Given that both Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape could read minds, how did Remus Lupin conceal his knowledge of the fact that Sirius Black was an unregistered Animagus? This seems especially odd given Snape's stated suspicion of him.

  • 4
    Occlumency? Lupin was the teacher in Defence Against the Dark Arts after all
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 5:59
  • 3
    Legilimency is considered a bit unethical, I think. If Dumbledore uses it on Lupin, it suggests he doesn’t trust Lupin‘s word that he’s not helping Sirius. If Snape uses it, he’s liable for the sack.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 9:47
  • @tobiasvl I thought of that too, but if Lupin knew occlumency, why didn't he teach Harry (rather than Snape)? Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 21:05
  • Because Lupin couldn't. He was basically in hiding from the Death Eaters, and he's a werewolf. He quit the job at Hogwarts. He wouldn't return just to tutor one student in secret, it doesn't make sense. Also, I think that Snape would be more proficient in Occlumency.
    – Mithical
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


Dumbledore trusted Lupin. And Snape trusted Dumbledore.

As the following conversation shows, Snape suspected Lupin of helping Sirius but Dumbledore trusted him. Snape tried to persuade Dumbledore that Lupin presented a security risk but was loyal enough to Dumbledore not to interrogate Lupin himself.

“Have you any theory as to how he got in, Professor?” asked Snape.
Harry raised his head very slightly off his arms to free his other ear.
“Many, Severus, each of them as unlikely as the next.”
Harry opened his eyes a fraction and squinted up to where they stood; Dumbledore’s back was to him, but he could see Percy’s face, rapt with attention, and Snape’s profile, which looked angry.
“You remember the conversation we had, Headmaster, just before - ah - the start of term?” said Snape, who was barely opening his lips, as though trying to block Percy out of the conversation.
“I do, Severus,” said Dumbledore, and there was something like warning in his voice.
“It seems - almost impossible - that Black could have entered the school without inside help. I did express my concerns when you appointed-”
“I do not believe a single person inside this castle would have helped Black enter it,” said Dumbledore, and his tone made it so clear that the subject was closed that Snape didn’t reply.
(Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 9, Grim Defeat).

Legilimency is considered a highly invasive and none-too-subtle form of magic. You can tell when you're being Legilimens-ed. Voldemort did it to his followers all the time; it was normal practice and they couldn't really do anything to protest.

"Saturday...at nightfall," repeated Voldemort. His red eyes fastened upon Snape's black ones with such intensity that some of the watchers turned away, apparently fearful that they themselves would be scorched by the ferocity of the gaze. Snape, however, looked calmly back into Voldemort's face and, after a moment or two, Voldemort's lipless mouth curved into something like a smile.
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1, The Dark Lord Ascending).

Dumbledore is somewhat more considerate towards his own followers/staff. Lupin was not only a valued member of staff but an old friend that Dumbledore had known as a student and as a member of the original Order of the Phoenix. Invading his mind and reading his thoughts would've been a betrayal of trust. Lupin would've been offended and the relationship would've been difficult to salvage, even if Dumbledore gained some useful information. Regardless, as the quotation above shows, Dumbledore didn't suspect Lupin so wouldn't have been inclined to use Legilimency anyway.

  • Good points. Dumbledore does appear to have read Harry's mind on several occasions, though. There was at least one point where he'd been in trouble and Dumbledore knew without asking that he was innocent. I can't remember the exact passage, though. I am curious - were the circumstances different enough there to merit it? Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 16:02
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    @EJS - I suspect that when Dumbledore appears to read Harry's mind there is foreshadowing of Legilimency but actually it's a case of wise old educator reading the teenager's mind without using magic.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 0:12

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