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This “Fantastic Beasts” Parody Teaches J.K. Rowling’s Hero About Hanukkah

Newt Scamander returns to New York to find the Goldstein sisters celebrating an unfamiliar holiday that opens up a whole new world for him.

This “Fantastic Beasts” Parody Teaches J.K. Rowling’s Hero About Hanukkah

WHAT: A parody of the new Harry Potter-verse movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with a Hanukkah bent.

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WHO: Animation-based YouTuber Leigh Lahav

WHY WE CARE: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was literally the last movie this writer saw before the election, so to me it really does feel set in a fantasy world–some long-lost Before Time. In any case, though, the actual setting of this Potter-adjacent film is not Hogwarts but New York City in the 1920s. It should be no surprise then that Eddie Redmayne’s magical lead character, Newt Scamander would run into some Jewish folks. Enter sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein, played by Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol, respectively, who figure heavily into the film’s plot. In a delightful new animated parody, though, the sisters Goldstein give the spell-casting Newt a big dose of Jewish reality by teaching him all about Hanukkah. With gently self-aware jokes about the franchise itself–Scamander mentions his “somehow five-movie worthy 128-page textbook”–its a brief breezy escape from the decidedly non-magical reality of the moment.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.

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