Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them left many Harry Potter fanatics with quite a few new questions about the magical universe. Knowing that Albus Dumbledore was alive and presumably well, not to mention known to be a friend of Newt Scamander has us wondering exactly how the legendary wizard connects to the magizoologist. Some theorized that Albus Dumbledore may have actually sent Newt to New York, in an effort to have him spy on the wizarding government, possibly in the hopes of gleaning new information about the ever troublesome Gellert Grindelwald. Well, Newt Scamander himself has set the record straight on that theory, calling it an absurd claim.
This update comes to us from the newly released edition of Newt Scamander's textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which includes an introduction that credits none other than gossip monger (or professional bullshitter) Rita Skeeter with circulating the notion (via her book Man or Monster? The TRUTH About Newt Scamander) that Newt Scamander was a Dumbledore spy, posing as a magizoologist to infiltrate MACUSA in 1926.
As mentioned, Newt says this claim is absurd.
No undercover wizard would have chosen to pose as a Magizoologist at that period. An interest in magical beasts was considered dangerous and suspect, and taking a case full of such creatures into a major city was, in retrospect, a serious mistake.
There is some evidence to support Newt's claim in the Fantastic Beasts movie. In fact, when Newt first meets Tina, he tells her he's writing a book about magical beasts, and her immediate assumption is that he's going to explain how to exterminate them. Appreciation for magical beasts and beings wouldn't come until after Newt's book helped witches and wizards understand them. So, if he'd been looking for a good cover to infiltrate the ministry, a magizoologist would be a pretty oddball choice in this time period, and likely only would've drawn attention to him.
Newt goes on to reaffirm the actual reason for his travels to America, stated in Fantastic Beasts, which was to release his Thunderbird, introduced to us as the lovable Frank. And in fact, it seems Newt's adventures (and likely, Frank's helpful involvement in resolve the chaos in New York at the end of the film), led to MACUSA's Seraphina Picquery issuing a Protective Order on Thunderbirds.
So it seems Newt's intentions were true, and that Albus Dumbledore was not behind his travels to the U.S. And though this update comes from a bit of a fictitious source, I think it's fair to take it as J.K. Rowling's official word on the matter. That she would credit Rita Skeeter with circulating the rumor is enough to put the theory in doubt on its own. We know Albus Dumbledore will factor into this developing story, it seems unlikely that he was behind this particular aspect of it.
The new introduction to Newt's textbook also finds a way to conceal further plot developments from whatever's ahead in the Fantastic Beasts films, as Newt cites the "declassification of certain secret documents" for the reason he's even able to explain certain things related to events featured in the first film. As for the reason he can't get into further details, well that should be obvious...
I am not yet in a position to tell the full story of my activities during the two decades that Gellert Grindelwald terrorized the wizarding world. As more documents become declassified over the coming years, I will be freezer to speak openly about my role during that dark period in our history.
So, perhaps we'll see yet another edition of Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them once more films from the series are released. If not, maybe Newt Scamander will guest-blog an article over at Pottermore and share more insights into the events that have transpired.
In the meantime, it's great to hear an update from Newt, who's apparently still alive and up for sharing his passion for magical creatures across the globe. The new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offers a handful of new entries, in addition to the previously published information about the magical beasts in J.K. Rowling's world. In addition to an eBook and hardcover version, Pottermore has also released an audiobook, narrated by Newt Scamander himself (voiced by Eddie Redmayne).