The letter to the first years mentions following books as mandatory:

All students should have a copy of each of the following:   

The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot   

Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling   

A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration by Emetic Switch

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore

Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

The list of subjects for them is:

  • Transfiguration
  • Charms
  • Potions
  • History of Magic
  • Defence Against the Dark Art
  • Astronomy
  • Herbology

So for which of these do they need "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" ?

  • 8
    i assume it correlates to almost all of the classes, as the different creatures are involved in each of the branches of magic. it also has probably been brought backup in later classes, such as year 3 defense against the dark arts, when they focused on magical creatures. supplementary/encyclopedia type book.
    – Himarm
    Nov 5, 2015 at 20:00
  • 2
    That assumption may not (or may) apply here. In American courses it's assumed that a textbook is required for a course. In European universities sometimes instructors merely provide a list of recommended books for a program. I observed this at King's College in London, and it may have something to do with how books are being used Hogwarts. Nov 6, 2015 at 1:10

5 Answers 5


Well in Harry's first three years, his Defense against the Dark Arts teachers taught him about:

  • Werewolves

  • Pixies

  • Red Caps

  • Grindylows

  • Kappas

  • Boggarts

All these creatures have entries in the copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them J.K. Rowling published for charity

If Snape is to be believed (not that he necessarily should), even first year DaDA students would be up to date on some of these creatures:

"Lupin is hardly over-taxing you – I would expect first-years to be able to deal with Red Caps and Grindylows."

All of which lends itself to the theory that they probably primarily use the book for Defense Against Dark Arts classes, which teaches how to defend against dangerous magical creatures. That separates it from Care of Magical Creatures which, as the name suggests, is more about learning to care for them.


TL:DR - Potions, A History of Magic and Defense Against the Dark Arts - possibly Astronomy, Transfiguration and Herbology

It can from the surface be useful in three separate classes, if we delve deeper it can be possibly be useful in six classes.


Throughout the Potions classes in the series not only are they required to know of certain ingredients from plants, but also certain ingredients from magical beasts. It is obvious that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them could be useful in this situation, there may be homework about gathering ingredients or a student may want to know where to get ingredients for... personal use...

A History of Magic

There are a lot of creatures on the grounds of Hogwarts and beasts also play a prominent roll throughout History in the potterverse, there are a lot of discussions in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them about how beasts have been classified and the history of the classification. What was happening around the time of said classification also features, the history of both the Mermaids and Centaurs is very interesting for this reason.

Defense against the Dark Arts

I think it's incredibly likely (given a proper teacher) that this book would be useful in DADA it not only lists Magical Beasts but ranks how dangerous they are. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them could easily feature in DADA for homework assignments or even to learn about deadly beasts!

The Other Three Classes Not as well connected as the previous three

Centaurs feature in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and are extremely well connected with the stars (Astronomy) the book could be used as a part of research about other races who observe the stars.

Animals often feature in Transfiguration and as such it may be useful to have a good description of an animal for proper transfiguration purposes. Or to cheat on homework by perfectly describing the grindylow you transfigured an ottoman into

Herbology seems to be the final class where it may feature, just for the often close relationship of plants and animals, and also the shades of grey between what is an animal and what is a plant in the potterverse.

The one class that doesn't fit in with the others

I could not think of a even remotely apt link between Charms and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

  • 2
    Charms - What charms fantastic beasts are able to use naturally, and how to counterspell against them/emulate them.
    – Joe Bloggs
    Nov 6, 2015 at 10:29

Out of Universe

Although there are a number of subjects that do specifically draw on the book (see below), the reality is that this is likely a hangover from JKR's original plan to have a first year lesson specifically focused on magical animals called simply "Beasts".

The lesson was removed from later drafts, but certain artifacts (such as first year students being required to buy the requisite book) apparently survived:

A slightly different list of school subjects appears in my earliest notes. Herbology is called 'Herbalism', Divination is compulsory from the first year, as are Alchemy and a subject called simply 'Beasts', whereas Transfiguration is called 'Transfiguration/Metamorphosis’

Pottermore: Hogwarts School Subjects


There are a number of lessons that draw specifically on the animals found in the book.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Assuming that the out-of-universe "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is broadly similar to the in-universe book of the same name (albeit dramatically abridged, one assumes), then there's a direct correlation between the book and First Year 'Defence against the Dark Arts' lesson provided by Quirrel against Werewolves:

Next morning in Defence Against the Dark Arts, while copying down different ways of treating werewolf bites, Harry and Ron were still discussing what they’d do with a Philosopher’s Stone if they had one. It wasn’t until Ron said he’d buy his own Quidditch team that Harry remembered about Snape and the coming match. - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone



M.o.M. Classification: XXXXX*

The werewolf is found worldwide, though it is believed to have originated in northern Europe. Humans turn into werewolves only when bitten. There is no known cure, though recent developments in potion-making have to a great extent alleviated the worst symptoms, [etc] - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


‘Harry Potter, do you know what unicorn blood is used for?’

‘No,’ said Harry, startled by the odd question. ‘We’ve only used the horn and tail-hair in Potions.’ - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone



M.O.M. Classification: XXXX

The unicorn is a beautiful beast found throughout the forests of northern Europe. It is a pure white, horned horse when fully grown, though the foals are initially golden, and turn silver before achieving maturity. The unicorn’s horn, blood, and hair all have highly magical properties. - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

  • Is a "W e r e w o l f" any different from a Werewolf?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 5, 2015 at 23:25
  • 1
    @randal'thor - The ebook has a number of odd spellings and formatting. It makes searching through it especially challenging.
    – Valorum
    Nov 5, 2015 at 23:28

The best guess (there's no canon info) is that it was useful in Defense against Dark Arts class, since the first 2 years the class mostly seemed to consist of "Defense against creatures" - see the curriculum summarized on Wikia for details; and remember that most spells listed aren't from the books but from videogames. (It could presumably also be useful for Potions, given animal origins of many potions ingredients; but I find it hard to assume Snape wouldn't explicitly mention that).

Additionally, Albus Dumbledore's Foreword explicitly states:

Newt’s masterpiece has been an approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ever since its publication and must take a substantial amount of credit for our students’ consistently high results in Care of Magical Creatures examinations – yet it is not a book to be confined to the classroom. (FBaWTFT, page vii)

  • 1
    functional behavior assessment what the french toast Nov 6, 2015 at 4:06

I agree with @himarm - I don't think that the book itself relates to any specific subject, but instead is used as a reference material for students. According to the Wikia, which itself takes a reference from the book:

It was a standard textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since it was written in 1927.

The physical version of the book contains dozens of listings of magical creatures, including Ministry Classifications (as noted in the linked wiki page: In the Ministry Classifications, the most dangerous creatures are labelled as XXXXX). This implies that some level of communication between Newt Scamander and the Ministry of Magic took place while writing this book, perhaps so that the Ministry could control what information was released to the wizarding community (in the in-universe copy).

My theory is that Fantastic Beasts forms more of a general standard text, a bestiary of sorts for all students to have on them. As we know, the Monster Book of Monsters contains information on far deadlier creatures, which again, would mean that Fantastic Beasts is more of the reference copy that most general young wizards/witches and perhaps even wizarding families, would have.

I think it's a general reference book for all types of magical creatures, rather than for a specific class.

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