Why Newt Scamander Is a Better Protagonist Than Harry
It’s undeniable that Harry Potter is one of the most influential book characters of our time. After being the focal point of the series named after him, there truly is no child who doesn’t know his name. He does, however, have some issues. Being imperfect is part of being a good character (no one likes a Mary Sue), but there were times when Harry’s stubborn and gloomy nature got on all of our nerves.
This is where Newt Scamander comes in. The cheerful redhead is a perfect balance of what makes a character great. He’s positive yet clumsy and is more the hero of the people than just a hero. While Harry is more of a stereotypical star, Newt is just an average Joe. An average Joe who makes a catastrophic misstep, but an average Joe nonetheless.
Don’t get me wrong, Harry is still dear to my heart: The book wouldn’t have existed without him, and his sometimes frustrating quirks are necessary to the plot. But when ranking whom I prefer, the man with the lizard for a name definitely takes the cake.
The preference is rooted deeper than just moodiness, though. Newt’s quirkiness makes him relatable, which is a rarity in the modern novel scene. Most everyone can understand spending our time with our pets in the comfort of our own home (or suitcase) instead of in neutral territory with other human beings.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Harry. He is the Chosen One. He’s famous. People admire him, and he maintains good grades in spite of his constant adventures. How could the common man or woman compare to that?
Newt even has the upper hand with relationship skills, despite his introverted nature. He’s able to gain the trust of his new friends so quickly that they’d be willing to chase after magical beasts on his behalf. Harry makes one friend off the bat, a second one a bit later, and then… nothing. Harry completely shuts out anyone else, from Draco in the first book to the Creevey brothers in the second and fourth.
Will Mr. Scamander ever be as popular as Harry? Probably not. But I believe he’ll go down in history considerably more liked than the Boy Who Lived.