Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies Read online
condition. In consequence, and in spite of his loving parents, he was a very lonely boy.
While Remus was small, his containment during his transformation was not difficult; a locked room and plenty of silencing spells usually sufficed. However, as he grew, so did his wolfish self, and by the time he was ten years old, he was capable of pounding down doors and smashing windows. Ever more powerful spells were needed to contain him and both Hope and Lyall grew thin with worry and fear. They adored their son, but they knew that their community – already beset with fears at the mounting Dark activity around them – would not be lenient on an uncontrolled werewolf. The hopes that they had once had for their son seemed in ruins, and Lyall educated Remus at home, certain that he would never be able to set foot in school.
Shortly before Remus’s eleventh birthday, no less a person than Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, arrived uninvited on the Lupins’ doorstep. Flustered and frightened, Lyall and Hope tried to block his entrance, but somehow, five minutes later, Dumbledore was sitting at the fireside, eating crumpets and playing Gobstones with Remus.
Dumbledore explained to the Lupins that he knew what had happened to their son. Greyback had boasted of what he had done and Dumbledore had spies among Dark creatures. However, Dumbledore told the Lupins that he saw no reason why Remus should not come to school, and described the arrangements that he had made to give the boy a safe and secure place for his transformations. Due to the widespread prejudice around werewolves, Dumbledore agreed that for Remus’s own sake his condition should not be broadcast. Once a month, he would leave for a secure and comfortable house in the village of Hogsmeade, guarded by many spells and reached only by an underground passage from the Hogwarts grounds, where he could transform in peace.
Remus’s excitement was beyond anything he had known before. It was the dream of his life to meet other children and have, for the first time, friends and playmates.
Sorted into Gryffindor house, Remus Lupin was swiftly befriended by two cheerful, confident and rebellious boys, James Potter and Sirius Black. They were attracted by Remus’s quiet sense of humour and a kindness that they valued, even if they did not always possess it themselves. Remus, always the underdog’s friend, was kind to short and rather slow Peter Pettigrew, a fellow Gryffindor, whom James and Sirius might not have thought worthy of their attention without Remus’s persuasion. Soon, these four became inseparable.
Remus functioned as the conscience of this group, but it was an occasionally faulty conscience. He did not approve of their relentless bullying of Severus Snape, but he loved James and Sirius so much, and was so grateful for their acceptance, that he did not always stand up to them as much as he knew he should.
Inevitably, his three best friends soon became curious as to why Remus had to vanish once a month. Convinced by his lonely childhood that his friends would desert him if they knew that he was a werewolf, Remus made up ever more elaborate lies to account for his absences. James and Sirius guessed the truth in their second year. To Remus’s astonished gratitude, they not only remained his friends but thought up an ingenious method of easing his monthly isolation. They also gave him a nickname that would follow him all through school: ‘Moony’. Remus finished his school career as a Prefect.
The Order of the Phoenix
By the time the four friends left school, Lord Voldemort’s ascendancy was almost complete. True resistance to him was concentrated in the underground organisation called the Order of the Phoenix, which all four young men joined.
The death of James Potter, along with his wife Lily, at the hands of Lord Voldemort, was one of the most traumatic events of Remus’s already troubled life. His friends meant even more to him than to other people, because he had long since accepted the fact that most people would treat him as untouchable, and that there could be no possibility of marrying and having children. Even worse, within twenty-four hours he had also lost his two other best friends. Remus was in the north of the country on Order of the Phoenix business when he heard the horrible news that one of them had murdered the other, and was now in Azkaban, a traitor to the Order and to Lily and James themselves.
The downfall of Voldemort, such a source of jubilation to the rest of the wizarding community, marked the beginning of a long stretch of loneliness and unhappiness for Remus. He had lost his three close friends and, with the Order disbanded, his previous comrades returned to busy lives with families. His mother was now dead, and while Lyall, his father, was always delighted to see his son, Remus refused to endanger his father’s peaceful existence by returning to live with him.
Remus now lived a hand-to-mouth existence, taking jobs that were far below his level of ability, always knowing that he would have to leave them before his pattern of growing sick once a month at the full moon was noticed by his workmates.
The Wolfsbane Potion
One development in the wizarding community gave Remus hope: the discovery of the Wolfsbane Potion. While this did not prevent a werewolf losing his human form once a month, it restricted his transformation to that of an ordinary and sleepy wolf. It had always been Remus’s worst fear that he would kill while out of his right mind. However, the Wolfsbane Potion was complex and the ingredients very expensive. Remus had no chance to sample it without admitting what he was and so he continued his lonely, itinerant existence.
Return to Hogwarts
Once again, Albus Dumbledore changed the course of Remus Lupin’s life when he tracked him down to a tumbledown, semi-derelict cottage in Yorkshire. Delighted to see the Headmaster, Remus was amazed when Dumbledore offered him the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He was only persuaded to accept when Dumbledore explained that there would be a limitless supply of Wolfsbane Potion, courtesy of the Potions master, Severus Snape.
At Hogwarts, Remus revealed himself to be a gifted teacher, with a rare flair for his own subject and a profound understanding of his pupils. He was, as ever, particularly drawn to the underdog, and both Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter benefited from his wisdom and kindness.
However, Remus’s old flaw was at work. He had grave suspicions about one of his old friends, a known fugitive, but did not share them with anyone at Hogwarts. His desperate desire to belong and to be liked meant that he was neither as brave nor as honest as he ought to have been.
An unfortunate combination of circumstances arose that resulted in Remus undergoing a true werewolf’s transformation on the grounds of the school. Severus Snape’s resentment, never abated by Remus’s subsequent respectful politeness, made sure that it was widely known what the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was. Remus felt obliged to resign and departed Hogwarts once more.
As Lord Voldemort once again gained ascendancy, the old resistance regrouped and Remus found himself once more part of the Order of the Phoenix.
This time, the group included an Auror who had been too young to belong to the Order during its first incarnation. Clever, brave and funny, pink-haired Nymphadora Tonks was a protégée of Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody, the toughest and most grizzled Auror of them all.
Remus, so often melancholy and lonely, was first amused, then impressed, then seriously smitten by the young witch. He had never fallen in love before. If it had happened in peacetime, Remus would have simply taken himself off to a new place and a new job, so that he did not have to endure the pain of watching Tonks fall in love with a handsome, young wizard in the Auror office, which was what he expected to happen. However, this was war; they were both needed in the Order of the Phoenix, and nobody knew what the next day would bring. Remus felt justified in remaining exactly where he was, keeping his feelings to himself but secretly rejoicing every time somebody paired him with Tonks on some overnight mission.
It had never occurred to Remus that Tonks could return his feelings because he had become so used to considering himself unclean and unworthy. One night when they lay in hiding outside a known Death Eater’