Why Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Is More Mature than Harry Potter
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Why Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Is More Mature than Harry Potter

This film included much political and social subtext, something that the "original" lacked.

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Why Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Is More Mature than Harry Potter

In the new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based off the book by renowned author JK Rowling, there are, of course, references to the original Harry Potter series. However, in many ways, this film seems directed towards a more mature audience, evidenced by its political subtexts.

The most notable of these seems to be the United States laws against wizard/no-mag relations in the film. This is a reference to LGBTQ+ rights and gay marriage, as well as the controversies that surround them, shown in Newt Scamander's apparent distaste for their "backwards laws." Though there is only one outright mention of this in the film, it was interesting to see Queenie Goldstein's relationship with Jacob Kowalski develop, knowing how society viewed their relationship. It also shed light on how many people view homosexuality and other non-heterosexual or non-heteroromantic individuals in the United States versus other countries, and how many of the laws that the United States has against gay marriage can be seen as antiquated by other countries and cultures.

A second political subtext is Newt's conservation of mythical creatures and the book he's writing on their preservation. This mirrors the current issues of climate change and conservation. This subtext is poorly veiled, as many of the complaints that Newt expresses are exactly those that are voiced by climate scientists and others about the lack of aid and legislation regarding conservation and the environment. A subset of this subtext is the education component, and how important visibility is for these issues. In the case of the film, the audience sees early on how most wizards view magical creatures when Porpentina Goldstein immediately assumes that the book Newt is writing is an extermination guide; this translates to current politics with how critical it is to tell people about environmental concerns, because without that knowledge they cannot make educated decisions. As well, such information could change their mindsets, as in Goldstein's case where she seemed to fall in love with the creatures by the end.

A third subtext is that of masculinity and how society views the idea of it. Newt embodies few typically masculine traits, instead of becoming a male protagonist who is in touch with his emotions--as shown in the scene where he is imploring the Magical Council not to harm his creatures and when he is forced to give his Bowtruckle to Gnarlack for information--rather than one who is always trying to get stronger. This sends a message to young boys that they don't have to be tough all the time, that they can be kind, and that it's more than okay to show your emotions, something traditionally associated with femininity.

A final, broader subtext was Credence and his status as a “squib." This addressed discrimination very generally, and of all kinds. It made Credence relatable to outsiders and outcasts because they can all find something in him that they can connect to something in themselves.

These are the main four political issues that JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them subtly address. Such hidden meaning broadened the audience range beyond just children because it allowed for intellectual thought in addition to simple entertainment, a combination that adults and young adults could also enjoy.

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