hogsmede when Neville gets his lollipop nicked by Harry Potter in his invisibility cloak. It may not be one of the most obvious Easter Eggs, but it is just one more thing that links the newer wizarding world with the older one. We just hope to see some more wizarding sweets and tricks in future!
8. What Happened In 1926?
The film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place during 1926, which was the year that Tom Riddle was to be conceived and born (on New Years’ Eve). The year itself is only special for that, but the following years are clearly ones that went on to shape the thinking and mind of Riddle, who would soon become Lord Voldemort. Which begs the question: will we come across the parents of Tom Riddle during this series? It seems more than a coincidence to allow the time frames to meet, especially if you’re not going to pass the torch on from one dark lord to another, albeit later on in Tom Riddle’s life. There’s so much that could happen in the coming 4 films that could open the door to further films joining the two franchises together. While not massively likely, it’s certainly given us food for thought.
7. Hogwarts vs. Ilvermorny
The most famous of wizarding schools gets a good little run out in the new film, seeing it at the very beginning as we view newspaper headlines, and a little bit later on when Graves asks Newt about Dumbledore’s role in his expulsion. One of the funniest exchanges in the film, however, is when Newt and Queenie trade off discussions about just which wizarding school is the best in the world. Naturally, she describes Ilvermorny as the greatest wizarding school, while Newt— and ourselves— disagree. It’s exciting to hear Hogwarts in such a throwaway reference, within it needing to be involved in a battle, a dementor attack or anything else sinister. And while Albus Dumbledore is a professor at Hogwarts during the film, he still isn’t quite Headmaster— yet. Does his win during the great battle between himself and Grindelwald land him the job? Maybe so.
6. “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them”
So, you would be forgiven if you thought this was just the title of the film, but oh no. Not just that. The book that this film was based on was released many years ago, as an add on to the Harry Potter franchise. A companion, if you will. J.K. Rowling released it and Quidditch Through the Ages as a charity book to raise money for comic relief. The book, written by Newt, was a detailed report of various beasts and indeed where to find them. Nice, huh? The film, though, needed a serious revision because there wasn’t really a story to go with the book. So J.K., with all of her talents, wrote this film too. And at the end of the film, when Newt is talking about filing his report with the Ministry of Magic, Goldstein gives him a title, “Fantastic Beasts, and Where to Find Them” she says. Well played, Rowling.
5. Dumbledore’s Sister And The Obscurus
One of the more interesting and intriguing parts of the Harry Potter backstory is the mystery surrounding Albus Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana Dumbledore. And with the release of Fantastic Beasts, the story may take another turn.
After the tale of the Obscurus coming to light, whereby they develop through wizard’s suppressing their magical powers, one line from the previous books starts to make more sense. “It destroyed her, what they did; she was never right again. She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it; it turned her inward and drove her mad”— and what an interesting quote this is, especially with the role of an Obscurus becoming so pivotal within the Fantastic Beasts plotline. As we’re drawn closer to the role of Dumbledore in defeating Grindelwald and the relationship between the two, we will no doubt discover secrets that have only previously been touched on— could this be one?
4. Newt On The Marauder’s Map
There are plenty of made up, but massively fun elements to Harry Potter’s wizarding world. Heck, the whole thing is made up, but there are so many things that you end up thinking “I wish that existed in real life!” and one of these things is the Marauder’s Map, the map that tells you of fellow wizard’s whereabouts so you can find them, or even avoid them— we’re looking at you, Harry. And with this next Easter Egg, you’re going to actually need to go to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where we first meet Newt, albeit quietly, sneaking about the Hogwarts Castle as a name on the map. The Marauder’s Map is famous for the role it played in the generation before, allowing Harry’s dad, James to keep an eye on teachers of the school while spending time with Harry’s Godfather, Sirius. Will we ever find out what Newt was doing at the castle that day? Probably not, but it’s a nice hark back between generations, films and stories.
3. “For The Greater Good”
This saying kind of explains itself. Grindelwald’s motto and the reason he uses for the great Wizarding War of the 1940s, he wants wizards to rule over Muggles “for the greater good”— but that’s not the only showing the phrase has in the universe. In a letter sent to Grindelwald by Dumbledore during the late 1800s, Dumbledore says how wizards should be protecting Muggles “for the greater good”— so it was he who inspired this turn of phrase. Interesting, then, when Newt uses the term “mass slaughter for the greater good, you mean?” Has his link with Dumbledore given him knowledge of the letters between Dumbledore and the dark wizard? More likely, J.K. has left this in as a lovely little tid-bit for Potter fans to link their knowledge to the new timeline and new story. One of the more subtle, smaller Easter Eggs, but for us Potterheads, it’s quite an exciting quote!
2. Prescribed Pensive In A Different Light
One of the most important of the smaller parts of the Harry Potter series is the use of the pensive, a form of magic that allows wizards to transfer their memories and thoughts into a central area that other wizards can dip into. Literally, they dip their faces into a bowl and see the past through the eyes of other wizards. Or that’s how we’ve learned to see pensives. In Fantastic Beasts, however, we see another use for the pensive, something that’s a little more sinister. In the scene where Newt and Porpentina are sentenced to death, we find a pensive being used from Porpentina’s mind to entice her into a pool that will eventually bring about her death sentence. It’s a pretty brutal way to reintroduce quite an interesting and exciting piece of magic. It’s also a nice twist, and gives us a chance to look at magic being used in another way.
1. The Ukrainian Ironbelly
One of the most exciting types of Easter Eggs is the mention of various creatures or animals that we have previously heard about through other means— Potter films, books or even video games. And the dragons aren’t any different. In the Harry Potter novels, the Ukrainian Ironbelly is a prominent character even if you don’t realize it. This is the dragon that Harry, Ron and Hermione use to escape from Gringotts, and the one protecting the Lestrange vault at the bank. There are two interesting things here: firstly, Newt has links to the Lestrange family through Leta, while he also mentioned the dragon during the Fantastic Beasts film, saying he worked with one during the war. Does this mean that the dragon guarding the vault was provided, even with innocent intention, by Newt? Maybe, but if it was we’re bound to find out across the next 4 films.