March 2, 2023
“It's easy to bask in the sun, not so easy to enjoy the rain. But one can't exist without the other. The weather always changes. Feelings of sadness and happiness deserve equal mental screen time.”
"Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard" is a fascinating memoir by Tom Felton, who is best known for his portrayal of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series. The book offers an intimate look into Felton's life and experiences on and off set, including his rise to fame, struggles with his own identity, and relationship with the Harry Potter fandom. Felton discusses what it was really like to film one of the most beloved franchises in modern history, the lifelong friendships he made while working on the franchise for ten years, the highs and lows of fame, and the reality of trying to adjust to adult life once the filming was over.
For someone who grew up with the Harry Potter books and movies - “Beyond The Wand” is like catching up with a childhood friend. Felton’s writing style is both poetic and conversational, making readers feel like they're having a one-on-one conversation with the actor himself. The author uses humor and wit to keep the tone light, while still conveying the emotional depth of his story. The memoir is well-structured, with each chapter focusing on a specific aspect of his life.
The first few chapters of the book focus on Tom's early life and his journey to becoming an actor and how he even became interested in acting. After appearing in two smaller movies, Felton's life was forever changed when he was cast as Draco Malfoy (despite never having read the Harry Potter books). His accounts of the early years of filming are endearing, entertaining, and enlightening.
Tom tells stories of his experiences on the set, difficulties encountered while filming, and lots of amusing anecdotes - including a few about his grandfather joining him on the set. As the youngest of his three brothers, Felton grew up with a healthy dose of love, fun, but also humility, which helped keep him well rounded (keep his feet on the ground?)
One of the most intriguing aspects of "Beyond the Wand" is the insight Felton provides into the character of Draco Malfoy. As one of the most memorable characters in the Harry Potter series, Malfoy is often portrayed as a one-dimensional villain. However, Felton's portrayal of the character in the book reveals a much more complex and nuanced personality than what was shown on screen.
As the book progresses, Felton delves also into his relationships with his co-stars, particularly his close friendship with Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" films. He discusses the challenges of maintaining relationships in the public eye and the impact that the franchise had on his personal life.
While Felton's memoir is likely to be a must-read for diehard "Harry Potter" fans, it also offers valuable insights into the realities of being a young actor in the public eye. Felton opens up about the impact that his role in the franchise had on his personal life, including his relationships with family and friends. He also discusses the intense scrutiny that he faced from fans and the media, particularly in the wake of the films' success. Felton talks about his struggles with mental health and how he has worked to overcome them, providing a powerful message of resilience and hope.
Despite these challenges, Felton's memoir is a testament to his resilience and determination. He reflects on his experiences with humility and humor, offering readers a refreshingly honest and down-to-earth perspective on life in the entertainment industry.