Study Guide

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Exploration

By J.K. Rowling


Mr. Scamander's work with the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau led to many research trips abroad, during which he collected information for his worldwide best-seller Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, now in its fifty-second edition. (1.1)

You can't write a book about the world of fantastic beasts sitting at home on your rear end. It's clear from the very first pages of this book that Newt Scamander has done the hard work of exploration to get the hard won wisdom that makes up this volume.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them represents the fruit of many years' travel and research. I look back across the years to the seven-year-old wizard who spent hours in his bedroom dismembering Horklumps and I envy him the journeys to come: from darkest jungle to brightest desert, from mountain peak to marshy bog, that grubby Horklump-encrusted boy would track, as he grew up, the beasts described in the following pages. I have visited lairs, burrows, and nests across five continents, observed the curious habits of magical beasts in a hundred countries, witnessed their powers, gained their trust and, on occasion, beaten them off with my travelling kettle. (3.1)

Adventure is out there. Though Mr. Scamander doesn't go into in-depth detail about his adventures, it's clear that he's travelled far and wide (and probably been through some pretty tough scrapes). If you want the details, we're guessing you'll have to check out the big screen version of his life story.

The Demiguise is found in the Far East, though only with great difficulty, for this beast is able to make itself invisible when threatened, and can be seen only by wizards skilled in its capture. (12.1)

The Far East is a term that generally includes the Eastern side of the Asian continent. You can see a more detailed map here. It's a cool area to explore and, since a Demiguise somehow winds up with him in the movie version of Fantastic Beasts, we're guessing Newt Scamander has some pretty awesome adventures skillfully tracking the creature there.

The Diricawl originated in Mauritius. A plump-bodied, fluffy- feathered, flightless bird, the Diricawl is remarkable for its method of escaping danger. It can vanish in a puff of feathers and reappear elsewhere. (12.3)

By the time Mr. Scamander was researching Fantastic Beasts, the Diricawl had long since vanished from Mauritius. But it must have reappeared elsewhere for him to confirm that it still existed. Does it live somewhere else on the island (far from prying Muggle eyes)? Or has is reappeared in another exotic location entirely? More exploration needs to be done.

In its native Fiji, a stretch of coast has been turned into a reservation for [the fire crab's] protection, not only against Muggles, who might be tempted by its valuable shell, but also against unscrupulous wizards, who use the shells as highly prized cauldrons. (14.4)

We can just imagine Mr. Scamander diving down off the coast of Fiji (perhaps using a Bubble-Head Charm) to observe the fire crab and its flaming bottom in its natural habitat.

The Kappa is a Japanese water demon that inhabits shallow ponds and rivers. Often said to look like a monkey with fish scales instead of fur, it has a hollow in the top of its head in which it carries water. (19.1)

If Mr. Scamander ran into a Kappa in Japan, he must have been able to trick the creature into bowing so that the water drained out of the top of its head. How do we know? He lived to tell the tale.

This East African beast is arguably the most dangerous in the world. A gigantic leopard that moves silently despite its size and whose breath causes disease virulent enough to eliminate entire villages, [the Nundu] has never yet been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together. (22.4)

It's not clear that Mr. Scamander has ever seen a Nundu in action, though we're guessing that we may have been one of the hundred wizards attempting to subdue one. It definitely takes a village.

The Occamy is found in the Far East and India. A plumed, two-legged winged creature with a serpentine body, the Occamy may reach a length of fifteen feet. (23.1)

Mr. Scamander might have run into this bad dude while he was hunting down the Demiguise. Since an Occamy also appears in the film version of his life story, we know he gets to meet one up close and in person at some point.

The Runespoor originated in the small African country of Burkina Faso. A three-headed serpent, the Runespoor commonly reaches a length of six or seven feet. Livid orange with black stripes, the Runespoor is only too easy to spot, so the Ministry of Magic in Burkina Faso has designated certain forests unplottable for the Runespoor's sole use. (26.4)

If these forests are unplottable, it makes you wonder how Mr. Scamander found them.