“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”—Newt Scamander
The Harry Potter films might be long finished, but JK Rowling has returned with a new series for her fans to eagerly watch, and the hero of these films is the unconventional protagonist Newt Scamander. Like Harry Potter, Scamander has always been on the fringe of the wizarding world, but in a much different manner than Potter was. Played by Eddie Redmayne in the films, he has gone on to capture the hearts of Potter fans worldwide. So what do we know about him so far? We have four more films coming to reveal further information about him, but for now, let’s go over what is known about this quirky wizard.
42. World-Building is Always Fun
In the wizarding world, Scamander is best known for his book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, which is a textbook that Harry Potter and his friends need to have when studying at Hogwarts. In 2001, JK Rowling created the book under the pen name of “Newt Scamander,” claiming that she had so much fun creating magical creatures for her series that she wanted to expand the story’s universe.
41. Hippogriff-Raising Hypocrite
Scamander first gained his love for magical creatures from his own mother, who is yet to be named thus far in the Fantastic Beasts canon. His mother raised Hippogriffs (fans will remember that such a creature named Buckbeak regularly appeared in the Harry Potter books). Despite his own enthusiasm for magizoology, as the subject is called, his mother reportedly found it unimpressive that he should spend his life pursuing that subject. Thanks, mom…
40. London Globetrotter
According to the book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Scamander traveled across five different continents and over a hundred countries to study the many magical creatures living in secret without the Muggles’ (or No-Majs’, in the US) knowledge.
39. Made From…?
While most of the wands used by witches and wizards in Rowling’s shared universe, as well as the meanings behind the wands’ components, have been described in great detail, there has yet to be a similar breakdown for Scamander’s wand. What is known is that the wand’s design was partly chosen by Eddie Redmayne, who plays Scamander in the films. Because Scamander is fond of animals and the natural world, his wand is given a very simple, organic look to it as opposed to the more elaborate wands we’ve seen so far.
38. Creepy Connection
In Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (the movie, not the book), one of the characters talks to Scamander about his friendship with Leta Lestrange. This is likely a distant relative of Rodolphus Lestrange, who briefly appears in the Harry Potter books as a follower of Lord Voldemort alongside his wife, Bellatrix. Leta was briefly mentioned in the first film, but is slated to play a bigger role in the soon-to-be-released sequel, where she will be portrayed by Zoë Kravitz.
37. That’s a Bit Long for a Name Tag…
Scamander’s full name, according to the Harry Potter website Pottermore, is Newton Artemis Fido Scamander.
36. It’s a Boy!
Scamander’s birthday has been listed as the 24th of February 1897 in England.
35. Printing Success
Within the canon of the stories, Scamander published Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them in 1927. By the time Harry Potter was going to Hogwarts for the first time, the book was in its 52nd edition.
34. Colorful Character
Scamander was sorted into Hufflepuff House when he attended classes at Hogwarts. This was referenced in the first Fantastic Beasts film by the gray and yellow striped scarf he wore (yellow and black are the signature colors of Hufflepuff House).
33. Back When I Was a Lad
Aside from being played by Eddie Redmayne in the films, Scamander will also have flashback scenes in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, where he will be played by Joshua Shea.
32. Watch Your Back, Hagrid…
Scamander’s “proudest moment” was when he succeeded in establishing a Ban on Experimental Breeding in 1965. This was a law which curbed the breeding of magical creatures by wizards. This was done to clamp down on such cross-breeds as the fire-breathing chicken which is mentioned in the Harry Potter series as violating the Ban. Of course, Rubeus Hagrid is suspected of also violating the Ban with his creation known as “Blast-Ended Skrewts.”
31. Big Screen Debut
In his first scenes onscreen, Scamander has to deal with an escaped creature known as a Niffler, who runs amok through a bank. While this is the first time that a Niffler has appeared in any of the films based on JK Rowling books, they have appeared several times in the Harry Potter series. Rubeus Hagrid brings a number of Nifflers to one of his classes for his pupils to study, while Fred and George Weasley’s friend, Lee Jordan, pranks Professor Umbridge by sneaking two Nifflers into her office.
30. Use a Buzzer Next Time!
One of the signature physical traits which Scamander has during his film appearance is his erratic haircut. According to IMDB, Eddie Redmayne personally trimmed and cut his wig into the form it is. For extra authenticity, he trimmed it while he was in the dark!
29. Follow-Up Book
In 1992, Scamander produced a kid-friendly book called A Children’s Anthology of Monsters. We can only assume that it was staple reading for Hermione Granger before she graduated to Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them!
28. Prior Experience Required
Another one of the departments which Scamander worked with in his lifetime was the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau. Of course, this will hardly surprise anyone who knows anything about his service during the First World War (more on that later).
27. Make Sure It’s a Good Picture!
Like many other wizards of note, such as Albus Dumbledore, Scamander has his own Chocolate Frog card (these are honored only to the most esteemed wizards in history). Not too shabby!
In the book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Scamander makes it clear that he was the first person to ever capture Gellert Grindelwald, the most powerful dark wizard before Lord Voldemort, and it seems likely we may see just how that went down in Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Gellert Grindelwald.
25. What’s That You Got?
One of Scamander’s prize possessions was the suitcase in which he kept all his magical animals. The suitcase was bewitched to contain an entire habitat for each of his animal friends. It was also able to look like an ordinary suitcase if Scamander flipped a switch on the top. We can also assume that it also defied gravity, given how easily Scamander is able to carry it in the films!
24. Wow! Random Connection!
Scamander’s first name, Newton, is a reference to Sir Isaac Newton, noted scientist and mathematician. Interestingly, Newton was also interested in the subject of alchemy, and based on some of his writing, he hoped to create a philosopher’s stone, following in the footsteps of Nicholas Flamel (the real historical figure, not the character in the Harry Potter series).
23. Danke Schoen
Speaking of Scamander’s first name, the short form “Newt” has an animal reference. Newts are a type of amphibian, related to frogs and toads. Interestingly, when Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone was first translated into German, the German translation was consistent with Scamander’s name. His name was translated as Lurch Scamander. “Lurch” is the German word for amphibian.
22. Rubeus and Newt
Rowling fans have taken note that there are quite a few parallels between Scamander’s departure from Hogwarts and Rubeus Hagrid’s expulsion. Both were social outliers at Hogwarts who preferred spending time with animals rather than people. In both their cases, however, a dangerous incident with a magical creature (coupled with a Slytherin student really being at fault) led them to be falsely blamed. In both cases, Albus Dumbledore attempted to intervene on their behalf, but failed to prevent their expulsions. One major difference, however, seems to be that Scamander was allowed to keep his wand, unlike Hagrid, who has to hide his broken wand inside his umbrella.
21. Moon Boy
Scamander’s second name, Artemis, has a very obvious connection to Greek mythology. Specifically, Artemis was the goddess of the forest, the hunt, animals, and the moon. Similarly to Artemis, Scamander is far more at ease amongst animals than people, albeit to look after them rather than hunt them.
20. Spoiler Alert?
It’s been established that both Scamander and his wife, Porpentina Goldstein, are still alive and happily married in 2017. That would make them both over 100 years old at this point. Looks like the story will have a happy ending after all!
19. Climbing the Ladder
Another department for which Scamander worked in his time with the Ministry of Magic was the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. He spent two years working in the Office for House-Elf Relocation before being transferred to the Beast Division due to his extensive experience and competence.
18. Where Do You Shop?
It’s safe to say that a lot of people admired Scamander’s fashion choices. One of these people was none other than Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe! He reportedly made his envy clear to Scamander’s actor, Eddie Redmayne, finding it frustrating that he spent the Harry Potter movies in jeans while Redmayne got to wear such an amazing jacket right out of the gate. Redmayne made it clear that he didn’t blame Radcliffe, nor can we, honestly.
17. Well-Earned Accolade!
Speaking of Scamander’s jacket, it likely played a large factor in Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them winning the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, which went to Collen Atwood. This award also marked the first Oscar that any of the Harry Potter/ Fantastic Beasts films have won!
16. Good Boy!
Scamander’s third name, Fido, is more than just a name for pet dogs or a phone company. The original Latin word “fido” translates to “I trust” or “faithful.” Even if you take out the animal connection, it seems that Fido is the perfect name for Scamander to have!
15. Something to Howl About
It was Scamander who came up with the Werewolf Register within the Ministry of Magic. Formed in 1947, the register keeps track of all werewolves living in Great Britain. It’s a sub-division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, something I’m sure Lupin would know all too well.
Bizarrely, the office of Albus Dumbledore in the film Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets features a portrait of Scamander! Given the nature of portraits in Dumbledore’s office, this would not only imply that Scamander was once Headmaster of Hogwarts, but that he was also deceased. However, this is in direct contradiction with later information provided about Scamander in the years since.
13. Don’t Burst Your Boundaries!
Scamander’s surname is also taken directly from Greek mythology. The ancient city of Troy was said to stand nearby the Scamander River. The river also played a part in the actual conflict on several occasions, since it was embodied with a demigod’s spirit. Scamander is said to have fought on Troy’s side and tried to kill the Greek hero Achilles three times. Only the intervention of Greek gods such as Athena saved Achilles’ life.
12. Where Are You, Newt?
JK Rowling has confirmed that Scamander will be the main character of all the Fantastic Beasts films, which will conclude with the epic duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. However, this has caused some confusion among fans, who have pointed out a good question: If Newt was so involved in fighting against dark wizards like Grindelwald, and he is supposed to have been alive throughout the Harry Potter timeline, why didn’t he ever help Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix in their fight? Perhaps Rowling will give us an answer to that; we certainly hope she does!
11. Big Bro
Scamander is confirmed to have at least one sibling. Theseus Scamander is his older brother and is regarded as a war hero for his efforts in the First World War. He plays a significant role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
10. Perfect Pair-Up
After she finished the Harry Potter book series, JK Rowling was naturally swamped by fan requests for more information on what happened to all the different characters after the end of the books. Rowling was happy to oblige, providing information on all of them, including Luna Lovegood, the beloved misfit/conspiracy theorist best friend of Ginny Weasley. According to Rowling, Lovegood marries into Scamander’s family, specifically his grandson, Rolf (Rolf is never a character in the books, but if he’s anything like his grandpa, we can assume he’s a nice guy).
9. Magical Meet-Cute
During his visit to New York City in 1926, Scamander met Porpentina Goldstein, a witch who was, at the time, working as an Auror for the Magical Congress of the United States of America. This adventure is covered during the events of the film Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, but what the film does not mention is that Goldstein and Scamander would eventually get married and begin a family together.
8. Daring Dragon-Fire
According to sources, Scamander spent the First World War as a confidential employee with the Ministry of Magic. Scamander was on the Eastern Front taking part in a covert operation to train a type of dragon known as a Ukrainian Ironbelly. The largest and fiercest of all dragons in Rowling’s universe, they managed to be tamed by Scamander. However, because they only listened to him, the project was deemed unsuccessful and was canceled.
7. It’s All Connected!
For those of you wondering how dangerous these Ukrainian Ironbelly dragons were that only Scamander could train them, you might be surprised to know that this was the type of dragon which Harry, Hermione, and Ron had to deal with in the Gringotts vaults during the events of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows!
6. Nobody but Eddie
According to JK Rowling, there was no contest over who should play Scamander onscreen. Eddie Redmayne was their one and only choice for the role, and he didn’t even have to audition for the opportunity. In fact, when Redmayne had signed on, he even became involved in the casting process for other characters in the films! As for Redmayne, he was unaware that he was in such high demand for the role of Scamander, and he was just relieved that he’d been able to do the role at all after losing out Kylo Ren to Adam Driver (for which we’re also very grateful).
5. You’re Destined for Greater Things
Before he gained the role of Scamander, Eddie Redmayne had previously tried to be cast as Tom Riddle in the film adaptation of Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets. Incredibly, he was rejected after reading just one line! Frankly, it’s hard for us to imagine Redmayne being anyone other than Scamander anyway.
4. Hi Newt!
Long before his story was ever told, Scamander actually made a cameo (of sorts) in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. When Harry Potter is using the Marauder’s Map (a magical map which reveals where everyone is inside Hogwarts, the name “Newt Scamander” appears on the map. We’re not sure how that works in the canon, but we’re inclined to assume that it must be one of his descendants (the books make it clear that the Marauder’s Map doesn’t differentiate between fathers and sons with the same name).
3. Oh Yeah, That’s Subtle!
To add further depth to the character of Scamander, a conspiracy theory within the story is established against him. A rumor persists that Scamander went to New York City in 1926 deliberately as a spy for Albus Dumbledore to find more information on the Dark Wizard, Gellert Grindelwald. For his part, Scamander categorically denied the rumor, remarking that it would be strange for him to pose as a magizoologist in an undercover operation!
One of the scenes deleted from the film Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them features Scamander revealing all the scars he’s obtained from working with magical beasts. Eddie Redmayne had worked out especially hard prior to filming the scene out of a nervousness to look his best for the camera. The scene, however, was deleted from the final version of the film. After all that work!
1. Mystery Man
Before filming began on the film Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Eddie Redmayne was given a very detailed biography of Scamander by JK Rowling, exclusively for his own use, to get into character. It remains to be seen how much of that biography will be revealed to the rest of us. Fingers crossed!
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