Transcript #326


MuggleCast 326 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #326, Newt, with Evanna Lynch

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: This is MuggleCast, the Harry Potter podcast discussing everything about J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. New episodes of MuggleCast are made possible thanks to listeners like you. Please visit to support the show and help us grow. In exchange, you’ll receive exclusive benefits including an ad-free version of our podcast.

Show Intro

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast, Episode 326. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Andrew: And we have a special guest this week. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, you will know who this person is. Welcome, Evanna Lynch, to the show! Hi, Evanna.

Evanna Lynch: Hello! I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Andrew: We are so excited to have you. Of course, you played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies over the years. And what are you up to these days? I know you’re working on a couple of projects.

Evanna: Yeah, I’m still acting. I’m doing a play at the moment in London called Disco Pigs. Yeah, just that, and then I’m doing… I’m sure other people know because I bang on about it enough. I’m an animal activist, vegan activist, so I’m working on my own podcast, which is… I guess this is how this came about, because Eric has been helping me, teaching me all the technology.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Cool. Awesome.

Evanna: But I just realized, I don’t think… have I ever been on MuggleCast before?

Eric: Well, you were on the live show at LeakyCon 2012 in Chicago.

Evanna: Oh, okay.

Eric: I remember because you brought… [laughs] We asked you if you wanted one of our Seven Year shirts, and you said, “No, I’ll bring one of my own,” and you had the original MuggleCast shirt with the silhouettes. I don’t know how you got it.

[Andrew laughs]

Evanna: I still have it! I probably bought it, guys. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, probably. Well, and that’s the thing; for anyone who doesn’t know, Evanna is a true Harry Potter fan. She heard about the Luna Lovegood open casting call through MuggleNet all those years ago, right?

Evanna: Yep. Wouldn’t be here if not for MuggleNet, yep.

Andrew: So crazy. So crazy.

Evanna: Yeah, I remember I used to… it was just my routine every day. I’d get home from school. First thing I would do, boot up my dad’s… it was one of those ancient computers, his desktop.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Evanna: And I would immediately go to MuggleNet and catch up on the news. And you guys are responsible for my geekery, for me going on set and knowing all of the cast birthdays. I was such a weirdo.

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: Because you know the way you would wish the characters’ birthdays? And you would also wish the cast happy birthdays? So I would both be like, “Oh, did you know it’s Neville’s birthday today, Matt?” And I would also wish them their own birthdays. I was so weird. And I was really proud of knowing that; I didn’t realize that would freak people out. Yeah, that’s all your fault.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, sorry, sorry. You brought the fan experience onto set, so that’s pretty cool.

Evanna: I know, yeah.

Eric: I think it was a much-needed component of those films.

Evanna: It was the only thing… so I was a very insecure teen; I just wasn’t confident in myself in many ways. But I was confident in my Harry Potter knowledge and trivia, and yeah, I liked to flaunt it around the set. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, well, and I remember when I went to the Order of the Phoenix set visit – that was, of course, your first movie – and the publicist was like, “All right, everybody go easy on Evanna. She’s new to this. She’s shy; ask her easy questions.”

[Evanna laughs]

Andrew: And I do remember you were so shy. [laughs] But you were young!

Evanna: No, but I was also probably starstruck by you, Andrew. I think I probably told you that.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Evanna: Genuinely. You, and then also Melissa and John from Pottercast. When I met you guys, I was freaking out afterwards in the corridor, and I had this chaperone because I was underage when I started filming, and she was like, “Who are these people? What’s wrong?” [laughs] I was like, “You don’t understand; they’re Harry Potter fandom royalty, and they just interviewed me!”

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Andrew: Oh, that’s amazing. I told a story a few weeks ago on MuggleCast briefly; tell me if this is right. I hope I got it right, that you were listening to MuggleCast on set one day, and like, Emma Watson comes up to you and is like, “What are you listening to?” And you’re like, “Oh, MuggleCast,” and then you guys listened together for a little bit or something? Was that right? Did that happen?

Evanna: Probably. Because in the makeup rooms in the morning, everyone had their… like, Dan would listen to this rock – I don’t know what it was – punk rock kind of stuff. And I introduced everyone to wizard rock, and probably to MuggleCast. And I think also, because didn’t Ben have a crush on Emma? And I was kind of trying to set them up.

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: I was trying to talk Ben up to Emma.

Andrew: Oh my God, I was not aware that you were trying to set them up. That is hilarious. [laughs]

Evanna: Yeah. I didn’t get very far with that. I’m not much of a matchmaker, yeah. But no, I definitely did tell everyone about it.

Andrew: That’s great.

Evanna: And I remember it always used to be so annoying when I would do interviews with you guys, because you guys would be in the same chat as just journalists who hadn’t a clue about the fandom and they just were given these briefing notes. And I just wanted to get super geeky and talk about the real… I don’t know, just the real in-depth fan and the in-jokes and everything. And we never could.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, there were journalists on set who would not know anything about Harry Potter.

Evanna: Completely.

Andrew: That was always so frustrating, because then they would turn to us in between interviews and be like, “What’s that character do? What’s this character do?” I’m like, “I’m not telling you; read the books.” [laughs]

Eric: Should’ve given them the wrong information so… [laughs]

Micah: Yeah, there you go.

Andrew: “Harry Potter has no magical abilities. He’s a Muggle.”

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Andrew: Anyway. Well, speaking of all this fandom stuff, what did you think of Cursed Child? I assume you saw it.

Evanna: I did see Cursed Child, yeah. I never read it, because I knew I was going to see it. And I just heard so many people say you have to experience it, so I saw it. And I mean, have you guys seen the play? Or did you just read it?

Eric: Andrew has.

Andrew: I did.

Evanna: Okay. So I just thought it was so… it really creates the universe. The magic was so beautiful, and it felt like real, traditional wizard magic, almost like the way when you go see a magician show, there’s just all this…. I don’t know, there’s a quality about it that’s really alluring, whereas obviously, in the films, it was all so high-tech and polished. And I like that it felt authentic. Just old-fashioned magic. That was really beautiful to me, and it really helped create the world. And it felt very different from the film universe, definitely. And oh, I loved Scorpius. He was my favorite.

[Andrew laughs]

Evanna: I thought he was so sweet. And he had such a vulnerable quality to him, and I think it was… I just love how Jo’s compassion, her heart for everyone, for making you feel for everyone, really just shines through in her characters, and especially through him, whereas the Malfoys were such a detestable family before. And to see someone who is kind of weak – or not weak, but just softer, sensitive, and not all the qualities that his family values. I loved him. But on the other side of it, I had a big, big problem with Harry, and that really… [sighs] I just felt he was so… God, I’m struggling for words here. But just the way he didn’t… he was trying to separate Scorpios and Albus. I was like, “Dude, were you not there for all the Sorting Hat songs?”

[Eric laughs]

Evanna: The Sorting Hat that spent years composing these poems or songs or whatever you want to call them about…

Eric: Unity.

Evanna: Unity, yeah. That togetherness. And also, I just felt like Harry has been through this. We’ve already… that was such a big theme in the books, and I just really felt like Harry was wiser than this. And after everything we’ve been through, after he’d had all his fits of rage [laughs] and seeing that people divided isn’t a good thing and that the Houses separating people necessarily isn’t a good thing.

Eric: Yeah, I think that’s very fair. I mean, Harry, throughout his years, befriends students from other Houses. That’s the whole point, you know? Dumbledore’s Army; he befriends Luna… and he certainly makes his peace with Slytherin House because he names his child after Snape. So I think you’re right; I think he’s a little… Harry in Cursed Child – and this reads through in the in the script as well – a little too out of it. And you can tell that it…

Micah: He seems stressed out, right?

Eric: Yeah, but it very clearly, I think, exists to serve the plot. And that’s apparent, where it’s just like, “Oh, we have to separate these two kids now so that they’ll want to be together more.” I don’t know.

Evanna: Yeah, but it just was out of character for me. I just could see it coming, and I don’t like that in stories when I know what the big blowup is going to be, [laughs] that it’s like, “You shouldn’t have been trying to keep these people apart, and that’s going to work against you.” But I guess it’s also… I mean, it presents the idea that just because he’s older, doesn’t mean he’s going to be wiser or he’s not going to always know what to do. It might be that he just has more baggage. But for me, it just didn’t feel true to Harry.

Andrew: Yeah, he’s going through a phase. No, I think you’re right. And I do agree with your positive points, particularly the magic on stage; seeing that actually happen, it’s like, “Wow, how did they do that?” Because they can’t cheat with special effects, with digital effects.

Evanna: Absolutely, yeah. It’s really cool.

Andrew: So it’s pretty impressive.

Andrew: And then, of course, Fantastic Beasts. Do you love it?

Evanna: I loved Fantastic Beasts. I really did!

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Evanna: I thought it was so good! I just love Newt. I was so happy to have a really awkward hero. Even how he speaks, he’s just not confident. He’s not. He’s only in his element when he’s in the animal world. And I think you see that he deals with humans because of his passion for saving animals and protecting them, protecting animals. But he’s just not… he is just awkward, just interesting. And I just thought the animals were also just… for me, it always expands the world when you see the creatures and when you learn more about the creatures, and to see their culture, it’s, I think… Harry Potter has always been thought of as such a quintessentially British thing, and yes, that’s Harry Potter, but that isn’t the wizarding world. It’s just so exciting to have seen that expansion for me.

Andrew: Yeah. And so on today’s episode, we will be talking about Newt to wrap up our character discussion series.

Eric: Perfect.

Andrew: And it’s so great to have you on this episode, Evanna, because you love animals, like you said. So it works out very well. And it’s also so glad we’re having you on now because we just found out a couple of weeks ago that they’re doing open auditions for these teenage Fantastic Beasts roles: teenage Newt, Leta, Grindelwald, Dumbledore…

Evanna: So cool.

Andrew: … which I’m sure you must be theorizing a lot of the potential storylines that J.K. Rowling might be getting into. But I was wondering, do you have any advice for these teenagers, since you yourself went through this? [laughs]

Evanna: Yeah, I don’t know. Advice… I would just say to be true to your interpretation of the characters. Obviously, it’s a little bit different, because they don’t exactly know the characters; they don’t have all the information on them. But I would say play in your imagination. Create someone who you feel is realistic and true to what you know about them in their history, and just go and do that. Don’t worry about being right or being what they want. That was what I did, and that’s what I think they really picked up on, that I just was like, “I’m not going in to please these casting directors; I’m going in to be true to the spirit of Luna.” And I just had this weird confidence that I knew Luna better than anyone, and if anyone had a different interpretation of her, that they were wrong.

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: That was just what I felt. And I actually said that to them, which is really out of character for me. It sounds really cocky. But as I say, it was just this faith I had, where I went in and they were asking me about her and my interpretation; I was like, “It’s up to you to disagree with me, but if you go a different way with Luna, I respectfully have to say that you’re going the wrong direction.”

Micah: You would have boycotted all the future films, right?

[Andrew laughs]

Evanna: God, it would have been painful. It would have… I would have…

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: I don’t think I would have enjoyed those films anymore.

Micah: Who was in the room, though, that you said that to? Just out of curiosity.

Evanna: It was David Heyman, David Barron, David Yates. The three Davids, yeah.

Micah: Nice.

Evanna: And I think Fiona the casting director was there at the same time.

Andrew: Your statements were warranted, though, because I think everybody agrees that you are Luna. It’s just amazing. [laughs]

Evanna: Yeah, I mean, I personally don’t feel like I am Luna. I feel like that’d be really bigheaded of me to say, because I see her as such an aspirational figure. She’s someone who just really inspired me to just embrace anything I felt uncomfortable about myself, and she still does. But it was just this feeling… whenever I read the books, I got this huge sense of relief and happiness and inspiration whenever she came on the page, because she was so accepting of everyone around her and so curious and so open to diversity. And I just was… I felt really fierce for the fact that I just didn’t want somebody who’s just an actress just being like, “Oh, awesome, this will advance my career,” and scheming about it.

[Eric laughs]

Evanna: I just was like, “No, Luna is so much bigger than the actress. Luna is so much bigger than whoever plays her that you just have to put her first. You have to put that energy, that beautiful light that she brings to the world to her situation around her, you have to embody that.” So yeah, I would say… I mean, advice for people auditioning, just go as geeky as you want. [laughs] Just study and realize it’s not really about your talent or your experience as an actor; it’s about your passion for the character. And knowing these people, these creators of the films as I do, they just so appreciated that when they saw that in me that I was fierce about protecting her spirit. And yeah, as I say, her story was greater than mine. And they want someone who has ideas. They don’t want someone who’s just going to stand up and interpret it; they want someone who is going to add more to it. Like the fact that I went to my first screen test, my earrings… you know that I made the earrings, so I had made these pigs with wings. I really thought that was… for me, that was a little symbol of “Oh, impossible, the impossible is possible!”

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: I was so geeky about it. And they immediately pointed them out, and they loved them, and they encouraged me then as soon as I got the role; they were like, “All right, get to work; make some Luna accessories.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s great.

Evanna: And then the same thing when they couldn’t exactly figure out the lion hat, how they wanted it to look, they came to me. And they want someone who has specific ideas on the character. And David Yates, to his credit, he always said to me – and I think having worked with other directors, this is a rare quality in a director – that he always said, “You know Luna better than anyone in the world purely because you’re playing her. You are part of her; she’s part of you.” And he never forced any directions on me. And if he was unhappy with the way I was playing something, or if he just didn’t feel like it fit right, all he would do was question me. He would question and question till we got to somewhere where we had a mutual understanding, until I would go like, “Oh, yeah, actually, she wouldn’t do it like this. You’re right.”

Andrew: That’s amazing.

Evanna: So yeah, go in there, own that character, and just really believe that you know them better than anyone, and you can do the best version of your character, I think.

Andrew: That’s great advice. You’re speaking very fondly of David Yates; you must have been thrilled to hear he was coming back for Fantastic Beasts.

Evanna: Oh, definitely. Yeah, he really cares for it and he really knows it. And yeah, he just knows how to treat actors, which is so nice because so many directors just yell at you and tell you you’re wrong. [laughs] Or just they force you to do… and he really is such a collaborator with actors, and he sees through things. He always talks about the quality of actors. I remember when a while ago… oh, I think it was at the Fantastic Beasts premiere and afterwards, and I was saying how I really liked Queenie’s character, and he was talking about “Yeah, it’s interesting; she’s got a real Luna quality to her.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s…” because they’re very different in many ways, but it is sort of that essence, I think, that he was talking about, and I love that he tunes into that.

Andrew: Cool. No, that was all very well said. How’s J.K. Rowling doing? You hang out with her much?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Evanna: Well, I see her at all the Lumos events because I’m an ambassador for Lumos now, myself and Bonnie Wright, so I see her there a lot. But she’s always very stressed and everyone in the room is trying to talk to her, so I just say hi and I tell her my new thoughts. My recent thing has been I’ve become obsessed with Housing, because…

Andrew: [laughs] House Sorting?

Evanna: House Sorting. Well, yeah, I don’t want go on about this, but basically… well, so I started dating someone a year ago, and then was completely shocked to discover he’s a Slytherin.

[Andrew laughs]

Evanna: He took the test and I was blown away. I was like, “I am dating a Slytherin?” [laughs] Because I’ve always had Slytherin friends, but they just seem a little bit ruthless for me. But then I realized, I’ve really changed as I’ve grown up. I used to lean more towards Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and kind of Hufflepuff; a lot of my best friends are Hufflepuffs because they’re supportive and loyal and they’re lovely friends. But I started to realize that I’m lately more attracted to the Slytherin qualities of being ambitious and being tough and yearning for greatness, that kind of thing. And I don’t know about you guys, if you do this thing where every now and then if a Facebook Harry Potter House quiz crops up, I just want to check to be like, “Oh, I wonder. Oh, let’s see.”

Andrew: [laughs] Make sure everything is still on the up and up.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Evanna: Yeah, exactly, to check in on your mental health.

[Andrew laughs]

Evanna: I do this, anyway. I check on it. And I always get Gryffindor; that just doesn’t change. I’m definitely Gryffindor. But my secondary House, which used to always be Ravenclaw, has lately been Slytherin, and I’ve been like, “OMG, what is going on?”

Micah: Uh oh.

[Eric laughs]

Evanna: Yeah, like, do I need to see a psychologist? What’s going on? Seriously.

Eric: You’re going Dark. Going to the Dark Arts.

Evanna: So I got a bit of this with that, and so I’ve been writing to her about that. And I’ve been telling her how accurate I found it is; how learning that my boyfriend is a Slytherin taught me so much about him, just taught me what he values and taught me how he makes choices. And I was like, it’s really a lot more accurate than astrology. I feel like horoscopes are so vague, and Housing is just perfect. I don’t know. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Andrew: She must have loved hearing that, knowing you thought it was better than astrology. [laughs]

Evanna: I mean, maybe, yeah. But she’s obviously thought… the more I get into the books, the more I’m like, “This is such a brilliant…” obviously, yes, it’s better that everyone just unifies and reaches common ground, but it does help you understand how people make choices.

Andrew: Yeah, for sure. Evanna, I have a confession to make.

Micah: Uh oh.

Evanna: You’re a Slytherin. Oh, go on.

Andrew: Well, actually, yes. I did convert to Slytherin earlier this year.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Eric: A new Slytherin, yeah.

Evanna: No, I’m totally pro-Slytherin. I told you; I was like, “I have become the biggest Slytherin apologist.”

Andrew: Oh, good, good.

Evanna: Yeah, so I’m waiting to hear her thoughts on that. But yeah, we still write letters. Sorry, go on. I interrupted you.

Andrew: Good. Oh, no, I followed your boyfriend on Instagram a few months ago because he’s very attractive.

Evanna: He’s so pretty, I know.

Andrew: He’s so pretty!

[Eric laughs]

Evanna: And that’s the thing also… that’s so funny. I have to tell him that; he’ll be delighted. But he also has such a typical Slytherin response to that whenever I tell him how pretty I find him. He’s like, “Get in line, sister.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Whoa!

Evanna: Or he just says something… [laughs] And it’s joking, but it’s such a Slytherin response, where I’m gushy and being so affectionate, and he’s like, “I know, I’m kind of perfect.”

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Evanna: It’s really funny.

Andrew: Ah, that’s great.

Evanna: That’s so cute, though. That makes me laugh.

Andrew: We have lots to talk about today with Evanna, but first we want to tell you about this week’s sponsor.

[Ad break]

Main Discussion: Newt Scamander

Andrew: So let’s move on to… let’s talk about Newt now. Let’s talk more in-depth about Newt. So like I said, this is our final… we’ve been talking about particular characters, Evanna, on each episode, and we’ve reached the final one here. So I wanted to start off with name origins, because looking at the different parts of his name, I mean, gosh, they perfectly align. [laughs] Newt’s names and how we see him.

Eric: We know with J.K. Rowling, too, everything is intentional. Everything is highly, highly well chosen.

Andrew: Right, exactly. Though, there is one part that I want to get into when looking at the name origins here. So “Newton” was derived from the Old English place name meaning “new town,” and that one is like, “Oh, okay, well, he came to a new town in Fantastic Beasts.” [in a nasally voice] “He went to New York.”

Eric: [laughs] We’re ticking that box real early.

Andrew: Ticked, yep. Artemis was a goddess in Greek mythology, the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. She is the goddess of the moon, hunting, the wilderness, and the gift of taming wild animals. Hello. [laughs] In myth, Artemis spends most of her time hunting, which she has in common with Newt, although he seeks wild animals for conservation rather than sport. And then Fido, this is the part I thought was interesting. It’s of Latin origin, meaning “I trust” or “faithful.” Now, I was wondering, what’s the connection here? Are we going to see something faithful come through in a future movie, or does it mean faithful to animals?

Eric: I think it’s his Hufflepuff shining through. That’s what I’m thinking of, because Hufflepuffs are very loyal, and in that case, loyal to be extrapolated to mean faithful as well. But as well, the Latin “fidelis,” meaning truth. I think that Newt, in spite all odds, is very true to himself and true to his own character in the way that, Evanna, you were just talking about as well being with Luna, how you approach the character. Luna is also her own person; she is very much herself. And Newt is that. So I think gifting this second middle name to Newt is a way of saying that this character is true to himself.

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Evanna: Wait, hang on a second. I need to backtrack. Where did you get all these names? Are these in Fantastic Beasts the movie or the book?

Eric: I think in the book.

Andrew: In the book, yeah. Not in the movie. Yeah, but I’m trying to relate it to the movie because now we’re focusing more on that.

Evanna: Okay.

Eric: So the only thing in the actual Fantastic Beasts book is that… well, I mean, they added something new. They added that foreword by him. But I think in the biography section, it just says, “Newton Artemis Fido Scamander.” That’s his name.

Evanna: And did you say…? And so Artemis is a girl’s name? A goddess?

Andrew: Well, a goddess in Greek mythology, yeah.

Evanna: Interesting.

Andrew: Yeah. Were you going to say something, Micah?

Micah: I just think that the names play really well to his character. And I thought the Fido one was just a little fun thing that J.K. Rowling threw in there; it’s your everyday basic dog’s name, right?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: “Here, Fido! Here, boy! Here!”

Micah: No, but the fact that that would be one of his middle names, which obviously, you guys mentioned, we haven’t really heard much about at all in the films, but it’s there. And I don’t know. It adds to his character, that’s for sure.

Eric: I like that.

Andrew: And then his last name, of course, is Scamander, and anyone could immediately pick up on that when first hearing his name. It’s very similar to salamander, which is a type of lizard.

Evanna: By the way, are salamanders real in the Muggle – in our world?

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Eric: I think so.

Evanna: Okay. They actually change colors and feed on flames? That sounds so wizardy to me.

Eric: I don’t think they feed on fire. I think that’s the J.K. Rowling affectation of that.

Evanna: Oh, okay. Sometimes I get so confused where I’m like, “Wait, were phoenixes real and are they extinct?”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s always those questions.

Evanna: This is one where I’m like… that’s so J.K. Rowling, salamanders.

Eric: Salamanders are that creature that exists; they study them in Care of Magical Creatures, I think, in one of the years, but they’re totally real. It’s one of those real creatures that was just appropriated for the wizarding world for some reason. I would love to know why she did that.

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: For sure.

Micah: And Scamander is also Luna’s future last name, isn’t it?

Evanna: Hell yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: Yes, it is. Rolf, yeah. I was going to ask, do you think when Jo wrote Newt, that when she wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, do you think she always knew that she would go so in-depth into his story? I’m sure you’ve already talked about this on the podcast, but I just always wonder, when she sets up these new characters, do you think she puts a pin in it and is like, “I’d like to explore him someday”?

Andrew: She’s said in an interview or two that this was the story she always wanted to write next, if there was going to be another story. And of course, she always kept that quiet until the series actually happened. She never really said that prior.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: But part of me wonders, does she mean she wanted to write Newt’s story, or does she want to write the whole Grindelwald/Dumbledore battle? Because that’s obviously where this is going. So I’m still not sure, but I guess she is really fascinated by the character of Newt.

Evanna: Yeah, she has to be.

Eric: I wanted to talk about, of course, Newt’s Hufflepuff-ness, because the big thing for me when I first saw this film, or when we first learned that it was going to be a thing, is that Newt Scamander is a Hufflepuff. And that’s my House affiliation, according to Pottermore. I was very surprised when I got it because I had been dressing as a Gryffindor for years.

[Evanna laughs]

Eric: But apparently, wearing the robes does not a Gryffindor make. But upon reading, immediately, the Hufflepuff welcome letter on Pottermore, I found a lot of things to be true about my own character. But also, the Hufflepuff welcome letter on Pottermore was the very first time that, I felt, J.K. Rowling took the proper amount of time to give Hufflepuff their due. Hufflepuff is kind of just… they’re left out. Theirs is the only…

Micah: They have an off-Broadway play, though, Eric.

Eric: They do have an off-Broadway play now.

Evanna: They what? Explain this, please.

Andrew: They do; it’s called Puffs. Go ahead, Micah. He saw it.

Micah: Well, since I’m the ad person for this show. Yeah, so I don’t know how many years ago it was, but it’s been around for a bit of time now. They did this whole off-Broadway show. It’s about 90 minutes or so, and it explores the Hufflepuff House during the time that Harry was at Hogwarts. And it’s really comical; if you go, you’re definitely going to laugh. There’s a lot of inside jokes for those of us who have read the books and seen the films.

Andrew: Micah loved it.

Micah: Yeah, I went in, I didn’t know what to expect, and I really enjoyed it. I definitely recommend anybody who’s in the New York City area to go and see it. It’s a lot of fun.

Andrew: Still playing.

Eric: It’s called Puffs, the play?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s named after Evanna’s cat. [laughs]

Evanna: It’s named after what? My cat? [laughs]

Eric: Your cat.

Evanna: Who, by the way, would definitely be a Hufflepuff.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: But so the whole reason that this play can exist is because Hufflepuffs were not in the books. The ones that were were kind of jerks.

Evanna: Cedric wasn’t a jerk. Tonks wasn’t.

Eric: No, not – well, did you read Cursed Child?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: He turns bad. It’s pretty bad.

Evanna: Cedric?

Eric: But Cedric is the exception. Cedric is, of course… the very fact that he was picked by the arbitrary supernatural Goblet of Fire to be the champion of Hogwarts does say something, and I like that. But for too long, as a conflicted Pottermore Hufflepuff before it really came out, I just think that’s very thin over time, when you keep telling yourself that, “Oh, I feel good about being a Hufflepuff because Cedric Diggory was a Hufflepuff.” But he dies pretty soon too. He just gets bested by Wormtail. And you’re like, “Well, so how far can you go to cling to him as…?” Not because he fails, but just because there’s not a living Hufflepuff who you can really look up to currently, and that’s what Newt is for me.

Evanna: Well, what about Tonks? Okay, wait; Tonks has died, obviously. But don’t you think she’s more of a redeemer for Hufflepuff?

Eric: I wonder… I think that what it is, is that very, very generally, the qualities of Hufflepuff House are not necessarily highlighted in the Harry Potter stories so much. Maybe that’s controversial. Maybe I just forget who’s a Hufflepuff, or… the idea that you would have, though – getting to Newt – a leading man who is a Hufflepuff, for me, is a profound resurgence. Or for the very first time, it feels like the qualities that makes one a Hufflepuff are being brought main stage in a way that they haven’t before.

Evanna: Well, I think it’s because Hufflepuffs are disinclined to play the hero.

Eric: Yes.

Evanna: They don’t seem to seek glory the way Gryffindors and Slytherins do, and they just have a lot less ego than the rest of the Houses for themselves, and that’s why I think Newt is such an unusual hero, because… well, I mean, his cause is so much for the animals and for justice for them. It’s so not about him. And you get the sense that he doesn’t feel comfortable in the spotlight, except when he’s…

[Meow in background]

Evanna: Sorry, that’s my cat chiming in with her support for this point.

[Andrew and Eric laughs]

Evanna: I think he doesn’t feel like… unless he’s actually talking about this cause, which he feels so much for. He doesn’t want to just stand there just to be the center of attention. He’s not like Harry, where he has a “saving people thing” as Hermione called it. And I think that’s why Hufflepuffs are often in the background. They’re the kind of people who support, and they can be… I know for me, personally, a lot of my friends who are Hufflepuffs, and my mum, those people are my rock. And those people, they have this strength that I don’t have, but it’s not necessarily the thing that will put them in the spotlight.

Eric: So I think I should clarify the difference of wanting the spotlight and just wanting to see my fellow Hufflepuffs being represented. That’s the joy of watching Fantastic Beasts for me, is seeing… I mean, Hufflepuff House, I think… when Cedric was chosen as the Hogwarts champion, they felt a sense of pride. And it might not be their defining characteristic, but they were very proud for him. And of course, they used the opportunity to treat Harry like dirt as well, because they’re very loyal to Cedric, but I do feel that that pride for seeing Newt Scamander, a Hufflepuff, in the lead role, but you’re also right; that he’s got the spotlight and he doesn’t want it and he doesn’t seek it, I think, makes him a more compelling character. And I feel so thrilled that J.K. Rowling has chosen to make this person, this character, the hero, the main character of her new story.

Evanna: Me too.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, and speaking of that, so another point I wanted to bring up was just his contributions to the wizarding world. They appear to be teaching the wizarding world about animals, because I think it’s notable that we haven’t heard of any other people who are studying animals to the degree that he is, other than a Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts. Is he simply the guy…? And I guess this plays into the fact that Newt doesn’t really want the spotlight. He’s just an author off doing his own thing, and that shines through in his personality. He is introverted, and he does seem a little weird, but that’s just Newt. When you see him take on – was it the Erumpent, in the movie? He’s making all these weird noises, and he doesn’t care.

Evanna: That’s my favorite scene in the movie.

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Andrew: He wouldn’t be that outward in front of people unless he has to, when he’s dealing with animals. But then also, Eric, to your point, he could be the reluctant hero later in the series if he’s going to be helping take down Grindelwald, and maybe we’ll see him struggling with that.

Eric: Yeah, that is the thing that ties into Hufflepuffs as a House. And this is from the Pottermore welcome letter; I wrote it down. It says, “Welcome to Hufflepuff House. Our emblem is the badger, an animal that is often underestimated because it lives quietly until attacked, but which, when provoked, can fight off animals much larger than itself, including wolves.” Here’s the whole thing about Hufflepuff House: They’re not a “bunch o’ duffers,” as Hagrid called them. They are, in fact, very talented. And this is where it comes in with Newt, like you’re saying, Andrew; when attacked, or when he needs to fight in the film, he is an exceptional wizard. Also, it helps he’s the first adult that we’ve ever seen in this capacity, performing magic and dueling. So we get to watch him the entire film, Apparating very quickly, and holding his own against a myriad of obstacles. And he even uses the beasts themselves to succeed in fighting and combat and these things. And so he’s very, very, very talented. He’s very accomplished. And I think that that just goes back to the trait of the badger, though, of being detrimentally underestimated, which is great.

Evanna: Do you relate to Newt a lot as a Hufflepuff, Eric?

Eric: I’m not sure, because a lot of what spoke to me in the welcome letter about Hufflepuffs was… it was just the way that they relate to each other and are, I don’t know, interested in their community and very… I think I relate to interactions between Hufflepuffs very much more, in how I keep friendships and what I value in friendships. And it’s not the loyalty aspect so much as just being grounded in things, so I relate to that. And I think Newt, I really respect as a person who is following his own path, because that very much represents my view of my own life trajectory where, I mean, being a part of a Harry Potter website and a Harry Potter podcast was not anyone’s in my family’s idea of success or life trajectory. And when I followed that, pulled that thread, and started traveling due to the opportunities presented to me, everyone was a little blown away in my family. And so standing out but ultimately, being true to myself, being my own person, has been a factor in making every decision I’ve ever made in my life, and it’s gotten me to a happy place where I am now. So I really just believe in being unique and following your own path, which it seems that Hufflepuff House is known to do. And so for that reason, I do see an example figure in Newt, and I feel most at home with the House when I think of Hufflepuffs in that light.

Evanna: That’s interesting. And also, I mean, something I noticed just about you as a Hufflepuff and about Newt is there’s this, as you say, quiet work ethic, where it’s like, yeah, not glory seeking, but that’s what comes first. And the fact that he doesn’t let his personal life, his emotions interfere with what’s going on, the way you don’t even know anything, you don’t even know until Queenie… is it Queenie? She points it out? What does she say about people, “You can read people most when they’re hurting.” That just isn’t addressed in the film until she has this quiet heart-to-heart with him. And I think that’s just so admirable about Hufflepuff, whereas Gryffindors would be like, [dramatically] “My heart is broken, I want the world to know about it, and I’m going to fight for love.”

[Eric laughs]

Evanna: He so much puts that aside, in favor of what he believes is what needs to be done, what is important.

Eric: Yeah, he sacrifices his own… well, I mean, not happiness or well-being in any dramatic way, but I think that’s the other side of Newt as a character in this film, that he is vulnerable, or he’s a character who’s allowed to be vulnerable. I mean, he has this hole; it’s described in the Blu-ray special features. Eddie, during a segment called “The Magizoologist,” talks about how it’s revealed through the course of the film that there’s sort of this void, this little hole in Newt as a character, which gets slowly filled when he begins to find his friends here in this film. And the fact that… you’re right, Evy; Queenie points out that he’s had this relationship in the past, which hasn’t gone well, and that he carries this photo of this girl, but it almost reminds him of something painful, that he is a wholly rounded character. I mean, he doesn’t speak up about it and it’s not really an issue until she points it out, but yeah, he’s very much on a journey. And I think that’s also what makes him a good character, is he has some room to grow as a person, and Newt being a person who hasn’t really felt at home with humans – he tracks with animals more – getting to have him be thrust through circumstances of the film into this situation where he needs to interact with these other people is good for him. But it also… yeah.

Andrew: Let’s talk more about the animals. I know, Evanna, you wanted to talk about this in particular, his connection.

Evanna: Yes, definitely.

Micah: Well, I just wanted to throw… and this might lead into it, because you mentioned vulnerability. And I think that these creatures provide an extra level of vulnerability to Newt, especially moving forward in these films. I mean, I think there were moments where we saw that in the first movie, but I wonder, looking at characters like Grindelwald, assuming that he’s going to play a major role moving forward, could they be used not only against him, but to try and manipulate him in some way?

Eric: What scene is coming to mind is when they take his suitcase in the big committee scene and he becomes almost immediately unhinged, saying, “Do not hurt the beasts; there’s nothing in there that want to hurt you. Don’t touch my creatures.” He is very, very disassembled in that moment.

Andrew: Yeah, they could use the creatures against him. That’d be so hard to watch, though, if they’re keeping the creatures locked up or potentially torturing them or something.

Evanna: Oh God, I don’t want to think about that.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t want to think about… something happy, something happy, real quick.

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Micah: Sorry, sorry.

Evanna: That’s probably going to happen, though, isn’t it? Now that you’ve mentioned it, how he becomes unhinged.

[Andrew groans]

Evanna: Yeah, like that, if you take away his…

Eric: We know J.K. Rowling listens to the podcast, so she’s going to…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So Evanna, what do you see in Newt’s connection to his creatures?

Evanna: Okay, yeah, I’m excited to talk about this. Were you finished with your point, Micah?

Micah: Yeah, no, I thought it might tie into what you were going to say, or part, anyway.

Evanna: Okay. Well, I mean, speaking as someone who loves animals, and someone who understands Luna’s connection with animals, I often think it’s like, a lot of people who connect with animals and who want to help them, it’s because they feel misunderstood by society; it’s because they feel like they’re an outsider. And animals, they just have this beautiful quality of letting you be whoever you are. Dogs don’t ever prejudice against anyone based on the normal things that humans prejudice against, like skin color, sexuality, things like that. They just are so accepting. And it’s not that I don’t… I don’t think Luna or Newt prefer animal company; I think it’s just a very different kind of relationship. And animals are just… I mean, animals are creatures that are so, so exploited, and so prejudiced against, just because they’re so different. I really believe – again, this is me speaking as a vegan – but I don’t believe that we are better than animals. I don’t believe that we were born with any more rights than they should have. But because we’re stronger, and in many ways, we have this feeling, humans have this urge where they have to dominate, crush, own, possess anything that’s way too different to them. And we do it with people in our own community who are just a little bit too weird, like with Luna, and I imagine with Newt maybe, where Luna was bullied just because she… we feel threatened by things that are too different to us and are too weird, but are also comfortable in that. And I see that happen to animals; because they are so different from us, we feel like it’s our right and gives us some weird, twisted sense of power. And I think Newt probably relates to the innocence of animals and to the oddness of them, and he feels, as someone who’s probably been bullied himself in school, and thinking about his family and how they were – what is it, Ministry types? And just that he grew up different to them. And he took a different route, as you say, Eric; he took the path less traveled, and he had to be strong in that. And I think he feels this fierce sense of protection for them, because he didn’t get that protection when he was younger, and when he was the odd one out, he didn’t have anyone standing up for him. And I think that’s why he wants to be a voice for animals. That’s my thoughts on it.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: When you were talking about that, I was thinking specifically about just how strange and exotic… I mean, I think in general, animals… what you said is really beautiful about how animals are so different to us, and we somehow feel threatened as a result. Thinking about the beasts in the case in the movie, those crazy creatures, the ones that… there’s that mammal that had… it’s like a big lion, but has like, a puffer fish mane, where it puffs out. I’m just like, “How did this creature…?” There’s creatures in this case in the scene in the movie, where you’re just like, “How did these evolve?” Or the ones that tickled Jacob, or the one with the tendrils coming out of the face, and it’s just gooey and slimy. And you’re just like, “How is this even a creature that evolves?” But it’s so different. It’s the complete exaggeration of the strangeness of beasts, and yet they’re treated so compassionately by Newt. And I think the movie does a really good job of evoking this sense, which is Newt’s shared sense of wanting to protect and educate because that is what they’re there for, and he’s giving these beasts a home. And it’s even said in the movie where they are often being hunted and eradicated. And in fact, I think it’s the tendril beasts things that are the only breeding pair in existence, and so we’re shown that these crazy-looking creatures are… when you hear that they are the only ones left, it tugs at your heart, I think, as just a human. You don’t even have to be an animal lover to realize, “Oh my God, Newt is actually doing something that not only he views as really important, but we should too.”

Andrew: Evanna, we’ve talked about this a bunch of times on the show: Do you think he’s going to use his beasts to take down Grindelwald kind of Pokémon style where he’s choosing these…? [laughs]

Evanna: Damn. Gosh, that’s a big one. I just don’t think Newt believes in using animals, making them…

Andrew: Oh, to fight, yeah.

Evanna: Yeah, making them do… I always had a big problem with – well, not always, because I was a big Pokémon fan as a kid.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Evanna: But as soon as the app came out last year, I was like, “OMG, is Pokémon vegan? I don’t think it is!”

[Eric and Evanna laugh]

Evanna: The ideology that just because they’re there in the world that we get to just own them… I had a really big problem with it; it was a real conflict for me.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Where did that net out?

Evanna: I think I was like, “Oh, this is a game. Get over yourself.”

Eric: Oh, okay.

Evanna: But I felt like it was reinforcing the idea that we get to own and use animals as we see fit, and I just don’t think Newt would be one to train animals. And a lot of those animals, say cats, for example, and dogs, are easier to train, but with things like elephants and lions, you have to use really cruel practices to literally break their spirits to make them cooperate with you, and I don’t think he would. I think he would be strongly against that. I still am quite conflicted about where he sits on the animal rights scale, what his ethics are in relation to animals, because I think you see him in the film cutting up meat and serving it and he doesn’t seem to have any problem with that. I think he more believes in the circle of life and that there’s an order of things.

Eric: A hierarchy?

Evanna: A hierarchy, yeah.

Micah: It was actually tofu.

[Eric and Evanna laugh]

Evanna: Never seen tofu looking like that.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Evanna: It could be the Impossible Meat. There’s apparently this new vegan burger called the Impossible Burger that bleeds like meat.

Andrew: Oh.

Evanna: Yeah. Try it; it’s meant to be great.

Eric: Okay, that creeps me out. I wouldn’t eat a bloody burger any more than I would eat that burger.

Evanna: Well, I don’t think it has blood when it’s cooked. But it’s not actual blood.

Eric: Oh, yeah, okay. I will say, though, I mean, there is precedent in the film for Newt using beasts. The Swooping Evil is Newt’s… if that is in fact the bird that he sets on those Aurors when they’re escaping from the Ministry.

Evanna: That’s true.

Eric: It’s even a moment of comedic nature where he’s like, “Don’t go for the brains, not the brains…”

[Evanna laughs]

Eric: … because the bird immediately collides with this guy’s face, and it’s very much like Alien for a couple seconds there. We see him just roll out, he yo-yos out that bird to save Tina and to attack these Ministry officials, so I do think that he is somewhere on that scale, like you’re saying, Evanna…

Evanna: Right.

Eric: … of he’s okay to a certain extent using beasts, but what you said about having to break an animal’s spirit, I definitely agree he wouldn’t really… he’s not training an army.

Evanna: Yeah, I don’t think he would use cruelty in any situation.

Eric: But if and where the qualities of these beasts can assist him, particularly in getting out of a scuffle? I think that that is acceptable to him.

Andrew: Yeah, like maybe going to fetch a key or stuff…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … not animal to animal or animal to human combat. Just send them on tasks.

Micah: That said, he was willing to trade away Pickett.

Evanna: But not really.

Eric: He told Pickett that he never would have gone through with that.

Andrew: Yeah, he was hesitant, wasn’t he?

Evanna: Oh, that was a tough moment.

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: Well, I was wondering, what do you guys think would be his opinion on SPEW and on house-elves?

Eric: I wonder.

Andrew: Well, we know… I was reading his bio; he worked in something house-elf-related in the Ministry, right?

Evanna: Did he?

Andrew: I’m looking it up real quick. Yeah, hold on.

Eric: I think because there’s also…

Andrew: I think he would be a member of SPEW.

Eric and Evanna: Yeah.

Eric: They’re classified as something different than beasts, right?

Evanna: Of course.

Eric: Yeah, so I mean, there’s multiple levels of… I think that he would view them as people first and foremost, so I think that’s true. And I think that knowing Newt’s propensity to just disagree with the standard government’s position on stuff, I think he would absolutely 100% join SPEW and be part of groups that want to affect change. It would be sort of hypocritical if he wasn’t, because he himself is trying to change a very large established public mindset as it pertains to creatures, and so I think that it would be right up his alley to do an overhaul on what people have traditionally taken beasts, these other creatures, these other intelligent, sentient species with cultures and histories. I think that he would want to change all of it.

Andrew: He worked in the Office for House-Elf Relocation at the Ministry for two years before joining the Beast Division.

Evanna: Oh, wow.

Andrew: So presumably, he wanted to look out for the house-elves.

Evanna: But relocating them with new owners? New households?

Andrew: Yeah, I guess so.

Eric: Probably, yeah.

Andrew: But at least he…

Evanna: Does it say when he worked there?

Andrew: Well, it was before joining the Beast Division, so it was the early 1900s.

Evanna: Maybe that’s where he formed his beliefs. That might be where he saw… maybe he quit because he didn’t like what he saw what was happening, and that people weren’t making the kind of changes he wanted.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I like that idea.

Micah: That’s a good point.

Evanna: I don’t know how soon before he started collecting and saving creatures that was.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a good question. He just seems like the type of person who grew up fascinated by beasts in general.

Evanna: Definitely.

Andrew: From the first time he read about them or saw one, he was just always hooked on it, and this is definitely his lifelong passion. And the reason I had asked you, Evanna, if he could get his beasts involved in the fight, is because I feel like, like I’ve said, this wizarding world, this movie series is clearly going towards that big war. And Newt has got to be involved somehow, right? Because he’s still going to be the lead character.

Evanna: Sure.

Andrew: So that’s why I’m wondering if he’s going to use his beasts somehow, but I guess we’ll see. What were you going to say, Micah?

Micah: One question that I did have – and I know we have discussed this on the podcast, so more for Evy – about just speaking of beasts and Newt, what are the chances, I guess… do you think that either Fawkes came from Newt to Dumbledore, or Aragog came from Newt to Hagrid?

Evanna: Oh, wow. I think I’ve read that before. I think it might have been something one of you guys tweeted about. That’s definitely… that’s got to be a thing, isn’t it?

[Eric and Evanna laugh]

Andrew: Because there’s that one line in the book about… what was it?

Eric: “I came to Hagrid in a pocket from a traveler.”

Evanna: Oh! Oh, really?

Eric: Yeah, Aragog says that to Harry.

Evanna: I didn’t really think of… I was more talking about Fawkes the phoenix.

Eric: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Evanna: I feel like that’s definitely… yeah, I feel like Newt definitely passed him on to Dumbledore.

Andrew: Yeah. And of course, those two were very close. We don’t know why yet, but…

Evanna: Do we know when Dumbledore got Fawkes?

Eric: No. But we know that he cherishes Fawkes; there’s a special connection and relation. Dumbledore’s everything is a phoenix, like his Patronus… I think he even… he’s not an Animagus, but if he was, I think it would be a phoenix as well. I don’t know. It’s an interesting…

Evanna: Oh, it’s going to be something heart-wrenching, like Newt is on his deathbed and gives him a phoenix egg or something, isn’t it?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Evanna: Totally is.

Eric: Wait, are there phoenix eggs? Is that a thing? [laughs] Or are they just ashes from the phoenix it was previously?

Evanna: I don’t know.

Andrew: I don’t know either.

Eric: It’s a chicken and egg joke that I tried to make there. But yeah, I definitely think… well, again, in those special features on the Blu-ray, J.K. Rowling says that Newt was “probably,” which of course, you mean yes, this absolutely happened…

[Evanna laughs]

Eric: … the man who introduced the subject of Care of Magical Creatures to Hogwarts. So because of his views on beasts, and I think that whatever his friendship with Dumbledore turns out to be or turns out to have been, I would hope… and I feel pretty confident we will get that entire backstory of how they became friends, what specifically their relationship is, because that ties into what’s coming with Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s own thing; I get it. But because of Dumbledore’s close friendship with Newt, I think Dumbledore would have seen it as a very good cause. And also, being the school for wizards, that it would be irresponsible not to train young wizards how to how to deal with beasts, how to take care of them. And I think that it’s also just a good practice to forward Newt’s cause by teaching this class, by having this class, so I think that Dumbledore would have very much been okay once Newt suggests that they have a Hogwarts class on this, and they have a textbook to work off of because he’s just written one. I think that that’s based on their friendship. I think that maybe Newt gives Dumbledore a phoenix and Dumbledore gives Newt the class that he has always wanted to be taught at Hogwarts. [laughs]

Micah: And…

Evanna: And do you think…? Big question. Oh, sorry, Micah, I interrupted you.

Micah: No, no, go ahead. You go.

Evanna: Well, do you think Newt…? Obviously, his vision is for animals to be respected and for them to live in their natural habitats, but do you think Newt achieves…? The world that Harry lives in, is it close to what Newt wanted? Has he achieved it? Or I’m wondering, because obviously his… is Rolf his grandson or great-grandson? I should know this.

Eric: I actually don’t know.

Andrew: Great.

Eric: Is a great? I thought it was great.

Evanna: I think it’s great-grandson.

Andrew: I’ll look it up.

Evanna: He becomes a naturalist. I wonder, is it just his family is continuing the work and it’s not… he hasn’t achieved his vision yet for the kind of quality or respect for animals that he’s working towards?

Eric: I think that it’s an ongoing thing. I’d like to believe that Newt, when he eventually dies, or did die, was happy with where he’d gotten to. Because I think that certainly, starting off where he did when there was not even that class at Hogwarts, and ending in a place where his direct contributions to the wizarding world were the foundation of that change… whether or not it’s as far as he wanted it to get, who’s to say? I think probably you’re right in suspecting that maybe not because I do think…

Evanna: I think not, because at the same time, we see so much examples of animal exploitation and abuse, like the way the dragons are kept, and if for wands, dragon heartstrings are used and unicorn hair. It is a very un-vegan world that they’re living in.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, actually, it’s a really… I wasn’t even thinking about dragon heartstrings as being… I mean, that’s one-third of Ollivander’s entire profession.

Micah: And I would even say with Hagrid, too; while he’s trying to teach Care of Magical Creatures, so much happens with him. And you would think that it’s still not a widely accepted subject. I don’t want to… I mean, he’s treated in a totally inappropriate way many times throughout the series just because of who he is. But just in terms of the subject that he’s trying to teach, he has, I think, similar feelings towards creatures as Newt does. So I was interested to see what you guys thought about that; he talks about how they’re always misunderstood, and he seems to have that same kind of affinity.

Eric: Yeah, but when we’re talking about this, I’m thinking you’re right, but there’s also no real good curriculum set around it. And this might have to do with a couple of things; it might deal with Hagrid’s abilities as a teacher, which are limited. We know he’s Harry’s friend. He’s our friend; that’s why we like him. But in the books, Care of Magical Creatures class is almost used as a punchline to add some humor into an otherwise very scary time of year at Hogwarts. The blast-ended skrewts are the butt of many jokes. I mean, what is their purpose? They’re so weird and odd. The fact that Care of Magical Creatures class is being taught is something, but it’s being taught by Hagrid, who I guess, even though we know he has a passion for beasts, is he really instilling it in the students? And so few students are taking him seriously. I think there’s a line in – is it Book 5 or Book 6? – where Harry comes to terms with one of the beasts and he’s just like, “Okay, I can kind of see how they’re kind of cool. I can see what Hagrid likes in them.” But then most of the class… Ron is complaining about how weird or odd the beasts are, and I just think that… so beasts and how they’re viewed… wasn’t the previous beasts teacher – was that Kettleburn who retired because he lost most of his limbs?

Evanna: Injuries, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, and that’s terrifying to think that maybe beasts have bitten off this guy’s limbs. [laughs] I think that the real history of Kettleburn is explained on Pottermore, and I don’t think it’s beast-related. But the idea that this goofball was this previous teacher, who was odd and… I just don’t think it actually is actively furthering the cause in the way that an informative TED talk on beasts these days would do. I think that that would go much farther into accomplishing the task than… so you can’t rely on Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts alone to change what Newt is trying to change.

Andrew: I think on that note, we should probably start wrapping up here, the character discussion. I think we hit on all the points for the most part.

Eric: A lot of, except…

Evanna: Do you want to talk more about his relationships?

Eric: Yeah, to the other characters?

Evanna: Well, and also, too, what do you think his relationship with Leta Lestrange was, and what it’ll be?

Andrew: Oh, yeah. Yeah, so it looks like… so those teenage casting roles make it sound like we’re going to learn in this next movie what exactly went on between Newt and Leta. We do know they had some sort of falling out. We do know, thanks to a couple Fantastic Beasts spinoff book type things, that Newt took the fall for something that Leta did, and presumably, we’re going to see that scene in the next movie if we’re going back to the teenage years. And also, we’re probably going to be going back to Hogwarts. Isn’t that cool, Evanna?

Evanna: That’s awesome, yeah.

[Eric and Evanna laugh]

Andrew: Yeah. What do you think there? What do you think is going on between Newt and Leta?

Evanna: Oh, I genuinely have no idea.

[Eric and Evanna laugh]

Andrew: Nobody does; that’s okay. [laughs]

Eric: It’s possible that she’s not a Slytherin. I think that’s a possibility.

Andrew: Why do you say that?

Eric: Well, we hear the name Lestrange and we think Slytherins.

Andrew: Oh, right.

Eric: But she could be an outsider, much like Newt is an outsider, and maybe Hufflepuff is the de facto House for outsiders. I mean, maybe that’s… they met as students; either she was a Slytherin who was still a Slytherin but just didn’t fit in with the other Slytherins, and that’s how they met, or she was in his House.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: I think there’s two possibilities there.

Evanna: What do we actually know about her?

Eric: Nothing.

Evanna: Nothing, gosh.

Eric: She’s played by Zoë Kravitz. That’s what we know.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, and I guess she’s going to have to come into modern day Fantastic Beasts at some point, maybe with the next movie because if Newt is heading back over to Europe for this next one and beyond, presumably we’re going to see her. I know Zoë Kravitz said she’s going to have more of a presence in future movies, so yeah, we’ll see.

Evanna: Does it say…? Has she been confirmed for the next one? Because often that gives it away on IMDb, doesn’t it? Where you know who’s… is it not? I don’t know if it does.

[Eric laughs]

Eric: I think she is, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, I think she is.

Eric: I think Zoë might have given an interview where she said Movie 2 was where you’re really going to find out a lot of stuff.

Andrew: Yeah. And I think the teenage role kind of gives that away. Micah, did you have anything to add here?

Micah: No, I mean, I know we’ve discussed it on other episodes; I’m interested to see what happens in the next film and what exactly he took the fall for. I think they mentioned a beast, right, at some point played a role. I don’t know if that’s been confirmed, though. Has it? Was that part of one of those spinoffs that you mentioned? It was a Jarvey?

Andrew: Vaguely rings the bell that a beast is involved.

Eric: Yeah, it was a Jarvey.

Micah: So it sounds similar to a situation that happened with Hagrid, right, where he got expelled, so definitely some parallels there. And I guess the only other thing that I was looking to talk about with Newt was the bond between him and Dumbledore. And Graves/Grindelwald has that line about, “What makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?” Does it have anything to do with Ariana and the theory that she was an Obscurial? And he obviously has worked with them. And so there could be a lot of theorizing done there in terms of, is he on somewhat of a quest? And he was in Africa trying to save this young girl, and is that a cover story for something else? Did he try…? I don’t know. I mean, I think it’s also somewhat coincidental that he finds himself in New York around the same time that there’s one running rampant.

Evanna: So you think it might be that Dumbledore comes to Newt, thinking that he’s the only one who will sympathize with his sister’s case?

Micah: Yeah, I think so. I think that there may be something that he entrusts Newt with, and maybe it’s somewhat of regret that he was unable to save his sister, that he’s sending Newt out to try and save some of these others that are out there. I wonder… I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I feel like it’s just too coincidental that this is all tied together in some way.

Eric: Yeah, it’s certainly fortuitous. But maybe it was Dumbledore that turned Newt on to Obscurials to begin with.

Andrew: Probably.

Eric: I mean, having… I think Dumbledore would make it his mission after the experience of what happened to his sister to try and investigate and find out more and prevent future children from being killed in this way.

Make the Connection

Andrew: Okay, well, to wrap up this discussion, I think we’re going to do some Make the Connection, Eric?

Eric: Yeah, well, it doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion necessarily…

Andrew: Oh, right.

Eric: … but we’re going to test Evanna’s skills of – what is it? – making connections! [laughs]

Evanna: Oh no.

Andrew: Do you remember this from the old MuggleCast days?

Evanna: No, I don’t! What is this?

Andrew: Okay.

Evanna: [laughs] I’m really scared.

Eric: Oh, God! This is a British classic, Evanna. This was Jamie’s pioneer segment.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: And it’s so quirky and random and absolutely insane, but we had a lot of fun asking our patrons to come up with Make the Connections for us to do, so we’re all going to play. And I’m actually in the middle of putting a list into our document right now…

Andrew: How it works, Evanna, is somebody gives us a really weird topic and we have to connect it to Harry Potter in some way.

Evanna: But it’s completely remote? It doesn’t have anything to do with Harry Potter?

Andrew: Basically, yeah.

Evanna: Wow.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, we connect it to Harry Potter. And we can say anything. I mean, it’s completely our own. We’re our own judges on this.

Evanna: Okay.

Andrew: We’ve done a music version of this as well, where we play a new song and then we try to connect it to Harry Potter with the lyrics or something like that. But in this case, we’re going to do these examples from some listeners.

Evanna: Okay.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And people have wild imaginations. So here’s the first one; this is from Jennifer. Make the connection between Harry Potter and “traveling to a planet inhabited only by purple flowers in a Converse shoe-shaped sailboat through the stars.” [laughs]

Evanna: Converse?

Eric: Converse shoes.

Andrew: Oh, Converse shoes. I got it. Okay. [laughs]

Eric: So the connection between Harry Potter and traveling to a planet inhabited only by purple flowers in a Converse shoe-shaped sailboat through the stars. I will take this one.

Evanna: What are your listeners on? This is mad.

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Eric: You’ve got to ask them. These are our patrons; these are our most hardcore listeners, too.

Evanna: Wow, okay. This is all you, MuggleCasters; I don’t know what to say to this one.

Eric: Thank you.

Andrew: [laughs] Same.

Eric: I got this. I got this. Okay, first of all, many things… if we’ve learned nothing from Harry Potter, or if we’ve learned one thing from Harry Potter, it should be that things are not always what they seem. And a Converse shoe… there’s examples in Harry Potter of shoes being Portkeys, for instance. And even Newt’s own case…

[Evanna gasps]

Eric: [laughs] I just blew Evanna’s mind right now. I’m having a moment. The Newtcase, for instance, the suitcase appears to be this mangy, dirty, old suitcase, and it’s actually in and of itself a portal to another world. And Newt’s case in particular – let’s get a closer dive – there’s certain environments inside his case, which very much resemble crazy odd environments, like a planet with only purple flowers. So if there were a beast that Newt knew of that survived on this planet with just purple flowers, he would recreate it for being inside his case. And as far as sailing through the stars, that’s fun to do, and you could do it inside the case.

Evanna: Amazing.

Andrew: I was going to say, yeah, that was very good, Eric. Eric has been thinking about this for the past day, I’m sure.

Micah: I have no idea what you just said, but that was spot on.

[Everyone laughs]

Evanna: Gosh.

Andrew: This is from Lourdes: “Make the connection between Fantastic Beasts and overdue library book fines.” How about this? We waited, let’s say five years for a new Harry Potter wizarding world movie. It was way overdue.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: All right.

Andrew: I felt like I was being penalized every day we didn’t have a new Harry Potter movie to look forward to. [laughs]

Eric: I like it. I like it. Micah, here’s one for you: “Make the connection between Harry Potter and jumping on a trampoline in a tutu.” This is from Savannah.

Micah: [laughs] Well…

Andrew: Dumbledore…

Micah: Yeah, go on.

Eric: You’re helping him? Andrew with the assist.

Andrew: … in his spare time in the back of the office puts on his tutu, because we know he’s gay.

[Evanna laughs]

Andrew: And when he wants to let some steam off, he just hops on the trampoline and “Woohoo!”

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Eric: Okay, okay.

Evanna: Wait, isn’t there a more obvious one? Isn’t there a picture of trolls in tutus?

Eric: Trolls in tutus? Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, there you go, yeah.

Evanna: I don’t know what to do with the trampoline, though.

Andrew: That was referenced? That was in a book or something?

Evanna: Yeah, there’s a picture of them.

Andrew: Oh, wow, in tutus. I didn’t know that.

Evanna: The trolls learning to ballet dance.

Andrew: Huh, okay.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, you’re right. That’s totally a thing. Okay, Micah, here’s another one for you then. Shawn McKee: “Make the connection between Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts and razor burn.”

Micah: All right. The Murtlap bite from Fantastic Beasts.

Eric: Ooh, that’s so good

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: It looked like some razor burn, after she got done with Jacob.

Eric: Here’s one for all of us from Stephen Hauser: “Make the connection between Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.”

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Micah: Who would he play?

Eric: Oh, man.

Andrew: Who would he play? Hagrid.

Eric: He would play the very coolest wizard in 1920s attire you’ve ever seen.

[Evanna laughs]

Andrew: No, he’d play cool Hagrid. “All right, kids, come over here for a lesson.” He’d be super friendly about it, and he’d be able to tame the beasts better than Hagrid ever could. [laughs]

Eric: Amanda Reinking says, “Make the connection between Fantastic Beasts and Pinterest Do It Yourself fails.”

Evanna: Aww. Seamus Finnigan.

Eric: Oh, yeah. There we go.

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Evanna: No, there has to be a better one.

Eric: No, that’s pretty good.

Andrew: Yeah, Pinterest Do It Yourself fails… I mean, yeah, well, I’m just thinking of a failed class assignment. Something that just went wrong during a lesson.

Eric: A lot does. Sophia Gibson: “Make the connection between Harry Potter and deciding where to eat with your friends.”

Andrew: Where to go to Hogsmeade? That’s not a fun answer, though.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Yeah, there we go.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay.

Eric: No, some of these will go quicker. I’ve got a bunch more. [laughs] Hayley Brown: “Make the connection between Fantastic Beasts and Michael Phelps swimming against a great white shark.”

Andrew: Goblet of Fire, the merpeople. [laughs]

Eric: There you go. Boom. JB Verch – oh, okay, Evanna, this one is specifically for you.

Evanna: I’m terrible at this game. It’s fascinating to listen to, but… go for it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: You’re going to be great. We have a backup one in case this doesn’t work, because he gave two. JB Verch says, “Make the connection between Luna Lovegood and a biker gang.”

Evanna: What? Oh, God. [laughs]

Andrew: Is Luna ever tough? Tough-tough?

Evanna: Luna, tough? No, she’s way too laid back to be tough, isn’t she? I don’t know; someone take this one. I can’t.

Micah: What about when in the movies you get everybody on the Thestrals and head out to the Ministry, right?

Evanna: Oh, that’s perfect!

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, that’s good.

Micah: That’s like getting your biker gang together.

Evanna: Yes. That is, actually.

Andrew: The Thestral gang. Rev ’em up, boys.

Evanna: There’s not enough beers and tattoos, though, is there?

Eric: Oh, well, you have a tattoo, don’t you?

Evanna: I do. I have a Luna tattoo.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: Yeah, there you go. And biker gangs have tattoos.

Andrew: What do you mean? What is it, a quote?

Evanna: No, it’s a hare jumping across a moon.

Andrew: Oh, that’s so cool.

Eric: And hare is her…

Evanna: Patronus.

Eric: Patronus, there you go. Okay, a couple… two more. Brittany Smith: “Make the connection between Harry Potter and a dog with a colored Mohawk.”

Andrew: Oh, something to do with unicorns.

Eric: I was thinking of Tonks.

Micah: Yeah, I was too. I didn’t want to say that, though.

Eric: Probably a Metamorphmagus. There you go. The colored Mohawk. And did we say this one? Alicia: “Make the connection between Fantastic Beasts and going to an obligatory baby shower.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Slughorn’s Slug Club meetings. At least with the trio; they didn’t want to be there.

Evanna: But that’s not Fantastic Beasts.

Andrew: Oh, no. Darn it. An obligatory baby shower… showing up for a meeting at MACUSA? I’m trying to think of… the MACUSA president having to deal with Tina. “What do you want, Tina?” I don’t know. [laughs] Having to deal with an obligatory disgruntled employee.

Eric: Yeah, Seraphina Picquery probably does a lot of things out of duty that she would rather not do, but trying times, and she’s a good person so she’ll go and handle it.

Andrew: No, interesting.

Eric: We definitely want to thank all of our patrons for supplying the Make the Connections that we played. That was a lot of fun. Good to get to that fun segment.

Evanna: I’m sorry I’m not on your level. I didn’t understand that game.

Micah: Look, I wanted to get to the purple beaver flying a cheese helicopter, but we’ll save that one for next time.

Eric: Well, do you have an answer for that?

Micah: No, not at all. But maybe…

Andrew: Micah needs a week to think on it.

Micah: Yeah, no, expect to see that in the next Fantastic Beasts film. Plays a major role.

[Evanna laughs]

Eric: Especially if the beasts are on the front lines. The cheese helicopters, definitely the first line of defense.

Andrew: We do want to let everybody know that Micah, Eric, and I will be at MuggleNet Live 2017: 19 Years Later. Believe it or not, Evanna, September 1, 2017 is in canon 19 years later, just like the epilogue.

Evanna: Is it? Oh, that’s awesome. And that’s when you’re having a convention?

Andrew: Yeah, so MuggleNet Live.

Eric: It’s a one-night event inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando, including King’s Cross Station, where we can catch the train off Platform 9 and 3/4 and sip down some unlimited butterbeer. And also, we have some film members in attendance. Details are all on the top post in the MuggleCast website, including discounted hotel rates and a special promotional code for listeners of our show. So go check it out. That’s, again, MuggleNet Live, and you can find out more information at

Andrew: Evanna, thanks so much for coming on the show today. We really appreciate it.

Evanna: Thank you for having me. It’s been really fun.

Andrew: Yeah, it was fun.

Evanna: I can’t believe this has been my first official…

Andrew: I know.

Evanna: I know I’ve been on as an interview, but this was a fun one to just… I don’t know, be a geek. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, no, it’s been great. And we’ll let everybody know about your podcast that you’re launching once it gets up and running.

Eric: Have you chosen a name?

Evanna: Thank you. Yeah, it’s called The Chickpeeps podcast.

Eric: Chickpeeps? I love it.

Evanna: Yeah, as in chick people. And also, I really like chickpeas.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The Chickpeeps podcast.

Andrew: You should eat chickpeas while podcasting every episode.

Evanna: I probably will.

[Andrew and Evanna laugh]

Eric: Are they noisy food when you eat them? Do they crunch? Do they crackle?

Evanna: Have you never had a chickpea?

Eric: No, I’ve never had a chickpea.

Evanna: Oh my gosh, Eric. Wow.

Eric: Okay, I’m going to remedy this today.

Andrew: You need to become a vegan.

Evanna: They’re like beans. They’re these little bean things, but they can be made into chips and all sorts.

Eric: But do they crackle when you eat them?

Evanna: No, sorry.

Eric: All right. Well, I was really hoping that was the case. But okay.

Micah: Well, you’ve had hummus, right?

Eric: Yes.

Evanna: Yeah, that’s made of chickpeas.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Evanna: Yeah, just ground up.

Andrew: And Evanna, I was stalking your Instagram while we were recording, and I saw you went to Veggie Grill? You would eat at Veggie Grill in LA? I love Veggie Grill.

Evanna: Do you? Isn’t it the best? It’s so good.

Andrew: Yes. It is the best. I would be a full-time vegan if I could eat there breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

Evanna: Really? Okay, that’s good.

Andrew: It’s so good, yeah.

Evanna: Well, that’s encouraging.

Andrew: Yeah, well, I mean, it’s just because… I think some people think, “Oh, vegan food won’t taste good,” or stuff like that. But you eat there, and I assume other vegan places, and it tastes great.

Evanna: Exactly. I know. People need… that’s what I want to do with my podcast, just make people aware that it’s not a lifestyle of deprivation or restriction. It’s just a very different way, and there’s a very joyful way of doing it. Yeah, I tend to always take my omnivorous friends there because it’s not too expensive. There’s some of them that are just way too expensive. And people make the mistake of thinking vegan is healthy; it absolutely does not have to be.

Andrew: Yeah, and in the case of Veggie Grill, they have burgers. And so when I take somebody there for the first time, I’m like, “Get what you would eat at a place where you would eat meat. So you like burgers? Have a Veggie Grill burger, and I promise you’ll like it.” Awesome. Well, again, thank you for coming on. We really appreciate it.

Evanna: Sure, thank you. It was fun.

Andrew: You are a true fan. We loved having you on.

Evanna: I loved being on! And thank you guys for putting up that casting announcement all them years ago. [laughs] I guess I should thank you for that here.

Andrew: Tell J.K. Rowling we said hi. And by the way, ask her about Scorbus next time you see her. Let us know what she says.

[Eric laughs]

Evanna: Scorbus. [laughs] I can’t believe nobody has asked her about this.

Andrew: [laughs] I know.

Eric: Oh, but also try and get to the bottom of the Lavender Brown thing. Are you aware of this, Evy, that Lavender Brown’s life or death has been in question for years now?

Evanna: Oh, wait. Does she die?

Andrew: We don’t know. On Pottermore, it’s not been clear.

Evanna: She dies in the movie.

Eric: Well, does she? She’s certainly attacked by Greyback, but his MO is attacking children and leaving them alive.

Evanna: Are you serious? Oh, wow.

Eric: Well, he has enough restraint to stop eating somebody so that they will be… because he wants to make as many werewolf abominations as he can, right? So on Pottermore, this whole story in a nutshell is her bio was changed. And it initially had said, what, that she survived?

Andrew: Presumed dead, and then they just got rid of it, so we don’t know.

Evanna: Ooh, controversial.

Andrew: I know, right?

Eric: So since you have the open line to Jo, we could really use that answer.

Evanna: Okay. [laughs]

Micah: And also, ask her to come on the podcast.

Eric: Oh, yeah, definitely. Tell her how much fun that you had, how nice we all are, and we promise to be nice, too.

Micah: It’s been 12 years.

Evanna: Haven’t you interviewed her?

Eric: No, just Emerson.

Evanna: Oh, just Emerson, yeah. That’s a long time ago. Okay, I’ll let her know.

Eric: Well, anyway, you’re always welcome back, by the way.

Evanna: Oh, thank you. Okay. Well, let me know if there’s any episodes that relate to things I’d be interested in. Are you doing any Lovegood episodes?

Eric: Oh, yeah. We’ll see. We’ll do maybe a dive back into Xenophilius and Luna. Well, thank you so much.

Evanna: Thanks.

Andrew: And one quick note, we will actually be off next week for the Fourth of July holiday, so we will see you after that. We have a Fantastic Beasts commentary episode coming up very soon, and we are also going to do a mailbag episode in the coming weeks, catch up on your feedback. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Evanna: I’m Evy.

Andrew: Perfect.

Evanna: [laughs] Did you want me to say that or no?

Eric: Absolutely, 100%.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Evy. We’ll see everybody next time. Goodbye.

Evanna: Thanks, guys. Bye.