31 March, 2011

Joshua: I was wondering, do you see anything disabled metaphory about Prisioner of Azkaban?
me: about who?
I mean, Lupin duh, do you mean other people?
Joshua: cos my favourite part of the book was hearing about how James, Sirius and Peter turn themselves into animagi to understand and help Lupin with his "condition" I thought it was really touching and poetic. But like, is that like magical crip drag or just magical.. being willing to see the world from a disabled persons perspective rather than trying to make them "normal"?
me: that's always been my favorite chapter in any of the books, I used to read it over and over when I was a kid
like, I think James and Sirius are kind of like Freddie and Cook
well, you won't get to this for a while
but I feel like Remus is often characterized as feeling like he doesn't have a right to his own opinions because he owes them so much
Joshua: ooohh I love that analogy
the Freddie/Cook/JJ one
me: well, I think given stuff Remus says later, it makes a lot of sense.
I wouldn't call it crip drag or anything like that
I think I wouldn't exactly call it goodness or kindness, totally--but maybe that's what Remus needed
Joshua: no, I didn't think it was, but I thought i'd speculate that possibility!
me: like, they were doing it for fun, partly. I think they didn't totally get it
Joshua: were James and Sirius kind of dicks when they were young? I haven't read to this bit but I've had some naughty wiki glancing
me: I may be projecting/imagining, but I feel like James and Sirius probably didn't understand how much Remus didn't think turning into an animal was fun
Joshua: weren't*
me: so, hm, maybe we will call it crip drag
and Remus was afraid to say anything
me: JK Rowling also said this: "Lupin’s failing is he likes to be liked. That’s where he slips up – he’s been disliked so often he’s always pleased to have friends so he cuts them an awful lot of slack."

(by the way, here is very long post/essay I wrote on the Skins livejournal community about my love for JJ, which at some points discusses JJ's unequal relationship with Freddie and Cook.)


  1. Love this comment. I'm a *huge* Harry Potter fan, and I've been particularly obsessed with Remus for a long time, in large part because of the disability angle, I think.

    I never thought about Animagi as being like crip drag, but I can see the point, even though I think there are also some differences. I'm not sure that Sirius/James/Wormtail became Animagi specifically to stimulate what it's like to be a werewolf, exactly, but there definitely seems to have been a big divide between the way they saw full moons and Remus did. And maybe part of this issue stemmed from a lack of recognition that even though they all turned into animals, the experiences of being a werewolf and being an Animagi are completely different.

    I'm like you and Joshua. I was incredibly touched by the Marauder friendship and what the others did for Remus when I first read PoA. I still count PoA as my favorite book, and the scene with Sirius and Remus in the Shrieking Shack as my favorite part of *all* the books. But I think it would be overly rosy to see them becoming Animagi as being *only* a selfless act of friendship. James and Sirius were obviously attracted to the danger aspect of the whole thing, and I can even see an argument that they used Remus to an extent. (Well, Sirius *definitely* used Remus when he told Snape how to get to him in werewolf form. OTOH, I see Sirius as having his own disability issues, including a likely impulse control problem, so..... it's complicated.)

    I don't think you're projecting; this is in the text in the "Snape's Worst Memory" when Sirius wishes it was a full moon. Which is a really douchey remark which indicated a certain lack of understanding of Remus' situation.

    So...yeah. I've read so much fanfic about this set of characters, most of which, I think, skates over this issue of lack of understanding and privilege issues within the group. I actually harbor a wish--probably a fanciful one--that Rowling will write more about the Marauders' backstory. If this happens I will pretty much die and go to heaven immediately. At the very least, I'm looking forward to the encyclopedia she's mentioned, especially to see how she envisions Remus' backstory in fuller detail. How did his father "offend" Greyback? What were his parents like? What were his relationships in school like? Why did Sirius suspect him to be the spy in the first war? What did he do between the death of the Potters and PoA? Etc. etc.

  2. Now you just made me want to write a mwpp fanfic that deals intensely with human privilege. Summer project maybe. The embarrassing thing is I just found a remus/severus fanfic I wrote when I was 15 that somewhat addresses this very topic, but I can't post it because...I was 15.

  3. I would definitely read that fanfic (and be quite happy) if you did write it.

    I have to say that I'm somewhat squicked by the Remus/Snape pairing and am rather flummoxed that it's currently quite popular in HP fandom. I guess I'm just protective of Remus, and Snape just seems to have nothing but *disdain* for him. I prefer to ship Remus with Sirius or Tonks, both of whom at least clearly care about Remus despite the imperfections of those relationships.

  4. I don't think that fanfic, especially Harry Potter fanfic, necessarily needs to keep the characters that close to the book. As I've gotten older I've come to like a lot of Harry Potter fanfic more than I like the books, so that's probably why I feel that way. To me, if Snape could get over being a dick to Remus, their relationship is potentially healthier because they're both outsiders--even though Snape was actually treated as an outsider while Remus has spent a lot of time as a very uncomfortable insider scared of losing his status. Sirius is so charismatic and normal that I just feel like he could never understand how out-of-things Remus feels and their relationship will always be unequal. Maybe he didn't understand a lot of Remus's personality and that's what led him to reading Remus as shifty and thinking that he was the spy.

    I just couldn't help myself and posted my 7-year-old RL/SS fic, and I know it's very written-by-a-15-year-old, but maybe you get an idea of why I like the pairing? I'm interested in the idea of Remus identifying with/feeling for Snape when Snape was being bullied by Sirius and James, and obsessing over him because he felt he couldn't do anything to help him.

    It's also popular in the Remus/Snape fandom to think that Snape and Remus had a crush on each other and that's why Sirius revealed to Snape that Remus was a werewolf, to break them up. (I can't remember if this was contradicted in later books, but I was reading so much fanfic after book 5 that I tend to think of books 6 and 7 as not really being canon.)

  5. I can see your point, and I'd be open to reading some Snape/Remus, although I do prefer stuff that at least tries to stay reasonably close to the canon characterizations.

    I guess I see the relationship as problematic because Snape sees Remus as sub-human. And frankly I wouldn't subject Snape on anyone until he learns how not to be a bullying asshole.

    That interpretation of "the prank" is funny, because it's popular in Remus/Sirius fandom to say that Sirius told Snape how to get to Remus as a werewolf because Snape was making insinuations about one or both of them and said homophobic things.

    Thanks for posting your fic. I think it does show good insight into the Marauders.

    I'm open to reading Remus/Snape that comes recommended. I am obsessive about Remus and will read/have read just about anything that involves him that's halfway decent, *except* for Remus/Snape. But since I've exhausted Remus/Sirius, Remus/Tonks, and Remus gen, I might have to at least give Remus/Snape more of a try.

  6. Oh, and I can understand the attraction of a relationship between outsiders, because that is me and my partner. (Not that we're anything like Remus/Snape, or any other HP pairing, alas.)