Ahead of the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Tom Beasley takes a look back through J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World to pick out the best magical critters in Harry Potter history…
One of the common refrains of those who are not happy about the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies is that there aren’t very many of those beasts in the films, and even less dedication to finding them. This rather neglects the fact that much of the first movie’s plot is devoted to doing exactly that, but also minimises the role that Newt Scamander’s beasts will inevitably play in the films to come. A mere glance at the trailer for this week’s The Crimes of Grindelwald reveals at least half a dozen critters new and old.
But magical creatures have been a part of the Harry Potter movie world from day one, before the name of Eddie Redmayne’s dorky magizoologist ever crossed anyone’s lips. J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World has boasted some of the most compelling monsters ever created, as well as some adorable allies for our heroes.
Here are the top 10 ‘fantastic beasts’ depicted in the Harry Potter movies…
10. Pickett the Bowtruckle
The first of two creatures on this list to debut in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Pickett the Bowtruckle immediately made an impression as one of the cheekiest members of Newt Scamander’s suitcase menagerie. He’s not the only tree-dwelling Bowtruckle owned by Newt, but he’s certainly the neediest, clinging to his human friend for body warmth and refusing to leave his jacket pocket in order to join the rest of the Bowtruckles.
He plays a key part in the movie’s plot as a bargaining chip in Newt’s negotiations with goblin mobster Gnarlak, who covets Bowtruckles for their ability to pick locks. Newt ultimately gets him back after a scuffle, but Pickett responds with a raspberry blown straight at him. It’s a neat character moment for a creature who’s far more than just a twig with a personality.
Arachnophobes had their perfect surrogate in the form of Ron Weasley when Hagrid advised the Hermione-less boys to “follow the spiders” in their attempts to solve the central mystery in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Ron was suitably terrified at following a stream of arachnids and entirely unprepared for Aragog – Hagrid’s eight-legged best bud – and his family of Acromantula. He’s initially a hairy Basil Exposition, explaining what the chamber is all about and strongly hinting at the best within. Soon, though, things so south and Aragog orders his family to eat Harry and Ron. They’re rescued by a sentient car, obviously.
Aragog is considerably less terrifying when he returns as a crumpled corpse in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He does offer one final assist to Harry, though, as it’s his funeral that provides the venue for him to persuade Professor Slughorn to hand over the crucial memory in which he told Tom Riddle about Horcruxes. So, in a way, it’s Aragog who is responsible for ultimately defeating Voldemort. A top bloke all round, aside from the whole man-eating thing.
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