Newt Scamander: The Hufflepuff We Need
Hufflepuffs: Just and loyal. While the perceptions of Hufflepuff House seem to have been on an up-swing recently, as more badgers clamor to defend the yellow and black, the emergence of Newt Scamander on the big screen has pushed Hufflepuff pride over the edge. Contrary to popular belief, Hufflepuff House has produced some talented witches and wizards, so why did it take a socially awkward Magizoologist to prove the value of those who dwell near the kitchens?
Cedric Diggory was the long-standing representation of Hufflepuff House. He is loyal to a fault, brave beyond imagination, and skilled in magic. What more could we ask for? Here’s the trouble with Mr. Diggory: It’s an unrealistic standard to set for anyone. Cedric, while something anyone should aspire to be, lacks a certain quality. He is immensely difficult to connect with. He does the right thing, but we don’t see into his heart to find out what drives that. There is a sort of wall up around Cedric, and I’ve never felt like I understand his character and what motivates him to follow the right path at all costs. This, of course, is probably due to the fact that the books are written from Harry’s point of view rather than Cedric’s.
Another notable Hufflepuff is Nymphadora Tonks. Once again, an enormously skilled Hufflepuff breaks the stereotype that badgers are slow and dull. Tonks is one of the youngest Aurors employed by the ministry. She has a vibrant personality and loves deeply, as displayed by her depression over not being able to be with Remus. Unfortunately, the best qualities in Tonks are often overshadowed by comic relief moments of clumsiness or Metamorphmaging. Newt is clumsy and also provides moments of humor, but there is a notable difference.
It’s as if by elevating Newt to be the central hero of the Fantastic Beasts film, Rowling has made him into a character that cannot be shrugged off. As I mentioned, Newt is awkward, he is gangly, and he interacts better with creatures than humans, but it all works. Newt Scamander embodies human flaws and the very best that can live inside someone. He has an unwavering moral compass. He wants peace between humans and beasts. He wants a gentler and kinder world. Being placed in the forefront of this film franchise, Newt Scamander becomes a realistic symbol of Hufflepuff House. He is flawed on the outside but pure and just on the inside. His values don’t seem unattainable like Cedric’s, and his eccentricities don’t define him like Tonks’ pink hair often does. He is a whole person, and we see all sides, making him the Hufflepuff we have been waiting for.