Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 39

Chapter two of Goblet of Fire may be filled with a lot of recap, but Eric still has a really interesting question for the fans this week…

Following a very disturbing ‘dream,’ and a searing scar, Harry struggles to think of “someone like a parent: an adult wizard whose advice he could ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him, who had experience with Dark Magic.” Harry eventually settles on Sirius, after ruling out Hermione, Ron and the Weasleys, Dumbledore and of course the Dursleys. But the question is:

Why doesn’t Harry write Lupin? Lupin was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Clearly he cares for Harry and has just as much claim to care about Harry as Sirius, really, since they were both his father’s friends. Would writing Lupin have produced a better result? Wouldn’t writing both of them have helped most? 

Let us know your thoughts below and they just might be read out on the next episode of Alohomora! 

  • Jane

    I think Harry doesn’t write to Lupin because he first saw Lupin as a teacher before a friend and first meetings are always hard to change. Even in Deathly Hallows, Harry still calls Remus either professor or Lupin. Maybe if Harry met Lupin as the friend before the teacher, he might have had a closer relationship with him and felt more comfortable in asking him his opinion in something very personal. This is also the first time that he got a vision from Voldemort and he would probably felt very self conscious about the whole affair because he doesn’t yet know what is really happening and why he is getting these visions.

  • Nikki

    There was a line in that section of the book that particularly struck me, which was that Harry felt “ashamed” to desire a parent to help him with the issue of his scar hurting after the nightmare/vision. As a godfather, Sirius is the one to take Harry should anything happened to the parents, and since we know Harry has no grandparents or other relatives, the godfather would naturally be the next best thing. Lupin does not have that connection with Harry because as Jane mentioned below, Lupin was a teacher first and a friend second. I think there would always be that divide for Lupin.

  • Kyle Ashley

    It’s possible that Harry doesn’t think of writing Lupin because, at this point, Harry still sees Lupin as his teacher and not like a father or uncle. I don’t think this mentality changes much over the following couple of years as Harry still addresses Lupin as “Professor Lupin” when the Order comes to take him from Privet Drive in OotP. I don’t think that Harry starts to consider Lupin as more than just one of his old teachers until Deathly Hallows when the trio start to address Lupin by his first name. I don’t think that Harry telling Lupin would have necessarily produced a better result that the one obtained by telling Sirius about his scar hurting, but I think it would have been to Harry’s benefit to have told both Sirius and Lupin about it. That way, he could have gotten 2 viewpoints from people who deeply care about Harry’s well-being.

  • Bre Tapp

    I think that Harry thought of Sirius because he wanted a parental figure. So the obvious choice would be his god father. I think that Remus would have been better person to ask as he is more logical person then Sirius. But Sirius does give some fairly good advice.

  • theravenclawsamurai

    I think that what Harry truly desires is to have people who he can call his family. The problem with Lupin is that he was firstly Harry’s professor, and Harry might find it hard to think of him as a family member. This is demonstrated a bit later in the series- Harry mentions that Sirius is the only family he has left. Also, the fact that Sirius is in fact his godfather, which was a position chosen for him by James. Talking to Sirius makes him feel closer to his real father than talking to Lupin would, and it was mentioned in the same passage that he really wanted a father figure, something that he had lacked for most of his life because of the Dursleys.

  • Usman Asaf

    I think the reason Harry never writes to Lupin is because the two never, up to that point, had a personal relationship. Sirius was Harry’s Godfather and his dads best mate. Even though Lupin was a close friend of James, I seriously doubt that they were as close. Sirius knew James the best, and for someone like Harry, who never got to know his parents, it would’ve been a very strong attraction. Also, it was Sirius who signed Harry a note that allowed him to visit Hogsmeade at the end of PoA. Only people who could’ve done that had to be a parent or a gruardian. Seeing that Lupin was neither, it’s more natural for Harry to approach Sirius over Lupin for advise.

    Now would writing Lupin produced a better result? I really doubt it. As Lupin himself said that James and Sirius were the best students in their year, it hardly stands to reason that Harry would’ve gotten a better response from Lupin rather than Sirius.

  • VoldiPhil

    I claim that you don’t conjecture if you say that after his third year there is already a more personal relationship between Harry and Sirius than between Harry and Remus. This might be due to the fact that Sirius is Harrys godfather and that he was his fathers best friend. On the other hand there is Lupin who is “just” Harrys helpful former teacher.
    Another point is that Sirius is a completely different character compared to Remus. Harry is in fact more like Sirius. Both are very active, very curious. Whereas Remus is really calm and thoughtful.
    Besides of that Harry and Sirius already have contact through the owls (and the tropical bird) whereas he did not talk to Lupin since he left hogwarts.

    I don’t think writing Lupin would have produced a better result because Harry just tells about his hurting scar, which is not a really valuable information either for Sirius or to Remus. But in the end of the book we hear, that Dumbledore was in contact with Sirius the whole year and it feels like Dumbledore is the only one who is able to make use of Harrys dreams. Just magine what would have happened if Harry had written everything he could remember of his dream immediately to Dumbledore… ^^

  • gringotts713

    I agree with the opinion that he was looking for the closest to family he could get. Also Harry had such a difficult time accepting Lupin leaving Hogwarts that he may still be confused about his feelings toward Lupin. Harry is largely driven by emotion and the confusion about being angry and sad that Lupin left would be forefront in his mind. In his mind he understood why he had to leave, but Lupin was a connection to his parents that lived at the castle, someone who may still have more to share.

  • Wizardheart83

    Harry doesn’t tell Lupin because Lupin was established as an authority figure, and Harry has been taught that those aren’t helpful. He was raised by the Dursleys, who scolded him for asking questions and whose rules were often sort of random and set up as traps for him to fall into or as giant flaming “you are not wanted here” signs. Harry learned early on that people who have power over him are less than inclined to help, and he never really had much practice in asking for help, it’s why he’s so quick to handle things on his own or to turn to people like Sirius, who has never claimed power over him, or Ron and Hermione who have been his peers.

  • Beth

    I know this could be seen as slightly weak but I wanted to come up with a different theory.
    One answer to this question could be that Harry has no clue where Lupin is or what he’s doing. Harry knows that Sirius is on the run and so likely not doing much of importance (sorry Siri!), Harry can even give a guess as to where exactly he is. But Lupin left at the end of the school year without leaving a trace of where he may go from there. For all Harry knows he could be doing important work somewhere and its that unknown which would stop Harry from writing to him. We know that Harry often doesn’t wish to be a burden and worry people over what he sees as trivial things, especially when they could be busy with other things.
    Also I’m not sure that Harry really knows where he stands with Lupin at this point. No doubt he felt angry and a little guilty at the way Lupin had to leave the school. The upheaval and drama that happened to Lupin a few months before has a think fractured the relationship between him and Harry. It takes some down time on OOTP for them to really go back to how they were.

  • Cassandra1447

    Harry and Lupin had a teacher-student relationship, albeit a stronger one than Harry has had to this point with any teacher including Dumbledore. However, Harry avoids writing Dumbledore because he does not want to sound stupid. I believe Harry might have also refrained from writing Lupin, who he sees as a teacher, for the same reason. Additionally, in Harry’s experience, adults in authority are prone to not taking him seriously.

    Sirius demonstrates that he wants to be involved in Harry’s life outside of Hogwarts; Lupin doesn’t. I think Harry also values Sirius stepping up and wanting to be his parental figure. James named Sirius godfather, giving Harry a sort of claim on Sirius which he doesn’t have on Lupin.

    I think Lupin would have confided in Dumbledore as well if Harry had written him instead of or in addition to Sirius. As Order members, both men would have been accustomed to going to Dumbledore with this sort of problem, especially as it concerns Harry. The possible better result I can see from writing Lupin instead of Sirius is that Lupin could do research for and communicate with Harry openly rather than Sirius hiding outside of Hogsmeade at great risk.

  • Elderdeb

    The quote from the text says it all: Harry wished there was someone like a parent. Sirius is the first adult who even comes close to that role for him. Although their encounter is brief, he is Harry’s godfather and shared an exceptionally close relationship to Harry’a parents. Sirius is clearly the stand-in for Harry’s father here. Although Remus is also a likely candidate, his original role as a teacher still places him in that authority figure/not quite family member realm for Harry.

  • kmchef13

    I agree that Harry probably went to Sirius first because, while he did have a good relationship with Lupin over his third year, the fact that Sirius holds the title of his godfather (a title his parents specifically chose for him) makes him feel more connected to him than he would to Lupin, even though technically he’s known Lupin longer.

    Also, from a purely literary perspective, if Harry hadn’t contacted Sirius about his scar, Sirius wouldn’t have come back to Britain and been able to meet up with them in Hogsmeade later in the book. If you remember, in the chapter “Padfoot Returns”, he gives the trio a ton of information about Barty Crouch, his son, and what the Ministry was like when Voldemort was in power. He also clarifies a lot of questions we had about Sirius himself in the third book, whether or not he had a trial, for example. So, while i’m sure Jo knew that Lupin was just as valid a person for Harry to contact at this moment, she probably chose Sirius because she knew the trio would need all that information later, and only Sirius could give it to them (particularly the details about Barty Crouch Jr).

  • Pig-desk

    I think the reason is simple, Harry is longing for a sense of family. Asking Sirius, whether conscious or subconscious, connects to his inner desire to have guidance from family.