“Beyond the Wand” – Tom Felton

I think the sensation that stays the most after finishing this book is… feeling confused? What exactly was it about? It tries to be a memoir but mostly ends up focusing on Tom’s acting experience within the Harry Potter movies while only describing a tiny little part outside of it. I might see how it could be appealing to a very specific target group of die-hard Draco Malfoy fans but it left me wavering between a rating of 2/5 ★ and 3/5 ★.

The book could be divided into 5 different themes and this is the percentage that each part took up within it:

  • 20% childhood before Harry Potter
  • 60% childhood/adolescent years while filming Harry Potter
  • 8% trying to figure out life after Harry Potter
  • 8% the struggle with mental health & addictions
  • 4% an outlook onto the future after the struggles.

If this summary speaks to you, you might enjoy the book. If it doesn’t, don’t bother with it.

My biggest issue with it was probably the fact that the themes were so out of balance. I was missing a connecting thread between the individual parts. It felt like Tom was simply chronologically describing these periods of his life and unfortunately the last quarter of the book felt really rushed. The style didn’t really stand out to me since it was written in a very simple and straightforward way. It really read like an actor without writing experience telling his life story, but at least it felt like he took on the project completely by himself.

I did enjoy the parts that gave insights into the filming world: what it’s like on sets, the life of a child actor and its difficulties. Getting some details on what the different directors of the Harry Potter movies were like, how the two different actors portrayed Dumbledore or what it was like filming with Alan Rickman playing Severus Snape – those and a couple of other parts were the ones that stuck with me the most. It really brought back nostalgic memories of the Harry Potter universe while reading about the different situations that happened behind the scenes. This is what made the book really entertaining, letting you chuckle along to some little jokes. I managed to read it in lightning speed and was always looking forward to picking it up again, so that definitely deserves some plus points.

I personally finally settled on a rating of 3/5 ★. My childhood was filled with memories of Harry Potter books and movies, so I would consider myself a fan to a certain extent. I didn’t dislike the book but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it either. I guess that I would have been more interested in reading a book like this written by Emma Watson or Daniel Radcliffe, as it feels like they would have more to tell. If you end up picking it up, go into it without expectations and it might end up like a short and fun little entertaining read.

“Beyond the Wand” – Tom Felton

★★★☆☆ (3/5)

Edition: ISBN 978-1-529-14941-8
Ebury Spotlight, 2022

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