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Researching another question, I came across a quote I was looking for that seems to show werewolves only transform in the moonlight:

A cloud shifted. There were suddenly dim shadows on the ground. Their party was bathed in moonlight.

Snape collided with Lupin, Pettigrew, and Ron, who had stopped abruptly. Black froze. He flung out one arm to make Harry and Hermione stop.

Harry could see Lupin's silhouette. He had gone rigid. Then his limbs began to shake.

"Oh, my --" Hermione gasped. "He didn't take his potion tonight! He's not safe!"

I had always figured that when he was in the Shrieking Shack he was shaded from the moon, so it didn't affect him. But then I thought about his school days - where was he when he transformed? The Shrieking Shack! And if it does take moonlight, why couldn't he just hang out in the dungeons or somewhere else in Hogwarts?

Anyone see a way to reconcile these?

  • 2
    Wayyy behind on this one, but only just saw the question - I always assumed the point of the Shrieking Shack was not to hide him from the moon, but to give him a safe space to be wolfy. The Shrieking Shack is rumoured to be haunted because of villagers hearing Lupin's howling - as a wolf. So, he does transform in the Shack, regardless of direct moonlight. They didn't want to leave him in the castle as other pupils would hear and panic. The moon coming out at that point is just dramatic effect, and reminds the characters of Lupin's condition. – Luna May 6 '15 at 10:50
  • @Luna I agree—but by the time he transforms in PoA, the Moon is already high enough to be behind clouds and casting dim shadows on the ground. That means it must have been a full moon for quite some time (even before sunset). David’s answer below gives an explanation that just about almost kind of makes sense, but it seems an odd stretch. Really, Lupin ought to have transformed several hours before he did here. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 17 '16 at 0:55
  • @JanusBahsJacquet A full moon rises exactly at the moment of sunset. The full moon occurs only on the night when the moon is exactly on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun. So when the Sun sets, the full moon rises, and when a full moon sets, the sun rises. On other nights, moonrise does not coincide with sunset. The moonlight scene in the movie implies the moon had risen much sooner, but was obscured by distant clouds and hills. The implication was that Lupin must be in moonlight. Maybe the Shrieking Shack had windows or cracks in the boards that allowed Lupin to see moonlight. – RichS Jul 9 '17 at 5:21
  • I don't have a full answer so this is just a comment, but didn't he have to take a potion everyday (even for a few days before)? I could be wrong but if he only missed the current days dose it might mean that only direct moonlight was strong enough to start the transformation (like he was partially vaccinated but missed a top-up), and that if he hadn't taken ANY of the doses he would transform the moment the moon came up as normal - that could explain the need for moonlight on this occasion instead of just the moon being up – Matt Jul 14 '18 at 15:57
9

This may be a stretch, and it's certainly not canon (but it is loosely based on canon). I wouldn't even put it as an answer except that your final question asked "Anyone see a way to reconcile these?"

This is a way to reconcile these...

Before that night's events started, Hagrid sent the following note to Harry:

Lost appeal. They're going to execute at sunset. Nothing you can do. Don't come down. I don't want you to see it. Hagrid.

Given the timing of the scheduled execution (sunset), it wouldn't be dark immediately at the time of the execution. It usually takes a half hour or so after sunset for it to become full dark. That gives just enough time for the events to unfold in-between the scheduled execution time and Lupin's transformation.

That means that it's possible that Lupin's transformation wasn't directly caused by the moonlight, but by the onset of full dark. The moon coming out from behind the clouds at that time was coincidence (and a good coincidence for dramatic effect).

  • "That means that it's possible that Lupin's transformation wasn't directly caused by the moonlight, but by the onset of full dark." Ah, but it is not a coincidence that the full moon rises exactly at the onset of darkness. The full moon occurs only on the night when the moon is exactly on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun. So when the Sun sets, the full moon rises, and when a full moon sets, the sun rises. Waxing and waning moons rise and set at moments other than sunset and sunrise. – RichS Jul 9 '17 at 5:16
  • @RichS - The moon is quite often visible in the daylight. Full moons included. Not sure where you're coming from with that. bing.com/images/search?q=full+moon+in+daytime&FORM=HDRSC2 – David Stratton Jul 9 '17 at 16:56
  • I know the moon is often visible in daylight. I often see it in daylight. o_O Full moons are only visible from sunset to sunrise. I checked the image search you provided. Many of those are not full moons. Some are close. A moon that is 1 day before or after the full moon can look full to an unaided eye and be visible just before sunset or just after sunrise, but it is not truly a full moon. Werewolves are affected by the light of a full moon, not the moonlight from a day-before-full-moon. :-) – RichS Jul 9 '17 at 22:56
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I think you're coming from a flawed starting position in werewolves requiring sight of the moon to transform. As you mention, Lupin transformed in the Shrieking Shack without sight of the moon. In this case Lupin's transformation just happened to kick in at the same time as the cloud revealing the moon, for dramatic effect. This becomes more apparent given Hermione's exclamation, as the potion doesn't stop the transformation, it only mitigates the results (allowing the person to remain cogniscent and not give over to the wolf completely).

  • It was not 'sight of the moon', but rather 'moon's sight'. Similar to how parts of the human body exposed to radioactive material mutate, but unexposed parts don't. – cst1992 Feb 23 '16 at 12:47

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