Why Sirius and Remus is canon, a brief discussion essay.
(asked for by xannathaix)
I’ve read an essay on why the ship is canon, actually, which is here. I’m going to pull a few quotes from the essay and make my own points. Feel free to read the essay as well, obviously, it goes into far more detail with characterization, whereas I’m emphasizing the relationship itself, for sake of length.
"Professor Lupin?" [Harry] said. "If you knew my dad, you must’ve known Sirius Black as well."
Lupin turned very quickly.
“What gives you that idea?” he said sharply.
“Nothing — I mean, I just knew they were friends at Hogwarts, too…”
Lupin’s face relaxed.
“Yes, I knew him,” he said shortly. “Or I thought I did. You’d better get off, Harry, it’s getting late.”
I believe the quote nearly speaks for itself. Remus seems like a character who is not comfortable in his own shoes, and if he was homosexual, he would obviously have tried to keep it under wraps, especially in earlier times, when people were not as accepting. Remus almost thought his secret was out. His reaction to Sirius being brought up is sharp and pronounced. Remus also often evades when an uncomfortable topic is brought up, as seen earlier in PoA (Harry comments on Snape bringing Remus potion, and Remus abruptly changes the subject).
Lupin caught [the wands] deftly, then moved into the room, staring at Black…
Beginning here, Remus spends much of his time STARING at Sirius, much like Ron’s frequent staring at Hermione.
"But then…" Lupin muttered, staring at Black so intently it seemed he was trying to read his mind, "…why hasn’t he shown himself before now? Unless — " Lupin’s eyes suddenly widened, as though he was seeing something beyond Black, something none of the rest could see, " — unless he was the one… unless you switched… without telling me?”
Very slowly, his sunken gaze never leaving Lupin’s face, Black nodded.
Notice the staring. Also, Remus is the only one who can get anything out of just STARING at Sirius. He comprehends the enormity of the entire situation in a simple glance. Also, note that this is a huge blow to Remus, who realizes that none of the Marauders had trusted him enough at the time to tell him they were switching secret keepers.
"Professor Lupin," Harry interrupted loudly, "what’s going — ?"
But he never finished the question, because what he saw made his voice die in his throat. Lupin was lowering his wand. Next moment, he had walked to Black’s side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a lover.
Beginning in Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling says the two embrace “like brothers” in “Cat, Rat, and Dog” — however, should you change the wording of the embrace to “like lovers,” the entirety of the two’s relationship would make more sense. Personally, I feel that Rowling DID ship the two characters together, and the editors felt compelled to add that bit in. However, even if Rowling did mean it the way it is in print, the story is told mainly from Harry’s perspective, so while Harry’s thirteen-year-old brain told him the embrace was brotherly, it could have been something else entirely.
"Ready, Sirius?" said Lupin.
Black had already retrieved Snape’s wand from the bed. He approached Lupin and the struggling rat, and his wet eyes suddenly seemed to be burning in his face.
“Together?” he said quietly.
“I think so,” said Lupin…
As Elwing pointed out in her essay, Sirius and Remus are often put together by Rowling. This passage is an example of Sirius needing reassurance, especially after spending years in isolation and anguish. Rowling later pairs the two together, saying they are side by side and the like.
"Not if he thought I was the spy, Peter," said Lupin. "I assume that’s why you didn’t tell me, Sirius?" he said casually over Pettigrew’s head.
This BEAUTIFUL bit of writing perfectly illustrates that much of Sirius’ and Remus’ relationship goes “over Pettigrew’s head.”
Black and Lupin stood shoulder to shoulder, wands raised.
See? Together. Again.
Black and Lupin were looking at each other. Then, with one movement, they lowered their wands.
And again. They are so in sync.
Ron, Hermione, Fred and George’s heads swivelled from Sirius to Mrs Weasley as though they were following a tennis rally. Ginny was kneeling amid a pile of abandoned Butterbeer corks, watching the conversation with her mouth slightly open. Lupin’s eyes were fixed on Sirius.
THIS IS THE FAMOUS FORTY-SIX LINE STARE.
"Personally," said Lupin quietly, looking away from Sirius at last…
Who stares at someone for that long? Seriously. Their relationship could NOT have been simply platonic.
"Yes," said Mrs Weasley, her lip curling, "the thing is, it’s been rather difficult for you do look after him while you’ve been locked up in Azkaban, hasn’t it?"
Sirius started to rise from his chair.
“Molly, you’re not the only person at this table who cares about Harry,” said Lupin sharply. “Sirius, sit down.”
Mrs Weasley’s lower lip was trembling. Sirius sank slowly back into his chair, his face white.
What an odd reaction from the usual mild-mannered Remus. And Sirius, who is usually such a rebel, listens to Remus. Their characterizations only have discrepancies when it comes to each other.
It was not Mrs Weasley who spoke this time, but Lupin.
“The Order is comprised only of overage wizards,” he said. “Wizards who have left school,” he added, as Fred and George opened their mouths. “There are dangers involved of which you can have no idea, any of you… I think Molly’s right, Sirius. We’ve said enough.”
Sirius half-shrugged but did not argue.
As Elwing said, “whipped.”
Sometimes, however, the visitors stayed to help. Tonks joined them for a memorable afternoon in which they found a murderous old ghoul lurking in an upstairs toilet, and Lupin, who was staying in the house with Sirius but who left for long periods to do mysterious work for the Order, helped them repair a grandfather clock…
LUPIN WAS STAYING WITH SIRIUS. LUPIN WAS SAYING WITH SIRIUS.
Everything Rowling says in her novel MATTERS. She was obviously leaving a hint.
Sirius and Lupin had given Harry a set of excellent books entitled Practical Defensive Magic and its Use Against the Dark Arts, which had superb, moving colour illustrations of all the counter-jinxes and hexes it described.
With another shock of excitement, Harry saw Sirius give James the thumbs-up. Sirius was lounging in his chair at his ease, tilting it back on two legs. He was very good-looking; his dark hair fell into his eyes with a sort of casual elegance that neither James’s nor Harry’s could ever have achieved, and a girl sitting behind him was eyeing him hopefully, though he didn’t seem to have noticed. And two seats along from this girl — Harry’s stomach gave another pleasurable squirm — was Remus Lupin.
I’m just going to quote Elwing here.
“I admit that a slow, sly grin crept over my face reading that bit. Sirius, a hormonal fifteen year old boy, ignoring a girl who was eyeing him hopefully? And then, in the next sentence, juxtaposed with this girl, we have Remus. It’s almost like an explanation! It’s as if JKR’s saying, “Yep, a fifteen-year-old boy being completely indifferent to a girl — and here’s why!”
And has anyone ever heard of a straight man whose hair falls ‘with a sort of casual elegance’? Ever?”
"Of course he was a bit of an idiot!" said Sirius bracingly, "we were all idiots! Well — not Moony so much," he said fairly, looking at Lupin.
But Lupin shook his head. “Did I ever tell you to lay off Snape?” he said. “Did I ever have the guts to tell you I thought you were out of order?”
“Yeah, well,” said Sirius, “you made us feel ashamed of ourselves sometimes… that was something…”
What a cute couple.
"He can’t come back, Harry," said Lupin, his voice breaking as he struggled to contain Harry.
Remus does an admirable job restraining Harry while not revealing the true extent of his sadness and loss, the loss of his true love.
Rowling often indicates that Sirius and Remus are looking at each other, and we know Rowling writes everything for a reason.
As for my argument against Remus/Tonks, it is simple. During the entire time Sirius was alive, Remus rebuffed her advances. She may have even known of their relationship. After Sirius’ death, Remus was obviously worn down, sad, tired. He let his guard down, and Tonks took advantage of that. Remus was too tired and depressed to put much into their relationship. Before he knew it, the girl was pregnant and he was marrying her.
In Deathly Hallows, Remus leaves his pregnant wife to confront and aid Harry. This is one indication that even though he may have loved her to some extent, it wasn’t his choice to be in that relationship. Harry was more important to him. That’s heavy.