Fantastic Beasts Newt Scamander is the Most Interesting Male Fantasy Hero

first_img Catholic School Bans ‘Harry Potter’ Books Because SpellsToy Tuesday: The Best Animal Toys A relatively new YouTube channel, Pop Culture Detective, is, once again, challenging common tropes in science fiction and fantasy. But this time, by presenting a positive example of a new hero that leans on empathy and kindness instead of bravery or aggression to solve problems.Heroes in science fiction and fantasy tend to fall into one broad category. They’re the chosen ones. They’re the big damned heroes that do all the adventuring. Violence is acceptable, often even laudable. In Star Trek, when Kirk has a violent emotional breakdown, that’s framed as a good thing! After all, he’s saving people! He’s making the anger! Moving the fists! Making stuff happen! So good!But what if that happened in real life? What if your boss starts punching you because you’re not doing your work with enough gusto! You’d be thrown. Have a hard time adapting. And why not? That kind of behavior borders on lunacy. And yet it’s a common trait we latch onto in our heroes. And we really shouldn’t.Pop Culture Detective points out that one cinema hero defies a lot of these traits and is better for it, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s Lead: Newt Scamander.Scamander is observant and empathetic. He protects, he guides, and he conserves. He’s everything functional people of society need to be — cooperative, compassionate. Despite that, he struggles to build friendships and connections. That’s a tangible struggle that a lot of us face at one point or another. Not that films have to be realistic, of course, but that it’s worth noting that movies speak to us because they’re relatable.The fantastical universes we fall in love with almost always have an outsider as their star. Often writers lean on these destined or chosen heroes to justify why everyone else would bother to take the time to explain basic concepts to them. Harry Potter needs to learn what magic is and how everything works, so that’s that. This is fine, of course, for a lot of media. And it doesn’t mean that those shows and movies and novels that do use it are bad, just that maybe it’s time for some variety, yeah?In any case, it’s nice to see more male heroes whose compassion is a defining trait. Steven Universe is another example, but beyond that there are precious few. And I think variety in our art is something that hopefully all of us can get behind. I dunno about you, but I really don’t need every story to focus on Brassballs McDestiny. Stay on targetlast_img

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