J.K. Rowling Group Photo Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Wands ready? Magical Harry Potter event celebrates Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald with cast, costumes, and J.K. Rowling

Contributed by
Sep 25, 2018

There's no more magical way to start your week than by riding a Bowtruckle. Or, at least, by riding a shuttle called "Bowtruckle," named after one of Newt Scamander's fantastic beasts. On Monday, SYFY WIRE tagged along with a small group of Harry Potter-loving social media influencers and journalists as part of a Warner Bros. VIP event held in honor of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald's final trailer premiere.

The group took part in a full day of activities that involved meeting cast members, receiving an early look at the trailer, and hanging out with Potter creator J.K. Rowling. While a stop at MACUSA was not included, the day was one these Potterheads will not soon forget.

SYFY WIRE tagged along after the gathered fans had been treated to seeing the critically acclaimed play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over the weekend. Bright and early, everyone gathered for breakfast and received bags full of Wizarding World goodies before boarding buses appropriately named after some fantastic beasts, including Bowtruckles, Kelpies, and Zouwus.

The early hour didn't matter anymore once everyone learned the first stop of the day would be a visit with the woman who started it all, author J.K. Rowling, who would walk over to meet us at a restaurant after appearing on the TODAY Show. A long wait meant the room was buzzing with barely contained excitement and when Rowling finally appeared, the room erupted into cheers and applause.

J.K. Rowling meeting fans Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Photo: Warner Bros.

There was only time for a quick photo with the author, but despite her tight schedule, Rowling took the time to give a few hugs and address the gathered crowd. She thanked everyone, commented on some impressive Harry Potter attire worn by a few fans, and comforted those who burst into tears at the mere sight of her in the same room. Rowling left with parting words of advice to listen closely to a certain name said in the trailer, which the group would be treated to before the rest of the world later in the day.

After battling off typical NYC traffic, the group made its to The Whitby Hotel to watch the final trailer alongside cast members Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone), Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander), and Claudia Kim (Nagini).

After watching the trailer twice, the cast discussed the film and the questions raised by the trailer, including Kim's role as Nagini and the infamous romantic relationship between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). The group received posters signed by Rowling and were given the opportunity to take photos with a magical circus-themed set.

Hopping back aboard our fantastic beasts, the group was transported to the next location where costumes, wands, and more cast awaited our arrival. In one room Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), Zoë Kravitz (Leta Lestrange), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), and costume designer Colleen Atwood mingled with fans and posed for photos as everyone walked up close to the beautiful costumes on display.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald costumes

Photo by Marion Curtis

In another room, fans could try out wands with the film's head prop maker, Pierre Bohanna. Bohanna explained each wand, including the wand Dumbledore had before the Elder Wand, which Bohanna said was made of hard ebony and comparable to a root clump. Each wand, Bohanna said, connects to the witch or wizard it belongs to, such as Flamel's showing his age and Tina's being functional and straightforward.

"One of the really nice things about Fantastic Beasts was the period it was put in… Everybody was sort of thinking about the period of the late '20s where design and architecture and taste was very prevalent and indulgent," Bohanna said.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald wands

Photo by Marion Curtis

While there was no stop at the Three Broomsticks or Hog's Head at the end of the day, fans were brought to The Campbell to enjoy food, drinks, and to socialize more with cast members who bounced from group to group to take photos and discuss the film. The final photo opportunity of the day involved apparition, though sadly, no matter how hard we tried, it didn't keep us from needing to take the subway home.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald premieres on November 16.

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