When the Harry Potter series came to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I felt a little empty inside. I spent so many years of my childhood anticipating every book and movie release, and now I had no more to look forward to.
But the fandom never died. It continues to prosper with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The Cursed Child was just “alright” for me. Perhaps I need to fully experience it as a play. But the Fantastic Beasts movie made my heart swell with happiness as nostalgia washed over me while the opening played.
The movie serves as a prequel to the Harry Potter series, with Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) as the protagonist. His name may sound familiar to Harry Potter fans, as he is the author of, well.. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the Harry Potter universe. It was a textbook used in Hogwarts.
What I enjoyed about the story line is that it takes place in the same universe as the beloved series, but it gives a new perspective of that fictional world. It also shows us first-hand what exactly happened in the past events that were mentioned in the Harry Potter series, specifically with how the world was during Gellert Grindelwald’s rise to power. It also gave the audience a look into how the American magic world was run, as opposed to the British magical world.
However, my favorite part of the movie was Scamander. He was simply a big name mentioned in the original Harry Potter series, but with this movie, we were able to see him more fleshed out as an “actual” person.
And as a fellow Hufflepuff, it made me happy to see one as the main character. The original Harry Potter series had Gryffindors, and The Cursed Child had Slytherins. That does leave Ravenclaw out, so hopefully they get their turn eventually!
Regardless, Scamander was portrayed the way I expected Hufflepuffs to be like. I could relate to his personality more than the other main characters. He was awkward and soft-spoken. But he had a big heart. In fact, the entire movie was about him trying to save the magical “fantastic beasts.”
The American version of the Ministry of Magic, Magical Congress of the United States of America, is obsessed about keeping the Muggle world (“No-Maj” in America) oblivious of the magical world. It stems from the fear that a war will break out between the two worlds. But with the way witches were treated during the Salem Witch Trials, can you really blame them for wanting to keep their magic a secret?
So while Scamander is rounding up the scattered beasts that escaped his magical suitcase, he constantly fears for their safety. His goal is to educate his fellow wizards and witches, to show them that there is no need to execute these beasts. His determination to protect these beautiful creatures from discrimination is a perfect example of a Hufflepuff.
And to add to that, he befriends a No-Maj named Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler). He accepts Kowalski despite their differences and doesn’t treat him differently for not having magic. Hufflepuffs are known to be patient and kind- they accept everyone. Scamander defends Kowalski- he is loyal to him.
Honestly, I am grateful that J.K. Rowling decided to expand the Harry Potter universe and write spin-offs. It has allowed us to observe the series’ universe through other Houses’ eyes. Scamander truly made me proud to be a Hufflepuff. So thank you, J.K. Rowling, for giving us Harry Potter fans more stories to consume.