Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Remus Lupin
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Remus John Lupin|
|Hair color||Light Brown / Gray|
|Related Family||After spoiler warning|
Overview[edit | edit source]
Remus John Lupin is a wizard who joins the cast of characters in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Lupin's birthday is March 10th, according to the author.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
The etymology of the character's name is:
- Remus: In Roman legend Romulus and Remus were the founders of Rome who were raised by a she-wolf.
- Lupin: Derived from Latin "lupinus" of a wolf.
This is an example of the author's use of perhaps excessively appropriate nomenclature. The events which made this name so correct for Lupin must have occurred at some time after he was named. While this might raise a few eyebrows in mature readers, we remind students that this is primarily a book series for children, and as such having names that directly link to characteristics of the named actors is appropriate.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
Remus J. Lupin is introduced on the Hogwarts Express, where he spends almost the entire trip sleeping. Even asleep, however, he assists Harry and his friends; his presence prevents Draco Malfoy from engaging in any mischief. When a Dementor hunting the fugitive Sirius Black, enters the compartment, Lupin awakes and repels it with a Charm. He then provides chocolate to the frightened students as a restorative and sends an owl ahead to inform the school nurse that Harry may need medical attention. Madam Pomfrey later commends his actions, saying that at last they have a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows medical remedies.
At the Welcoming Feast, Dumbledore announces that Professor Lupin is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher — something Harry, Ron, and Hermione already guessed. In his first-ever lesson with Harry's class, Lupin demonstrates an unexpected ability in subduing Peeves. He also gives Neville Longbottom a much-needed boost in confidence by having him lead an exercise to ward off a Boggart. Lupin's practical, hands-on teaching methods are popular with students, making him an instant favourite.
When Harry later asks why Lupin prevented him from tackling his own Boggart, Lupin says he feared it would turn into Lord Voldemort and frighten the class. Lupin is impressed that Harry's worst fear is not Voldemort, but Dementors. Shortly after, Severus Snape, brings Lupin a potion and leaves. Harry suggests that Snape, who has long coveted the Defence Against the Dark Arts job and apparently despises Lupin, may have poisoned the potion, but Lupin drinks it without hesitation.
After Dementors cause Harry to faint and fall off his broom during a Quidditch match, he asks Lupin to teach him how to repel them. Lupin shows Harry the Patronus charm. During these lessons, Harry learns that Lupin, Sirius Black, and Harry's father were schoolmates. During the next Quidditch match, Harry successfully conjures the charm to repel the Dementors, although it is actually Malfoy and his cronies in disguise. Lupin congratulates Harry on his Patronus, but he is rather shaken by the shape it took.
Lupin plays a major role in the Shrieking Shack scene. Upon entering the shack, he immediately disarms Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who have overpowered Sirius Black. Certain that Black is innocent, Lupin returns the Trio's wands and holsters his own as a reassuring gesture that he trusts everyone. Lupin tells them about the friendship between himself, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew, the four Marauders who created the Marauder's Map. Severus Snape bursts in, accusing Lupin of abetting Black, but the Trio knock him unconscious with a combined charm. Both Lupin and Black then unmask Scabbers, Ron's rat, as Peter Pettigrew in his Animagus form. James was also an Animagus, as is Sirius. It was Pettigrew who betrayed James and Lily to Voldemort. As they prepare to execute Pettigrew, Harry intervenes, saying that his father would not want his two best friends to become murderers; instead, the Dementors can have him. While heading to the castle, the full moon rises. Lupin, who has forgotten his potion, transforms into a dangerous werewolf. Black, in his Animagus dog form, is unable to subdue Lupin but chases him away into the Forbidden Forest. Black is captured by Snape and imprisoned in the castle; Harry and Hermione rescue him, and he escapes on Buckbeak, a Hippogriff wrongly sentenced to death.
Denied the fame that Black's capture would have bestowed upon him, Snape takes petty revenge by revealing to the entire school that Lupin is a werewolf. Lupin resigns his post, knowing parents will object to having such a person teaching their children. As Lupin packs to leave, he tells Harry that his father's Animagus form was a stag, the same as Harry's Patronus. That is why Lupin was so affected when he saw it at the Quidditch match.
Lupin does not directly appear in the fourth book. After Voldemort's return to power and Cornelius Fudge's departure, Dumbledore tells Sirius Black to alert "the old crowd," naming Lupin as one of their number, and instructs Sirius to lay low at Remus' until Dumbledore gets in touch with him again.
Lupin returns in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when he arrives at the Dursleys to escort Harry to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, the Order of the Phoenix headquarters. Lupin stays at Grimmauld Place with Sirius Black, leaving occasionally to carry out unknown tasks for the Order. Harry only sees him at Grimmauld during the school holiday or when he communicates with him and Sirius via the Floo Network. When Harry watches Severus Snape's memories in a Pensieve, he sees his father and Sirius tormenting Snape. Disturbed by James' bullying, he secretly uses the fireplace in Dolores Umbridge's office to contact Sirius and Lupin and asks them about his father's behavior. Lupin says that the young James (and also Sirius) was a bully, but that he eventually outgrew it. His explanation does little to soothe Harry.
Lupin participates in the battle against the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries at the book's conclusion. When Harry runs after a stricken Sirius, whose body has floated through a mysterious veiled archway to death, it is Lupin who forcefully restrains him, saving him from the same fate.
In the sixth book, Lupin acts as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix by infiltrating a dangerous werewolf pack headed by Fenrir Greyback that Voldemort recruited. In the ending, Lupin helps fight the Death Eaters, who have invaded Hogwarts to murder Dumbledore. It is also revealed that Order of the Phoenix member Nymphadora Tonks is in love with Remus. However, Lupin tells Tonks it is too dangerous to be romantically involved with a werewolf, that he is too old for her, and says she deserves someone better. However, Lupin and Tonks are later seen holding hands, which indicates that they have overcome these obstacles and have started a cautious relationship.
Lupin is among the guards escorting Harry and the Harry Potter decoys from the Dursley residence to a safe house. As the escape plan is being outlined in the Dursley kitchen, Tonks is seen wearing a ring; we discover that she and Lupin are married. The Order's plan to move Harry was uncovered, and Lupin arrives at The Burrow with an injured George Weasley in tow. As Mrs. Weasley tends George's wound, Lupin quizzes Harry to confirm his identity. After the other Harry decoys and protectors have arrived, Lupin leaves with Bill Weasley to search for Alastor Moody, who is missing and presumed dead.
Lupin and Tonks are at the Burrow for Harry's birthday, but they quickly depart when Arthur Weasley's Patronus warns them that he is arriving shortly with Rufus Scrimgeour. At Bill and Fleur's wedding, Lupin tells Harry that Werewolves are presently in very poor standing with the Ministry. During the wedding reception, as the Ministry falls and Death Eaters break the existing protective spells surrounding the Burrow, we see Lupin and Tonks, back-to-back, casting protective spells.
A few days after Harry, Hermione, and Ron have settled into Grimmauld Place, Lupin visits. He chastises Ron and Hermione for dropping their guard too quickly when he first identified himself. He knows the Trio has a secret mission, and offers his help. Asked about Tonks, he reports that she is pregnant and is safe at her parents' house. Harry is angered that Lupin wants to go adventuring while Tonks and her unborn child are left at home. Parents, he says, should not abandon their children. Heated words are exchanged, and firing a Jinx that knocks Harry down, Lupin angrily storms out.
In March, Ron tunes in the pirate wireless program "Potterwatch". Lee Jordan, as "River", introduces "Romulus", easily identifiable by his voice as Lupin, who provides an update on Harry. Lupin says that it is certain that Harry is still alive, as his death would be trumpeted far and wide by the regime as a way of eliminating a rallying point for the resistance. Lupin further says that, if Harry is listening, he should follow his instincts, which are nearly always right. Harry and Hermione are both left in tears by this avowal of reconciliation. Lupin goes on to say that Xenophilius Lovegood had been arrested, and that Rubeus Hagrid, who had held a "Support Harry Potter" party in his house, had escaped arrest and was now at large.
When Harry escapes Malfoy Manor and retreats to Shell Cottage, Lupin visits, announcing that Tonks has given birth to a boy they named Teddy. Surprisingly, given their previous acrimonious parting, Lupin is pleased to see Harry and asks him to be Teddy's godfather, which Harry accepts.
Just prior to the final battle with Voldemort at Hogwarts, tension mounts in the Room of Requirement when Ginny Weasley stubbornly insists on joining the fight and by Percy Weasley's unexpected arrival to reconcile with his family. Fleur attempts to ease the situation by asking Lupin about the new baby; Lupin produces a photograph, although no one seems interested in seeing it. Finally, after Percy is forgiven and Ginny is ordered to stay put inside the Room of Requirement, Lupin goes to the Great Hall to command the forces defending the school grounds. Although Tonks arrives, and we see her looking for Lupin as she takes part in the battle, Lupin is not seen again until the battle is over, and his and Tonks' bodies are lying among the dead.
After reliving Snape's memories in the Pensieve, Harry realizes that it was always his fate to face and be killed by Voldemort. Finding his courage unequal to this, and unable to produce a Patronus to pass the Dementors in the Forbidden Forest, Harry summons Lupin's spirit, along with Sirius Black, James Potter, and Lily Potter. Acting as Patronuses, the four spirits shield Harry as he travels through the Forest to Voldemort's encampment. When Harry reaches the Death Eaters, he drops the Resurrection Stone that summoned the shades, causing them to vanish.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
Remus Lupin is a talented and powerful wizard as well as extremely intelligent. He is thoughtful and tends to think through a situation before acting. He often demonstrates great self-control, remaining calm in stressful situations. Although Lupin has been portrayed as an outcast, he is kind and extraordinarily loyal to his friends and allies, especially Dumbledore and Harry.
Lupin was considered by most students and teachers to be the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts during the series. He brought patience, understanding, and humor to the class and greatly encouraged his students, especially Harry and Neville.
Lupin is a true Gryffindor, bravely risking his life to infiltrate Fenrir Greyback's werewolf pack to act as Dumbledore's spy, and loyally serving in the Order of Phoenix. After realizing that Sirius Black was innocent, he immediately went to his aid in the Shrieking Shack where Pettigrew was unmasked as the true traitor.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
At age four, Lupin became afflicted with lycanthropy after being bitten by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback. Every full moon an afflicted person transforms into a wolf-like creature, and, like a rabid dog, is unable to control their actions. Werewolves, transformed, will more or less mindlessly seek out unafflicted humans to bite and infect them. Although there is no cure, a potion has recently been discovered that allows them to retain their sanity during transformations. Lupin, taking this potion, is able to curl up quietly in his office and rest, rather than rampaging through the Forbidden Forest. However, this potion must be taken every day for about a week before a full moon, and it is effective only for one lunar cycle; if the potion is missed, the werewolf again becomes dangerous.
Because they are so dangerous, werewolves are generally feared and shunned by the wizarding community, making them outcasts. Despite this, Albus Dumbledore arranged for the young Remus to attend Hogwarts, where he was confined during full moons. Though Lupin's condition was kept secret, he was always shy and insecure, and made relatively few friends save for Sirius Black, James Potter, and Peter Pettigrew. As a result, the adult Lupin is mostly a loner and has had difficulty finding employment; he always expects to be treated badly.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
Lupin, a werewolf since he was a young boy, had mostly lived a solitary life with relatively few close friends. As a student at Hogwarts, he was nicknamed "Moony" and was one of the four Marauders, along with his fellow Gryffindor Housemates, James Potter (Prongs), Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail), and Sirius Black (Padfoot). The four became particularly close friends, and though Lupin's condition was kept hidden from students, the other three discovered his secret. They illegally became Animagi, initially to support him, but also to accompany him during his werewolf transformations, releasing him from his monthly confinement in the Shrieking Shack. As the werewolf potion had not been invented yet, Lupin was extremely dangerous when transformed; the other three Marauders, protected while in their animal forms, kept Lupin in check during their nighttime sojourns into the Forbidden Forest and the surrounding countryside. Lily Evans (later Lily Potter) also became Lupin's close friend and confidant while they were at Hogwarts, unconcerned and non-judgmental regarding his condition. Severus Snape, who the other Marauders detested, was also a Hogwarts student at that time. After James and Lily were murdered (as Peter Pettigrew presumably was), and Sirius was sentenced to Azkaban, Lupin was once again mostly friendless.
Lupin greatly admired Professor Dumbledore, and was always grateful for his allowing him to attend Hogwarts, despite his being a werewolf. Dumbledore continued to help Lupin by hiring him as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in book 3, knowing Lupin would be a highly competent instructor. Lupin was an immediate favourite, except with Slytherin students, who continually mocked his shabby robes. Not only the students liked him; he was also well-regarded by the faculty, due to his congenial personality and evident competence. Only Snape disliked him, still holding a grudge against Lupin for his close association with his two Hogwarts nemeses: James Potter and Sirius Black. Snape also coveted the DADA position that Lupin occupied. Despite Snape's animosity, he diligently prepared Lupin's monthly werewolf potion, though, angry when Lupin aided fugitive Sirius Black's escape, later informed students about Lupin's condition, forcing Lupin to resign.
Lupin also joined the Order of the Phoenix, and grew close to Arthur and Molly Weasley, also members. He was on friendly terms with "Mad Eye" Moody, another key Order of the Phoenix member who appeared to regard Lupin favourably. Sirius Black and Lupin were reunited after Sirius escapes Azkaban prison, though he was killed two years later during the Battle at the Ministry. In later books, Lupin became a reassuring, stable presence to Harry. While Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, had more claim to Harry's affection, Harry was occasionally alarmed by Sirius' impetuous and sometimes erratic behavior. Harry would have liked having more time to talk with Lupin, who by then was often away on Order of the Phoenix business, giving Harry less opportunity to spend time with him.
Lupin was close to Harry, and became more so after Sirius' death, though never in the same way as Harry and Sirius were. Sirius had been Harry's father-figure, while Lupin was like an uncle. Lupin continued to guide Harry, who was still developing as a wizard. In Deathly Hallows, they had a brief falling out, however, when Lupin intended to leave Tonks, believing he was an unfit husband and father, and that she would be better off without him. Harry, having lost so many loved ones, was furious that Lupin would consider abandoning his wife and unborn child during such perilous times. Though Harry's harsh words deeply wounded Lupin, causing him to storm out in anger, he later realized Harry was right, and he returned to Tonks. He and Harry eventually reconcile, and Harry became godfather to Lupin and Tonks' newborn son, Teddy.
The burgeoning relationship between Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks began at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Perhaps characteristically, Lupin tried to prevent it, believing he was an unsuitable match and that it was too dangerous a time to consider starting a family. This shows another side to Lupin: he cared so much about the larger picture that he sometimes neglected the smaller one. By refusing to risk bringing a child into the mess that seemed to be their future, he caused pain to himself and to Tonks in their present. He and Tonks overcame these differences and married, having a son (Teddy) soon after.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
Professor Lupin[edit | edit source]
Unlike with some previous Defence Against the Dark Arts instructors, the other professors are pleased with Professor Lupin's appointment – Poppy Pomfrey comments approvingly about him knowing remedies, and in a later book, Professor McGonagall refers to him as a "competent teacher" – high praise indeed from her. The one exception is Severus Snape, who, apart from coveting the Dark Arts position for himself, still harbours deep resentments against Lupin for his association with the other Marauders during their Hogwarts years, though it was James Potter and Sirius Black who tormented Snape.
Lupin immediately wins the entire class' respect, first by putting Peeves to flight, and second, by teaching a truly useful and practical first lesson. His caring about, and warmth towards his students becomes visible by numerous small actions – he calls students by their first names, rather than their surnames as is traditional in the Engish school system – and also by larger things: he has Neville take the first turn at the Boggart, and grants him last shot as well, thereby boosting his confidence. He also freely explains why he prevented Harry from facing the Boggart, and tells Harry that his reaction to the Dementor does not indicate weakness. His volunteering to teach Harry to fight Dementors reflects his nature; he cares, so he will help.
Loyalty to Dumbledore[edit | edit source]
Growing up as a werewolf made Lupin into a loner and outcast but he was immensely loyal to his friends. After Lupin became a werewolf, his parents believed it impossible for him to attend Hogwarts. However, Dumbledore was sympathetic, and told the Lupins that he would never deny Remus an education as long as certain precautions were implemented. After Lupin left Hogwarts, he found it nearly impossible for a werewolf to find a job in the wizarding community. Dumbledore eventually offered him the position as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Because Dumbledore was so kind to him, Lupin proved to be a devoted ally to the Headmaster when the Order of the Phoenix was re-formed, risking his life to carry out Dumbledore's mission to infiltrate Fenrir Greyback's werewolf pack.
School years[edit | edit source]
When Lupin's three best friends, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew discovered he was a werewolf, they decided to support and protect him during his transformations. Because a werewolf is only dangerous to humans, they secretly learned to become Animagi (transforming into an animal at will). An Animagus must register with the Ministry of Magic, although the three never did. During a full moon, they used their new powers to roam Hogwarts' grounds, and later Hogsmeade village, with Lupin in his wolf-like form. When Lupin was with them, he had more control over his actions during his transformations. He was not entirely harmless, however, and his friends carefully guarded him.
Questions[edit | edit source]
- Why are werewolves shunned by people?
- Lupin mentions that he was a Gryffindor prefect, in part so that he would rein in the other three Marauders. Why didn't Lupin try harder to keep his friends out of trouble when they were at Hogwarts?
- Hermione identifies Lupin on the Hogwarts Express by the name embossed in peeling letters on his case, "Professor R. J. Lupin". Since one is designated Professor only when starting teaching, and Lupin is freshly appointed, why is the embossing old enough to be damaged already?
- Why is Remus Lupin so inspirational?
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
Harry loses many paternal role models throughout the series. His father, James, was murdered by Voldemort when Harry was only one-year-old. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, his godfather, Sirius Black is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange; his body floats through an arched stone portal covered by a fluttering curtain called the Veil – both literally and metaphorically a veil that he passes beyond, never to return. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore is killed. In response, Harry feels he can no longer rely on any one person to be his mentor, although, to a lesser extent, Mr. Weasley helps fulfill this role.
It also becomes apparent that Harry has formed a similar attachment to Remus Lupin ever since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However, as Harry spends little time with Remus in the later books, this relationship progresses little beyond Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry has largely outgrown his need for a father figure, and while he continues to like and respect Lupin, he does not cavil at accusing him of cowardice and abandoning his wife and unborn child. While we are unable to see Lupin's complete reaction to this well-founded accusation, when his son is born, Lupin has not only forgiven Harry, but asks him to be the child's godfather. This leads us to believe that, when given time to reflect on Harry's words, Lupin found them true and accepted their message, no matter that it was delivered hurtfully.