Summary: Wilhelmina Weasley writes an essay about her hero in the history of Magical Minority rights.
Characters: The usual suspects plus one granddaughter. Background Remus/the man with the large nose.
Word count: 1900
Notes: Happy birthday, Remus Lupin!
By Wilhelmina Weasley, First Year, Gryffindor
Written for Professor HJ Granger, History of Magic
Assignment: two scrolls on the life history of a pioneer in the history of Magical Minority rights,
based on library research or a personal interview
This essay was meant to be about my grandfather William Weasley, the first Person Living with Lycanthropy to become Minister of Magic, but he said that everyone already knew about him and that I should write about someone new. That turned out to be a good idea, because the person he suggested, Remus Lupin, lives in a very pretty cottage and has a friendly dog and served me Butterbeer while I interviewed him. (There was also a man with a very large nose who joined us during the interview, but he said you would not want to hear about him, Professor Granger, and he did not tell me his name.) As you will see, Mr Lupin told me things about the history of People Living with Lycanthropy that we haven't learned about yet in class. This essay describes what I learned about Mr Lupin, Early Pioneer in Magical Minority Rights.
Remus Lupin was born almost exactly eighty years ago on March 10, 1959 in a small town in Oxfordshire. He was not a Person Living with Lycanthropy when he was born. He was bitten when he was six. I asked him how he got a name like Remus Lupin, then, but he said life is funny like that sometimes.
As we learned in class, in the old days, before Harry Potter defeated prejudice and hatred and evil, the bite was very terrible. No one knew how to treat Lycanthropy, and People Living with Lycanthropy had to live at the very edges of society. I asked Mr Lupin what this meant. He said that it meant that they could not tell other people about their Lycanthropy or they would not be able to walk down the street without being hit by Bat Bogey Hexes from all sides. Mr Lupin did not like being hit by Bat Bogey Hexes--which is something I understand, having grown up in the Weasley family--so he kept very quiet about his Lycanthropy for many, many years.
Mr Lupin was the very first Person Living with Lycanthropy to attend the Hogwarts School for the Magical Education of All Creatures, Not Just Witches and Wizards, back when it was called the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts was very prejudiced at this time. Mr Lupin was not allowed to tell any of his friends that he was a Person Living with Lycanthropy or he would be expelled from school. Also, every month, they would lock him in a tiny, dirty shack and make him transform by himself, without any Wolfsbane Potion beforehand or Pumpkin Pasties afterwards.
As a Person Living with Lycanthropy myself, I think this is very cruel. I don't think I would recover half as quickly without Pumpkin Pasties. But Mr Lupin says it was not so bad in those days as people now say it was. The man with the large nose said things were very bad indeed and that Mr Lupin does not understand how dangerous it was for him or for the other students, but Mr Lupin smiled and said the man with the large nose has issues even after all these years and that I should not mind him.
The First War for the Emancipation of All Magical Creatures was beginning when Mr Lupin was in school. Some very tragic things happened to Mr Lupin during the First War, which my grandfather says you will know about, Professor Granger. Mr Lupin did not want to talk about them. He said that not so much emancipation happened during the First War anyway, despite what the history books say, and that the important thing to know about the First War is that it is over.
(Mr Lupin used the W-word during this part of the interview, but I explained to him what you had said about hurtful names, Professor Granger, and Mr Lupin agreed with me. He said he would use any term I preferred, so long as I did not use the term "old fogey." I thought this sounded fair, and we shook hands on it.)
After the First War, Mr Lupin traveled the world and learned about People Living with Lycanthropy and other Magical Creatures (formerly known as Dark Creatures). This is how he gained enough knowledge to become a Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts. (I had never heard of the Dark Arts or about a class to defend yourself against them, but Mr Lupin said that it used to be a set subject for Hogwarts students. Apparently in the old days everyone needed to be constantly on guard against unexpected things, as if Great Uncle Fred or Great Uncle George were in the room with them, and this was the class in which students learned to be cautious. The man with the large nose wanted to know what had replaced it in the curriculum, and after comparing notes we decided that Interspecies Communication and Cooperation had.)
Mr Lupin was the very first Person Living with Lycanthropy to become a professor at Hogwarts. He taught at Hogwarts for one year but left at the end of the year because another professor told the whole school he had Lycanthropy, and Mr Lupin had to resign. This is a very famous incident in the history of Magical Minorities, but strangely Mr Lupin did not seem very upset about it. He said that he never should have resigned and that he should have stayed and fought for his teaching position, but that it all worked out for the best in the end. The professor who told the school about his Lycanthropy eventually felt badly about it and has been apologizing in lovely ways ever since.
This comment made the man with the large nose become very pink in the face and choke on his Butterbeer. At this point Mr Lupin said that perhaps he wasn't an exemplary Early Pioneer in Magical Minority Rights and that we should just enjoy our Butterbeers and play with the dog, but after a moment the man with the large nose recovered and said nonsense, we should continue with the interview since the best part was still to come.
During the Second War for the Emancipation of All Magical Creatures, Mr Lupin worked as a spy for the famous Order of the Phoenix. He knew many famous witches and wizards, including the war heroes Harry Potter, Dobby X, William Weasley, and Fenrir Greyback. This part of Mr Lupin's history confused me. In class, we learned about how People Living with Lycanthropy helped the wizards and witches of the Order of the Phoenix defeat Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters and others who wanted to keep the wizarding world limited only to those witches and wizards with the purest blood. But Mr Lupin said his work with the People Living with Lycanthropy was very difficult and for a long time he believed it was a lost cause. I asked him why that was, and he looked very sad and said that long ago, back before people understood how good things could be when they all got along, there was a lot of animosity between People Living with Lycanthropy and witches and wizards, so it was difficult to convince them to fight with the Order of the Phoenix. I asked him why it was so difficult to convince People Living with Lycanthropy to fight against prejudice, since they were the ones suffering from it, but Mr Lupin only said that life is funny that way. Then the man with the large nose said very bitterly that no one talks about evil these days and that it would be easier to understand what had happened if we simply called a spade a spade, since no one was more evil than Fenrir Greyback.
At this point I became very confused, because we had learned in class that Fenrir Greyback was the one who had led the People Living with Lycanthropy into the Last Great Battle against Lord Voldemort. You had always said this part of the story was very complicated, Professor Granger, but I had no idea what that meant! Mr Lupin explained that Fenrir Greyback had a terrible history before becoming an important leader in the movement for Magical Minority rights, and that war heroes are not necessarily good people. The man with the large nose said that Greyback's role in the war has been exaggerated, but Mr Lupin said very sternly that it was Greyback who eventually went into politics and not either of the two of them, and that he was rather grateful for the reforms Greyback had put through the Ministry and for all the time he had to spend tending his garden. More importantly, he said, if William Weasley did not talk about Fenrir Greyback's past, then there was no point in either of them discussing it. Later, I asked my grandfather what this meant, but my grandfather said only that the war had changed Fenrir Greyback, and that Greyback had been one of his greatest supporters for many years, and that sometimes terrible things have wonderful consequences. I asked him if this had something to do with the fact that Harry Potter had defeated evil in the Last Great Battle, and he said that he didn't know. It might just have something to do with human nature.
After the war Mr Lupin was asked to teach at Hogwarts again, but there was no longer any need for professors to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. Also, he had inherited some money and was determined to do what he'd always dreamed of doing, which involved purchasing a cottage in a quiet part of the world and gardening and bickering with old enemies like the man with the large nose. I happen to know for a fact that this is not entirely true. First, my father said that Mr Lupin spent every Sunday after the war at my grandfather's house and that my grandfather never would have been able to run the ministry after the Second War without Mr Lupin's advice and help. Second, Mr Lupin gave the man with the large nose such a soppy look at this point that it became clear they were quite good friends when they were not bickering. I said this out loud, and the man with the large nose said that he had never realized Mr Lupin's full abilities as a double agent until just now, when he saw that students my age could read him like an open book. Mr Lupin said that now that he was approaching eighty he could do or say what he wanted and that it was a shame Harry Potter had not defeated sarcasm as well as evil. The man with the large nose said that Mr Lupin didn't really mean that, and then, after a moment thinking about it, Mr Lupin said he might be right.
Mr Lupin now lives on the Isle of Wight in a very beautiful cottage with a large garden and a big black dog and the man with the large nose. I told Mr Lupin that my granddad said that Mr Lupin really should write a book about his life, but Mr Lupin said that there was not much to tell, and he's happy the way he is. I said that Mr Lupin was wrong about this and that there was quite a bit to say about his life, some of which I was going to write about in this essay. The man with the large nose agreed with me and told me to go home and start writing because you would, too, Professor Granger. I hope I have convinced you that Mr Lupin is a very brave and interesting person and an exemplary Early Pioneer in the history of Magical Minority rights.