Is 'Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus' In 'Fantastic Beasts' A Real Book? You Won't Find It In Stores
The wait is almost over. J.K. Rowling' wizarding world is about to expand on screen like it already has in print and on stage. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them opens on Nov. 18 and whisks Harry Potter fans off to a new era in the franchise's mythology. The movie is based on the book by the same name, a companion text to Rowling's Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them weaves a narrative around the book's "author," magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Though the film is set 70 years before Harry Potter is enrolled in Hogwarts, fans can expect nods to the universe they know from that series, plus some new bits of color. One of those details makes an appearance in the movie's trailer. Dan Fogler's character Jacob Kowalski reads a book with a peculiar title before bed. Could Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus be a real book?
There are two levels of "real" here. First off, there's the reality of the world the audience lives in. Maybe J.K. Rowling threw in a reference to an actual book published around 1926, when the film takes place. Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus is an appropriately vintage-sounding book title. And the cover art featuring a sketch of a fashionable young woman and her pet resembles something you'd find in a thrift store or rare books shop. Was it a beloved novel or children's book back in the early 20th century? Research reveals that Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus is not a real book that you can purchase in stores or ever could. It's a name dreamt up by the filmmakers.
You may also be wondering if Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus has a history in the tale of Harry Potter. But Fantastic Beasts isn't pulling from the original series here. This isn't a text that Harry, Ron, Hermione, or anyone they came into contact with ever mentioned. It may have some significance in Fantastic Beasts, but it's not an Easter egg full of meaning as that meaning pertains to the eight movies that came before it.
Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus might simply be a piece of meticulous set dressing and beautiful graphic design. (Something the Harry Potter movies have always excelled at.) What I know is that Jacob borrows the book from sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein, both witches living in New York City. He and Newt are staying with the sisters while they attempt to round up all the fantastic beasts that escaped Newt's case. So if anything, the book may expose some character detail about the women. After all, the book sits on their shelves.
This is why I'm dying to finally see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: because these movies are meant to be poured over. No scrap of information or decoration is too small. Every detail is created with care, and put all together, they make that rich world that I love so much. So you can't buy Cassandra & Her Cat Gustavus. But you can listen to Albus Dumbledore on the topic of imagination: "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures