In 2001, a re-print of the first edition of my book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was made available to Muggle readers. The Ministry of Magic consented to this unprecedented release to raise money for Comic Relief, a well respected Muggle charity.
I was permitted to re-issue the book, only on condition that a disclaimer was included assuring Muggle readers that it was a work of fiction. Professor Albus Dumbledore agreed to provide a foreward that met the case and we were both delighted that the book raised so much money for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Following the declassification of certain secret documents kept at the Ministry of Magic, the Wizarding World has recently learned a little more about the creation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
I am not yet in a position to tell the full story of my activities during the two decades that Gellert Grindelwald terrorised the Wizarding World. As more documents become declassified over the coming years, I will be freer to speak openly about my role during that dark period in our history.
For now, I shall confine myself to correcting a few of the more glaring inaccuracies in recent press reports. In her recent biography, Man or Monster – The Truth About Newt Scamander, Rita Skeeter states that I was never a Magizoologist, but a Dumbledore spy who used Magizoology as a cover to infiltrate the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in 1926. Now this, as anyone who lived through the 1920’s will know, is an absurd claim. No undercover wizard would have chosen to pose as a Magizoologist at that period – an interest in magical beasts was considered dangerous and suspect, and taking a case full of such creatures into a major city was, in retrospect, a serious mistake.
I went to America to free a trafficked Thunderbird, which was quite risky enough given that MACUSA had a curse-to-kill policy on all magical creatures at that time. I am proud to say that one year after my visit, President Seraphina Picquery instituted a protective order on Thunderbirds, an edict she would eventually extend to all magical creatures.
At President Picquery’s request, I made no mention of the more important American magical creatures in the first edition of Fantastic Beasts because she wished to deter wizarding sightseers. As the American wizarding community was subject to greater persecution at that time than their European counterparts and, given that I had inadvertently contributed to a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy in New York, I agreed. I have reinstated them in their rightful place in this new edition.
It would take months to contradict every other wild assertion in Ms Skeeter’s book. I shall simply add that far from being the love-rat who left Seraphina Picquery heartbroken, the President made it clear that if I didn’t leave New York voluntarily and speedily, she would take drastic steps to eject me.
It is true that I was the first person ever to capture Gellert Grindelwald and, also true, that Albus Dumbledore was something more than a school teacher to me. More than this, I cannot say without fear of breaking the Official Magical Secrets Act, or, more importantly, the confidences that Dumbledore, most private of men, placed in me.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a labour of love in more ways than one. As I look back over this early book, I relive memories that are etched on every page, though invisible to the reader. It is my fondest hope that a new generation of witches and wizards will find in its pages fresh reason to love and protect the incredible beasts with whom we share magic.