I wrote a shorter post on the same topic last spring, and started with Byron’s quote
March has its hares, and May must have its heroine, from Don Juan,
which I actually believed to be Pope’s before I checked it out.
I had been spurred to write on heroes by a video I had watched in which it was reported that Warner Brothers had been dissatisfied with Newt Scamander as the hero of Fantastic beasts and where to find them, and was trying to convince J.K.Rowling to dump him in favour of a more “standard” hero for the next instalments. Thankfully J.K.R. knows what she wants, and is in a strong position financially so she managed to avoid any meddling with her plot and characters, and Newt Scamander, interpreted by Eddie redmayne, is going to be back with us soon.
So, what is supposed to be wrong with the protagonist of Fantastic beats and where to find them?
To begin with, that while Eddie Redmayne can be attractive ( he is certainly attractive to me) he is not the standard, muscly, big-jawed man.
That he does not throw himself ino the frey before thinking – as if assessing a situation first were a form of cowardice – but this means that the standard hero must not just be brave, he must be stupid and or blind. Newt Scamander is a man of science, and therefore he is not happy to destroy beasts or beings that may be interesting, in opposition to the standard heroic approach to beasts: kill and stuff. Or wear.
That although he may be interested in a girl, he may choose to pursue other objectives – it seems that audiences are so used to the fact that if there is a potential “love interest” (how I loathe the phrase) she must be conquered together with whatever else is interesting to the hero. After all she is there for that reason, as a prize, or a medal. I suppose to some producers, writers and audiences the sentimental/sexual happy ending are a good way of wrapping things up.
Finally, that he is shy, even avoiding a direct stare (and thus earning a diagnosis of some form of high functioning autism: how I hate this cheap use of medical labels to categorize everybody, both in real life and in fiction).
Well, from the trailer of Fantastic beasts II it would seem that some more action has been added, but that Newt is still Newt: clever, considered, handsome, shy.