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Author Topic: A Crafty Lady  (Read 554 times)

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January 03, 2017, 08:00:16 PM

wordsaremagic

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I just finished reading the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It is quite enjoyable, and I recommend it.
One of the first things that struck me is how different the craft of the novelist is from the craft of the dramatist, and yet how there are many things that will remain the same no matter which approach a teller of tales employs. Rowling is making a big shift from narrative story teller to dramatist.
Craftsmanship has many synonyms: workmanship, artistry, craft, art, handiwork, work; skill, skillfulness, expertise, technique. I would like to discuss Rowling’s craftsmanship in Fantastic Beasts, and in her other works, perhaps by comparison, perhaps by contrast. This is such a complex issue that we cannot cover everything. We can, however, begin.
Let’s begin with the issue of literary structure:
Story tellers have always understood the importance of structure, often quite literally laying out their stories almost symmetrically. In The Deathly Hallows, for instance, we find that the very center of the story, almost by page count, is that wonderful scene in which the Silver Doe appears to Harry and leads him to the Sword. This event is central to the storyline. Up to this point, everything has gone wrong. They are failing in their quest and have nowhere to turn. But suddenly, the whole arc of the story begins to turn.
In the script for Fantastic Beasts, I counted 124 total scenes, meaning that at halfway, as measured strictly by scenes, we have 62 scenes. I am not sure that this is a fair way to judge the center, since some scenes are almost not there. Scene 3, for instance, simply says, “Ext. New York—Day. ARIAL SHOT of New York.”
Nevertheless, in Scene 61, Newt, Tina, and Jacob have been arrested and are locked up. In Scene 64, they are taken down for interrogation by Graves. They are sentenced to death in Scene 65. Things are looking hopeless. But the tide turns in two ways. One involves Queenie knowing her sister’s thoughts; the other (and more immediately important) involves Pickett the bowtruckle.
What do you think. Was this really the turning point of the action of the whole movie? Did Rowling intentionally place it so close to the physical center of the script, or is it just coincidence? What are your thoughts about the salvation of Tina and Newt resting on a Stick with an attitude problem?
I am eager to get a copy of the movie to see if the time frame in minutes retains the centrality of this scene.


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January 03, 2017, 09:32:49 PM
Reply #1

atschpe

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I hadn't considered where the midway point is. But I think that this really works as you outline it. Next to what you indicate, the events in the ministry really bring the trio together, as they have to really work together to get out of there. Hmmm … trio coming together in the face of mortal danger – troll in Philosopher Stone anyone?

And yes, once again Rowling uses the most unseeming "tool" in having the bowtruckle coming to their rescue. A nod to how even the smallest seemingly unimportant figure can been the best solution. But she might also be pointing to how the magical beasts can actually help the wizarding world if they are but understood and incorporated correctly, as Newt does. And yes the bowtruckle is not the only one who helps them escape.

If we take this as the midway point of the story line, it is also striking that this is the sequence where we learn about Newt's background at Hogwarts and his work on "curing" the obscurus girl. Indeed, the different plotlines are starting to weave together. And this fits for a midway point: if you look at the Greek play structure, the midway (Peripeteia) is the middle act of five, the climax and turning point where everything comes to a head and we start to see the path ahead to the resolution.
"Of course it is all in your head, but why on Earth should that mean it isn't real?" ~Dumbledore (DH)
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January 04, 2017, 11:25:12 PM
Reply #2

wordsaremagic

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...  Hmmm … trio coming together in the face of mortal danger – troll in Philosopher Stone anyone?
Not just a trio here. Remember that Jacob broke open a door when Queenie was unable to open it magically. As Queenie says, You're one of us now.
...  this is the sequence where we learn about Newt's background at Hogwarts and his work on "curing" the obscurus girl.

I am not sure that he has any hope of curing her at this point, but I think he does want to understand the Obscurus more clearly.
What Grindelwald's reason for wanting an Obscurial/Obscurus is not entirely clear. I am not sure about the dating, but might it have something do to with Ariana Dumbledore's death?
----
Back on the issue of structure, in the Screenplay, the basic unit is the Scene, but Rowling does seem to group scenes together with various drawings and symbols, many of them being recognizable magical creatures. In turn, groups of these groups are contained within full page drawings that are more abstract.

I haven't analyzed the groupings and images yet, but I am toying with the idea that they are more than just decorative, but may have a kind of outline function.
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January 05, 2017, 06:31:46 PM
Reply #3

HealerOne

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Back on the issue of structure, in the Screenplay, the basic unit is the Scene, but Rowling does seem to group scenes together with various drawings and symbols, many of them being recognizable magical creatures. In turn, groups of these groups are contained within full page drawings that are more abstract.[/font]
I haven't analyzed the groupings and images yet, but I am toying with the idea that they are more than just decorative, but may have a kind of outline function.
Thanks for bringing my attention to the drawings in the script form of the story. As I looked through them I was wondering if they had any alchemical reference to them, i.e, the first drawing (opposite pg 1) is of the Statue of Liberty with her holding the torch of fire very prominently displayed = the fire of Calcination. But then the drawings seem to be of the particular "fascinating Beasts" that are incorporated into the script. Of course, lead, the metal connected with Calcination can be connected with the element of Earth and what drawing comes next?  - The Niffler (pg 6), who as we know from the HP series loves to dig through dirt to find treasures. The next picture is perhaps, as my best guess, a baby Occamy (pg 36) with both wings and a snake-like body. Next the Murtlap (pg 50), followed by the Graphorn (pg 68), the Mooncalf (pg 86), Newts Magical case (pg 96), the Nadu (pg 118), the Erumpent (pg 130), next is what I would assume is a Diricawl (pg 142). I am stumped as to what the creature is on page 153. Next drawing I would assume is the Swooping Evil (pg 180), followed by the Demiguise (pg 188), a full grown Occamy (pg 206), A Fwooper (pg 224), The Obscurus (pg 234), and A Runespoor (pg 242). The drawings on pgs 270, and 272 are questionable, although the later maybe the face of The Nandu with its ruff fluffed out - it does rather resemble a sun.  The last drawing is of the Occamy egg which we know is silver. Before the Glossary on Page 285 is a drawing of Frank, the Thunderbird known for it's golden feathers. So the steps transforming lead to gold are there but they aren't particularly defined to me as of yet. Any thoughts?


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January 05, 2017, 07:50:07 PM
Reply #4

wordsaremagic

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Back on the issue of structure, in the Screenplay, the basic unit is the Scene, but Rowling does seem to group scenes together with various drawings and symbols, many of them being recognizable magical creatures. In turn, groups of these groups are contained within full page drawings that are more abstract.
I haven't analyzed the groupings and images yet, but I am toying with the idea that they are more than just decorative, but may have a kind of outline function.
Thanks for bringing my attention to the drawings in the script form of the story. As I looked through them I was wondering if they had any alchemical reference to them, i.e, the first drawing (opposite pg 1) is of the Statue of Liberty with her holding the torch of fire very prominently displayed = the fire of Calcination. But then the drawings seem to be of the particular "fascinating Beasts" that are incorporated into the script. Of course, lead, the metal connected with Calcination can be connected with the element of Earth and what drawing comes next?  - The Niffler (pg 6), who as we know from the HP series loves to dig through dirt to find treasures. The next picture is perhaps, as my best guess, a baby Occamy (pg 36) with both wings and a snake-like body. Next the Murtlap (pg 50), followed by the Graphorn (pg 68), the Mooncalf (pg 86), Newts Magical case (pg 96), the Nadu (pg 118), the Erumpent (pg 130), next is what I would assume is a Diricawl (pg 142). I am stumped as to what the creature is on page 153. Next drawing I would assume is the Swooping Evil (pg 180), followed by the Demiguise (pg 188), a full grown Occamy (pg 206), A Fwooper (pg 224), The Obscurus (pg 234), and A Runespoor (pg 242). The drawings on pgs 270, and 272 are questionable, although the later maybe the face of The Nandu with its ruff fluffed out - it does rather resemble a sun.  The last drawing is of the Occamy egg which we know is silver. Before the Glossary on Page 285 is a drawing of Frank, the Thunderbird known for it's golden feathers. So the steps transforming lead to gold are there but they aren't particularly defined to me as of yet. Any thoughts?
No Coherent thoughts yet. Like you, I cannot really identify some of the creatures. And then there are some drawings that look entirely abstract. Some are full page; others smaller.
I haven't had time yet, but I want to see if I can construct a outline of some kind, as if they were like Roman numerals or something. That may turn out to be a complete waste of time. But it is kind of fun. It is going to be difficult to discuss images in a text forum.
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