Rowling’s Riddle

Fans of Harry Potter might remember in Chamber of Secrets when Tom Malvolo Riddle rearranged his name to spell “I am Lord Voldemort.” It seems J.K. Rowling has kept her love of anagrams after all these years. Yesterday she tweeted “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” We’ll pause a minute to let you come up with your own version.

Rowling confirmed the correct answer is “Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours.” Scamander is the main character of the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Rowling is writing the screenplay and said this is the first line of it. The film is based on the fake textbook Rowling published in 2001 with the proceeds going to the charity Comic Relief.

"Harry's copy" of Scamandar's book.

“Harry’s copy” of Scamandar’s book.

The movie follows Scamander doing research for his book and is set seventy years before Harry’s story, putting it in 1910 New York. Seeing as WWI started in 1914, we might want to be a little worried that J.K. might make us love a few characters right before shoving them in the trenches. On the other hand, if we can get past that, there’s the roaring twenties. A wizard speakeasy could be delightfully whimsical, or just shoot right past the suspension of disbelief. Then of course we get the Great Depression, which again is dangerous territory, and after that comes WWII. It isn’t hard to see how much Rowling based the Deatheaters on the Nazis, so it might be pretty hard for her to resist making Hitler the Voldemort prototype. Who knows, maybe he put a Horcrux in Hiroshima, and that’s the real reason for the nuke. (Warner Bros., I am willing to negotiate here.)

The most important thing to remember here is the riddle came after a fan on Twitter asked for a hint. So get out there and flood her inbox until she eventually gives us the entire screenplay, then complain when you see the movie and all the suspense is gone.

by PETER WILLIAMS / staff writer


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