These statements reflect my personal perspective, so let’s keep the discussion civil. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation, and these are merely mine. Now, let’s delve into the life of Leta Lestrange (1896 – September 1927). Born into a Pure-Blood family, she was sorted into the cunning Slytherin house.
The question lingers: who was the intended recipient of her poignant last words, “I love you”? Was it Theseus Scamander, her fiancé, or Newt Scamander, her lifelong best friend and first love?
I am aware that this topic has stirred endless debates among Harry Potter fans. However, today I aim to elucidate not just why I believe, but why I am certain that her final declaration was meant for Newt.
Upon my initial viewing of the movie, I must admit that I, like many others, subscribed to the notion that Leta’s “I love you” encompassed both Scamanders. Perhaps it was romantic love directed at Theseus, and platonic love for Newt. Nevertheless, with each subsequent rewatch, my stance underwent a complete transformation.
Here are the reasons behind my conviction:
Table of Contents
A Chance Encounter Speaks Volumes
Firstly, if we reflect on Leta and Newt’s initial interaction at the Ministry, we witness a significant admission from Leta herself. She openly expressed her longing for Newt’s company, lamenting that he had declined several dinner invitations from Theseus. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she had encouraged Theseus to persist in inviting Newt. Furthermore, her claim that “Theseus was disappointed” might have been a roundabout way of voicing her own disappointment, as directly expressing it proved challenging.
Upon catching sight of Newt with Pickett, Leta’s countenance softens considerably. This moment exhibits the gentlest expression we observe throughout the entire film. Her eyes illuminate, more so than in Theseus’ presence. It seems she is simultaneously concerned for Newt’s well-being and overjoyed by his presence.
Tracing Memories of Love
Secondly, during her time at Hogwarts, Leta instinctively returns to her old desk, lifting the lid to trace her fingers along the carved initials “L + N.” Her wistful touch upon the desk alludes to a time when she was happier. She remains firmly rooted in a stage of reminiscence, not only about the past in general but about Newt and their shared experiences.
Understanding and Compassion
Thirdly, despite her troubled past, when Leta recounts the fate of her brother, Newt addresses her with the same kindness he has always exhibited. Leta’s response, without hesitation, carries weight:
“Do you think he likes me?”
This suggests that she has pondered this question on numerous occasions. It was not a spontaneous remark but a well-considered sentiment. The anguish in her voice is palpable, stemming from a place of yearning and nostalgia.
Leta recognizes that Newt has always understood her, seeing the goodness within her even when she fails to perceive it in herself.
The Final Farewell
Lastly, during her tragic demise, Leta turns to both Newt and Theseus, uttering the three words, “I love you.” We are left in suspense, pondering whether she meant those words for Theseus, Newt, or both.
Personally, I find it difficult to envision those words directed at Theseus alone. Considering Leta’s lingering attachment to the “L + N” etching on her old Hogwarts desk, her radiant face upon encountering Newt, and her distress upon glimpsing Newt with Tina near her family’s cabinet… How could she not love Newt?
He was the man who understood her inner demons. The boy who shouldered the blame for his own expulsion from Hogwarts, allowing Leta to complete her education selflessly. Even though he now harbored affection for another woman, Tina, Leta’s love for him remained unstoppable. It is evident in the yearning expressed through her eyes.
Moreover, it is important to note that J.K. Rowling rarely leaves things to chance. The script states that Leta “looks towards,” not “looks at,” someone during her final moments. The intentional ambiguity surrounding the recipient of her confession invites speculation. If the answer were Theseus, it would have been glaringly obvious.
In conclusion, in my opinion, and in light of cryptic comments attributed to Rowling on Twitter, Leta Lestrange had been in love with Newt Scamander for a significant period. Her pre-sacrifice “I love you” serves as a farewell, a testament that she was not merely a taker. Instead, she made the grandest gesture of love imaginable: sacrifice.
While Theseus may have played a role in her life, he did not embody the kind of love that Newt Scamander did.