reading / writing

Fantastic Beasts and Mythical Creatures by Julia Golding

It’s such fun when there is a new part added to the Wizarding World, isn’t it? One of the great joys of being a reader since the 1990s is enjoying the rock star treatment of J K Rowling’s story world. Harry Potter is a phenomenon like the Beatles and unlikely to be seen again – at least not in our generation. I’m obviously insanely jealous of J K’s career (who isn’t?) but also loving the world going wild for a fiction. She’s doing a brilliant job.

sirensHave you gone to see the film yet? I went with my family and we all thought it really enjoyable and oddly more believable than the Hogwarts’ world. I think this might be because the wizards always have worn clothes that looked vaguely inter-war so they fit rather well in 1920s New York. It also answers some questions as to what is happening outside the small world of British wizardry. (Why is Voldemort trying to take over the UK, by the way? Wouldn’t he want to go for the US on the grounds it’s the bigger deal? Maybe one of you can enlighten me!)
One of the strange things though for me was seeing some ideas I’d had early in my writing career echoed in this different context. My very first novel (published second due to complicated reasons) was called Secret of the Sirens and is about the secret Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures.gorgon
About 1000 years ago, as the large mythical creatures such as dragons and unicorns were being hunted into extinction, a group of these creatures and their human companions set up the society to protect them. They did this by claiming that they were ‘mythical’ on the logic that you don’t hunt something that you don’t believe exists. This worked well until recent times and now there are no more wild spaces left on Earth. Dangerous wild creatures are coming up against humanity – they are angry, and ready to take revenge.

minotaurTo belong to the secret society the children have to pass a test that shows to which creatures they are companion. These are in four groups: two and four legged, sea creatures and reptiles, winged creatures, and elementals. The test also shows which particular creature you will work with – Col, for example is companion to the pegasus. Only once in a century or so does a child arrive who is a universal companion to them all – and that of course is the story.

I think Newt would fit right in with the society members who dedicate their lives to peaceful coexistence of humans and dangerous magical creatures. If you like the idea of handling these animals, then maybe you’d like these books.


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