Anyone else a Harry Potter fan? I will admit to being a teeny bit obsessed and getting the chance to visit Harry Potter Studios earlier this year was a dream come through for me. Anyone who has read the books or seen the films will be aware that there are werewolves in the Harry Potter world, but have you ever looked a bit closer at Rowling’s thought-process for them?
One of the nastier werewolf characters is Fenrir Greyback, and since I’m a big mythology fan the name is pretty familiar. In Norse myth, Fenrir is the great wolf who was feared would one day destroy the world, so it seems like no coincidence Rowling would name the character after him.
We also have the much more relatable character of Remus Lupin. The name Remus coming from the twins Romulus and Remus, who are considered in legend as the founders of Rome who suckled on a wolf, and Lupin, coming from the latin lupus, which means wolf. (The poor man never had a chance, huh?) J.K. Rowling tends to a theme for giving characters names that are significant, and are often taken from mythology.
Lupin’s condition of lycanthropy, which comes from the combined Greek terms for ‘wolf’ and ‘man’, was described by Rowing as a metaphor for all those illnesses that carry a stigma, like HIV and AIDs. “All kinds of superstitions seem to surround blood-borne conditions, probably due to taboos surrounding blood itself. The wizarding community is as prone to hysteria and prejudice as the Muggle one, and the character of Lupin gave me a chance to examine those attitudes.” We see not only how Lupin can be shunned by the community, but also his own self-loathing about his condition, to the extent that he doesn’t believe he deserves to have love and a family.
I think we can all relate to that feeling of insecurity and worthlessness sometimes – I’m guessing not due to lycanthropy, but we all have things we dislike about ourselves and that we wonder if anyone will ever be able to love us for. My characters are no different, and I hope it’s one of the things that makes them relatable to.
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Take care x