I hope anyone who reads my blog and is a fantasy writer has already watched Fantastic Beasts and has seen the new one this month! I had mixed feelings about the new film, but in general, Newt and the beasts were…fantastic! (See what I did there?)
But why do I think that Newt Scamander is one of the best new male heroes that we’ve seen in a while? Let’s discuss…
He’s not confident in an obvious way
Anyone who has watched FB will know that Newt is very awkward and quite socially inept. He’s not the speech giving, rally behind him in battle kind of hero and that’s what I love about him.
JK Rowling has written a new kind of hero, one that has a quiet confidence. One that knows his stuff and just does what is right, without boasting, yelling, or showing off.
Harry wasn’t like this either, but Harry was very courageous and ran headlong into battle because of his bravery. But as a Hufflepuff rather than a Gryffindor, Newt isn’t courageous and duty-bound in this way. He’s loyal and loving and good, and that’s what makes him heroic.
He’s better with animals than people
Newt may not do too well with people, but he is brilliant with animals. Throughout the films, you see him struggling with eye contact and speaking effectively with humans. I absolutely love this. Whatever the reason for his social awkwardness, I think it’s simply just important to show that yes a hero can be like this and still save the day.
(As someone with social anxiety myself, I appreciate this message).
There are so many little boys and girls who will grow up thinking that they can’t be the hero because they’re not muscular, brave, dutiful, confident, a leader, straight, white, or American (but we won’t get too political here).
Instead with Newt, there’s a little more hope. His character sends the message that it doesn’t matter if you stutter and fear and waver, what matters is that you are good-hearted and true to yourself.
Animals are more trustworthy. Humans can betray, confuse, hurt, twist, and use you. Animals most likely won’t, though. It’s easy to see why Newt prefers them!
He does what’s needed for the good
As I’ve already mentioned, Newt’s reason for being tied up in the story at all is purely based on his being a good guy. He’s only in America because he’s returning the Thunderbird to its home. All the awesomeness that happens afterwards is because he’s dragged into the thick of things.
He doesn’t get involved because he has to, because he’s dutiful, because he’s a protector, because he’s a saviour, because he’s powerful, because he’s brave or anything else. He’s just a good person who is put in a position where he must help because it is the right thing to do.
He “simply asks if a thing is right…” – Dumbledore
He’s lovely, kind, honest
There are no games with Newt. Everything is laid out on the table with him; no aspects of who he is hidden for any reason. He doesn’t share his life and the details with many people, but that’s simply because he’s not a people-person. He doesn’t hide details for any nefarious reasons at all.
When asked something or just conversing, Newt is honest, no matter how weird or somewhat mean it sounds. If you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe, he’ll tell you. If you have snot on your nose, he’ll tell you! Straightforward people can be hard to have as friends, but in the end, they’re the ones you can trust the most.
I love that fact that he shows that kindness and honesty and truth can be a superpower that sets you aside from the rest.
He’s in awe of the world
Newt’s mind is beautiful. The way he thinks is unseen by other major heroes in fantasy stories. Not only is he intelligent, but he is also analytical, genuine, out-of-the-box, and flavourful. He has that “away with the fairies” look to him that I just eat up! You can always bet that Newt will have an interesting, unique answer to any problem he encounters.
Teaching young people to view the world a little differently and not be afraid to think outside the box and make your own path is just so needed today.
He’s a man who feels
Particularly in the first film, we see that Newt is a man with big emotions. He is emotionally connected to animals which is so wonderful to see. Male heroes can often come across as these muscular, brave, no feelings types who can run the danger of portraying toxic masculinity. But Newt goes against that.
He doesn’t act typically brave or “manly”. He stands up and fights for and with his creatures, to whom he loves dearly. He tears up when expressing his feelings for Tina, whilst stumbling over his words and being noticeably affected by her presence – not some flirtatious, confident ladies man like many other action heroes.
His bond with Jacob is also particularly notable. His obvious sorrow over Jacob being Obliviated is beautiful and heart-warming.
Plus, can I just say that his bow tie, vest, and the long dapper coat is the new hero’s costume that children will be wearing! *heart eyes!*
There are a great many reasons why I love Newt Scamander, but I’d be here forever repeating myself and geeking-out if I explained them all! I just feel like he is the hero that the world wants and needs to see. Especially for the younger audiences who need to see that it’s ok not to be like the outdated, typical superhero.
Even though this new franchise may have flaws and many, MANY questions with it, I’m just happy and excited to see more of Newt being Newt with his wonderful, fantastic beasts.