REVIEW: FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Magizoologist’s Discovery Case

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Nov 13, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Exclusives, Fandom, Fans, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Films, Fun, Interactive, Misc, Movies, News, Products, Props-Sets, Review

Hachette Book Group’s Running Press releases its FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Magizoologist’s Discovery Case today, making it available just days before the film’s opening worldwide and coinciding with early screenings of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Leaky was lucky enough to review every magical nook of the replica, and it not only contains loads of interactive special features, but it also includes a 128-page notebook with some exciting nods to the film!

I un-boxed the “deluxe enchanted replica” of Newt Scamander’s case on Oct. 31. It seemed a fitting day, somehow–a nod to the magical on a day when fans freely indulge in the whimsy of fantasy and their love for J.K. Rowling’s series in particular. The collector’s item came in a box which indicated it was smaller than a full-sized case, and I couldn’t wait to tear into it! It was well-cushioned with packing paper, and the replica itself was encased in heavy-duty plastic for added protection.

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Once I removed the plastic wrapping, I was immediately impressed with the attention to detail down to the real metal clasps and corner brackets, giving the collectible the look and feel of the real thing.

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It features a “Muggle-worthy” dial, which allows fans to switch back and forth between non-wizarding and wizarding modes. It came set to “wizarding mode,” so I moved the dial to the left with my thumb, wanting to see the safe-for-Muggles setting first.

In the non-wizarding mode, a trick lid discloses only the everyday effects of the average citizen. Make note, this is a photo of Newt’s belongings; the case does not include his actual scarf, map and the like. While that would be pretty incredible, there’s not room in the collectible case for the actual items–though it could certainly double as a keepsake box! The real magical contents, however, hide deep within.

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When the wizarding mode is selected, the false bottom is removed, tucked away in the lid of the case, and reveals a wand pen and notebook, filled with illustrations of beasts, field notes and teasing details from the wizarding world–and instructions on how to activate sound.

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To activate the sound, I had to remove the journal, pull out the tab protruding from the battery which reads “remove and discard” and, finally, close and re-open the case. The instructions noted that the sound is light-activated, so collectors should turn the case toward a light source if the beastly sounds aren’t immediately heard.

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The case emits seven different sounds, but they don’t play continuously. I originally thought I had to close and re-open the case every time I wanted to hear a new sound but, upon further experimentation, I realized that I could simply pass my hand over the sensor. I couldn’t distinguish what they all were but am fairly certain I heard an Occamy and an Erumpent. (I would have liked a way to identify each for sure, but I suppose that adds to the mystery of the case!)

The pen is a plastic replica of Newt’s wand and wrote smoothly in good black ink. The journal itself is sturdy and the pages of high quality and thickness. The front even bears a gold embossing of Newt Scamander’s initials!

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The Table of Contents page revealed that the notebook was divided into three parts: “Prepare to Explore,” “Know Your Beasts” and “Field Notes.”

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The entire book is peppered with quotes from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and provides plenty of further nods to the film, as well as lots of ways to personalize the contents. “Prepare to Explore” features “Travel Permit Application” and “Application for Wand Permit” pages which must be completed by the owner.

It also includes a colorful stylized rendering of famous wands from the film–including Newt Scamander, Porpentina Goldstein, Queenie Goldstein, Seraphina Picquery and Gellert Grindelwald–followed by a page inviting the journalist to design their own!

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It includes a list of useful “Spells & Charms”–a helpful recommendation for any traveler–and a page to create your own; multiple pages devoted to developing your own serums and healing aids, taking after Newt Scamander himself; and a gorgeous map for planning out future travels!

Among other things, the notebook features a spread devoted to designing and writing postcards and, for inspiration, included some that appeared to come straight from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

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Now, since I’m a writer for The Leaky Cauldron, I can’t help pointing out some of the interesting details, engaging in a little speculation and asking some leading questions!

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The close-up reveals that the Ministere des Affaires Magiques de la France was founded in 1790. This is a particularly interesting date because it falls within a significant time in French history–one year after the Storming of the Bastille, which was viewed as a symbol of royal tyranny, in 1789.

Though the French Revolution would not officially end until 1799, it ushered Europe into cataclysmic political and social change which stretched from colonies in the Caribbean to the Middle East, destabilizing and unseating the absolute power of monarchies and inspiring a wave of democratic spirit which swept over the world.

What bearing might this have on the history of the wizarding government in France? Is it possible that the French wizarding community was once scattered, persecuted, forced underground and, beleaguered, left without a governmental body to offer support and order? Perhaps the French Revolution also mobilized the foremost wizarding leaders and moved them to form their own ruling body of the citizenry, representing their interests and freedoms. Or, perhaps, the wizarding community  before that time was not only in chaos and in hiding, but was also by some means overtly oppressed or beholden to the monarchy. The start of the French Revolution would take on entirely new meaning, then, as the emboldening impetus for the founding of the French Ministry of Magic.

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How will we see the French ministry function as compared to MACUSA, who operates under a blanket of total secrecy? Will they do likewise? The French did not endure the stigma of the Salem Witch Trials, as their American brethren did, and they may not be so tightly bound to their fear of exposure. But, they do know what it is to live under the thumb of a dictator, for as the French Revolution and the monarchies passed away, Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power. That will no doubt inform their response to the rise of Gellert Grindelwald, and I can’t wait to see how J.K. Rowling ties it all together!

As for other details hidden here, you’ll notice what might be the motto of the French Ministry of Magic–“Incanté, Conjuré, Envouté.” I’m not a native Francophone but, after some research, I would suggest that it means something close to “The magic conjures and captivates” or “The magic conjured, captivates.” It’s also possible that, if intended to be taken in verb form only, it may be closer to “Casting, Warding Off, Captivating.”

Very interesting, indeed!

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The page also reveals the backside of what looks to be a postcard (see the close-up shown above). It could be the same postcard Newt holds in the trailer and other promotional photos–a postcard much discussed by Leaky in our analysis on the beastly questions it raised.

We originally wondered why it had been torn to pieces and why Newt might then need to repair it in Tina and Queenie’s New York apartment, theorizing that it had been sent by Newt and discarded by a jealous Tina, unhappy over his preoccupation with Leta Lestrange, his new assistant, Bunty, or his newfound success as an author.

But, if this is the self-same postcard, I can now see that the writer is Newt’s brother, Theseus. The closing sentiment seems to be “with greatest (or fondest?) regard.”

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I can’t decipher the sentence above it, although the beginning of the phrase might be “and chapters,” so it’s possible Theseus is writing to congratulate Newt on the publication of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This alone wouldn’t explain why Newt shredded the note, however. It would seem very unlike Newt–unless it also includes offhand comments about Leta and their engagement. This might be enough to ruffle Newt’s feathers, so to speak.

Yet, even after viewing the three trailers and other promotional videos, I’m still not sure how the postcard fits into the storyline. It is possible this is not the same postcard, since we never see the back in the first trailer, and the card laying atop it may be the cover, as in a set, but, I admit, it’s far more fun to theorize as if it is!

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We can also learn a bit more about the curiosities and creatures of the Circus Arcanus, where Credence Barebone hides in self-imposed exile.

It is described as the “Musée des Curiosités Vivantes” or “Museum of Living Curiosities.” It also boasts “Bizarres Sous-ètres Magiques” or “Bizarre Magical Sub-Human Beings.” Below that is listed “Le Demon de L’Eau Japonais” or “The Demon of the Japanese Water,” presumably named “Kappa.” It also advertises “L’Hominide Veau Aux Pieds Retournés,” which says, “The Man with Calves Feet Returns,” and he is called “Abarimon.”

The second part, “Know Your Beasts,” includes a key with symbols which would aid in charting and categorizing information about beasts in the field. It also features a beautiful illustration of a Niffler, complete with some of Newt’s notes on the magical creature, including the scrawled comment: “Should never be kept in a house.”

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Part Three, “Field Notes,” is a journal meant to be filled by the collector. It includes spread after spread for creating your own fantastic beasts, cataloguing their abilities and characteristics and illustrating them as Newt would.

It’s a delightful little book that would be a lot of fun for any ardent fan but, remember, it’s not a blank journal. It’s a field notebook, meant to be enjoyed in the sense that it replicates the experience of a magizoologist!

Overall, this is a very nice collector’s item and, if the blue insert holding the notebook and wand pen are removed, there’s even more space in the case for holding prized memorabilia. (Though, bear in mind, the blue insert houses the sound mechanism and, if that is removed, the case will no longer produce beastly sounds.)

However one chooses to use it, I can say it’s a replica fans will enjoy featuring on their bookshelf. And for those who aren’t intent upon keeping it in mint condition, I can add that when I finally let my children examine the case, they absolutely loved it!

The Magizoologist’s Discovery Case is available online from TODAY via Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Target, Books-A-Million, Powell’s and Indiebound–visit the official website here for links to order.





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The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.