"My transformations in those days were -- were terrible. It is very painful to turn into a werewolf. I was separated from humans to bite, so I bit and scratched myself instead. The villagers heard the noise and the screaming and thought they were hearing particularly violent spirits."
-- Remus Lupin to Harry (PA18)
Remus Lupin was a contemporary of James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew (together they were known as “The Marauders“) (PA18, WW) and he was appointed as a prefect from his fifth year at Hogwarts School (OP9). He became a professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at during Harry Potter’s third year (PA5), but was unable to continue to the following year when it was revealed that he was a werewolf (PA22).
Harry, Hermione and Ron saw Professor Remus J Lupin for the first time on the Hogwarts Express, wearing extremely shabby wizard’s robes. Lupin has light brown hair flecked with grey, though he is quite young. He looked ill and exhausted; Ron observed, “He looks like one good hex would finish him off.” But Lupin is a capable wizard. He drove one of the dementors of Azkaban from the compartment and earned Madam Pomfrey’s approval for having given the students chocolate to help them recover from the shock (PA5).
Professor Lupin’s classes gave the students their first true experience with Defence Against the Dark Arts and Dark Creatures. His teaching style, building confidence with knowledge with kindness and humour, made his classes the most popular (PA7). To assist Harry with the dementors, Remus Lupin taught him the Patronus Charm, working with Harry one-on-one to help him develop the skills necessary to use this difficult spell (PA12). He spent time with Harry, becoming a mentor and a friend. Perceptive and even-tempered, Lupin deflected Severus Snape’s hatred and gave poor Neville Longbottom his first moment of glory when facing the Boggart (PA7).
The truth of Professor Lupin’s illness continued to elude all except Hermione, who, after Lupin disrupted the confrontation between Harry and Sirius Black in the Shrieking Shack, exposed Lupin as a werewolf (PA18). Thoughtful and introspective, Lupin revealed some of his own difficult life and the history of the group of friends which included James Potter and Sirius Black, and of the Marauder’s Map. James called Lupin’s affliction his “furry little problem.” (HBP16).
Harry learned that Professor Lupin is “Moony”, one of the creators of the Marauder’s Map. To prove the truth of their story, Remus and Sirius forced Peter Pettigrew (Scabbers) to return to human form and the sad story of Pettigrew’s betrayal of Lily and James Potter unfolded (PA18). But racing to the rescue, when the map showed Sirius Black dragging Ron and Peter into the Whomping Willow with Hermione and Harry in pursuit, Remus had forgotten the Wolfsbane Potion, so that when he later transformed he was subject to uncontrolled werewolf dementia. Pettigrew escaped into the woods and Harry used the Patronus Charm to save Sirius, Hermione and himself from the dementors (PA20). Concerned for the safety of the students, Remus Lupin resigned and left Hogwarts (PA22).
Since Lupin left Hogwarts he didn’t appear to have steady work; however during the fall and winter of 1996 (HBP15) he was working for the Order of the Phoenix, trying to infiltrate the normally secretive community of werewolves, led by Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf that bit Remus as a small child (HBP16, WW).
As they spend time together working for the Order, Lupin and Tonks begin to develop a romantic relationship. Lupin resists, worried that he would be condemning her to a life as an outcast (WW). When Bill Weasley is disfigured during the Battle of the Tower, with his fiancée Fleur fiercely proclaiming that it doesn’t matter, Tonks confronts Lupin and tells him that Lupin’s condition shouldn’t matter for them either (HBP29). He eventually relents, and he and Tonks are married in the summer of 1997 in a private ceremony (DH1).
Even after they are married, Lupin struggles with the consequences of the decision. Tonks becomes pregnant, making the situation even more difficult for him, worrying that the baby will be a werewolf too. Finally, Lupin meets Harry, Ron, and Hermione at Grimmauld Place and offers to come with them. Harry tells him off, calling him a coward for abandoning his family, and Lupin storms out (DH11). In the end, Lupin stays with Tonks. He joins Lee Jordan and others in broadcasting the Potterwatch radio show to spread the truth about what’s going on; Lupin’s code name is Romulus (DH22). When his son is born, Lupin celebrates with the rest of the Order members at Shell Cottage (DH25).
In the final climactic Battle of Hogwarts, Lupin joins the fray against the Death Eaters, leaving Tonks and baby Teddy with her mother. Tonks can’t stand to be far from the action, however, so she also arrives at Hogwarts soon after. As the battle rages, Lupin is killed by Antonin Dolohov and Tonks is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange (DH36, BLC). Their son Teddy is raised by his grandmother Andromeda and by his godfather Harry Potter, who knows well what it is like to be orphaned.
Remus was the only child of a wizard father (Lyall Lupin) and a Muggle mother (Hope Howell). Just before he turned five, Remus was bitten by the werewolf Greyback as revenge for his father’s forcefully speaking out against werewolves during a hearing (WW). His parents were worried that Remus would not be able to attend Hogwarts due to the severity of his monthly transformations, but headteacher Albus Dumbledore came to their house when Remus was eleven to explain the special arrangements that had been made to allow Remus (and the other students) to be safe. These were a secret passageway underneath the Whomping Willow leading to the house that became known as the Shrieking Shack in nearby Hogsmeade (PA18, WW).
Birth name: Remus John Lupin
Middle name: “John” from JKR interview (WBD)
Other names: “Moony”, referring to full moon’s effect on him. Peeves the poltergeist calls him “Loony loopy Lupin” (PA7). On “Potterwatch” Remus’s code name is “Romulus” (DH22).
Eye colour: Unknown.
Hair colour: Greying light brown (PA5), gets a bit hairier than normal once a month
Other characteristics: Werewolf; shabby clothing; often looks sickly and tired. Quiet but mischievous; people tend to underestimate him (PA5, PA18; OP3). JKR commented:
“Lupin’s a wonderful teacher and a very nice man but he has a failing and his failing is that he does like to be liked and that’s where he slips up because he has been disliked so often that he’s always so pleased to have friends so he cuts them and awful lot of slack” (RAH 2003).
Voice: hoarse (PA5)
From the books:
- “The stranger was wearing an extremely shabby set of wizard’s robes that had been darned in several places. He looked ill and exhausted. Though quite young, his light brown hair was flecked with gray” (PA5).
- “Though still quite young, Lupin looked tired and rather ill: he had more grey hair than when Harry had said good-bye to him, and his robes were more patched and shabbier than ever” (OP3).
Years: 1971-1978 (years based on James’s dates, DH16)
House: Gryffindor (WBD)
School awards, etc: Prefect (OP9)
Office: 1993-1994 school year: Defence Against the Dark Arts, on the 2nd floor of Hogwarts
Artefacts: Created Marauder’s Map with James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew
Notes: Shrieking Shack and Whomping Willow near Hogsmeade created by Dumbledore during Lupin’s first year to protect him on nights that he is a werewolf (PA18, WW)
Skills, allegiances etc.
Wand: Cypress and unicorn hair, ten and a quarter inches, pliable (Pm)
Other devices: Marauder’s Map, created with James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew in their last 2 years at Hogwarts (PA18)
Organizations & affiliations: One of the four Marauders; Order of the Phoenix; infiltrated secretive community of werewolves in an attempt to learn what he could of Voldemort’s plans (HBP15)
Career: Lupin joined the Order of the Phoenix after he graduated from Hogwarts. His lycanthropy made it near impossible for him to work at a normal job (OBT/CH). The exception was when Dumbledore hired him to be the Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts professor (see above).
Skills: Probably knows the castle and grounds of Hogwarts better than anyone except for the Weasley twins (PA17, PA18, MagSp); Specialist in defence against dark creatures.
Patronus: Shape was indistinct (PA5); probably a werewolf (MagSp, PmP)
Boggart: The full moon (PA7)
Awards: posthumous Order of Merlin First Class (first time ever awarded to a werewolf) (WW)
Born: 10 March (JKR, PmP) 1960 (year based on James's dates, DH16).
Died: 2 May 1998, killed by Dolohov at the Battle of Hogwarts (DH32, BLC, YL).
Ancestry: Half-blood (one Muggle parent or grandparent) (WBD 2004, WW).
Mother: Hope Howell Lupin (WW)
Father: Lyall Lupin; offended Fenrir Greyback (HBP15, BCE, WW).
Siblings: None (WW). JKR had said that Lupin did not have a twin, as implied from the story of Romulus and Remus (JKR-rumours).
Childhood: "Was a very small boy" when bitten (PA18) by a werewolf named Fenrir Greyback (HBP16); transforms at each full moon (WW)
Location of childhood home: Unknown.
Spouse: Married Nymphadora Tonks during the summer of 1997, before the end of July (DH1). Initially Remus was convinced that he was too old, dangerous, and poor for her (HBP29)
Child: Edward (Teddy), named for his grandfather Ted Tonks, recently murdered by Death Eaters (DH25)
Studious, knowledge of Dark creatures, skilled at spellwork for Defence Against the Dark Arts
Remus, with his brother Romulus, are the mythological founders of the city of Rome, who as a babies were suckled by a she-wolf (Behind the Name).
Lupin derives from mid-17th century Latin lupinus ("wolf-like"), which itself comes from the Latin word lupus ("wolf") (Oxford English Dictionary). A lupin is also a common flowering plant (Wikipedia).
Lupin in the films
Lupin is played by David Thewlis (born 20 March 1963 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England). Thewlis was originally considered for the role of Professor Quirrell in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (2001).
From the Web
Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore):
- Why Lupin Is the Best Marauder
- The Last & Lost Marauder: The Many Mysteries of Remus Lupin by Breanne
- Wormwood & Wolfsbane: The Snape/Lupin Relationship by hpboy13
The-Leaky-Cauldron: Mr Moony: Lupin's Curse and His Inspiration? by Canis Sapiens
The Rowling Library, TRL Magazine Issue #39: article on page 4: Remus Lupin's most Gryffindor moments by Demi Schwartz
WizardsandWhatNot (Fansided): Harry Potter and the Order of Archetypes: Remus Lupin, the Romantic by Katie Majka
Harry Potter Wiki: Remus Lupin
- Essay on Remus Lupin by mamadeb
- Disaffected: A Remus Lupin Essay by saeva
- Chronic Childhood Illness and Remus Lupin: An Oft Overlooked Characterisation Aspect by saeva
- You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above - On Remus Lupin's character by musesfool
DwellingOnDreams blog and podcast:
- Ep. 17: Werewolves, Worldviews, and Spiritous Apparitions, Pt. 1
- Ep. 18: Werewolves, Worldviews, and Spiritous Apparitions, Pt. 2
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) features: