I know I’m late. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (both the movie and the screenplay) came out a long time ago. But it’s only now that I’ve had the chance to read the Original Screenplay, and once again, like you’d expect, I’m blown away.
Before I move on to Newt, I can’t help but give a minute to J. K. Rowling. Joanne, I’ve always adored and admired you works on novels (both magical and thrillers), and the fact that you’re equally amazing (for lack of better words), if not more, at writing screenplays astounds me completely.
You’re a writer, who in my opinion, can never go wrong. There is something about the words you write that engulfs me to the world I’m reading about. Something like Tom Riddle’s Diary, but only in a good way.
I’d even read a grocery list written by you because I know that even that would be something worth reading. As a reader, you appeal and overwhelm my heart.
And that is a magic I’d like to thank you for performing in this muggle world.
Okay, enough of me gushing over my favourite writer. I promise to continue this some other day. Let me now gush over a character she designed and fabricated. Mr. Newt Scamander.
I’d be lying if I say that him being a Hufflepuff hasn’t shaped my opinion on him. It has. Because usually, we hardly find Hufflepuff characters given their fair amount of light and recognition. The last Hufflepuff I heard about wasn’t done enough justice (especially in the movies).
So when I had heard that the protagonist sports a yellow scarf, I immediately thumped my fist up in excitement.
You know how movies show us that the male protagonists have to be muscular and manly and ready to save the girl at any time of the day and ready to fight and kick ass and so many other things?
Well, Newt breaks all those stereotypes and I love it.
Keeping aside the fact that many people find Newt adorable (I believe Eddie Redmayne has a part to play for this belief), I’d like to say that Newt is more human than he is adorable.
He is sensitive and he is kind and he is awkward around people – something that I can very well understand, trust me. He isn’t a Gryffindor who can break through walls and look into eyes of the enemies and tell them that he’s coming for them. He isn’t a Sytherin either, who smirks at the enemies and twists them into doing his bidding. He isn’t a Ravenclaw who has all the knowledge stored in books and possesses wit beyond measure.
He is human, and that is what makes him my favourite character.
He shows the world that it is okay to be both male and own a sensitive and vulnerable side. Something that the sexists of the world need to be shown; but that’s a debate for another day. Newt Scamander has this unique ability to be caring and to be attached to people and to regard them as friends.
He is someone who deflects eye contact, who stammers, and who will do anything to protect his creatures and people who need the help.
Here’s the thing: Newt Scamander is not the hero the world is accustomed to.
He is not chivalrous from head to toe, nor does he wear confidence on his coat. He is not the hero that gives you a sudden drive to yell ‘Yeah, take that the-enemy-side, rot with that punch!‘, no. He is also not the hero who will combat to death if someone speaks ill.
Instead, he is the hero who will handle situations with diplomacy – a person who values delicacy more than he values the result of the entire event.
So yeah, when I say that Newt Scamander is the hero the world needs, I don’t necessarily mean that he is the hero the world deserves. Because right now, the world is not ready for Newt Scamander .
The world is a cruel place. It has not yet evolved to be in a state where we can accept such positive heroes. We like heroes who are exceptionally skilled with their chosen weapons. We like heroes who have something special that can be seen, heroes who know how to fight, and heroes who don’t mind fighting. We have always liked and placed our trust in heroes who are THE CHOSEN ONE. They are the heroes who’ll make your nose bleed and then, maybe, leave you at their mercy.
They may, at certain points of time, flex their muscles and use their innate or acquired intelligence and tricks, but do they possess compassion and warmth? I don’t think so.
And that is exactly where we draw the line between heroes, like say, Harry Potter and heroes like Newt Scamander.
We need them because we need the world to know that it is alright if you’re kind and empathetic and perceptive, that it is a good thing if you’re any of the above, and that you shouldn’t always necessarily be dauntless and confident and staring death in the face. It is okay to be vulnerable.
And to show that THERE IS BRAVERY IN BEING SOFT.
TO NEWT SCAMANDER, a fictional character in a fictional world:
I know this sounds utterly stupid and is going out into a void, but from one Hufflepuff to another, I am proud of you. And I am grateful – as a person and regardless of whatever house you belong to and whatever house I belong to – grateful that you’ve told me that I can be a hero too. That I too, can be awkward and uncomfortable around people but still, see myself as a hero that can help the world and the people I love.
[ Sidenote: and while we’re at it, can we maybe take another minute to appreciate eddie redmayne’s extremely impressive and wonderful performance. he literally brought his character to life and deserves so much more recognition and claps for his work than what he currently receives. ]