Whoops, just wrote over 1200 words about my feelings for Remus J. Lupin (Prisoner of Azkaban era)
The “read more” button isn’t working so I apologize in advance for the wall of words on your dash!
I always used to say Book 3 (Prisoner of Azkaban) was my favorite of all the Harry Potter books before Book 7 (Deathy Hallows) came out, as Book 3 surpassed even the delight of Book 5 (Order Of The Phoenix) and the excitement of Book 6 (Half Blood Prince). My reasoning for this choice was entirely focused on one Remus J. Lupin. I couldn’t tell you what else happened in the book that didn’t have to do with Lupin except for Buckbeak and Sirius Black. Everything else is pretty much a blank. [Did anything else even happen?]
Book 3 is Lupin’s reveal in so many ways.
Lupin is used as a character to show knowledge and he does this with grace, poise, and, in my very biased opinion, perfection from the very first moment on the train when he’s asleep and Harry, Hermione, and Ron learn who he is by the peeling gold letters on his baggage. Sweet, sweet Lupin curled up neatly in the corner with chocolate in his pocket.
Lupin becomes a positive adult force in Harry’s life. Besides the obvious rescuing Harry from Dementors and teaching Harry in DADA class, Lupin reveals key information about numerous topics including Harry’s parents, as he was their very close friend. Harry needed a father like figure to guide him and to tell him good stories about his parents, not only that they died heroes like so many other adults had told him. Harry needed a positive adult influence with his penchant for being surrounded by idiot adults who treated him like dirt or worse, like he was some sort of trophy to hall around and show off. Lupin treats him like a person. He doesn’t view Harry as The Boy Who Lived but as My Friends’ Surviving Child and his fondness for him is like what an uncle feels towards his nephew.
I also love how he is handled in the movies. I love the way he dresses, the kind manner in which he teaches, the dream like quality to his story telling, the strength he has in his life. I love how they decorated his DADA room and the scene where Lupin and Harry are talking is just beautiful, my favorite from that movie.
My favorite thing Lupin revealed might be life for wizards after Hogwarts when they don’t settle down to have children or work in the Ministry. We catch a glimpse at what life must be like for people who are on their own even if they have magic. Up until that point we had seen mostly families and government employees. It was quite interesting to me to see a “normal” wizard, someone who grew up magical and then vanished into the unknown parts of the world.
Most importantly we also learn that the wizarding world is NOT PERFECT, a point I think is very, very necessary to make. Just because they’re magic doesn’t mean they’re perfect, a point reinterated in the other books as we see Voldemort and his followers rise. We see the incompetence of the Ministry when they send Dementors to ki(ll)ss Sirius without so much as interview, not to mention a trial. The Ministry and the Wizarding Word are not accepting of all types of people, even if they are magical. They’re flawed and bigoted and we need to see how wrong that is so we learn to not treat others like Lupin was treated.
Lupin had such a difficult life. Turned into a werewolf by Greyback when he was nothing more than an innocent child. Having to hide who he was at Hogwarts so people wouldn’t be frightened of him. Graduating into a time of war. Seeing just how prejudice people were against werewolves. Fighting. Going undercover to infiltrate the evil werewolf community. (Still can’t get over that one tbh.) Living in fear and doubt and having his friends not trust him (he’s been used to people not trusting him but it hurts especially sharply when its Sirius or James or Lily) and also not being able to fully trust his friends. Then losing his best friends at the same time. That must have been so painful. The four people who knew everything about him including his deepest, darkest secret and still loved him dearly (because he did consider Peter his friend during that time period) all gone because of the same incident. (Imagining his first transition after they all died is so sad to me because even before that but after they graduated Lupin knew they were there to call if he really needed them.) Living with that.
I remember quite vividly reading Book 3 and getting to the part where Lupin reveals that Sirius is innocent and just thinking, “Oh my god! Lupin must be so relieved!” Lupin had lived lonely for so long and finally, something GOOD happens to him. Something is RIGHTED in his life. Justice.
(It should also be noted that when Sirius died the very first thing I thought was, “Remus" because honestly Remus. To lose his friend for 13 years, get him back for 2, and then lose him again? Heartbreaking.)
Remus lived so fiercely, which may sound bizarre considering how he was neither outgoing nor welcomed by most of the wizarding community. (I just used present tense verbs instead of past tense, whoops.) But Remus lived with passion even when it hurt. He learned as much as he could through books. He was obviously talented, enough so that Dumbledore hired him as the DADA teacher (yes, I realize it was also because Lupin was friends with Sirius but Lupin was blantantly a fantastic teacher and more than qualified for the position). He stayed kind when he was treated so horribly by people that he should have been rightfully bitter but instead he stayed open to love.
The passion Remus (and Sirius) felt for James and Lily’s deaths after 13 years shocked me a little bit when I was young. When they both stalked towards Peter intent on killing him, knowing full well that they would probably both go (back) to Azkaban because there were three (awake) witnesses (Harry, Hermione, Ron) but still intent on (together) killing their best friends’ murderer (I fully believe Lupin and Lily were great friends: Prefects together and “Your mother was there for me at a time when no one else was" and all). Lupin had been living with their deaths and disapperances for so long. He was so fiercely ready to avenge them when he could have easily let Sirius do it by himself and had Sirius take the fall so Lupin wouldn’t get in trouble. The repercussions for a werewolf killing someone might be worse than an Azkaban crazed Black. I was taken aback when I first read this scene as not even a teenager. But it has taught me a lot. Just because people die doesn’t mean they’re forgotten. Loyalty matters. People continue to care. Love lasts.
When this happened,
"You don’t understand!" whined Pettigrew. "He would have killed me, Sirius!"
"THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!" roared Black. "DIED, RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!"
Black and Lupin stood shoulder to shoulder, wands raised.
"You should have realized," said Lupin quietly. "If Voldemort didn’t kill you, we would. Goodbye, Peter."
my heart just about beat out of my chest. Lupin, Lupin, perfect Lupin calling Pettigrew “Peter” instead traitor or scum. Not calling him a name but calling him his name. Lupin, Lupin, perfect Lupin quietly explaining what it means to be a friend.