After Sirius and Buckbeak's escape in The Prisoner of Azkaban Snape lets it slip accidentally on purpose that Lupin is a werewolf. Lupin, fearing the parents reaction, offers his resignation, which Dumbledore accepts.

In a similar situation, when Hagrid was exposed as half-giant by the Daily Prophet's reporter, Rita Skeeter, Dumbledore behaved quite differently:

Dumbledore stood up. “I refuse to accept your resignation, Hagrid, and I expect you back at work on Monday,” he said. “You will join me for breakfast at eight-thirty in the Great Hall. No excuses. Good afternoon to you all.” ~Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- Rita Skeeter's Scoop

Even before, when Draco Malfoy was injured during Hagrid's lesson and his father, Lucius made quite a fuss about his son's injury, Dumbledore stood by his decision to keep Hagrid as a teacher. At some point he also employed Firenze, a centaur, which probably also didn't met with 100% approval from the parents of the students and the more conservative Hogwarts Governors, not to mention the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts.

Disregarding pressure from prejudiced parents and ministry officials is completely in character for Dumbledore. He was always sympathetic of the situation of people who were derogatorily called 'halfbreeds' by bigots like Umbridge, so I was surprised he'd let go of an excellent DADA teacher who was also an Order member, and who probably saved Harry's life teaching him the patronus charm. There was this little slip of Professor Lupin turning into a werewolf and trying to eat Harry and Hermione, but things like these are really common at Hogwarts. He also must have known what a miserable existence werewolves led outside of the school.

So, what could be a good in-universe explaination why Dumbledore let go of such an excellent DADA teacher?

  • 7
    because a half-giant and a centaur are still rational. You can't reason with a werewolf! Also, if you are not familiar with it, I would suggest reading up on the curse that Voldemort put on the DADA position.
    – Skooba
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:28
  • 5
    @skooba but wouldn't that mean that the curse was self-fulfilling?
    – user68762
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:31
  • 3
    @Skooba If it was possible to curse position then any half-decent Dark Lord would have positions for all his enemies. Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 17:22
  • 12
    @R.Skeeter It's a good question. Out of all the DADA teachers to fall victim to Voldemort's jinx on the post, this one felt the most like a copout to me. I mean, had Dumbledore refused the resignation, he'd be bypassing the jinx, which he knew about. Maybe the jinx causes a kind of bad luck until the teacher inevitably quits, and so, had Dumbledore refused, maybe Lupin would have died or some other situation to fulfill the jinx would present itself. Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 17:36
  • 3
    cos he had fleas Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 14:24

6 Answers 6


The point was Lupin was actually dangerous, and he himself did not feel safe around children anymore.

‘This time tomorrow, the owls will start arriving from parents – they will not want a werewolf teaching their children, Harry. And after last night, I see their point. I could have bitten any of you ... that must never happen again.’

‘You’re the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher we’ve ever had!’ said Harry. ‘Don’t go!’

Hagrid never hurt a student because he was a half giant, Hagrid was just a fairly poor teacher.

Lupin himself decided he could no longer be trusted around students, because he literally turned into a monster on campus, and could have bitten tons of students.

With Lupin's own firm rational decision to quit, it was only natural for Dumbledore to accept, even aside from the pressure students, the Hogwarts board, and the ministry would put on Dumbledore's back.

  • 28
    @R.Skeeter Lupin was, like all of the defense against the dark arts teachers, non-optimal candidates to begin with. having a secret werewolf taking his potion to keep him safe with no one the wiser is one thing, having lupin outed as a werewolf, AND forgetting his potion while on the job, Dumbledore would have had to fire him anyways. its like forgetting to take your seizer medicine, having a seizer while driving, and killing someone in a car accident. you still get in trouble even though you cant control it.
    – Himarm
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:47
  • 6
    Makes sense, even if it was a bleak day for the supporters of werewolf rights.
    – user68762
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:50
  • 1
    @R.Skeeter we also know umbridge later passes a piece of legislation that makes it almost impossible for lupin to get a job anyway.
    – Himarm
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:51
  • 2
    Malfoy was injured in Hagrid's classes. While that's not the same thing as Hagrid hurting a student, it could be blamed somewhat on his teaching style.
    – wyvern
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 17:25
  • 1
    @JoelCoehoorn Hagrid was a long time friend of Dumbledore and had been there for many years. There were good reasons not to fire him, such as longevity. With a werewolf (and their first year on the job) it would be incredibly difficult to find good reason to keep them around. Plus, with a bad teacher one can just tell him to be more careful. With a werewolf there is a constant liability. One bite, and students would have a lifelong debilitating illness. Not to be discriminatory, but I doubt anyone wants to be forced into becoming a werewolf! Plus, people could die. Malfoy merely broke a bone
    – user64742
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 22:49

The curse on the job; this was likely a mercy towards Lupin.

There's a curse on the DADA job which means a single person can't hold it for more than a year, and after many years of cycling through teachers, I think Dumbledore is well-inclined to believe the curse does exist.

The outcome for a lot of DADA teachers isn't pretty: in the last two years, one was possessed and then died, another suffered severe memory loss. Moody and Umbridge don't fare much better. Being able to resign without severe bodily injury is actually doing pretty well, as DADA staff go.

Unlike the Ministry, Dumbledore hasn't had much success standing up to the curse (or he hasn't been trying). If Lupin doesn't resign now, he'll probably be gone by the end of the year anyway, but in potentially much messier circumstances. It's kinder to let him go than risk further injury.

(Given the blood lust at the Ministry, one very plausible outcome is that Lupin is accused of attacking a student while a werewolf, then executed and/or consigned to Azkaban. Neither are preferable to a quiet resignation, particularly if Dumbledore is starting to think about who he might want in a revived Order of the Phoenix.)

  • 11
    +1 Yes, the curse is very intriguing. Dumbledore never specifically says it exists, btw, only that he wasn't able to keep a DADA teacher since he refused Voldy the job. Doesn't look like he tried much, tho. Lockhart he hired with the intention to expose, Snape he asked to do a job after which he'd be presumably on the run and Moody was never asked to return.
    – user68762
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 14:34
  • 1
    @R.Skeeter "Lockhart he hired with the intention to expose" source? The only thing I recall the books saying is that Lockhart was the only candidate. Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 17:32
  • 5
    @Salmononius2 found it. there was this answer to the question why did D hire Lockhart? my phone's acting up so i cannot link it, but it's easy to find. Also there's that line D drops "Impaled on your own sword, Gilderoy" after Lockharts memory gets wiped, meaning he was well aware L was a fraud. So it's probable, but youre right of it not being canon.
    – user68762
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 18:33

The character of Lupin is a very interesting one. The treatment and discrimination he faces from the wider wizarding world has (quite understandably) corroded his spirit. He allows himself to be overcome by a certain amount of self-loathing and self-pity. And I make absolutely no judgement about that, I actually think this makes Lupin one of the most interesting characters. I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong, or acceptable or unacceptable, or whether you and I could do any better, but it leads him to a number of self-destructive behaviours.

The most notable of these is the way he behaves towards his wife and child.

He does not initially want to "inflict himself" (my words) upon Nymphadora Tonks:

'And I've told you a million times,' said Lupin, refusing to meet her eyes, staring at the floor, 'that I am too old for you, too poor ... too dangerous ...'

'I've said all along you're taking a ridiculous line on this, Remus,' said Mrs Weasley over Fleur's shoulder as she patted her on the back.

'I am not being ridiculous,' said Lupin steadily. 'Tonks deserves somebody young and whole.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.582 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 29, The Phoenix Lament


'Don't you understand what I've done to my wife and my unborn child? I should never have married her, I've made her an outcast!'

Lupin kicked aside the chair he had overturned.

'You have only ever seen me amongst the Order, or under Dumbledore's protection at Hogwarts! You don't know how most of the wizarding world sees creatures like me! When they know of my affliction, they can barely talk to me! Don't you see what I've done? Even her own family is disgusted by our marriage, what parents want their only daughter to marry a werewolf? And the child - the child -'

Lupin actually seized handfuls of his own hair; he looked quite deranged.

'My kind don't usually breed! It will be like me, I am convinced of it - how can I forgive myself, when I knowingly risked passing on my own condition to an innocent child? And if, by some miracle, it is not like me, then it will be better off, a hundred times so, without a father of whom it must always be ashamed!'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - pp.175-6 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 11, The Bribe

In this extract we see, further, how he feels about himself, his condition and his decision to have a child.

And so he walks out on them.

Even when he is with Tonks, he is not open with her, he hides himself from her, and envelops himself in remorse for having married her and in misery at the discrimination he suffers:

Although Lupin smiled as he shook Harry's hand, Harry thought he looked rather unhappy. It was all very odd; Tonks, beside him, looked simply radiant.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.101 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 7, The Will of Albus Dumbledore


'Sorry about last night,' she added in a whisper, as Harry led them up the aisle. 'The Ministry's being very anti-werewolf at the moment and we thought our presence might not do you any favours.'

'It's fine, I understand,' said Harry, speaking more to Lupin than Tonks. Lupin gave him a swift smile, but as they turned away, Harry saw Lupin's face fall again into lines of misery. He did not understand it, but there was no time to dwell on the matter: Hagrid was causing a certain amount of disruption.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.116 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 8, The Wedding

How much you blame him is up to you, I find the character of Lupin really really interesting. And this all speaks to one of the darker, more insidious results of discrimination and what it can give those who suffer it to do, how it can destroy their lives - by, sadly, negatively affecting their actions. This can have a horrible effect on those close to them, as we see here, because suffering discrimination can cause people to act very badly.

Nevertheless, I think the example of Remus Lupin is an exquisite warning to us all about just what will help us and what will harm us. And, again, a bad action is a bad action, however malignant your circumstances. It was Remus Lupin who directed his own legs out of the door.

But the point here is that Dumbledore knows this about Remus Lupin. He is much too wise to try to persuade Lupin out of this mindset.

'Goodbye, then, Remus,' said Dumbledore soberly. Lupin shifted the Grindylow tank slightly so that he and Dumbledore could shake hands. Then, with a final nod to Harry, and a swift smile, Lupin left the office.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - p.310 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 22, Owl Post Again

He is resigned.

It is true, I suppose, that Dumbledore could bewitch, or hoodwink Lupin into staying, but he cannot exorcise Lupin's demons. He can make Lupin stay, he cannot make Lupin want to stay.

  • Good answer, except a 17 year old Harry suceeded where the master manipulator didn't even try. After all Harry's shock treatment returned Lupin to his senses. And dumbledore can be ruthless for good reasons too. How he said to the grieving severus: 'remember lily's eyes'? And made Harry feel ashamed for not trying any harder in book6, controlling Harry's trial in OotP... i am sure he could've played on L's sense of duty.
    – user68762
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 15:30
  • 3
    @R.Skeeter Leaving a teaching post is not like leaving your wife and child, I brought that up to establish my views about Lupin, his mindset, and his character. That's who he is, Dumbledore knows that, and he knows Lupin won't be persuaded back into teaching as the owls calling for his resignation descend on Hogwarts school. This was be an unkindness to Lupin, and frankly not that vital. I know Dumbledore struggles with DADA teachers, but he could not have foreseen what the need to hire Moody would do, he doesn't need Lupin to teach like Lupin's family need him
    – Au101
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 15:33
  • Yes, but wouldn't letting him go would add another defeat to his already miserable life, which'll make him even more angsty? L is an exceptionally good teacher, D could've scolded him for forgetting his wolfsbane, doped him up on Felix Felucius just in case and convinced him to stay. But maybe you're right and D respected his decision and that was it.
    – user68762
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 15:42
  • @R.Skeeter No. Trying and failing to shackle him to a job he wants to leave is not going to help him. It was over the moment Snape spilt the beans, possibly even before then, the moment he began to transform. That was the defeat. Lupin can't bear to face the storm of owls and he can't live with the possibility that he might bite someone. He needs to get out, and he will, Dumbledore doesn't want to cause him any more pain by delaying his obvious instinct to flee and possibly burning a bridge into the bargain. He was a good and well-liked teacher, he wasn't a linchpin.
    – Au101
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 15:51
  • 2
    You want it to have been the wrong decision for Lupin to leave. I don't think it was, but it doesn't matter, that wasn't the question. In my opinion the answer to the question is Lupin was a broken man, look at the way he behaves in his relationship, he doesn't have the fight. Dumbledore knows it, and he knows nailing Lupin down would destroy him
    – Au101
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 15:51

Hagrid believe other people want him gone — he is reluctantly tending his resignation under the misbelief that he is unwanted. Dumbledore's show of support by refusing the resignation is greatly wanted and appreciated!

Lupin wants himself gone — in light of his recent experiences, he fully believes he should not be in the position he holds. Lupin would likely resent Dumbledore refusing to let him go.


Hagrid's resignation was a spur of the moment emotional reaction to a difficult situation and Dumbledore knew him well enough to know that he would be able to ride it out with some support and effectively just prevented him from making a hasty decision.

Also Hagrid had lived at Hogwarts for almost his entire life and you have to question how he would cope if he left. By contrast Lupin has only had his job for less than a year and while he probably appreciated the work he was just as much doing Dumbledore a favour by exposing himself to so much public scrutiny and they probably both realised that it was a bit of a gamble (even without taking the probable curse in the job into account).

So Lupin's resignation was rather more measured and considered decision and happened at the end of the year so Dumbledore had little choice but to accept it.

We could also speculate that Dumbledore specifically wanted Lupin to teach Harry for at least one year as part of his preparation for eventually facing Voldemort and possibly also to create a link between the original order of the Phoenix and the current generation of Hogwarts students.

It is also worth considering that if we accept that the DADA post really was cursed then this is actually a very serious handicap to Dumbledore in educating his students about the coming threat. This may also explain why he employed such obviously dire teachers as Lockheart and Quirrell as they were expendable placeholders and he saved his closest allies untill Harry was ready to take the best advantage from their teaching.

Indeed he may have accepted Umbridge because he wasn't too bothered that she would fall foul of the curse and being really cynical that dealing with her would in itself be an important lesson in itself for Harry and his fellow students, an idea which is born out by the fact that here appointment lead to the formation of the DA which probably helped the fight against Voldemort more than a moderately competent DADA teacher would have done. This also suggests that Dumbledore really did feel that he was training soldiers as much as educating children.


Lupin failed to disclose that Black was an unregistered animagus at a time when Black was believed to pose a credible threat to the safety of Hogwarts

There is another "red flag" on Lupin -- his failure to disclose that Sirius Black was an unregistered animagus at a time when...

  • ...he had a good-faith belief that Black were guilty of the crime for which he had been incarcerated; and
  • ...following the attack on the Fat Lady, it was evident that Black intended to penetrate the defences of Hogwarts and had credible prospects of succeeding (indeed, Black did make it into Harry's dormitory on a subsequent attempt).

Lupin disclosed details of the unregistered animagi (Black, Pettigrew, and J. Potter) to Dumbledore the morning after his uncontrolled transformation. Lupin's complicity in this breach of wizarding law is probably criminal conduct (assuming that the age of criminal responsibility in the wizarding Britain is before the age of majority, as it is in Muggle Britain), which would have disqualified him from a teaching job had it been known (assuming that wizarding Britain had an equivalent to Muggle DBS checks). More seriously, given the circumstances enumerated above, Lupin's failure to disclose such information earlier was a serious error of judgement that (if Black had been a murderer) could have cost lives (i.e.: at a time when one of the unregistered animagi was at large and believed to pose a serious threat to life, the animagus offences were not merely 'historical').

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.