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The Shrieking Shack - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Shrieking Shack
I just had an odd thought while preparing to move the Shades action to Hogsmeade. I was re-reading the parts in PoA pertaining to it, and Remus does, in fact, confirm that it was built for his use, something I had gone in to check (thank heaven) before saying that they commandeered an already existing house and started rumors about it being haunted. Obviously, not the case. Not sure how they gave it the haunted reputation so quickly, but whatever.

The odd thought that occurred to me is this: Why is the Shrieking Shack furnished?

I mean, you build a house for a werewolf to transform in, presumably put all sorts of wards around it to reinforce a "Do Not Enter" mentality, and so on and so forth. I could see putting curtains on the windows, but the house is furnished, with lots of things that Remus breaks while he's transformed. That's why I was thinking of having it owned by someone else who vacated under mysterious-looking circumstances. That wasn't the case, by the text, so the furniture had to be put in by the people building the house.

Building a house is a pretty expensive proposition, no matter who actually paid for it. Why would someone then add extra money to furnish such a house, especially when its lone occupant would use furniture mainly as chew toys, scratching posts, and, um, territory marking spots?

So... why? Was Dumbledore expecting break-ins? Were Remus's parents obsessive-compulsive about getting it right? Did the Marauders nick furniture to make transformation night more entertaining? Did Remus try to live there at some point after school, furnish the place, and then destroy it? (Oo, there's a plot.)

Just an odd thought.
25 comments or Leave a comment
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: September 6th, 2005 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
The bed can always be there so Remus has a place to rest after transformations before Madam Pomfrey comes. Although, I don't know if it's likely that he'd even be able to get to the bed in the condition he's probably in after the full moon. The rest of the furniture really can't be explained easily, though.

Did the Marauders nick furniture to make transformation night more entertaining?

That would be my thought. Plus, they could have easily used the Shrieking Shack as a place to hang out, even when it wasn't the full moon. It would certainly be a good place to plan mischief. I don't think Remus would enjoy it very much, but James and Sirius, no matter how much I like them, were not the most considerate of other people's feelings.

It'd be interesting if Remus did trying living at the Shrieking Shack. I can't imagine he'd like staying in the place where he transforms, but if he had no other choice ...
baseballchica03 From: baseballchica03 Date: September 7th, 2005 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
The bed can always be there so Remus has a place to rest after transformations before Madam Pomfrey comes.

I definitely agree with this.
moonlinnet From: moonlinnet Date: September 6th, 2005 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Why would someone then add extra money to furnish such a house, especially when its lone occupant would use furniture mainly as chew toys, scratching posts, and, um, territory marking spots?

I'm thinking that's exactly why it was furnished--to provide Remus with something to hurt besides himself. Bitten-up furniture, to someone who didn't know what the Shrieking Shack was really for, would be less suspicious than, say, something that actually looked like a bitten up werewolf chew toy. =)
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: September 6th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Wait... where's the proof that it was built for Remus's use? I don't remember getting that impression at all...
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: September 6th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
In the chapter "Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs" in PoA:

"I told you, months ago, that Whomping Willow was planted the year I came to Hogwarts. The truth is that it was planted because I had come to Hogwarts. This house--" Lupin looked miserably around the room, "--the tunnel that leads to it--they were built for my use."
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: September 6th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh DAMN... I always thought that comment was directed only at the tunnel... but the "they" would indicate otherwise. Damn damn damn.
rabidtolkienfan From: rabidtolkienfan Date: September 6th, 2005 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I've actually been wondering about this myself... I'm leaning towards the idea that it was furnished for the purpose of giving Remus something to rip apart other than himself during the full moon. But still, even then, why furniture? Why not...logs...or something less valuable?
rabidtolkienfan From: rabidtolkienfan Date: September 6th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
moonlinnet, you beat me to it :p
hughroe From: hughroe Date: September 6th, 2005 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Something for Remus during the day, when he's not a werewolf perhaps?
wendynat From: wendynat Date: September 6th, 2005 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
So if anyone got up the nerve - teenagers daring each other, perhaps - to go inside, it would look more like an abandoned ghost house than if it were perfectly bare. That's what I've always imagined, at least.
alkari From: alkari Date: September 6th, 2005 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to confess to having a little each way, as they say. I had an old, very small rundown Shack on the site, which Dumbledore then enlarged and strengthened for Remus' use. Because Dumbledore needed an 'excuse' for the local villagers, he said he was relcoating some troublesome ghosts fromt he castle, and he moved a whole lot of mismatched furniture in there which they were prone to haunting. It also gave him an excuse for security charms, and explained all the shrieks and howls at full moons, which also accords with canon.

I do have Remus using the bed after he transforms - Poppy is worried about him in the middle of winter, especially if he transforms back and is lying there naked before she can get to him after moonset. But he usually manages to stagger to the bed, either just before or just after he transforms back, and he assures her that the wolf actually knows where it is warm too, on freezing nights, so in calmer moments it will lie on the bed.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: September 6th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that Dumbledore just wanted to make Remus have a place that he could sit/lay down before and after transforming. And maybe he figured it'd be more comforting?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 6th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
The furniture might have also had a positive psychological effect. Being locked up in a furnished house is different than being locked up in an empty one. It's a way of treating him as human. Also, no one may have told Remus when he started that the Shack had been built specifically for his use. Why explain to a little kid who's been extremely limited in how he's allowed to interact with others (or so I assume from Remus saying he hadn't had real friends before Hogwarts) that they had to go through that much expense and trouble just to let him come to school?

I assume it was old furniture that had been sitting around in the school attics or the attics of staff. Given what we've seen of things hidden in the Room of Requirement, I assume there's a lot of old stuff lying around.

Besides, if anyone did have the nerve to come closer, it had the look of an abandoned house.

As to how Dumbledore established its reputation so quickly, Nearly Headless Nick seems in on the secret or he wouldn't talk about the rough crowd at the Shack. I'm guessing a lot of the Hogwarts' ghosts helped establish its reputation.

However, I doubt the Shack was known to be built by anyone associated with Hogwarts. It could create difficulties down the road if the people of Hogsmeade blamed the school for the Shack. Off the top of my head, I'd guess that the Shack was built (or expanded [since expanding an existing building would give a cover for putting in its defenses]), they had someone (probably someone in on the secret) live their briefly before being chased out by the ghosts, and then have an expert come in and decide that a bunch of difficult ghosts had chosen it as their hang out.

Although I have to admit I like the idea of Remus living there for a time and destroying the furniture.

lannamichaels From: lannamichaels Date: September 6th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it was furnished so Remus did have something to break. If he didn't, he probably would have clawed at himself a lot more.
keridwen From: keridwen Date: September 6th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
My thought is that in order to give the Shack the reputation of being very haunted, the ideal thing would be for a "family" to build the house and move in. Then, as publicly and loudly as possible, they'd abandon it after the "hauntings" became too severe.
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: September 6th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Just another plot hole

All the abandoned houses of my youth were devoid any furniture. Putting furniture in would be a nice touch only if it were part of a cover story (like how the inhabitants had all been murdered in their sleep, etc.)

Just another JKR plot hole, I'm sure.

foofbunny From: foofbunny Date: September 6th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
It could be a number of things... but that's not what always bothered me about the shrieking shack. My problem was, why would wizards be afraid of a haunted house? There are ghosts in Hogwarts, so why would they be avoid it so diligently?
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: September 6th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
well..if yousjt upretend it isn't furnishedand yo rueread poa agai nthe charis etc will jsut be gone .sorry. I" mi n a veyr weird mood by now. now ther's aplto for magical boks. if you don't wanta passge to be ther jutthink it away nd it's gone.

i'm guessign it's anunsovled mystery foakid nthat jkr jsut hasnt' thoguth utphe what and why about. jsut like...I forgot what it was that made me wonder why in the same way. perhaps stuf lie kshabby robes when yo ucan use magic to glamoru anything.
It's probalb ywhy I can't seem to write long compliatn ficsany more. i gettorereadandd stumble over ltos of inconvenient little questions.
probably the itnerior wsa liek that to give anyoen who walked through hogsmeade during the normal times justhe thoguthtt it was lonely hosueo na hill. if itwsa empty and broken up etc peopel woud lbe much more interested. adn i'm THINKING the maraudes themselves cfuelled the rumours.
secondsilk From: secondsilk Date: September 7th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
The cover story story makes sence, mostly. But I think that it's furnished (how furnished is it - a couple of chairs and a bed) to make it more like a house for Remus. He was eleven, and had to spend a day or two a month in the place, and it looks like a house fo rhte outside. It's for a boy (not just the wolf), it should be a house.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 7th, 2005 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I just assumed that the stuff was there to give him somethign to break (other than himself).

As to the reputation I suppose magic coudl be used for that. If you can enchant a place with muggle replling charms then you can enchant a place to cause it to give wizards the creeps.

I suspect this is the srot fo thing they did in HBP with the Prime Minister, and the phonecall he was waiting. Charmed the minister so that anyone who thought to call him woudl suddenly think ofsomethign more important.
doomandnachos From: doomandnachos Date: September 7th, 2005 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
The furniture was given to the school as part of an inheritance from the estate of an old witch. Like most old-lady furniture, though, it was arse-ugly, and Dumbledore had it kept in storage until he could find a way to dispose of it discreetly. 'Werewolf chew-toy' seemed a good opportunity. :D

Jesting aside, it's probably there for Remus to use before transforming, and for providing a veneer of normalcy over the whole place.
the_prof From: the_prof Date: September 7th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had wondered about this, too, but I always went with the werewolf chew toy assumption. But then I wondered how they explained a newly built house being so severly haunted. And then I wondered why Remus would have been the only werewolf to be admitted to Hogwarts. It doesn't say he was, but the implication is that the Shack has been silent for a really long time, isn't it? And the implication is that the Wolfsbane wasn't developed for use until just before Remus took the position at Hogwarts, so why hasn't DD accepted any other werewolf children, since Remus wouldn't have been the only one, given Greyback's habits.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
so why hasn't DD accepted any other werewolf children, since Remus wouldn't have been the only one, given Greyback's habits.

Well, the implication in HBP is that Greyback actually takes most of the children he bites away, and Remus was unusual in that his parents took him back and fought for him... which is a sad statement on parents in the wizarding world, but doesn't say much about Hogwarts.
xlupinxloverx From: xlupinxloverx Date: September 8th, 2005 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe they put furniture in to be destroyed, so that Remus could take out his anger somehow. Maybe they did it to make Remus feel better. Maybe they did it because Remus would stay there a little bit after the transformation and they, again, wanted to make him feel better and a little bit more normal. Asides from that, I dunno.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 8th, 2005 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Fern, have you seen this?


Limyaael writes some interesting rants, this one on werewolves. I thought of you and Shades.
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