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Because I'm not used to sleeping this early anymore... - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Because I'm not used to sleeping this early anymore...
Yes, it's 2am. AKA, usually when I'm swearing at the screen saying, "Come together, will you?! This doesn't make sense! Lupin, sort it OUT!"

So, random post about Harry and Lupin, their relationship, possible paths, so on and so forth.

In the course of writing Shifts, I had to do a lot of dancing around the fact that Lupin wasn't in contact with Harry for the better part of two years, and that Harry never thought to write to him either (except once, and he rejected it). I had to think about it fairly heavily because I needed to present a reason from Remus's side as to why he wasn't there.

But in the several re-reads of canon scenes involving Lupin and Harry both, I noticed one very, very clear thing: Harry doesn't ask for any explanation, or appear to think one is necessary. Harry's just always glad to have Lupin around, in whatever capacity. The narrative doesn't even touch this absence issue that fans like to gnaw at.

It really struck me in three places. The first is in the Dursley home, when the Advance Guard comes in and Harry is swept with total relief at hearing Remus's voice ("Harry's heart leapt. He knew that voice, too"). The second is when Lupin and Tonks leave Harry at Hogwarts after taking the Knight Bus--Harry mentions looking up at Lupin's face and the premature lines on it. Harry doesn't often do this. Finally, at the platform, I noticed that even though Arthur and Moody are doing all the talking, every time Harry has a question, it's Remus he asks it of.

In the first instance, Rowling establishes that Harry believes in Remus. She doesn't do it with any kind of dramatic test of that belief, it simply is. When Harry recognizes Remus, the hellish time he's been having fades. He realizes that he's reasonably safe, and starts thinking about things like how far he's let himself go (hasn't showered, room's a mess, etc). Whatever else has happened, Remus's presence calms and secures Harry, and gives him the steady base he needs to come out of the funk he's put himself into. Once Harry arrives at Grimmauld Place, his attention is focused on the more dynamic Sirius, but unlike other pronouncements, Harry seems willing to accept it when Lupin says that they've told him enough for now. This may have been a mistake on everyone's part, but that's not really what I'm thinking about in terms of how Harry views Lupin.

In the second case, it's just a very brief mention of Harry "[looking] up into Lupin's prematurely lined face." Nothing big. Except that Harry has also noted Remus's face at the first introduction in OotP, and has taken note of the condition of his clothes and belongings. Harry doesn't spend a lot of time "looking up" at adults or memorizing their appearances. He's likely to note a quirk or two, possibly make a simile at an appropriate moment (Molly and the sabertooth tiger), but with Lupin, he just notices his everyday state. I can't explain what it is about this that's such a trigger, but it strikes me as a very Harry-like way of experiencing love for a person--simply noticing things with a compassionate eye. It's rather rare. We see him do it in the Pensieve with all four Marauders (Peter, not so much with compassion)--not just trying to see what they looked like, but being fascinated with them. This is the way Harry looks at men that he feels he could be, and would like to be. (It's my firm belief that PoA as a book is Harry dealing specifically with images of the masculine.) It's stressed with Sirius in OotP, but quite evident with Lupin as well. It's plain, unadorned filial love.

The third moment, at King's Cross, is telling simply in that Harry puts a very practical kind of trust in Lupin. Lupin's the guy with the answers, or at least the guy who knows how to get them. He's the first thought Harry has when Hermione mentions a Defense group, though he rejects it as impractical.

So what's the point of the rambling?

I think that the books are set up reasonably well for Lupin to come back into Harry's life in a powerful way (and hopefully not just to be the next sacrificial lamb). Of all the adult men we've encountered, Remus is the one most recognizably Harry-like--reticent in his relationships (except in front of a class), kindhearted but a bit distant and slow to act, generally patient with people he's helping (and snarky with the people he doesn't care for), and so on. And now, of course, there's the direct connection both of them being excellent teachers of the same subject--it's something concrete that they have in common. Add that to Remus's ability to soothe Harry when he's upset, and it seems like a good healing dynamic following the death of Sirius.

I don't think that there's going to be any big conflict over the things we worry about--why didn't Sirius trust Lupin as Secret Keeper? What the heck was Lupin doing for two years? Those are things that don't interest Harry in any major way, and I have a feeling that they aren't questions that excite a lot of authorial interest--there's no real hint that either is going to come into play in Harry and Remus's relationship.
22 comments or Leave a comment
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: February 23rd, 2005 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
*nods* yep, I think you are right. Harry does trust and look up to Lupin and I really really hope that Remus will appear more in that role in the next book.
ashavah From: ashavah Date: February 23rd, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
He pretty much has to now, doesn't he? Someone has to fill Sirius's void.

But then, you never can tell with JKR ... ;-)
humantales From: humantales Date: February 23rd, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've tried commenting on this twice before and all I've managed to do is restate. It fits. Although he wasn't there at all through Harry's fourth year, and wasn't there much in his fifth, he is clearly someone Harry trusts and looks up to. And considering his opinions on most of the adults in his life, that's saying something.

It hadn't occurred to me how similar the two are. It's an interesting insight.
maglors_finch From: maglors_finch Date: February 23rd, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good analysis! The number of references to Lupin's appearance in PoA and OotP is remarkable, and I tend to think they're part of what makes him sympathetic. Or maybe I should say: the contrast between his sickly appearance and his generally healthy approach.

Question: You write that Lupin wasn't in contact with Harry for the better part of two years. But it wasn't much more than a year, was it - from June '94 to August '95?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2005 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was talking through the end of OotP--Lupin was just in and out there, not a constant presence as he was in PoA.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Despite his legal authority over Harry, and his place in Harry's heart, Sirius was never able to break through Dumbledore and Molly's hold over him; e.g. Dumbledore wants Snape to teach Harry occlumency, Sirius doesn't, Dumbledore wins. We saw in Snape's worst memory Remus' unwillingness to confront people he sees as his friends and allies. You make a strong case that Remus is now taking the place of Sirius as the one Harry trusts, but can he be more for Harry than a trusted confidant? Harry needs someone who will help him become an adult, give him freedom to make some of his own decisions regarding his life, whereas Molly and Dumbledore seem only to want to shelter and protect him; is Remus capable of being that someone?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, he did stand up to both Molly and Sirius after the first Order meeting, first standing against Molly and saying that Harry needs to be told something, then against Sirius, saying that it was, in fact, enough. So I think he's grown a bit, and is able to take charge when he feels it necessary.
dalf From: dalf Date: March 3rd, 2005 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with the original essay and this comment. I would only further add that Harys faith in Dumbeldor has been delt a very significant blow in OotP. I have for a long time felt that OotP was below par compaired to the other books because the entire plot was based on Dumbeldors, and the others, mistake, and further that their justifcation for that mistake was very very weak. That being Harry's piece of mind when it was, or should ahve been, clear that keeping him in the dark was exactly the wrong thing to do for his piece of mind.

I think Remus is not only going to be filling in the rold that SIrius has had in the previous boks but he will also be filling in for a lot of what Dumbeldor represented to Harry. Then again I might just be thinking that since Remus is my favorite character.
dramaturgy From: dramaturgy Date: February 23rd, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice insight. I wish I had something thoughtful to add, but I don't really. :) I like it when people talk about the Harry and Remus dynamic, because it seems like people always talk about Harry and Sirius, or Harry and whoever.
idleleaves From: idleleaves Date: February 23rd, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, I love this post. I agree with so much of it.

You know, and I don't tend to believe in Lupin jumping in to be any sort of replacement for Sirius--Lupin had his own, separate, role in Harry's life before Sirius. It's grown, sure, but it's a different dynamic. Lupin might come to be more important to Harry than he is now--like you said, a powerful role--but not, I don't think, as "the father figure" as some people have suggested, then gone on to bash the character for being too distant, and focussing on his absences instead of what he does do for/with Harry.

Remus is the one most recognizably Harry-like--reticent in his relationships (except in front of a class), kindhearted but a bit distant and slow to act, generally patient with people he's helping (and snarky with the people he doesn't care for)

... I never thought of that, but yes, there it is. Much as their characters are remarkably different, there are those little similarities, and those types of things do count for something.

I don't think that there's going to be any big conflict over the things we worry about--why didn't Sirius trust Lupin as Secret Keeper? What the heck was Lupin doing for two years?

Me either. Those are things that fascinate me, but I don't think they'll be huge in canon. Though, I am holding out for more information on the backstory in general.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2005 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do think that Lupin will be a father figure--I think he already is one of Harry's father figures--but father figures aren't interchangeable with one another. Where Sirius was an agitating influence, Lupin is a calming one (James, I suspect, would have had a bit of both; I think James is probably balanced between them, though we've seen more of his Sirius-like side). Lupin's never going to be the exciting, interactive, I-rescue-you-you-rescue-me guy. He's a steadier person, and Harry tends to obey him. He's a vision of a grown-up.

I think the reason, plot-wise, that Lupin has been absent from Harry's life was simply that he had an entire book in which to establish his relationship, and Sirius got parts of the next two (not being in the Hogwarts milieu, Sirius couldn't have the constant contact of Harry and Remus in PoA). Page-time-wise, I think they're in about equal standing with Harry, and Lupin is perfectly well-placed to take the paternal role.
idleleaves From: idleleaves Date: February 23rd, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I tend to make the difference in my head by calling him an authority figure, simply because I don't think he'd consider himself a father figure to anyone. Harry's view of it, though, is an entirely different matter.

He's a vision of a grown-up.

Yes. He's also an adult who allows Harry to know certain things rather than keeping him in the dark as some adults tend to do to children, and that goes a long way toward establishing trust.

*nodsnods* As far as the plot reason for Lupin being absent, absolutely.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 23rd, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fern-
This is a little off topic... first of all, I have been devouring Shifts faithfully, and cried along with all the rest. It was wonderful and amazing and well-written and SMART and not too fluffy and not too erotic and touching and now it's canon to me.
I've also read all your other posts, and you are a smart, smart person. That combined with your amazing fic means that your opinion is automatically worth something to me. Now that Shifts is done with, I am in need of a new fic to read, but yours spoiled me. Not just any old fic will do anymore... it has to be amazing and well-written and etc., too or I will just be disappointed.
Can you recommend any specific fics that you have really enjoyed?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2005 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Gosh, I've been writing so much more than I've been reading that I don't have a huge selection in my head to choose from. JiminyC is very good (I'm a special fan of "Moondance"). Ashtur an'Vangan's stuff is quite good as well, and if no one has recommended Alkari to you yet, definitely give her a try for Marauder fic!
lavinialavender From: lavinialavender Date: February 24th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
By the two-year absence, do you mean the first two years of the books?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I meant GoF and most of OotP.
lavinialavender From: lavinialavender Date: February 24th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most of the fifth book - but we meet him again before Harry even leaves for Hogwarts, and he's in the very last scene.
From: topaz_eyes Date: February 24th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello, I wandered over from the daily_snitch.

I think that the books are set up reasonably well for Lupin to come back into Harry's life in a powerful way (and hopefully not just to be the next sacrificial lamb). Precisely. It seems clear to me that Remus is the only adult with whom Harry has meaningfully interacted in the entire series (including Sirius, sadly). Now Remus stands as the only significant father figure who wasn't deconstructed by the end of OotP, as his other father figures were (James, Sirius and Dumbledore). To me it's logical.

BTW I don't think Remus will be the next sacrificial lamb, at least not yet. (I believe the next one is Dumbledore.) Rather I believe he will be Dumbledore's direct successor as well. At least there's not much longer to wait.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 24th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Didn't Rowling also say Remus was a half-blood, like Harry? Of course, I don't know if that means a Muggle parent or a Muggleborn parent.

Just thinking, Remus, in some ways, is the person in the Wizarding World that Harry is in the Dursleys, persona non grata for being a dangerous freak with frightening abilities they aren't willing to believe can be safely controlled (and, sometimes, they're right). This results in his being osctracized and even (like Harry at the Dursleys) wearing ragged clothes and looking underfed (well, prematurely aged is kind of like underfed).

This works better for me than some of the other werewolf metaphor suggestions I've seen.
jazzypom From: jazzypom Date: February 24th, 2005 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Harry and Lupin

Good essay, fern.

My actual reading on Harry and Lupin; Harry doesn't resent Lupin for being away, because sadly, he doesn't really expect anyone to hang around for long. Also, Remus doesn't demand anything from him, or see him as more as he needs to be i.e. - Remus sees Harry as Harry, not as the Boy-Who-Lived, nor the saviour of WW, nor someone to be moddycoddled. I think Remus treats Harry with the respect that he deserves, and his demeanour and matter fact manner calms Harry.

I would like to see Remus step in as a mentor to Harry, and a sort of refuge from well meaning adults like Molly or Dumbledore, but I do have a bet on that he's gonna kick it in the next book - or be terribly hurt.
wolfsbaine From: wolfsbaine Date: February 24th, 2005 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)


I think your point about Harry looking for a male role model in his life is a very good one. In Sirius and Remus he had the whole subject laid out before him. The fearless, passionate nature of Sirius, coupled with the brain, ingenuity and acceptance of Remus was so plain that even Harry made a choice, not the one he thought he would have made, if asked but he did chose which type of man he wanted to be.

Sadly for Sirius he knew that in a silent and unspoken way Harry made the choice to be as Remus would be without his condition. But to Sirius that was the right choice as well. Sirius also, saw his friend in a different light since his escape from Azkaban and is equally impressed by Remus the mature adult (no sexual reference there) something he had noted when he was younger but did not fully appreciate or prepared to admit too.

Remus is the archetypal mentor for Harry and yes Harry very likely does love him, but it is a slow acceptance on both sides. But above all it is a choice, Harry will choose to have Remus’s council, he will not feel under an obligation, from the past such as with Sirius.

Remus is the first friend and councillor that Harry has chosen, which is why he has been absent from Harry’s life at times, until now. He could not take his place till Harry chose to have him take his place, because this is part of Harry coming into relying on his own judgment and not accepting what others say, in short this Harry growing up. Harry no longer needs a parent to protect him or save him, four times now he has faced LV and thwarted him. Thus he no longer is in need of a protector. He needs wise council and someone who will go beyond the parental role. Someone who will allow Harry to do things that a parent or surrogate parent; such as Molly Weasley who is bordering on being a liability in that she just doesn’t get what Harry is going to have to do. Or like Sirius who would have done it for him, might not allow him to do. Someone who will love Harry as a father should, but will also not see him as a child and thus be truthful with him when he needs the truth.

I think you are right in assuming that this is Remus’s destiny and that he will be the future torch carrier for DD’s plans.

Of course that is unless you subscribe to the Remus is evil theory and he has been secretly plotting his revenge all this time that is.

imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: March 4th, 2005 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, brilliant. Thank you, thank you, thank you. *makes notes* *uses to help her own understanding of the dynamics*

What a wonderful look at this. I'm truly impressed. *applauds*

Now I must go rescue my story. ^_~
22 comments or Leave a comment