Newt Scamander's Backstory: What You Need To Know About The Fantastic Beasts Hero

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald**!**

In the years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’s first publication in 1997, millions the world over have come to know and love Harry Potter. His glasses and lightning-shaped scar are iconic, and like in the Wizarding World, most children know his name. For her next story in the Wizarding World, J.K. Rowling made the bold choice to follow a character other than Harry Potter, and one who is very different from The Boy Who Lived. That character is Newt Scamander.

Newt Scamander is a hero of a different kind; just as caring and brave as Harry Potter, but more shy and awkward. Lacking the social skills of the Chosen One, he’s the nerd to Harry’s jock. Newt is a true animal lover and has made caring for them and educating himself and others about them his life’s work. This is in contrast to Harry, who didn’t grow up in the magical world and still inexplicably dropped the Care of Magical Creatures elective (rant over)!

We’ve learned a lot about Newt Scamander through the first two Fantastic Beasts films and we will presumably learn a lot more in the three movies still to come. But there is other information about Newt to be found in other parts of J.K. Rowling’s universe that is yet to be fully explored in the films. Read on for facts about Newt’s backstory, family and more.

Newt Scamander

Newt Is His Nickname

While I’d argue the character names in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World don’t quite match up to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, what they lack in pizazz, they occasionally make up for in length. As is the case with Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Newt isn’t so limited as to only have a first, middle and last name. Born in 1897, Newt’s full name is actually Newton Artemis Fido Scamander. Presumably those names were inspired by scientist Sir Isaac Newton, Greek goddess of the hunt and wild animals Artemis, and Fido, which is a dog’s name.

Buckbeak in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Newt’s Mother Bred Hippogriffs

Newt may seem like an oddity to many of his fellow wizards, but working with magical creatures actually runs in the family. Newt’s mother was a fancy Hippogriff breeder. Who knows, maybe she even bred Buckbeak’s grandparents. Hippogriffs are magical creatures, so you would think they are fancy enough to begin with, but these fancy ones apparently even get their own calendars showcasing their majesty. Despite her profession, Newt’s mother was unimpressed with her son’s choice of career.

Young Newt in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class

Newt Was In Hufflepuff At Hogwarts

When we meet Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he is well beyond his school years. Like most British wizarding children, Newt Scamander attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he was sorted into Hufflepuff house. The Badgers get a bad rap due to their lack of prominence in the Harry Potter series, but this House, founded by Helga Hufflepuff, has produced great wizards like Cedric Diggory, Nymphadora Tonks and, of course, Newt Scamander. Newt embodies the compassionate nature of Hufflepuff, valuing fairness, hard work and loyalty.

Percival Graves discussing Newt's expulsion from Hogwarts

He Was Expelled From Hogwarts

Like Hagrid, Newt Scamander was also expelled from Hogwarts. And like Hagrid, he is likely innocent because the circumstances of the expulsion are mysterious. In the first Fantastic Beasts film, we hear that he was thrown out for endangering human life with a beast. J.K. Rowling has hinted that he took the blame for something someone else did, presumably the troubled Leta Lestrange and her experiments. We still don’t know the exact details of the incident that led to Newt’s expulsion or if it was enforced after Dumbledore defended him, but hopefully answers await in the coming movies.

Newt with a Thunderbird

He’s Traveled All Over

To write the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book that would one day become a staple of wizarding education and make him a household name, Newt Scamander had to do a lot of traveling. The Magizoologist traveled to over 100 countries on five continents as a part of his research to find the world’s most fascinating magical creatures and observe them in their natural habitat. We’ve only seen two continents and three countries so far, so there’s a lot left to go. J.K. Rowling has indicated we may see Newt go to a new continent in Fantastic Beasts 3.

Newt and Jacob Kowalski

He Participated In World War I

Although The Great War was primarily a Muggle conflict, some wizards did get involved. Perhaps that’s why the wizards who attended Grindelwald’s rally in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald were so fearful of his premonition of another war. The compassionate, 'wouldn’t hurt a fly' Newt Scamander did not pick up arms in the first World War, but as he told Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he was on the Eastern Front during the conflict wrangling dragons. Specifically Ukranian Ironbellies, the largest species of dragon in the Wizarding World.

Newt and Dumbledore

He Is An Agent Of Dumbledore’s

When Newt was to be expelled at Hogwarts, his Defense Against The Dark Arts Professor Albus Dumbledore argued against his expulsion. Newt was clearly one of Dumbledore’s favorite students and we see the great wizard teaching Newt in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. In that film, we find out that Newt went to New York in the first Fantastic Beasts film on Dumbledore’s orders. Albus is using Newt, like he used Harry, in a large and dangerous game. Although it’s still not 100% clear why or how the awkward Newt was tapped for these missions.

Dobby, a free elf

Newt Worked With House Elves

Thanks to the Muggle edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook, we know that Newt previously worked for the Ministry of Magic (perhaps why he seems to abhor it) in the Office for House-Elf Relocation in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Newt described his two years of work there as tedious, but it’s unclear if he was referring to dealing with house elves themselves or just living his greatest fear of sitting at a desk. Although we don’t know for sure, one imagines he would have been a supporter of S.P.E.W.

Remus Lupin as a werewolf

His Work For The Ministry Wasn’t All Good

According to the ‘About the Author’ section of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, while working for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in 1947, Newt came up with the Werewolf Register, a list of all the known werewolves in Britain. Newt should have known that historically, putting people on lists does not end up well. Ultimately, werewolves like Remus Lupin became second-class citizens in the Wizarding World. We don’t know much about this yet, but presumably Newt did this with the best intentions to help those afflicted with lycanthropy and protect others.

Hagrid teaching a Care of Magical Creatures class

He Wrote Important Legislation

Thanks to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book from J.K. Rowling, via Newt Scamander, we know that Newt considered his proudest professional achievement to be the Ban on Experimental Breeding that was enacted in Wizarding Britain in 1965. It regulated the growth of wizard-bred magical creatures. Presumably he wrote this law to protect magical creatures from harm and unethical experimentation where they could be bred for evil purposes. Although his fellow animal lover Hagrid is probably not a great fan of this law, what with his Blast-Ended Skrewt shenanigans.

A Chocolate Frog

He Achieves Success And Respect In His Time

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first published in 1927 and is still on Hogwarts required books list over sixty years later when Harry Potter arrives. Newt’s work clearly proved him the preeminent authority on the Magizoology subject, making him something of the Charles Darwin of the Wizarding World. This is a far cry his treatment in the films so far where he and his work are disregarded by most everyone except his friends and Dumbledore. Newt is eventually awarded the Order of Merlin, Second Class and he even lives to see himself on a chocolate frog card!

Luna Lovegood

His Grandson Marries Luna Lovegood

The spacey and wonderful free spirit Luna Lovegood didn’t really couple up with anyone in the Harry Potter novels, but the films did play into her chemistry with the almost Chosen One Neville Longbottom. However, those two did not ultimately end up together. Instead, Luna wound up becoming a Magizoologist and she married Magizoologist royalty, Newt’s grandson, Rolf Scamander. Together they traveled the world discovering new magical creatures, but alas, they found no Crumple-Horned Snorkacks.

These facts are hopefully only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Newt Scamander. With three Fantastic Beasts films still to come, we should learn a lot more about this reluctant hero and have many of our questions answered. Like why did Dumbledore tap Newt for such dangerous missions? What really happened with his expulsion? What happened between Newt, his brother Theseus and Leta Lestrange?

At least some answers await us in Fantastic Beasts 3. That film was expected to arrive in late 2020, but production was recently delayed, so we'll see. In the meantime check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of the big releases headed your way this year.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.