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Lyall Lupin (fl. 1929 – 1981) was a wizard who was a world-renowned authority on Non-Human Spirituous Apparitions. During the prelude to the First Wizarding War, the Ministry of Magic called on his expertise of Dark creatures to help contain the threat. He eventually joined the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Lyall married Muggle Hope Howell and had one son, Remus John Lupin, who was bitten by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback in retaliation for a negative comment about lycanthropes that Lyall made.
Marriage and career
Lyall went on an expedition to a remote Welsh woodland to investigate reports of a very fierce Boggart, and heard a woman scream. He rushed to her aid and banished the Boggart, turning it into a field mushroom with a wave of his wand. The woman was Hope Howell, a Muggle who worked for an insurance company in Cardiff. He tried to explain it was a Boggart, but she didn't understand so he acted like she had been confronted by a big and scary man. Afterward, he escorted her home wishing to ensure her safety.
A few months later, he admitted to Hope that the Boggart had not posed any serious danger to her. This admission did not negatively impact her opinion of him, however — by this time the pair had fallen in love. Eventually, Lyall gathered the courage to propose and Hope accepted, enthusiastically committing herself to planning their nuptials. Their wedding took place in early 1959 and included a cake featuring a Boggart-shaped topper. One year later on 10 March, 1960 the couple's first and only child, Remus John Lupin was born.
By the mid-1960s, Lord Voldemort's power was growing, and his followers were recruiting a wide variety of Dark creatures to further his cause. The Ministry of Magic called upon experts on Dark creatures in the hope of better understanding the threat and keeping it in check. Lyall was asked to join the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and did so happily.
At some point during his career at the Ministry, Lyall got rid of the Screaming Bogey of Strathtully, a Boggart that had been feeding on the fears of local Muggles to the point that it had become an elephantine black shadow with glowing white eyes, by trapping it in a matchbox.
Incurring a werewolf's wrath
In early 1965, Fenrir Greyback was brought in for questioning at the Ministry of Magic following the deaths of two Muggle children. Although he was apparently caught with a werewolf pack, the Ministry was not aware that Greyback was himself a werewolf because the existing Werewolf Registry was not well-maintained. Greyback insisted to the questioning committee that he was only a Muggle tramp, which nearly all of the members fell for. Lyall, however, recognised characteristic signs of lycanthropy in Greyback's appearance and behaviour and voiced his concerns to the committee, recommending that Greyback be detained until the next full moon, which was only twenty-four hours away.
Regardless, the other committee members ridiculed Lyall and he lost his temper, declaring werewolves to be "soulless, evil, deserving nothing but death." Consequently, he was expelled from the room, and Greyback was released. While being seen out by a Ministry wizard, who intended to erase his memory of having been brought in for questioning, Greyback escaped with the help of two accomplices.
Soon after, Greyback hatched a plan to get revenge on Lyall for his derogatory remark. Shortly before his son Remus's fifth birthday, Greyback forced open the boy's bedroom window and attacked him. Lyall reached his son in time to save his life, repelling Greyback with powerful curses, but Remus from then on had become a werewolf.
Raising a lycanthropic son
With his son Remus becoming a werewolf, Lyall's perception for such individuals changed forever. Lyall and his wife tried all manner of treatments for their son's lycanthropy, but in those days, before Damocles's invention of the Wolfsbane Potion, there were none that were actually effective. Thus, the couple was forced to take drastic measures to conceal Remus's condition, moving to a new village or town whenever their neighbours began to take notice of the boy's strange behaviour. They forbade Remus from playing with other children, and consequently, despite having the love of both his parents, his early childhood was marked by loneliness.
Initially, Lyall was able to keep Remus under control during the full moon by placing him in a locked room and casting several Silencing Charms, but as the child grew, he became more difficult to contain. By the time he was ten, Remus was capable of knocking down doors and breaking windows during his monthly transformation, requiring Lyall to use ever more powerful spells. Lyall and his wife grew thin worrying for their son, whom they loved dearly, knowing that the wizarding community would react severely if they learned of the existence of an uncontrolled werewolf.
The Lupins feared their son would not be able to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry due to his condition. Lyall tried to provide his son with a magical education at home as a result. However, shortly before Remus's eleventh birthday in 1971, Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, showed up unannounced at the Lupins' door. The couple tried frantically to prevent him from entering their home, but their magical defences, although strong enough to keep their werewolf son from getting out of control, were useless in front of the greatest wizard of the time and he easily entered their house without them realising it until five minutes later when Dumbledore played Gobstones with their son. Dumbledore told the couple that he knew of how their son had been attacked by Fenrir Greyback (Greyback had boasted of his actions to spies that Dumbledore had planted among the Dark creatures). He assured them that Remus would be able to attend Hogwarts, since he had already seen to it that the boy would have a safe, secure location to spend his monthly transformations.
Sometime prior to Voldemort's fall on 31 October, 1981, Hope died, leaving Lyall a widower. Although Remus was unable to find stable employment to support himself following the end of the First Wizarding War, he refused to move back home with Lyall, fearing that doing so would threaten his father's "peaceful" life. However, he still saw Lyall from time to time, which made his father happy. Eventually, Remus died in the Second Wizarding War, leaving Lyall with only a grandson, though whether Lyall was dead by 1998 or whether he ever met his grandson is unknown.
Personality and traits
Lyall was described as a shy and clever man. Though usually mild-mannered, he had a hidden fierce temper which could assert itself when he was sufficiently upset by a situation, and was not afraid to challenge his professional superiors when he knew them to be in the wrong on an important matter.
Though he did not bear any prejudice against Muggles, he subscribed to the negative view of werewolves that was prevalent in the wizarding community, until his eyes were opened when his own son was left a werewolf as a result of an attack carried out in retaliation for an anti-werewolf remark he made. Presumably, his beliefs on werewolves changed once his son was infected, given Remus became a caring individual, not evil and soulless like Lyall believed werewolves to be. Lyall proved himself to be a devoted father who loved his son unconditionally and was willing to go to great lengths to protect him despite his condition.
Lyall sometimes found it difficult to reveal things to people if he thought it would make them think less of him. He refrained from telling Hope that the Boggart wasn't a real danger for several months after meeting her, presumably because he didn't want her to think that he had simply been playing the hero to try to win her affections. He also refrained from telling Remus the true circumstances of his attack and the identity of his attacker for many years out of fear of his son's condemnation.
Magical abilities and skills
- "Lyall reached the bedroom in time to save his son's life, driving Greyback out of the house with a number of powerful curses."
- — Lyall's attack on Greyback[src]
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: Lyall was skilled in defensive magic, as he was able to trap the Screaming Bogey of Strathtully inside a matchbox, something few other wizards would do, with him being proficient with the casting of the Boggart-Banishing Spell. Lyall also proved himself to be fairly talented with martial magic, as seen when he fended off the savage werewolf Fenrir Greyback with multiple powerful curses during a full moon.
- Charms: Lyall also proved to be acceptable in regard to charms, using Unbreakable Charms and Silencing Charms to keep his son quiet and safe during the full moon.
- "Lyall" may be from a Scottish surname which was derived from the Old Norse given name "Liulfr" (which was derived in part from "úlfr", meaning "wolf"). "Lyall" is also a common surname (most common in America).
- "Lupin" is derived from "lupus (/lupa)", Latin for "wolf". Lupin thus means "wolf-like" in Latin, and is also the name of a flower. "Canis lupus" is the scientific name for wolf. To be described as "lupine" means to "resemble a wolf". This alludes to lycanthropy. The surname may also be derived from the character of Arsène Lupin, a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise, who was created by French writer Maurice Leblanc in 1905. In Leblanc's novels, Arsène Lupin is often a force for good, while operating on the wrong side of the law. Leblanc's Lupin was said to have later inspired the character of "the Lone Wolf", a jewel thief-turned-private detective in a series of novels written by Louis Joseph Vance, beginning in 1914.
- Though more difficult to confirm, a character named Lawrence 'Larry' Talbot was the title character in Universal Films' 'The Wolf Man' series, afflicted in much the same way as Remus and in his case (initially) reluctantly killed by the father who once sought to protect him. 'Larry' to 'Lyall' could be the author filtering this name through the naming conventions of the Wizarding World. In addition, a prominent actor of the same bygone era was named Lyle Talbot.
Behind the scenes
- It is possible that Lyall worked in the Spirit Division.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (First identified as Lyall Lupin) (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- According to Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Remus Lupin" at Wizarding World, Lyall was at least thirty when he saved Hope Howell. They got married less than a year later, and had their first child a year after that in 1960. Lyall had to be born in or around 1929.
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Remus Lupin" at Wizarding World
- World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling - Lyall attended Hogwarts, which serves Britain and Ireland so he was likely British or Irish.
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Boggart" at Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)