Everything You Need to Know About Newt Scamander
Just who is the protagonist of the 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' film franchise?
Harry Potter has become a familiar name to the entire world. We know his history, his interests, his sarcastic sense of humor, and his quiet dark side (looking at you, Order of the Phoenix). But Newt Scamander, the protagonist of Potterverse spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is more of a mystery. We don’t have thousands of pages to go off, nor do we have a dramatic Boy Who Lived backstory. We just have fragments from Pottermore, the film trailers, and Eddie Redmayne’s interviews. Luckily, there is as much to read in them as Professor Trelawney reads in tea leaves. If you haven’t been keeping up, we’ve gathered it all here.
He’s a Hufflepuff
Newt Scamander was a Hufflepuff in his Hogwarts days. Right off the bat, we know he is loyal, honest, and values hard work and decency. Now, Hufflepuff has a bit of an unfortunate reputation as the “lame” Hogwarts house. This is partly because they admittedly have the lamest ghost in the Fat Friar while Ravenclaw gets the elegant one, Slytherin the badass scary one, and Gryffindor the cool Nearly-Headless one. Even Hagrid says things like, “Everyone knows the Hufflepuffs are a lot o’ duffers.”
It also doesn’t help that the most prominent Hufflepuffs in the Potter books are Cedric Diggory, who dies, Tonks, who dies, and the forever-pompous Ernie Macmillan. They don’t even get as much page-time as Slytherins.
In the ensuing years, fans have endeavored to build Hufflepuff’s rep from impassioned defenses to speculations that it was secretly the stoner house and therefore the most fun. They might have been onto something, because thanks to Newt Scamander, a Hufflepuff finally gets to be the hero of the story. The ‘puffs time in the sun has come at last.
He’s Luna Lovegood’s grandfather-in-law
Luna Lovegood ends up marrying Rolf Scamander, who is Newt’s grandson. If grandson is anything like his grandfather — which is quite likely, as both are magizoologists — that means we can expect Newt to be a bit of an eccentric. His family history supports this.
Newt’s full name is Newton Artemis Fido Scamander. As J.K. Rowling is fond of names that correlate to characteristics — Remus Lupin the werewolf and Sirius Black who can turn into a black dog — we can assume that Newt favors the night or at least wild animals and either is an Animagus himself or has dog-like qualities. His mother bred hippogriffs, which is exactly what you would expect from a woman who chose that name. After his expulsion from Hogwarts — more on that in a bit — he joined the Ministry of Magic, where he first worked at the Office for House-Elf Relocation and then the Beast Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
After that, he traveled the world researching his future bestselling book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Then, which was commissioned by Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books. It’s on one such journey that he ends up in 1926 New York for the events of the film. Porpentina Goldstein, who will be played by Katherine Waterston, is his future wife.
He’s a bit Hagrid-esque
Newt loves dangerous creatures and was expelled from Hogwarts for endangering a human life with a beast — just like Hagrid. Also like Hagrid, Albus Dumbledore, who was a Transfiguration professor at the time, came to his defense. Unfortunately, it did not work.
Fortunately, you don’t need a degree to be a magizoologist, and Newt does not need to conceal his wand in a pink umbrella. In fact, he will become so successful later in life that he will be an Order of Merlin, Second Class — which recognizes “achievement or endeavour beyond the ordinary.”
If Newt is anything like Hagrid, we can expect him to have a higher tolerance for dangerous creatures than his peers, and he might even get along with animals more readily than humans. At the Fantastic Beasts Global Fan event, Eddie Redmayne said, “What I love most about Newt is he’s incredibly passionate. Love of his creatures is the be-all and end-all for him.”
He’s a bit bumbling
As accomplished as Newt is in his professional life, his people skills are somewhat lacking. He’s got a moon-eyed demeanor reminiscent of early Neville and seems to be suffering from culture shock about the ways in which the American wizarding world differs from the British. The trailers depict him as a fish out of water who inadvertently triggers a chain of events that involves the entire American Ministry of Magic — or the Magical Congress of the United States of America.
In that regard, he’s not unlike Harry. He doesn’t go looking for trouble, but somehow it finds him.
He’s got a dapper fashion sense
Last but not least, Newt gets an O on his fashion game. Just look at that blue peacoat and mustard vest combination.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out November 18.