3

In the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, Newt Scamander defeated and captured

Grindelwald,

one of the most powerful dark wizards of all time, who was unstoppable at the time even by dozens of Aurors of the Magical Congress. He did that without using a spell (spells were going to be useless as it'd require Albus Dumbledore type exceptional wizard to defeat him in a duel in future). He used one of his beasts. This should be popular and hit the pages of history books.

Yet, I have never encountered a wizard using beasts to fight in the main books. Neither the Order of the Phoenix nor Death Eaters used beasts to supplement their spells. Why is that?

  • Wow, I was not expecting so many spoilers, without any spoiler tag! – Philipp Flenker Apr 1 '17 at 6:06
  • 1
    I would suggest that it's because unexpected moves can be used to overwhelm powerful enemies. A moment of inspiration can make all the difference. But these special moments have to remain special - their becoming commonplace makes them just that and so less effective. Plus Newt was a specialist and I don't believe many (even after his book came out) could copy what he did. – ThruGog Apr 1 '17 at 6:38
6

As I suggested in my comment, Newt Scamander's success in this moment is something of a unique option for him. He has formed a special relationship with his magical creatures and has access to them while significant numbers of others - even in the future once his book is a success - are unlikely to be able to copy.

Auror training in the UK requires a high level of qualification with Exceeds Expectations NEWTs or better in subjects such as DADA, Potions, Herbology, Charms and Transfiguration according to Professor McGonagall's career meeting with Harry. There is no mention of Care of Magical Creatures and Harry drops the subject. The Aurors clearly have a focused style of training and - while they welcome unique skills such as Tonks's - an ability to work with magical creatures does not appear to be a part of their expectation.

Saying that, another famous and unusual Hogwarts graduate (and headmaster) does make rather clever use of a phoenix from time to time. But, as I opened with, this is a rather rare option that is rooted in a special relationship that could not be easily replicated.

  • They do. Remember the boggart in POA? – user35971 Oct 1 '17 at 22:15
5

Newt's situation was unique - and he had a talent with creatures that most wizards don't

Newt is a magizoologist, who had no intention or expectation of facing off against a Dark wizard. He had his suitcase of magical creatures with him when he found himself suddenly in the position of confronting a villain, and he simply improvised and worked with what he knew. This was a situation unique to Newt. Many magical creatures can be difficult or nearly impossible to work with. Newt, however, has a way of connecting with his creatures, which is probably the reason he could get one to help him. So far, we haven't seen any other wizards with a similar ability. Also, he uses his creatures to get himself out of the situation because he wasn’t a typical ‘hero’ with battle skills.

“But Newt’s got complete control of it,’ says Manz, and this was one more consideration. Their wizard wasn’t an action hero – he uses the beasts to get him out of a scrape.”
*- Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them *

Certain aspects of wizardry are easy enough for most wizards to learn, like Transfiguration and Charms. While special talent is these areas is still possible, almost every wizard is expected to have at least a basic knowledge of them. These are what make up the Hogwarts curriculum. Defense and offense spells like the type used in duels, while they do take practice to master, seem to be something that the majority of wizards can master if they put their minds to it.

However, there are certain specialized skills which a smaller number of wizards have any possibility of being competent in. They may be ones that a wizard is born with, such as being a Metamorphmagus, or they may be theoretically learnable, like being an Animagus or a Legilimens. Being a Metamorphmagus, an Animagus, or a Legilimens would likely be useful in battle. However, while they would likely be valued, none of these skills are actually required to become an Auror or a Death Eater, or even particularly common among their members.

Newt's skills handling magical creatures seems to be a special talent, and a quite rare one as well. He's probably not the only one who can do it, but he's certainly one of a relatively small number. Even Hagrid, the only other person we know of that has a similar love of even the most dangerous magical creatures, had a much harder time trying to control the creatures under his care.

While handling magical creatures might be useful in battle, it's not easily picked up, and therefore it would probably not work well attempting to use creatures in battle. Trying to teach everyone to handle creatures like Newt would still likely not have them reach the same level of proficiency that he has. It would be like trying to teach Legilimency to people without any aptitude for it. Even the best among them would constantly having to work at reading minds, and Queenie Goldstein is because of her natural skill effortlessly reading minds and having to work at not doing it.

Also, the risk of handling creatures and using them in battle would likely outweigh the potential rewards. If a wizard overestimates their skill handling magical creatures, things could go very wrong, very quickly. Even if they do everything right, there is still too much risk of something going wrong. The creatures might not want to harm their owners or anyone else they are used to, but they probably wouldn't be able to recognize everyone on their owner's side of the war, and may end up attacking people on the side they're supposed to be fighting for. It's an unwise strategy to use anything in a battle that could do as much harm to your side as it might to the other side.

An additional reason why creatures are not used in battle more often: many of them, especially the kind that would be useful to have in a fight, would be protected by wizarding laws and kept in areas inaccessible to the general wizarding population. The law itself would be enough of a deterrent for most wizards, certainly for using them as part of Defense Against the Dark Arts classes and use by Aurors. For wizards who are more willing to resort to outside the law, the laws and secluded nature of the protected areas where these creatures would be kept would still make it much harder for them to obtain them, and adds the risk of them being caught for illegal creatures.

  • Is it possible that there's something off with the last sentence in the third-to-last paragraph? The tenses, maybe? – Alex Sep 6 '18 at 2:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.