At Professor Lupin's first Defence Against the Dark Arts class, he let students face a Boggart, and while doing that he calls all the students that faced the Boggart by their name.

How can he know all the student's names from the very beginning of the year?

  • 40
    That's kinda what competent teachers are supposed to know...
    – Radhil
    Oct 27, 2017 at 0:41
  • 14
    He was given a class list?
    – Blackwood
    Oct 27, 2017 at 0:54
  • 2
    He can't just know that there should be introducing phase. You can have a list of names but you can't just know people by that.
    – Luthien
    Oct 27, 2017 at 0:58
  • 7
    Lupin knew Harry's class. I wouldn't be surprised if an old friend of James and Lily had made it his business to learn all about students (and their families, like the Malfoys, especially after the previous year's diary plot) who had close contact with Harry.
    – Gaultheria
    Oct 27, 2017 at 1:34
  • 4
    @Radhil Really? That's news to me. I guess all college teachers are incompetent. Oct 27, 2017 at 7:59

2 Answers 2


Assuming we take the book at face-value, there's really no good indication that he actually knew which student was which, aside from those that he'd already met; Harry, Ron and Hermione. Where the others are concerned, he may simply be calling out names from the register or guessing who they are from their names and appearances.

‘Cool, sir!’ said Dean Thomas in amazement. ‘Thank you, Dean,’ said Professor Lupin, putting his wand away again. ‘Shall we proceed?’

Without wanting to seem blunt, it doesn't take a genius to recognise the only black child in the class from their description.

‘I was hoping that Neville would assist me with the first stage of the operation,’ he said, ‘and I am sure he will perform it admirably.’ Neville’s face went, if possible, even redder. Snape’s lip curled, but he left, shutting the door with a snap.

Lupin may have recognised Neville from his resemblance to his parents or he may simply have called on him to piss Snape off.

‘This means,’ said Professor Lupin, choosing to ignore Neville’s small splutter of terror, ‘that we have a huge advantage over the Boggart before we begin. Have you spotted it, Harry?’

He already met Harry and would recognise him from his distinctive scar

There was a roar of laughter; the Boggart paused, confused, and Professor Lupin shouted, ‘Parvati! Forward!’

Again, a simple matter of deduction and observation

‘Seamus!’ roared Professor Lupin. Seamus darted past Parvati.

A name called from the register. Also, the class was talking when he walked in and it's a pretty fair deduction that Seamus would have an Irish accent.

‘Excellent! Ron, you next!’ Ron leapt forward.

He'd already met Ron on the train.

and five each to Hermione and Harry.’

He'd already met Hermione on the train.

  • 20
    Your explanation looks like what Sherlock Holmes could do when making a demonstration of his analysis skill ! Good job :)
    – Neyt
    Oct 27, 2017 at 7:43
  • 18
    "Without wanting to seem blunt, it doesn't take a genius to recognise the only black child in the class from their description." Where would he have seen a description of Dean stating that he's a black child?
    – Moogle
    Oct 27, 2017 at 12:27
  • 8
    Teachers don't necessarily give a description of every single student to new teachers. It would take too long and be pointless, as you can't accurately describe every student. So unless you think they would go around pointing out the BAME students I think it's a bit of a baseless and far-fetched assumption.
    – Moogle
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:59
  • 14
    ...or perhaps he did a roll-call at the start of the class that the author didn't bother transcribing (because that would be boring).
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 27, 2017 at 15:17
  • 7
    @T.E.D. "Lupin looked down at the register, and read out the name in front of him, "Seamus?". A boy, whom Lupin assumed to be Seamus, lest some practical joke was being played on him by the class, responded. He looked down at the register yet again, and read the next name out, "Dean". He knew who this was before anyone responded as the other teachers had made a point to inform him of all the black kids in his class, as is common practice at Hogwarts. Moving onto the next name Lupin called out, "Lisa?"..."
    – Moogle
    Oct 27, 2017 at 16:20

Something very simple has been overlooked that was covered in Book 1 but glossed over in the movies. The list includes a requirement for a name tag which is to be worn at all times and there is never any mention of it not being required in later years. If all of the students are wearing the name tag as required then it would be very simple for Lupin or any other professor to know the names of the students by reading the name tag.

Uniform list from the Potter Wiki

Three Sets of Plain Work Robes (Black)
One Plain Pointed Hat (Black) for day wear
One Pair of Protective Gloves (dragon hide or similar)
One Winter Cloak (Black, silver fastenings)
Please note that all student's clothes should carry name-tags at all times.

  • 3
    The name tag is sewn inside the clothes and identifies the owner for shared laundry. It's not worn outside the clothes!
    – Valorum
    Oct 29, 2017 at 7:20

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