MuggleNet Reacts: Newt, Expelled?!
Last night, Warner Bros. rocked the Muggle world with the release of the newest Fantastic Beasts trailer. But not because we got a more in-depth glimpse at the American wizarding world, complete with its drool-worthy 1920s style, caught a peek at some fantastic beasties, or even because we got a little bit more screen time with the adorable Eddie Redmayne. I’m sure we could go on and on about all of these things, and more, but I will leave that to our lovely SpeakBeasty hosts, who discuss all things Fantastic Beasts. Instead, we want to call attention to a small detail that was revealed in the new trailer.
Newt Scamander: Expelled?!
Since its airing, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer has created quite a buzz. Around the 0:22 mark, you hear (whom I assume to be) Graves mention that Newt had been kicked out of school, followed by his wonderment over Albus Dumbledore’s assistance. Cue tidal wave of confusion from masses of seat-wetters.
Kicked out of Hogwarts for endangering a human life with a beast. Yet one of your teachers argued against your expulsion. I wonder what makes Dumbledore so fond of you, Mr. Scamander.
To those who stopped reading Harry Potter-related anything once the series wrapped up (poor lost, misguided souls…), this might not sound very controversial. Just a small little factoid about a new character in a new movie created by some chick who wrote children’s books all those years ago, right? WRONG! Merlin’s beard, I can’t express how many levels of wrong are in that last statement. I feel dirty now. Forgive me, Jo!
The truth is, it’s a big deal to us. Why? Because it crashes headlong into the very thing we hold dearest to our hearts: Canon.
This has opened up a floodgate of speculation, theory, and all-out nay-saying on the subject of what is and what is not canon. We Potterheads have become Houses divided as we make our stance on what we believe is truth and what is a load of dragon dung, each team pulling out its respective sources and conclusions.
One might argue that anything created by Rowling is automatically canon simply because she said it and she’s the queen. Generally, this is an irrefutable argument. In the past, if we were unsure, all we had to do was go straight to the source and all was answered. After all, if the creator says it is so, then what more do we need? Unfortunately, this argument weakens when you take into account the Fantastic Beasts book, written by Rowling, that stated Newt was a graduate of Hogwarts. Now what? On one hand, we have JKR writing this book that states he finished school, and on the other hand, we have this film that states he was kicked out (hinting at expulsion).
…if new material contradicts the published works, it’s not canon.”
— Kat Miller, Creative and Marketing Director, Ravenclaw
Others are not so quick to follow Jo blindly into new territory. Some argue there is no record of an expulsion on the official Lexicon. The fact that there is already information about Newt preceding what has been created for the film bolster this team’s argument that the story of Fantastic Beasts is not canon at all. But then, what is it? I must say they make quite a compelling argument against the canonizing of the film.
I am not fine with the change in canon just to make a story line better cinematically. […] Will the new FBaW[t]FT book say Newt was expelled? If so, then why wasn’t his wand snapped in half [since] that is canon when a student is expelled from Hogwarts[?]”
— Keith Hawk, Managing Editor, Ravenclaw
There are a few, however, who believe JKR simply changed the facts around as time went on. After all, the Fantastic Beasts textbook was written 15 years ago, likely long before Rowling ever imagined the darling Newt Scamander would take on a life and history of his own. And what if there is some grander scheme in place that will connect all of those dots we are screaming about? Did she make this “mistake” on purpose?
…maybe the wizarding world at large doesn’t know Newt didn’t actually graduate! Maybe [Dumbledore] gave him a reprieve on the records for saving the wizarding world from lamely named beasts that would be cooler if they were augreys [sic]! Either way, it comes down to a 15[-]year difference and a character that JKR probably didn’t think she would do anything more with in 2001.”
— Alison Siggard, journalist and Alohomora! host, Gryffinpuff
I’m not enraged or upset by what is happening, just a bit annoyed. […] To what end is this necessary? I can’t wait to find out. Maybe it will be a great twist we don’t see coming, of which I am usually a fan of, depending on the end result. Only time will tell.”
— Aimee Krenz, Source Editor, Slytherin.
There are also some who are just worried and frustrated about the conflicting histories. When we are getting a deeper and broader glance into a world we’ve been curious about for so long, it’s hard not to have real, emotional feelings toward these discrepancies.
Hopefully this gets cleared up. It’s really hard not to take Fantastic Beasts as canonical information since this is all […] we know about a huge aspect of the wizarding world. It’s only going to expand with the other films, and not being able to view that as canon takes some of the magic away.”
— Mary Alice Wojcicki, journalist & Fan Interaction, Slytherin.
This particular Potternaut throws her hat in the ring with Team Let’s-Wait-and-See. I agree that things can develop a life of their own unexpectedly. What probably started out as a fun little giggle having a man with a reptile-esque name create the final word in creature-lore has most likely snowballed beyond what she ever thought she would do with it. When you want to create something compelling from a previously obscure character, sometimes you need to tweak a fact here or there. Sure, it leaves us die-hard canon freaks confused and feeling slightly violated, but in the end, if the creator says that’s how it is, then, by Merlin’s pants, that’s how it is. So if J.K. Rowling has decided this new take on Newt is the canon version, I am hardly going to argue with her.
What does JKR say about this debacle, you ask? Not much at the moment. So far, her tweet stating that Dumbledore did not have the power to overturn an expulsion when Newt was expelled is, pretty much, the only confirmation we have that he was, in fact, expelled from Hogwarts. Although, if you ask me, her answer was a tad bit dodgy. I wonder, wonder, wonder what Jo has up her sleeve. I haven’t felt this much of a buzz since the whole “Harry Potter cannot possibly be a Horcrux” debate all those years ago. Yes, I am still doing my victory dance on that one. In your FACE, James!
What are your feelings on the canon/not canon debate? Do you have any wild theories to share? Please share with us in the comments below!