Professor Lupin's character always seemed to be poor- a werewolf, no job, shabby robes. Yet when he was teaching Harry to produce a patronus, he gave him chocolate frogs, butterbeer and the best bar of Honeydukes chocolate. Couldn't he afford a new set of robes, considering he had been able to afford all that. And being a teacher at the best wizarding school, I expect he would have been paid a handsome salary? If Dumbledore could offer ten galleons to a house elf, even Remus Lupin would have gotten a handsome salary? I am sincerely confused and would appreciate it if someone could provide a satisfactory answer.

From one of the comments, I noted the fact that Lupin already had some chocolate when he was on the train as he was asleep when the trolley witch passed. Was he carrying it in case an incident like Harry's occurred or was it actually just a way to introduce that particular scene?

  • 14
    Some people just don't give crap about clothes or appearances - regardless of how poor or wealthy they are.
    – JRE
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 17:30
  • 1
    Remus was indeed poor, and there are quotes to indicate such (I don't have time/access to track them down at the moment), that he kind of lived from job to job before Hogwarts. And, if you live that way, you learn that when you get money, you keep as much as you can, even if that means you wear old clothes.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 17:54
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    @MohammadZuhairKhan exactly. if you cant affird to gift the kid a racing broom then at least give him the best sweets to keep him happy and strong against dementors. also where's the fun in clothes shopping?
    – user68762
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 18:13
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    Madam Pomfrey had chocolate to give to students affected by the Dementors when Harry first arrived at Hogwarts. It's possible she kept chocolate on hand permanently, and Lupin didn't actually buy the chocolate himself. Even if he did, bear in mind that we see Lupin during the one year where he had full-time employment (presumably with a decent salary) and food and accommodation provided; his capacity to purchase relatively inexpensive treats like chocolate - which served a practical purpose - and Butterbeer during that year was likely drastically different to every year before and after it. Commented May 7, 2018 at 18:22
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    The job at Hogwarts comes with some decent perks. A place to live if nothing else. So suddenly having a stable income without the need to pay rent would give Remus a decent amount of disposable cash. It might be that he likes his old robes, the might be really comfy. Additionally it is possible Chocolate is something a Defence against Dark Arts teacher can buy on expenses, especially with Dementors at the school.
    – Jontia
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 18:24

3 Answers 3



From the third book:

The very first time we're introduced to Lupin, the description emphasizes how poor he looks:

The stranger was wearing an extremely shabby set of wizard’s robes that had been darned in several places. He looked ill and exhausted. Though quite young, his light brown hair was flecked with gray. [...]

“It’s on his case,” she replied, pointing at the luggage rack over the man’s head, where there was a small, battered case held together with a large quantity of neatly knotted string. The name Professor R. J. Lupin was stamped across one corner in peeling letters.

Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 5, "The Dementor"

And it's not better by the time of the Sorting ceremony/Dumbledore's first speech:

Professor Lupin looked particularly shabby next to all the other teachers in their best robes.

Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 5, "The Dementor"

Later on, Lupin being a great teacher, the only attack point that Malfoy has on him is his poverty: (note: agreed, since it's coming from Malfoy, it's exaggerated into belittling Lupin)

“Look at the state of his robes,” Malfoy would say in a loud whisper as Professor Lupin passed. “He dresses like our old house-elf.”

Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 8, "Flight of the Fat Lady"

As reminded by Aegon in the comments, he might have had to skip some meals:

He was as shabby as ever but looked healthier than he had on the train, as though he had had a few square meals.

Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 7, "The boggart in the wardrobe"

There are possibly a couple of other mentions of his shabby robes in the book, but the previous examples are pertinent enough for this one.

From other books:

Well Lupin describes himself as poor. When trying to shut Tonks off:

“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...”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chapter 29, "The Phoenix Lament"

Also, it's hard for all werewolves, due to the acts of kind, tolerant, open-minded professor Umbridge:

“I know she’s a nasty piece of work though- you should hear Remus talk about her.”

“Does he know her?”

“No, but she drafted a bit of anti-werewolf legislation two years ago that makes it almost impossible for him to get a job.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 14, "Percy and Padfoot"

From Pottermore:

Well Bellatrix beat me to it. See the beginning of her answer :p

From interviews:

In this interview, JKR states that James lended Lupin money on a regular basis:

Jo related the fact that Remus Lupin, prior to the third book, was unemployable because he was a werewolf and upon his graduation from Hogwarts along with James and Lily, was supported by James using their own money.

J. K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall

EDIT: as for having chocolate on the train, Bellatrix's answer is once again quite complete, though I'd add this quote:

“Well, he should have some chocolate, at the very least.” (note: Madam Pomfrey)

“I’ve already had some. Professor Lupin gave me some.”

“Did he, now? So we’ve finally got a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies?”

Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 5, "The Dementor"

That certainly shows that Lupin took chocolate precisely for this situation. He might have had some chocolate on him just because he liked the taste of it, but it doesn't feel like his character. And, he's quite poor to begin with.

  • I don't think "lended" and "supported" are quite the same thing.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 23:17

He was certainly poor both before and after teaching at Hogwarts.

Remus Lupin definitely seemed poor on the train, and for good reason. A writing by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore elaborates on exactly the conditions that Lupin was required to work under, since he couldn’t risk anyone realizing he was a werewolf.

Remus now lived a hand-to-mouth existence, taking jobs that were far below his level of ability, always knowing that he would have to leave them before his pattern of growing sick once a month at the full moon was noticed by his workmates.
- Remus Lupin (Pottermore)

He didn’t live in ideal circumstances either.

Once again, Albus Dumbledore changed the course of Remus Lupin’s life when he tracked him down to a tumbledown, semi-derelict cottage in Yorkshire.
- Remus Lupin (Pottermore)

This confirms his poverty more than the quotes about his shabby robes - he could simply not care about clothing much.

After having to resign from Hogwarts, then as a known werewolf, he had quite a bit of trouble getting a job.

“No,’ said Sirius, ‘but she drafted a bit of anti-werewolf legislation two years ago that makes it almost impossible for him to get a job.’

Harry remembered how much shabbier Lupin looked these days and his dislike of Umbridge deepened even further.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)

When he was at Hogwarts, he may have had bigger needs than clothes.

I wouldn’t consider that he didn’t get new clothes as evidence that he wasn’t paid well by Hogwarts. Though teaching at Hogwarts was a steady job with fair pay, that doesn’t mean that he’d for sure buy himself new clothes. Having been poor for a long time, he may have needed other things he was previously unable to afford that he considered a higher priority than new clothes.

He did seem better off in general, though - he seemed to be looking better-fed, though he remained in his old clothes.

“Lupin smiled vaguely and placed his tatty old briefcase on the teacher’s desk. He was as shabby as ever but looked healthier than he had on the train, as though he had had a few square meals.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)

When he was actually teaching at Hogwarts, the strongest evidence that he might be poor is his clothing, which could easily mean he’s just trying to be as frugal as possible, having lived in poverty for so long..

Lupin might’ve had chocolate knowing there’d be Dementors.

Both Dumbledore and Arthur Weasley knew there were going to be Dementors at Hogwarts.

“Well, Arthur, you must do what you think is right. But you’re forgetting Albus Dumbledore. I don’t think anything could hurt Harry at Hogwarts while Dumbledore’s Headmaster. I suppose he knows about all this?’

‘Of course he knows. We had to ask him if he minds the Azkaban guards stationing themselves around the entrances to the school grounds. He wasn’t happy about it, but he agreed.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4 (The Leaky Cauldron)

If Lupin also knew (possibly being warned by Dumbledore), he’d have likely made sure to have chocolate specifically for that purpose. Lupin seemed fairly aware of what was going on. He knew the Dementor was from Azkaban.

“What was that thing?’ he asked Lupin.

‘A Dementor,’ said Lupin, who was now giving chocolate to everyone else. ‘One of the Dementors of Azkaban.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)

He also knew that they were looking for Sirius Black.

“And Professor Lupin stepped over you, and walked towards the Dementor, and pulled out his wand,’ said Hermione. ‘And he said, “None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks. Go.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)

If he was indeed aware they’d be there, which seems likely given the evidence, he’d likely consider it a priority to prepare for them.


This is not in-universe, but if Remus has been in poverty all his life, getting a well-paid job for a year does not mean you stop being “poor”.

A person who can’t work but needs money can easily pile up debts - credit cards, loan sharks, loans from banks, family and friends.

As Remus was shown to be conscientious, I expect he would have spent his Hogwarts pay on paying off his debts, leaving him little to spend on himself. After all, would you default on a loan from Gringotts?

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