It Should Be a Crime Not to Love Theseus Scamander
I had mixed feelings about Theseus Scamander when his role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was first announced. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I could tell that Newt harbored more than a little resentment toward his brother, who was introduced as a celebrated Auror in contrast to Newt, at the time a decidedly uncelebrated Magizoologist. I fully expected that Theseus would be an antagonist to Newt, another in a long line of characters who would sneer at Newt’s love for his creatures and chosen career. Never have I been more overjoyed to be wrong.
What immediately struck me upon meeting him is how much Theseus cares about his little brother. I could tell Theseus was just trying to spare Newt from the Ministry committee’s disdain. Even if he was exasperated with Newt, Theseus seemed just as furious as Newt that Grimmson – a beast hunter, according to the screenplay – had been hired to kill Credence. And when he refused to let Newt walk away from him afterward without first wrapping him in a bear hug, even if it was just to warn him that the Ministry was watching him, I melted right there in the theater. How could anyone not love Theseus Scamander?
“He’s an Auror.”
Theseus is a rare Hufflepuff Auror, the first one we have met since Nymphadora Tonks. More than that, Theseus is recognized as a war hero by the international magical community. It is exciting to see a Hufflepuff occupy the kind of role typically assigned to Gryffindor personalities. As a Hufflepuff Auror, Theseus brings qualities like patience, caution, and empathy to a group of often brash and hostile people. Like Tina Goldstein, Theseus is an Auror because he wants to do good in the world, and though he certainly has fame and recognition, there is no indication that any of that has gone to his head.
Newt may think he and Theseus are incompatible, especially because so many of Theseus’s colleagues would see Newt’s creatures exterminated rather than preserved, but in reality, the two brothers are far more similar than they are different. The same Hufflepuff qualities that make Newt such a great Magizoologist also make Theseus a great Auror. He demonstrates as much when he shows caution and restraint at Grindelwald’s rally, which some of his fellow Aurors fail to do. Theseus did not become an Auror because he wanted power or prestige. The Scamander brothers do what they believe is right, and for Theseus, that means working for the Ministry of Magic to keep wizards and Muggles alike safe.
“And a hugger.”
When we first heard of him, I fully expected Theseus to be the exact opposite of Newt. Newt is a gentle soul, sweet and affectionate with his creatures and with people he likes, so I expected Theseus to be harsher in contrast, forceful, distant, and uncomfortable with affection or emotion. But Theseus is a total sweetheart! Theseus is a supportive and protective older brother, even when he’s exasperated and chasing Newt through the French Ministry of Magic. It could not be more obvious that he loves his little brother dearly, and he does not hesitate to show it.
Law enforcement, magical or otherwise, is decidedly a very masculine field. Characters who work in law enforcement, whatever their gender, are often cast as grating, unemotional, and aggressive. Thankfully, refreshingly, Theseus is none of these things. I am delighted that Theseus is such a readily affectionate and openly emotional man. The demands of Theseus’s job and superiors have not managed to squash this softer side of his personality. Here’s hoping we’ll see more sweet interactions between Theseus and his little brother in future films!
“We mustn’t be what [Grindelwald] says we are.”
At the French Ministry, Theseus hesitantly questions Travers’s order to break up Grindelwald’s rally, but at the cemetery, he defies Travers, emphasizing to his team that it isn’t illegal to listen to Grindelwald and that they must not use force against the crowd. The Aurors he commands are anything from nervous to afraid to angry, but Theseus stands out in a crowd of “careerist hypocrites” when he gives this order. Of all the lines Theseus had in this film, this one is my favorite.
Theseus chose the Ministry’s side long ago, and he still believes working with the Ministry is the best way to defeat Grindelwald, but Travers’s increasing recklessness makes Theseus question his loyalty. Ultimately, Theseus understands that as an Auror, his job is not to merely follow Travers’s orders, but to protect innocent and vulnerable people from those who would harm them. Theseus is not the type of Auror Grindelwald warns his followers about, to whom the Killing Curse is a mere instinct, a reflex. He would never abuse his power or use violence against those he’s supposed to protect.
Theseus Scamander is a true Hufflepuff, a talented Auror, a hugger, a devoted big brother, a loving fiancé, and a good man above all. What’s not to love about him? Here’s hoping we’ll see much more of my new favorite person in Fantastic Beasts 3!