Review: Beyond the Wand

From Borrower to wizard, Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame saw him catapulted into the limelight aged just twelve when he landed the iconic role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.

Speaking with candor and his own trademark humor, Tom shares his experience of growing up on screen and as part of the wizarding world for the very first time. He tells all about his big break, what filming was really like and the lasting friendships he made during ten years as part of the franchise, as well as the highs and lows of fame and the reality of navigating adult life after filming finished.

Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.

I’ve been excited for this book since it was announced early last year. However, I didn’t buy it right away because I wasn’t sure if I’d get it for Christmas or not (I didn’t), but it was the first book I bought with my Barnes & Noble gift card that I did get. Tom Felton did an amazing job of playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series and I don’t believe anyone else could have brought the role to life like he did.

What I found most interesting about Tom’s life is how, even after the Harry Potter movies were being released, he was still able to live a semi-normal life. He went to regular school, didn’t get recognized all the time, and was just able to be. I mean, of course the Golden Trio got all the press from the movies, but still… Draco was a major character (to me anyway), and I would’ve thought that Tom would’ve had to keep his life on the DL like Dan, Rupert, and Emma. I guess some celebrities can get away with living the best of both worlds (without a wig, haha).

I absolutely adored the chapters where he talked about his friendship with Emma Watson, and their meeting was so like a real life Draco-Hermione interaction. From then on though, their friendship is just the best thing ever and I kind of wished he’d talked more about it. They’re definitely friend-soulmates, and their relationship is so pure and real. Just as well, I loved all his chapters about what life was like while filming the Harry Potter movies and his relationships with the cast members. It just seems like they’re a big family, even to this day. And really, after that many years together on film sets, how can you not be?

“Emma has taught me so many valuable lessons over the years, most importantly: don’t always follow the herd, never underestimate the power of a woman and, whatever you do, keep quacking.”

I love that he took the time to dedicate some of his writing to the actors on those films that are no longer with us, including Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and Helen McCrory. It seemed as though he had a very good relationship with the latter two, and got some good wisdom from the series’ first Dumbledore.

He does take a more serious turn when he gets to the point of his life after the Harry Potter films, and talks about addiction and mental health. Growing up under a spotlight, no matter how bright, has to be hard. It seems like he lost his way a bit when he wasn’t really taking on roles he loved, but rather to just do them. He was even at a point where the only reason he got out of bed was because of his dog. Celebrity or not, I feel like everyone kind of goes through that kind of depression, though it must be worse when you’re famous because again, the spotlight is on you. After his realization that he was experiencing a type of mental illness, he embraced it and took action to learn to live with it, rather than pretend he doesn’t struggle because of the stigma that somehow still exists for mental illnesses.

“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.”

Overall, this book was a fantastic read of the life of one of my favorite actors. I laughed, cried, and just loved this book overall of Tom going over his memories from childhood to now. I highly recommend for anyone who’s a Harry Potter fan, and especially a Draco Malfoy/Tom Felton fan. You will not be disappointed. I could’ve have chosen a better book to start 2023 with!

Rating: 5/5 stars

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