Will Theseus Scamander Be Another Percy Weasley?
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is less than two months away, and thanks to the tantalizing glimpses of the film we’ve been getting, the wait has been absolutely maddening. Though I’m eager to reconnect with Newt, Tina, Queenie, Jacob, and Credence, I am perhaps most impatient to meet Jude Law’s young Dumbledore and the other fascinating new characters we’ve been promised. Theseus Scamander – war hero, celebrated Auror, and Newt’s older brother – is a particularly intriguing figure. So far, we know Theseus is a dedicated Ministry of Magic employee, often at odds with his eccentric, unconventional sibling, who seems to resent being compared to him. If that description sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because Theseus resembles one of my favorite Potter characters, Percy Weasley.
Potter fans love to hate Percy Weasley, but his redemption arc is one of my favorite subplots of the entire series. Percy’s first job with Barty Crouch, Sr. ended in complete disaster. When the Ministry gives him a second chance he never thought he’d get, Percy puts his faith in a system he had no reason not to trust. In his mind, his family betrayed him by refusing to support his ambitions, so he doubles down on the Ministry’s lies about Voldemort and does everything he can to prove himself to Fudge and his administration. When Voldemort’s return is confirmed, Percy initially stays with the Ministry out of pride and perhaps out of a desire to do something useful in the fight against Voldemort. As the Ministry becomes increasingly corrupt and susceptible to Voldemort’s influence, Percy finds he can’t leave without putting himself and his family in danger and only manages to escape before the Battle of Hogwarts commences. Percy’s emotional reunion with his family is one of the best moments of the Potter series.
From what we know about Theseus, he bears many similarities to Percy already. Both are rather serious characters who have devoted themselves to the establishment. Callum Turner has said the following about Theseus.
… he decided that the establishment was the way to fight the good fight. Theseus may be quite more rigid or just part of the establishment.
Percy was often cast as an antagonist to his younger siblings, especially to Fred and George. It looks like Theseus, like Percy, will be an antagonist to Newt, the stern elder brother standing in Newt’s way. Percy frowns on Fred and George’s antics as well as Ron’s misadventures just as Theseus apparently looks down on Newt’s fascination with magical creatures. Newt seems to resent being compared the Theseus just as Fred and George resent any comparison to “perfect Percy.” Both are ambitious young men who want to make a difference in the wizarding world, Theseus through fighting Dark wizards and Percy through writing and enforcing the law. To both characters, working for the Ministry of Magic is their best chance to “fight the good fight.”
We know now that in Crimes of Grindelwald, Theseus is one of the Ministry’s top Aurors. We see him leading the party of Aurors into Hogwarts to interrogate Dumbledore in the most recent trailer. The release of new posters on Monday revealed that Theseus is “under Ministry orders,” but in what capacity? Is he tasked with finding Grindelwald? Is he meant to be keeping an eye on Dumbledore, who the posters reveal is “under surveillance” for some unknown reason? Percy Weasley ultimately had to choose between the Ministry and his family, and whatever his Ministry-assigned duties in the upcoming film, it is becoming apparent that Theseus Scamander may soon find himself in a similar position.
We know that Grindelwald never fully brought his reign of terror to the United Kingdom, but the Ministry of Magic seems to be involved in the fight against him nonetheless. Though Theseus may be sure of the government’s good intentions, I can’t help but wonder whether the Ministry has been somehow compromised. Grindelwald himself managed to infiltrate MACUSA in the previous film; he could very well have spies planted in magical governments all over Europe. One of the Aurors interrogating Dumbledore is apparently named Torquil Travers, a name shared by one of Voldemort’s most notorious followers and too familiar to be a coincidence. Grindelwald operates far more subtly than Voldemort does, recruiting followers who don’t even know what cause they are truly fighting for, and I would not be surprised if the Ministry is revealed to be deeply corrupt, with top officials secretly supporting Grindelwald’s rise.
If that happens, Theseus will have to make a choice. Will he continue supporting the Ministry, trying to “fight the good fight” from within a corrupt establishment? Will he perhaps be seduced by Grindelwald’s promises along with his fellow Ministry officials? Or will he have to abandon the Ministry and his ambitions in order to fight alongside his younger brother? Just as Percy Weasley ultimately chose to fight alongside his family, I think that if given this difficult choice to make, Theseus Scamander will stand with his brother in the end.