J. K. Rowling, the author who brought a certain dark-haired wizard to life in the pages of the Harry Potter books, is currently in the middle of another debate after she left another series of cryptic-sounding messages on Twitter earlier today.
A New Screen Play From Rowling? Here’s Hoping!
The original mention of the screenplay quite obviously refers to the first movie installment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them* that Rowling is writing for director David Yates and Warner Brothers Studio. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was written by Rowling in 2001 as an offshoot of the textbook Harry and his classmates used in Care of Magical Creatures during the first few years of being at Hogwarts. While the book itself may not seem like an ideal candidate for conversion into movie format, since it is an alphabetical encyclopedia of magical beasts and creatures compiled by Newt Scamander and introduced by none other than Albus Dumbledore himself, if initial reports are to be believed the movie will not follow the parameters of the book but will follow another path entirely.
The movie will, by all accounts, feature its in-universe author (Newt Scamander, who I keep trying to refer to as Newt Salamander) as the main character, though everyone is still in the dark as to the storyline. Perhaps the movie will follow Scamander as he tries to find his way in the world once he has left wizarding school (I imagine America would have its own wizarding school), eventually deciding on becoming an expert in magical creatures, or perhaps it will follow his adventures as he attempts to find those magical creatures.
While we don’t know much about the movie, we know that it will be set seventy years before the characters we all know and love attend Hogwarts, and that it will take place in New York, within the secret enclaves of witches and wizards there. Since the screenplay is apparently in its final stages since it is being tweaked, fans can expect news and rumours about the cast to begin appearing on the internet. The boards on imdb.com already feature discussions of whether Tom Hiddleston (tumblr’s resident darling) or Matt Smith could play Newt Scamander (there’s the urge to write Salamander again) and whether there is any way that Daniel Radcliffe could reprise his role as Harry.
Movie news isn’t what the controversy is referring to – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them has been in print for over a decade at this point, and with the success of the Harry Potter movies it is no surprise that more movies have been greenlighted.
No, the controversy is over the second-to-last tweet left by Rowling this morning, which read CRY, FOE! RUN AMOK! FA AWRY! MY WAND WON’T TOLERATE THIS NONSENSE. No explanation has been given, with Rowling apparently content to leave fans to retweet and reply and discuss the mystery to their hearts content. Many people do suspect that this is an anagram, while others are asking if this is a sample of dialogue from the movie itself (that would be interesting – apparently wizards in the roaring twenties liked their Shakespeare). Most interesting to me, however, are the tweets which are apparently anagrams themselves, such as the tweet which simply says TRADUZ PRA MIM, since they suggest that the account holders have in fact figured out the message.
So…what exactly is this mysterious tweet? Is it an anagram? A spell or incantation uttered by, perhaps, Newt Scamander himself? A normal line of dialogue from the screenplay? Something else entirely? Whatever it is, the tweet was a very canny move on the part of Rowling – making sure to whet people’s appetites for the upcoming movie while still keeping them in the dark.
Well played, madam. Well played.
*Opening in domestic theaters in November 2016!