What Quarter Life Crisis Struck Millennials Can Learn from Newt Scamander

Green coat, shy outlook, and his never-ending love for beasts, Newt Scamander (and the very dashing Eddie Redmayne) has won all of our hearts right from the very start of the Fantastic Beasts series. The question is very simple: Can anyone not admire Newt? Not at all.

While the second movie in the Fantastic Beasts series might not have been that great, there’s still hope to believe that the upcoming stories will be better connected and hopefully everything that left us wary now will make sense. And more importantly we will get to see more of Newt Scamander in action.

Accio Spoilers! You have been warned.

Apart from being the very loyal and hardworking Hufflepuff, Newt is a wonderful character in the making.

‘Newt, you’re next,’ says Albus Dumbledore as he stands with his students in the Defense Against The Dark Arts Class. The Boggart suddenly turns into a table filled with piles of paper.
‘That’s an unusual one. What Mr. Scamander fears above everything else is….,’ says Dumbledore.
‘Having to work in an office, Sir,’ Newt immediately answers, a little shaken and confused. The entire class bursts into giggles.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say, a lot of us millennials are like Newt. We fear the cubical and fear the bondage that comes with it. And perhaps we can all, especially us confused, quarter life struck ones learn a few things from the delightfully honest, hilarious and heartwarming Newt Scamander.

Daring to say No
There’s a scene in the second movie when Newt is placed in front of a few officials and his brother Theseus. Apparently it’s his fifth time in that seat. Newt is being offered to work with his brother in an ‘Office’, and he immediately declines and walks away. The price is that his international travel ban continues. And yet, Newt declines. He know’s that’s not what he wants. Well, maybe his complicated status with Leta Lestrange also contributes to it, but either ways, it takes a lot of courage to decline an offer like that. Perhaps we need that to, from time to time.

Appreciating his true self
Okay, Newt is awkward. We all know that, especially when Tina’s around. Not so much of a romantic. But who cares? He’s funny, he is an intelligent wizard, and in the words of Albus Dumbledore, he does not seek power. Newt does what is right because it’s right. And I’ve had the vibes after watching the two movies that Newt does indeed appreciate his true self. He might not be as classy as his brother, he might not have a great job with an office, but he’s okay with it. And that’s already so lovable. (He does end up complimenting Tina with the ‘Eyes like Salamander’ phrase.) Hopefully we can learn to be a little more appreciative of what we have instead of dwelling into comparisons.

Respecting his Dream
‘Newt was expelled from Hogwarts’, says my sister as we sit down to talk about the second movie.
‘But how did he survive then? Financially?’ I ask. A very 20 something year old question at the moment. (Maybe quarter life crisis exists in the magical world too!)
‘He was a researcher! He wrote books,’ exclaims my sister. 
‘But who would buy a book written by an expelled student?’ I ask.
‘It’s probably like engineers working for Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg,’ she says. 

Newt loves his beasts and he follows his passion of knowing and caring for them. And in following his dreams he becomes the best-selling author of Fantastic Beasts, the very title of the series. While Newt did follow his dream, I find it more important that he respected it. He doesn’t think its weird or less than the other fancy jobs wizards and witches take up. We often forget that about our own dreams. Whether we follow it or not is another story, but we should all respect it.

‘You never met a monster you couldn’t love,’ says Leta of Newt.

It’d be a delight to watch Newt’s character develop in the movies further. Since Fantastic Beasts hovers around adult characters, hopefully we’ll see some complex real life decisions to be made and the self discovery process of growing out of ones own shells.

Till then, let this very lovable character remind us that we’ll always be surrounded by great friends, like Jacob, and mentors like Dumbledore, and let Newt remind us of being ourselves!

Severus-Lily: Was It Only Romantic Love?

I know it is not true, because J.K. Rowling herself told us so, and still I couldn’t stop myself from exploring the angle of platonic friendship in two beloved Harry Potter characters, Severus Snape and Lily Evans. Severus’s complex nature and the final manifestation twisted everything. Severus loved Lily too much to let her go even after she passed away. Some say he was obsessed with her and couldn’t move on, and some other love him dearly for the sacrifices he made. It was all ‘L-O-V-E’.

Of course it was love, but what kind of love? Love remains a central theme in the Harry Potter series. It is the ultimate weapon that destroys Lord Voldemort. Lily’s love for Harry, Harry’s friendship with Ron and Hermione, Dobby’s loyalty to Harry. All the characters on the good side manifest love, including the Malfoy’s despite standing with the Dark Lord. So many different kinds of love have been explored in the series, with one of the major highlights being Severus and Lily.

The question isn’t as much as ‘Were these two characters just friends?’, as much as ‘Would it justify everything if they were just friends?’ Simply saying, would Severus do everything he did if Lily were just a friend?

Here’s a small poll I did on facebook to know what my Harry-Potter-Loving-Friends think. Seems like I might not be alone about the different angle in Severus-Lily’s relationship.

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Family is a strong theme running right from the first page of the first book. Sacrifices have been made for families and by families throughout the series. By the end we see that scarifies have been made for romantic love too, by Severus for Lily. Carrying a mountain for family and for romantic love has been an ongoing theme in literature for thousand of years. But sacrifices have also been made by friends, well wishes and everyone who stood on the good side. We have Tonks and Lupin who died leaving their new born son, Harry’s DA friends-Neville, Ginny, Luna, Seamus, Dean who fought because it was right. Everyone risked their lives. And that is why I wonder if Severus would do what he did, even if Lily were just a friend he deeply cared about.

Never in the books is it explicitly mentioned that Severus loved Lily in a romantic way. Sure there are a lot of metaphors the famous one being the ‘Always’ dialogue between Severus and Dumbledore, but then again aren’t metaphors suppose to mean more than what can be seen?

Severus was loyal to the Dark Lord and spills the prophesy made by Trelawney only to realize that the Dark Lord would now kill Harry, who was Lily’s son. Anyone could have felt the shock, Lily doesn’t have to be his love interest for the shock to run down his veins. The guilt of putting your dear friend in danger (and eventually having her murdered) might take toll on anyone. So Severus’s actions could have been his own path to redemption. There’s no saying it wasn’t love, but there are so many other possibilities, other emotions, other kinds of love, which often run under the shadows of romantic love and family love.

There’s so much more. Wouldn’t you agree?

3 Powerful Moments from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Dark spoiler aler. If you haven’t read the seventh book in the series you might as well return, unless of course you know how to use the obliviate spell for spoilers!

After one year, one month and eighteen day, a magical journey ended. That was the exact time I needed to finish all the seven books in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. The final book is filled with intensity as the magical world prepares to face Voldemort, alongside Harry. Many secrets are revealed, and Rowling’s masterpiece is woven together as all pieces are placed in their perfect order.

The reason I chose these moments has to do with the spontaneity it comes in and catches the reader and the characters, and eventually ends up revealing so much more about them and the context everything is happening in. These moments are subtle and yet carry so much weight in them.

There are so many powerful moments of loss, pain, change and inspiration, and this list definitely does not suffice. Nonetheless, here are the three powerful but subtle moment from the final Harry Potter book.

  1. Harry discovering the paintings in Luna’s room

Luna had decorated her bedroom ceiling with five beautifully painted faces: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville. They were not moving as the portraits at Hogwarts moved, but there was a certain magic about them all the same: Harry thought they breathed. What appeared to be fine golden chains wove around the pictures, linking them together, but after examining them for a minute or so, Harry realised that the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: … friends … friends …

Harry felt a great rush of affection for Luna.

I absolutely adore Luna, for her witty lines and her deep caring intent. While we as readers are able to see into her, perhaps the other characters in the books do not know much about her, with the little exception of Harry. Even so, I’d like to believe Harry did not know the depth of care that Luna carried for everyone. In this moment when he discovers the paintings, Luna becomes really special to Harry. No, she’ll never be Ron or Hermoine or Ginny, but Luna will be Luna. She never explicitly expresses how she feels about her friends. It is only through her little actions that her nature is revealed. And in this exact moment Harry realises how much Luna holds inside of her.

There’re many of us who are like Luna. And she continues to be herself, the irreplaceable Luna. And we continue to be our irreplaceable self.

2. Harry’s feelings after Dobby’s death

Harry placed the elf into the grave, arranged his tiny limbs so that he might have been resting, then climbed out and gazed for the last time upon the little body. He forced himself not to break down as he remembered Dumbledore’s funeral, and the rows and rows of golden chairs, and the Minister for Magic in the front row, the recitation of Dumbledore’s achievements, the stateliness of the white marble tomb. He felt that Dobby deserved just as grand a funeral, and yet there the elf lay between bushes in a roughly dug hole.

Harry mirroing Dumbledore’s death and his deep thought that Dobby deserves the same grandeur to celebrate his life and death, teared me up. Dobby was a tiny little character and yet because of his love and respect towards Harry he manages to carve his place. In this fight everyone has their part, big or small. Dobby, of whose life we do not know much, might have been a small part of it all, but he still remains equally important. Dobby stands as a reflection to all the ones who have played small and yet equally respectful roles not just in Harry Potter but also in our lives.

3. Neville Standing up against Alecto Carrow

‘…..I got this one,’ he indicated another slash to his face, ‘for asking how much Muggle blood she and her brother have got.’

‘Blimey, Neville,’ said Ron, ‘there’s a time and a place for getting a smart mouth.’

‘You didn’t hear her,’ said Neville. ‘You wouldn’t have stood it either. The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope. I used to notice that when you did it, Harry’.

Neville Longbottom is such a wonderful character that has grown over the course of these seven books. In the final book, Neville has grown into so much more than what he started out as. ‘It gives everyone hope,’ this is a beautiful statement made by Neville, despite the pain and fear he might have faced when he decided to stand up against Alecto. Courage was a choice, not something given and Neville proves it over and over again, more visible than ever in the The Battle of Hogwarts.

It also made me reflect the words of Albus Dumbledore for Neville from the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.

The more I think about the books, the more I realize that Harry Potter is about so many things, and one of them would be how we all have our spaces in our worlds. They might be big or small, but they have something to do. Without all the ones who believed and worked for the good side, the Boy Who Lived might not have been successful at overthrowing You-Know-Who. Harry Potter may have been the mighty arsenal, the sword, the weapon bestowed power to vanquish the dark lord, but the vessels that were inside of him, that gave him his life, belonged to all those who fought for the good. Tiny little stones make up sky piercing mighty mountains.

Or we might say in the words of Albus Dumbledore himself (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.