Harry Potter, Newt Scamander, & Wands

This clip from a 2016 interview with Eddie Redmayne, the actor who plays Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, highlights his relationship with the wand the character uses. I confess to enjoying this despite being no fan of the Potter adaptations and the Beasts franchise. After the jump — Three Notes!

(1) It’s a nice touch that the Magizoologist’s wand features a mother-of-pearl cap at it’s base. How else could his wand have included on its exterior a bit of an exotic creature — mother of pearl is from the inside of a mollusk shell —  from that creature’s interior which has borderline magical properties? Making a pearl, after all, is the congealing of light, lunar light akin to silver rather than the solar-gold, a process the alchemists attempted to imitate and accelerate.

(2) I loved Redmayne’s story of his reaction on being given his prop wand, especially his saying that “it was a childhood dream come true.” He was born in 1982 which makes this claim a bit of a stretch — he was in his late teens when the first books were published and he was already doing television spots in 1996 — but, whether he actually dreamt of getting an owl with an Admissions Letter from Hogwarts or not, his story rings true. The books and, alas, the films are so much the Shared Text of the 21st Century that anyone being given a part in the Warner Brothers Wizarding World Wasteland, I mean film franchise,  must feel they have entered into their interior life of the imagination, their own through the Looking Glass moment.

(3) And I enjoyed Daniel Radcliffe’s rejection of Newt’s wand as something of an IKEA product, too. Radcliffe and I have nothing in common with respect to life experience, education, and core beliefs; the only thing we share is that an outsized portion of our public lives are associated with the Harry Potter stories (and, yes, I understand that even here his experience differs from mine by several orders of magnitude). What I enjoy about Radcliffe’s experience of his identification with The Boy Who Lived is that he is able to laugh about it. The video below is the most famous example, of course, but his comments about Newt’s wand, a film prop, not being up to the Harry Potter standard, is from the same ‘I am Harry Potter’ role-playing inside his Daniel Radcliffe persona.

Or maybe he is neurotic and confused about who he is? I’m going to stick with the idea he is having a good time with a ‘social fact’ reality from which he knows he will never escape. I think he’s doing better at this than Rupert Grint, frankly, and Emma Watson, but they are all forever cursed with the Permanent Sticking Charm blessings of fame and fortune before maturity.


  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Thank you for bringing this to my (and our) attention!

    I enjoyed Daniel Radcliffe as the young David Copperfield (and I wonder what his dialogue to screentime ratio there is in comparison to any HP movie?).

    I just caught up with Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, and your mother-of-pearl observation reminded me (variously) of this one by ‘Mr. Baldwin’:

    I read the newspapers with lively interest. It is seldom that they are absolutely, point blank wrong. That is the popular belief, but those who are in the know can usually discern an embryo truth, a little grit of fact, like the core of a pearl, round which has been deposited the delicate layers of ornament.

Speak Your Mind