I usually try to be a very modest person. In fact, that’s probably the most arrogant thing that I will ever say. But yeah. I do. I sincerely do. Because I’ve spent the better part of a decade thinking about Remus and disabilities and disabilities in the wizarding world. And when you spend nearly half of your life thinking about that, you tend to become passionate about it. And when you become passionate about it, you tend to do a pretty good job at it. In fact, the only reason why I haven’t written a really long fanfiction about Remus is because I know that I would get too passionate and too emotional about it. Because I would pour all of my real-life experiences as a person with a disability into said book. The funny thing is that I’m not a fan of metaphorical representation; I prefer representation to be outright. But if you’re going to use a metaphor, you need to go all the way through with it! You need to really explore all of the creative possibilities.
So, at the risk of sounding more arrogant than James Potter, here’s some of the possibilities that I’ve personally thought of over the years:
Show every single detail about the night that Remus was bitten and the days following. The pain, the terror, the confusion. The blinding lights on the ceiling of St. Mungo’s as Healers are all talking very fast while levitating him on a stretcher and zooming him through the corridors. Potions being shoved down his throat. Remus coming in and out of consciousness. His mother crying. His father screaming. Pain. Pain. More pain. He doesn’t understand what’s going on. He thinks that he did something wrong. Why else would his mother be crying? And then the Healers and MediWizards are talking to him about something called lycanthropy but he doesn’t understand, he’s too young to understand, but he has no choice, he needs to understand. But he’s scared and confused and in pain. So much pain.
Remus finally understanding what happened but not accepting it. Instead, Remus going through the five stages of grief. He’s in shock, he’s in denial, there’s no way that he’s a werewolf. He’s read a few children’s books about werewolves and they’re all really nasty. He isn’t really nasty. He’s angry. Angry that the Mediwizards would even say such a thing. Angry that his parents aren’t correcting them. Angry at everything and nothing at all. And then he becomes depressed. He’s four/five/six (it’s not quite clear what his age was) years old and his life is already over. The other kids in his village are going to make fun of him. He’d do anything, anything to get rid of it, anything to be normal again. But he ultimately realizes that he can’t…he’ll never be normal again…
Show the reactions of those closest to him. What do his parents feel? What do they think? What are their approaches? Does one act like nothing’s happened while the other’s insisted that everything’s changed? Does one say that Remus needs to be independent while the other insists that he’ll be dependent for the rest of his life? Can they handle this? What about his extended family? Have his extended family visit but ultimately stare at him or say the wrong things and the Lupins realize that they haven’t received an invitation to the Christmas party, nor the New Years Party, nor their aunt’s wedding, etc.
Have rumors sweep through the whole village. Have the children run away from him because they heard that he has a tail or that he likes to eat raw meat. Have Remus be hopelessly confused and sad because he doesn’t understand why people keep staring at him or why nobody wants to play with him. He didn’t do anything wrong!
Have the Lupins pour all of their money into medical bills because they don’t have insurance. Ever wonder why Remus was poor? Well, there you go! Have Remus wake up in the middle of the night to his parents arguing over where they’re going to get the money for the newest round of potions that he needs. Have his parents take on extra jobs. Have them finally be able to get insurance but most of the things that Remus needs aren’t covered so really what’s the point!?
Lycanthropy Speaks! Have an organization come out called Lycanthropy Speaks that claims to know more about Remus’ condition than Remus does. But in the end, the organization simply tells the parents of children with lycanthropy that they’re monsters. And instead of looking for ways to help those children, the organization looks for ways to cure them. I mean do you realize how much potential this has!
This is fun. This is really fun.
Show Remus finally being old enough to go to Hogwarts but his parents aren’t sure if he can go. And when he finally does, they’re all shocked to realize that he’s having the time of his life. Madam Pomfrey is taking care of all of his medical needs, the Marauders are taking care of all of his social needs, and for the first time in a long time, Remus Lupin is actually happy.
But if you’re like me and you’re twisted, that happiness can’t last long. So show how the wizarding world is become more and more prejudiced against werewolves. Show Remus hiding his condition from everyone, even his best friends. Show Remus breaking down and absolutely sobbing when his friends finally reveal that they know. Because he knows that they’re going to leave.
But they don’t.
They love him as if he was their brother and his lycanthropy doesn’t change that.
But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world is as accepting. Horrendous propaganda begins to surface. Saying that you can become a werewolf if you kiss a person with lycanthropy or if you share a drink with a person with lycanthropy or if you use the same toilet seat as a person with lycanthropy. Everyone see where I’m going with this? GOOD!
It just occurs to me the format and tense of this post keeps changing. But it’s too late to change it now; I’m on a roll here!
DID SOMEBODY SAY EUTHANASIA MOVEMENT!? Yeah! The war would have been starting at this point. Have Voldemort introduce a new phase: Action W4 (instead of T). Have Death Eaters go around, killing men, women, and children with lycanthropy. 70,000 of them to be precise. Have an action-packed, suspenseful, story where the Marauders need to help Remus escape because he’s literally being hunted by Death Eaters and he doesn’t want to die.
You know what, we can take this to the next level. After Voldemort’s first reign ends, have the Ministry create asylums all throughout the wizarding world. Have people with lycanthropy be dragged there and admitted against their will. Have the conditions be awful. The worst that you can possibly imagine. Have them try controversial treatments to try to cure the lycanthropy. Did somebody say Crucio therapy? Well, why not! Maybe you can Crucio the lycanthropy right out of them! Seems like a great idea to me! And hey, if that doesn’t work, you can always do a Diffendo spell to their brain. Yep, I went there. At this point, this metaphor is all or nothing.
And then, at this point, have Voldemort begin recruiting people with lycanthropy because he sees them as useful weapons. And have him make a point to treat all of them with respect because he knows that you can catch more pixies with honey than with vinegar. Literally have the villain treat them better than their own government treats them and that’s why so many werewolves joined his cause.
And then have those asylums be shut down because seriously, who’s bright idea was it to have those anyway? But that still doesn’t mean that we can’t have…*drummroll*…the EUGENICS MOVEMENT! Remus and Nymphadora want to conceive and have a child. Well, there’s just one problem. The wizarding world doesn’t want them to. In fact, people with lycanthropy are once again being dragged to buildings against their will. Have them be sterilized! Lycanthropy might be hereditary after all. That’s why Remus and Tonks were so hesitant for anyone from the Ministry to see them. Because they wanted to have a child. Have Teddy’s very existence be a slap in the Ministry’s face.
*Gasps for breath*
These are just some, some, of the possibilities that Jo could have explored! I could sit here all day and continue to list them. I’m that passionate about it. In fact, I’m shaking as I’m typing this.
In all seriousness…could I do a better job than her? I don’t know. But at least I can see the potential of this metaphorical representation instead of just focusing on how many Werewolf McWerewolf puns that I can make.