Did you think J.K. Rowling forgot to get you something this Christmas? Our wizard queen would never do that. However, the "Harry Potter" and "Fantastic Beasts" author didn't quite get you something original, she just announced her new and improved website -- JKRowling.com -- and welcomed fans to it with a fresh list of FAQ answers.
Here's part of her "Welcome to My New Website" post (which includes the promise of a future "debunking function"):
"2016 has been one of the busiest professional years of my life. I didn't plan for the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to come out in the same year, but that's what ended up happening, with the result that 2016 meant an almost total re-immersion in the wizarding world. I've been absolutely delighted with the reception of both pieces: the stakes are always very high when you return to a well-loved creation, and after almost a decade of refusing to do spin-offs or remakes, I feel overwhelming relief that both long-time fans and newcomers have enjoyed what we've done. Pottermore.com, the digital hub for the wizarding world, does a great job catering for anyone who wants to dig deeper into that world. [...]
With four more Beasts movies to come, I decided my Christmas gift to wizard-lovers should be to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the plot of the new franchise. There's also a bonus FAQ, an oldie about Chamber of Secrets that I've been asked at least once a week for nine years."
So that's the gift -- answers. Here are some of the FAQ, including SPOILERS FROM "FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM."
Why couldn't Newt just Apparate to the USA? Why did he go by boat?
Apparition becomes increasingly risky over long distances. As with most magic, much depends on the skill of the spell-caster: Apparition requires knowledge of the terrain to which one is moving, or the ability to visualise it clearly. Cross-continental Apparition would almost certainly result in severe injury or death. Moreover, the beasts in Newt's case had varying magical natures. Some could have Apparated with him, but others could not.
Why couldn't Newt use 'Accio' to retrieve all his beasts?
'Accio' only works on inanimate objects. While people or creatures may be indirectly moved by 'Accio-ing' objects that they are wearing or holding, this carries all kinds of risks because of the likelihood of injury to the person or beast attached to an object travelling at close to the speed of light.
Why isn't Veritaserum used in interrogations?
It is, but skilled wizards can avoid its effects by using antidotes and charms. A gifted Occlumens could also resist Veritaserum.
Why didn't Harry Potter develop an Obscurus?
An Obscurus is developed under very specific conditions: trauma associated with the use of magic, internalized hatred of one's own magic and a conscious attempt to suppress it. The Dursleys were too frightened of magic ever to acknowledge its existence to Harry. While Vernon and Petunia had a confused hope that if they were nasty enough to Harry his strange abilities might somehow evaporate, they never taught him to be ashamed or afraid of magic. Even when he was scolded for 'making things happen', he didn't make any attempt to suppress his true nature, nor did he ever imagine that he had the power to do so.
Why wasn't the Horcrux inside Harry destroyed when he was bitten by the Basilisk in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"?
A Horcrux can only be destroyed if its container is damaged beyond repair. Harry was healed by Fawkes. Had he died, the Horcrux would indeed have been destroyed.
Rowling is also still answering more questions on Twitter, correcting misunderstandings, etc. That is her daily gift to fans:
No, no, no. There won't be Newt Scamander novels. Only movies. Calm down, there! https://t.co/Zyhim6Wscd
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 21, 2016
Perhaps our gift back to her should be a break from the constant stream of questions!
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The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds. Read More