I am a proud Hufflepuff!
Like millions of people, I grew up with a deep love for the wizarding world. The Harry Potter books and movies transported both adults and children alike into a world full of magic and mystery. And now, after the heartbreak of the Harry Potter series ending, we have a new hero to follow as he takes us through a world filled with magic and plenty of fantastic beasts. He also happens to be a Hufflepuff!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out in 2016, to much hype and success. It followed a wizard called Newt Scamander in the 1920s; and many Potterheads will know that this character ends up being famous in the future wizarding world for his textbook on fantastic beasts.
Now, flash forward two years and the second instalment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has hit theatres with a bang, conjuring up many feelings I had towards Newt from the first film. As an audience, we are so used to the protagonist of a major motion picture being a very strong-willed, confident leader. So confident in themselves that in fact, it becomes almost a character drowning in stereotypical masculinity traits, movie executives think we still need to see. But honestly, the films already out there are saturated in these characters. These characters are so caught up in saving the day that sometimes masculinity takes the place of interesting character traits that we need to see more of in today’s major movies.
Newt Scamander is an excellent example of masculinity, and the many forms it can take. Newt is a very shy character, who has trouble connecting with people due to his social anxiety. However, this doesn’t stop him being confident in himself and his capabilities. He still saves the day, despite what some might say are flaws In his character. Critics said Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal left Newt boring and un charismatic. I disagree entirely.
So what if he’s quiet. So what if he’s shy. So what if he prefers his own company. So what if he isn’t arrogant or confidant to the extent of lunacy. His character is no less interesting, if anything it shows more depth, it shows a real life person with real-life characteristics that many people possess. I loved his character, and for the first time saw myself reflected in the role of a hero. To the thousands of introverts out there, who don’t get a chance to see themselves as the lead character of a film, here you go.
We need more people like Newt in our books and movies, more people to show that masculinity isn’t about having muscles or being an arrogant leader who thinks he knows best. Masculinity can belong to someone who is shy and quiet, who prefers to listen and take everything in, who cares deeply about peoples feelings and can empathise with not only people but animals alike. They do not need to hurt people, they do not need to treat women as inferior and they do not need to pretend to be someone they are not.
So, thank you Newt Scamander.
Hopefully, we will be seeing more heroes like Newt in the future, a hero who can defy the stereotypes of masculinity and femininity and still save the day while doing so.