Over the past two decades, JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series has become a global phenomenon. A story which has changed and defined our generation, “Harry Potter” has expanded to a multi-billion dollar film franchise and a theme park at Universal Studios in Florida. The Wizarding World has even come to Broadway, with the play “The Cursed Child,” which follows the children of Harry and Ginny. The latest expansion, however, has brought us back in time to the 1920s, with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Following magizoologist (zoologist of magical creatures) Newt Scamander, The “Fantastic Beasts” series appeals to an older audience, as the films become darker and follow adult characters. This is not unlike “The Cursed Child,” which features the characters we grew to love as adults raising their children.
A brilliant capitalization on the growing up of the “Harry Potter” generation, the developments which the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise has brought to the Wizarding World sees the story growing alongside its audience. Many, like myself, grew up with “Harry Potter.” Born into a die-hard “Potterhead” family, I cannot remember a time when Harry, Ron and Hermione were not a part of my life, or forget the excitement of finally being old enough to read the books. For the films, my sisters and I got dressed up with friends to go to the midnight premieres. These, amongst many other memories, made “Harry Potter” my childhood and a special bond I share with friends and family. My story is, I know, similar to many of our generation, and that is exactly what “Fantastic Beasts” looks to capitalize on.
Not only has the story grown with a maturing audience, the “Fantastic Beasts” series expands the world and history of the Wizarding World, as well as makes connections to the “Harry Potter” series and its mythology. In particular, the upcoming film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the sequel to the first “Fantastic Beasts” film, introduces us to young Dumbledore and his history with Grindelwald, which ends in the most famous wizarding duel in Harry Potter mythology. For years, fans have learned about Grindelwald’s role in Harry Potter’s story, and the famous duel he had with Albus Dumbledore — all of which they will now get to see play out on the big screen as the mystery unfolds. It also will show the birth of Tom Riddle, the dark wizard who later becomes Harry Potter’s nemesis Voldemort, and the backstory of his snake Nagini. The internet exploded in excitement when, at ComicCon, a trailer was released which revealed Nicholas Flamel — a famous figure who all Potterheads will know as being the maker of the Sorcerer’s Stone. The first book and film from the “Harry Potter” franchise, titled “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” involved the main characters trying to keep the Sorcerer’s Stone out of dangerous hands as Voldemort seeks to find it and use its abilities to make him immortal. These connections not only serve as nostalgic excitement for Potter fans worldwide, but threads to bind the the entire Wizarding World together.
As “Crimes of Grindelwald” releases on November 16, 2018, the hype and excitement amongst fans is at an all-time high, and the longing to return home to Hogwarts is more evident than ever. So raise your wands, wear your house colors, and put on your robes. The worldwide love for “Harry Potter” is in full force, and and as the fans continue to grow, only time will tell when we will next enter the Wizarding World.
Kathryn Spadafora can be contacted at