I took the children to watch “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” this afternoon. While watching the movie (which was wonderful), my mind wandered back to the news stories from the Native American community during production. Joanne Rowling had released some bits and pieces about the history of magic in the United States according to the fictional world of her books – and an internet storm in a tea-cup ensued about representation, historical accuracy, and whatever-else.
Let’s not forget that the world of muggles and magical people is entirely fictional – lifted from the pages of a number of books. Oh – wait – that’s kind of the same story as our world, isn’t it – except in our world idiots sit in drafty buildings listening to others preach, sing happy clappy songs about false hope, and fight wars about the stories they have been taught to promote.
I’m kind of surprised there hasn’t been more negative reaction from the United States about the movie – because of the way their soceity is portrayed. Perhaps I was over-thinking it, but I saw a movie about a society beset with oppression, intolerance, a huge division between the rich and the poor, and a willingness for the both the ruling elite and the oppressed to solve everything with violence. I’m not sure if the author was trying to make a statement about modern American society, but it sure looked like it. I found myself wondering how many other people noticed it?
As with any great story, there has to be balance of course, and that comes in the form of Newt Scamander, who neither attacks not injures any person or creature throughout a pretty dark, violent movie. He’s not so much distracted, as focussed on far more important things than those around him. Where many see a dangerous creature before them, he sees the last of it’s kind, and risks his life to protect it, and learn about it. Perhaps there’s a message there? I wonder if it will be heard though ?
In many ways “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” reminded me of the first Harry Potter book – it not only introduces us to a fictional world, but also contains countless lessons that teachers might use to start discussions in school rooms.
Finally, it didn’t escape my notice that in the magical world of the United States, a black female president had been elected 90 years before either a black or female president had been elected in the “real” world. I’m sure that wasn’t an accident either.