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The magic of 'Fantastic Beasts' casts a spell around town

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Estacada residents eager to see new film in 'Harry Potter' franchise


CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: TYRA BAIRD - When the Baird family celebrated Halloween in 2016, three of the siblings dressed up as Harry Potter characters. Pictured left to right are Pheobe, Etta, Lliam, Nedra, Gideon and Viggo.The magic of Harry Potter’s world is back full force in Estacada.

But did it ever leave in the first place?

Prior to July, there had been no new major release in the series for five years. With the final book in the series published in 2007 and the last movie hitting screens in 2011, fans remained loyal to the series but thought their days of midnight release parties were over.

Not so, however, as this year has seen several new releases in the franchise.

In July, the play and prequel “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” opened in London, and a new movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” opens today (Thursday, Nov. 17.)

The library will celebrate the release of “Fantastic Beasts,” a spinoff of the eight original films in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, with an event from 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. The evening will feature stories, crafts, music and food. Costumes are encouraged.

Deborah VanDetta, Estacada’s youth services librarian, said the event will appeal to many fans of the series.

“If you’re a kid or young at heart, you’ll enjoy it,” she said.

VanDetta, who “powered through” the books as an adult after seeing the first movie, is excited about the return of Rowling’s wizarding world.

“I’m absolutely happy to see it back,” she said. “They’re such wonderful (stories).”

“Fantastic Beasts” is inspired by a textbook used by Hogwarts students about magical creatures. Published by Rowling in 2001 under the pseudonym of fictitious author Newt Scamander, the book is supposedly the same copy used by Harry Potter himself.

The film, the first in a series, follows Scamander while he works for the beast division of the Ministry of Magic, the body that governs the wizarding world. On the tail end of a global excursion, the creatures Scamander has catalogued and collected are set loose in New York City.

Fans in Estacada of all ages are excited for the new release.

Nedra and Etta Baird, students in the fifth and third grade at Clackamas River Elementary School, have been eagerly watching trailers for the film.

Etta said her favorite part of the trailer was Scamander’s magical suitcase, of which he can walk in and out.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: TYRA BAIRD - Tyra Baird celebrates a successful Harry Potter-themed Halloween with her children Etta, Nedra and Lliam in 2007.

Nedra’s favorite character from the series is Hermione Granger because “she’s really smart,” and Etta likes Luna Lovegood because “she’s cool.” They’ve check out the “Fantastic Beasts” book from the library and are excited to meet the characters in the new movie.

One of VanDetta’s favorite elements of the series is its characters.

“You follow these characters as they learn and grow from these insecure little kids to heroic types in whatever that looks like for them,” she said.

VanDetta is excited to get to know the new characters, as well.

“I have to make a connection to the characters, and see who these people are and what their lives are like,” she said.

All agreed that the “Harry Potter” series had made a significant impact on their lives.

For Etta and Nedra, the series is something they enjoy with their parents and four siblings.

“They’ve been listening (to the books on tape) for as long as they’ve been alive,” said their mom, Tyra, noting that when the family listens to the books during road trips, the children don’t want to get out of the car at rest stops.

“That’s when you know it’s a good book,” she added.

The family also enjoys watching the first eight “Harry Potter” films together, and this past Halloween, Nedra dressed up as Hermione and Etta dressed as Luna.

“It will be fun to see how they continue to grow into Harry Potter,” said Tyra, who first read the books after one of her high school teachers recommended them.

VanDetta believes the new media in the series, such as “Cursed Child” and “Fantastic Beasts,” as well as the information on the tie-in website Pottermore, allows new and veteran fans alike to more fully enjoy the world Rowling has created.

“It expands and creates more depth to what’s already there,” she said.

In addition to being a captivating story, VanDetta thinks the series teaches valuable life lessons, particularly through its character arcs.

“I love that there are hero characters that don’t fit the stereotype of a hero, like Neville or the kids (in Dumbledore’s Army),” she said. “Everyone has value to contribute. With politics now, that’s an important message.”

Harry Potter Family Storytime Event

What: Celebrate the release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” with stories, crafts, music and food. Costumes are encouraged.

When: 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.

Where: Estacada Public Library, 825 N.W. Wade St.

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