BDSM, Snape, and Lupin
byA long time ago on a mailing list far, far away, Tilly asked a question ... It seemed a simple, innocent enough query at the time, but I had to ponder the question for a couple of days before I felt I could formulate a proper response. At the time I was embroiled in the midst of a novel-length fic that involved many of the elements inherent in that very question. Of course that's not surprising because Tilly had kindly offered her services as a creative consultant for the same fic, and our many IM chats over said fic started her thinking about such things.
She started wondering why Snape and Lupin seemed to be the couple of choice for kinky slash fics. Specifically, she posed two questions:
I. Do Snape and Lupin have deviant subtext, or are the people who write them simply filthy minded?Her subject for this post was "A Little Question," but in my opinion, it was a whopper. I thought about it, jotted down some notes, and thought about it some more, before submitting my (six page) reply. And still, I wasn't satisfied with my answer. So I've decided to tackle this topic again, in more depth. Since this has become involved enough, now that I've done more "research," I will address each question separately.
II. Does the bondage involved in the Shrieking Shack cause Snape and Lupin to be cast in a kinky light?
I. Do Snape and Lupin have deviant subtext, or are the people who write Snape and Lupin simply filthy minded?
I think it's a little bit of both. Snape and Lupin seem to have ambiguous subtext, which will be shrugged off by a "normal" reader and seized upon by those of us who regularly deviate from the norm. We do have a lot more canon!Snape from which to draw our conclusions than we do for canon!Lupin, so I'll start with Snape.
A. "Professor Severus Snape, master of this school, commands you to yield the information you conceal!" (1), or "Why I see canon!Snape as a Dom."
Personally, I think that quote says it all. For those who aren't as familiar with Doms as I am, however, I will give further details. From the first page he was on in the first book, I liked Snape. I just had this gut feeling about him. He was a "scientist" among wizards, and a darn good one, at that. Now, I'll admit to my bias as seeing Potions as the wizarding equivalent of chemistry, since I'm a chemist, but the similarities abound. Chemists do reactions in glassware while Snape brews in a cauldron, but we both work with caustic substances over flames in an effort to make something new.
Snape's contribution to protecting the Stone in book one seems to confirm that there is something different about him, compared to other wizards. As Hermione observes:
"This isn't magic it's logic a puzzle. A lot of the greatest wizards haven't got an ounce of logic, they'd be stuck in here forever." (2)Logic is certainly a trait that draws scientists to their jobs. In the first Potions class, Snape even calls Potions a "subtle science," so I think I'll just stubbornly cling to bias for the time being. If anyone wishes to provide me with evidence as to why Potions is not a science, I'm open to hearing arguments.
Most of the good scientists I've known in my life are control freaks. Scientists practically invented the concept of control. For a scientist's results to have any meaning, he has to control all variables in an experiment. To a scientist, there is nothing more embarrassing professionally than publishing a beautiful set of data only to have someone point out a variable in the experiment that wasn't controlled properly. That one flaw invalidates the entire set of data.
Because of this possibility, scientists who are concerned with their professional reputation become obsessed with controlling their experiment. And sometimes this bleeds over into other aspects of their lives. I'm not a good scientist myself, so I don't fall into that category. Of course, the fact that I've known scientists who were control freaks and that Snape could also be considered a scientist doesn't make Snape a control freak. Some events in the canon, however, do support Snape's being a control freak.
After Quirrell's first attack on Harry at the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match (3), the Gryffindor team discovers Snape will be refereeing their next match. Consider George Weasley's reaction upon learning this:
"Snape's refereeing?" he spluttered through a mouthful of mud. "When's he ever refereed a Quidditch match?" (4)Who else but a control freak would attempt something he had never done before just because he didn't trust anyone else to protect Harry as he could? Harry even gets the impression that Snape is following him before the match (4). Of course, Harry assumes that is because Snape is trying to attack him. But we know it's because even with all the protections on Hogwarts' grounds Snape doesn't want to let Harry out of his sight in case Quirrell tries another attack. Later in the chapter, Snape and Quirrell meet in the woods (4). Even though we know Quirrell is under Voldemort's orders to steal the Stone (5, 6), Snape manages to choose their meeting place. Snape wants to be in control of the situation any situation.
At the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, when Snape is ordered out of the hospital ward because Dumbledore wants to speak to Harry and Hermione, he is really upset (7). Remember, though, this is before Sirius Black has escaped. Dumbledore hasn't done anything yet, other than a) believe Black's story, and b) tell Snape to go away. Snape seethes when in all likelihood he'll still get just what he wants seeing Black receive the Dementor's Kiss. His story makes more sense, the Minister of Magic is on his side, and yet, Snape is upset. Why? Because he's a control freak, and Dumbledore is a wild card. Since he can't control the headmaster, he cannot be assured of the outcome, and that drives him nuts!
Being a control freak doesn't make Snape a Dom, of course. At least not by itself, but the two are related. Since Doms want to take possession of and/or responsibility for another person (a sub), whether temporarily or permanently, this involves at least a touch of being obsessed with control. Doms also like to give commands, which they expect to be obeyed, but they don't particularly like taking orders. I could give numerous examples Harry's repeated rule breaking and how Dom!Snape might react to that. No matter how may examples I provide, however, all of them can be easily dismissed with a simple, "Well, Snape doesn't like Harry and wants to get him expelled." For that reason I will refrain and move along to how Snape reacts to others' orders.
Snape doesn't really like taking orders. He hisses, "You don't have the authority to send me anywhere!" when Moody tells him something as unthreatening as to go back to bed (8). That's not completely surprising, though, considering the animosity between Moody and Snape (8, 9, 10). But what if the command comes from someone Snape regards as highly as Dumbledore? If it's an order he happens to agree with, or at least not actively disagree with, that's one thing. For example, when Dumbledore asks him to fetch his most powerful truth potion and Winky the house-elf, Snape has no problem following that set of instructions (11). If it's not something he agrees with, however, how does he react?
When Dumbledore gives him the very nonchalant order to return to the feast and allow McGonagall to take over Harry and Ron's punishment for the flying car, Snape shoots Harry and Ron "a look of pure venom" (12). After he catches Harry and Ron in a blatant lie at the scene of Mrs. Norris' petrification, Dumbledore basically tells Snape to drop the subject, although not in so many words. Snape is, of course, furious (13). Dumbledore also makes it quite clear that he will not consider Lupin a suspect in helping Black into the castle. Snape's deep resentment at his suspicions being dismissed and once again being told to drop the subject, but again not in so many words is obvious (14). And as previously mentioned, when he is ordered out of the hospital ward at the end, Snape seethes (7).
Snape's severe opposition to taking orders certainly seems to indicate he acts like a Dom, at least. Then there is just the fact that Snape refers to himself as "the Potions master" (13). He never calls himself a "teacher" but rather a "master." He does use the verb "teach" in reference to himself (14, 15), but never "teacher" as a noun. All the other teachers are always referred to as teachers, and Harry calls Snape a teacher repeatedly in the narrative, but Snape calls himself "the Potions master." After Chamber of Secrets, though, Snape is hardly ever referred to as anything else, except when "the teachers" are mentioned collectively.
In the books, Snape is referred to as the "Potions master" seven times (11, 13, 15 the title only, 16, 17, 18, 19). And yet, none of the other teachers at Hogwarts are referred to as "masters." For instance, Professor Flitwick is never called the "Charms master," nor is Professor Sprout referred to as the "Herbology mistress." And just reading that sounds weird, doesn't it? It's as though the word "master" somehow fits Snape while it doesn't fit the other characters.
Some American fans take this to mean Snape has some special qualifications in Potions, such as a Master's degree. Hence they capitalize the "Master," as in "Potions Master." Since Rowling has told us there are no wizarding universities, however, I disagree (and keep the small "m"). From what my Brit HP friends have told me, saying Snape is a "Potions master" just means he's a teacher at a posh school. Since Hogwarts is the best wizarding school in Britain, and possibly the best in the world (20), I imagine Hogwarts could be considered posh. Apart from special qualifications in the way of degrees, I don't think it has anything to do with incredible accomplishment or special qualifications in their fields, either. But let me explain.
Professor McGonagall is one of only seven registered Animagi in the past century (21). We know the Ministry tries to keep tabs on that because the transformations can go horribly wrong (21). In other words, an Animagus transformation is difficult to master, so the fact that McGonagall has mastered the Animagus transformation that implies she possesses some special mastery of Transfiguration. Now you're thinking, "Well, what about unregistered Animagi?"
Lupin said James and Sirius were the cleverest students in the school and it still took them three years to work out the transformation (21). Whether or not this is mere hero-worship on Lupin's part is a discussion for another time. James and Sirius had to help Peter lots, or he never could have done it. It's apparently not just a run-of-the-mill thing. And Rita Skeeter, although readers may not particularly like her, is still a sharp woman. Yet, McGonagall who has mastered this seemingly rare skill at the height of Transfiguration (done without a wand, remember) is referred to as the "Transfiguration teacher" (18), rather than the "Transfiguration mistress," even though she outranks Snape as the deputy headmistress (19, 22, 23).
Who else is referred to as a "master" in these books? House-elves speak of their owners as "master," of course, but they quite literally are (11, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31). As a term of respect, Mr. Borgin calls Draco "young Master Malfoy" while sucking up to Lucius (32), but this is more like the age-appropriate equivalent of "mister," as a young lady would be addressed as "miss." Wormtail calls Ron "kind master" while pleading to keep from being killed (33).
Other than those references, the only people associated with the word "master" are Headmaster Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort the two most powerful wizards in the current wizarding world. The fact that Snape chooses this word to describe himself could show he's on some sort of power trip. Anyone who doesn't think Snape enjoys having power should take a look at some the piddly things for which he deducts House points: Harry's "cheek" (15), Harry's not telling Neville not to add porcupine quills (15), taking library books outside of the school (3), Neville's Shrinking Potion actually working (34) and Hermione's being an "insufferable know-it-all" (14). I haven't included any of the instances in which I consider his point deductions even remotely justified.
So, if Snape isn't on a power trip, just why does he call himself "the Potions master"? That could merely be because he's a snob, which I certainly wouldn't put past him. On the other hand, mere arrogance doesn't explain why Harry who hates Snape refers to him as such, in narrative from his point of view (15, 16, 18, 19). Even though Dumbledore has to remind Harry to call him "Professor Snape," after Harry drops that term of respect (6), Harry still calls him "the Potions master," as do some of the other teachers.
Gilderoy Lockhart is one teacher who refers to Snape as the "Potions master" (17), and Mad-Eye Moody/Barty Crouch is another (11). Lockhart is, of course, incompetent in his role as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, so I'd expect him to show some respect for Snape, who is not incompetent. Even if he is Barty Crouch in disguise or maybe because he is Moody is hardly ignorant of the Dark Arts. And he, too, refers to Snape as "the Potions master." So something about Snape seems to command these people's respect, or at least that's what Rowling wants us to gather.
"Well, 'master' is just a word," you might say. You're right, of course. "Master" is just a word, but words matter. The only way Rowling has to convey impressions of her characters are the words she chooses. And the connotations of the words she uses are often as important as the denotations, sometimes more so. Why does she have Lupin describe Sirius and James as "clever" (21), for instance, while Black describes Snape as "clever and cunning" (35)? Those words mean about the same thing, but "clever" has a positive connotation while "cunning" has a negative connotation.
If you don't think Rowling is aware of her word choice, though, then I ask you to consider this: Lupin describes the grindylow's fingers as "abnormally long" (36). Mr. Moony, via the Marauder's Map, calls Snape's nose "abnormally large" (1). That's a clue so we can figure out they are both Lupin, of course. And her choice of names is yet another way she conveys information about the characters due to our mental associations. There's a reason we never hear Professor Lupin's first name until after we learn he's a werewolf.
The first occurrence of the word "Remus" in Prisoner of Azkaban is in the beginning of chapter eighteen, but we learn Lupin is a werewolf in chapter seventeen. Why is this? We might not think anything about "Lupin" by itself. Couple it with "Remus," however, and we have all sorts of mental associations cropping up. Being a Southerner, "Uncle Remus" was the first relationship that came to my mind, which is Lupin as a father figure. The second thing I thought of, though, was undoubtedly Romulus and Remus the twins who were suckled by a she-wolf and went on to found Rome. Once we start thinking wolves and remember that silvery orb of a boggart (34, 37), we might just figure out Lupin is a werewolf. Therefore, in Prisoner of Azkaban Lupin is referred to as "Professor Lupin" or "Professor R. J. Lupin" or merely "Lupin" (by Snape) up until chapter eighteen.
The fact that the word "master" is so often associated with Snape implies a certain amount of dominance. In fact, "Severus" is taken from the name of a Roman emperor (Lucius Septimius Severus), and I have a lot of trouble believing Rowling was ignorant of this particular emperor. If naming Snape after an emperor doesn't imply dominance, however, I don't know what possibly could. I'm apparently not the only one who sees this: I have one of those Snape "action figures" from merchandizing for the first movie. The package says, "Masterful Professor of Potions!" The "Potions master" has consequently translated to "masterful" (or domineering or dominating or just Dom) in the minds of whoever designed the toy package.
All these things, including my gut feeling of liking Snape immediately, said one thing to me: Severus Snape is a Dom. "What does your feeling have to do with anything?" you might ask. I'm a sub, so I instinctively like Doms. Another interesting gut reaction to Snape was Tilly's. Tilly is a Domme, and she hated and I mean hated Snape initially. Now she loves him. Not quite what you'd think, is it? There's a reason for that. Dommes tend to be intimidated by Doms, so her gut reaction would be exactly what I'd expect if Snape were a "real" Dom (meaning if she met him on the street).
That's enough for the Dom portion. The sadist part is easier. "Dom" is an amorphous trait that is hard to pinpoint consciously, although subconsciously we perceive that quality all too well. Sadism, however, has a much more obvious way of making itself known. It rather beats one over the head, actually no pun intended. By the way, I did separate the Dom and sadist portions of this because not all Doms/Dommes are sadists, and not all sadists are Doms/Dommes, even though there does seem to be considerable overlap.
B. "Cruel, sarcastic, and disliked by everybody except the students from his own house (Slytherin), Snape taught Potions." (12), or "Why I see canon!Snape as a sadist."
Harry describes Snape as "cruel" (12), which is just another synonym for "sadistic." Snape derives extreme pleasure from the prospect of killing Neville's toad, Trevor. He looks very sour when Neville's Shrinking Potion actually works (34). If you ask me, wanting to watch Neville's toad die because he knows that will upset the boy is sadistic. Then there is poisoning his fourth years when they're working on antidotes (38). Teaching antidotes is certainly practical, but Snape is also disappointed even angry when Harry is called away from Potions class for photographs and the weighing of the wands (39). The reason for his pique is simple: he won't have the opportunity to poison Harry, and I'm sure he was looking forward to that. I have no doubts Snape has the proper antidotes at the ready in case any of the students' antidotes fail, but I also think he highly enjoys being able to poison children, and he gets paid to do it.
For the sake of argument, I've assumed that Snape enjoyed these pastimes, but how can I be so sure? I've jumped to that conclusion because his eyes glittered in both cases. So now we have to ask ourselves, "In what other instances do Snape's eyes glitter?" Here are some other situations in which Snape's eyes glitter:
1) When Harry has been caught at the scene of Mrs. Norris' petrifaction (13)In three of the situations cited, Snape smiles in addition to his glittering eyes: the first (triumphantly), the fifth (unpleasantly), and the seventh (also unpleasantly). He is clearly enjoying himself on those occasions. Of the others, he would probably enjoy himself in all but two instances: the sixth and the eighth. If Snape is a sadist, however, he just might enjoy the sixth, as well, and in an odd way the eighth.
2) Before he embarrasses Neville in front of Professor Lupin's Dark Arts class (34)
3) When he's about to teach Lupin's class about werewolves (14)
4) When he has caught Lupin "helping" Black in the Shrieking Shack (33)
5) Before he reads Rita Skeeter's article about Harry and Hermione aloud to his Potions class (35)
6) Before he threatens Harry with Veritaserum (35)
7) While keeping Harry from seeing Dumbledore when Harry is very insistent (31)
8) Before he sets off to do whatever Dumbledore must ask him to do, probably spying (40)
Add to that Snape's seemingly close association with Filch. Filch is "too friendly with Snape" in Harry's opinion (5). Besides Harry, Ron, and Hermione, only Filch seems to know about Snape's encounter with Fluffy (3). Not that I'd call Filch Snape's friend, mind you, but he seems to be at least a confidant.
Now consider what Filch says book when leading Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Draco out for their detention with Hagrid:
"[H]ard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me ... . It's just a pity they let the old punishments die out ... hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office, keep 'em well oiled in case they're ever needed." (5)That's certainly a very strong argument for Filch's being a sadist. "Why does Snape's association with Filch mean he's a sadist?" you may ask. It doesn't, necessarily, but birds of a feather ... Might Snape's bond with Filch have been formed because they share this philosophy and a desire to hurt people? That's just extrapolation, though.
Lucius Malfoy is most likely a sadist. "Why does that matter?" you ask. "We're talking about Snape, not Malfoy." That's true; we are. Snape and Malfoy have a lot of things in common, however, so bear with me a moment. Dobby received a flogging the likes of which he'd never had just for letting his master's dinner burn (25). Dobby also has heavily bandaged legs when Malfoy bursts into Dumbledore's office (27).
We have no proof that Lucius himself injured Dobby either time, of course. In addition, we have much evidence that Dobby injures himself (25, 26, 30). That does not mean, however, that Dobby always punishes himself. In fact, flogging himself may have proved very difficult indeed, depending on the type of flogger used. If Dobby didn't flog himself, someone would have had to, and that role would have fallen to Dobby's master: Lucius Malfoy.
Beating Dobby doesn't prove Lucius is a sadist, though. Only enjoying beating his house-elf would make Lucius a sadist, and we can't possibly know what goes on inside Lucius' head. Dobby's ill-treatment aside, Voldemort asks Lucius if he's still ready to take the lead in Muggle torture (41). I can't imagine Lucius' "taking the lead" in something he didn't enjoy. I'd say that would make almost certainly him a sadist.
Now back to what Snape and Lucius Malfoy have in common. They are both named after the same Roman emperor which, to my mind, says Rowling meant to draw lots of parallels between them. Also "Lucius" brings to mind associations with "Lucifer," so Lucius is clearly supposed to be evil. "Severus," on the other hand, evokes the image of "severe," which means strict and maybe even mean, but not evil. And lastly, Snape and Malfoy are (or were) both Death Eaters.
According to Arthur Weasley, Death Eaters killed Muggles for fun (29). That's sadistic, any way you slice it. For a wizard to be a halfway decent Death Eater, he would have to be at least a little bit sadistic. Snape was obviously good enough at being a Death Eater to be a spy. I imagine if one were a sadist, one would have a relatively easy time being an "honest" Death Eater. Snape would have to be even more convincing, however, in order to stay alive as a spy. Probably only a true sadist could be that convincing. So, by the end of Goblet of Fire, I've concluded Snape is both a Dom and a sadist, and I haven't even extrapolated that much. Now, on to Lupin.
C. "Dumbledore's trust has meant everything to me." (21), or Why I see canon!Lupin as a sub.
If you thought the above Dom was amorphous, wait until I get going here. At the risk of sounding very Lupin-like, the question we must first ask ourselves is, "What is a submissive?" If we look at a sub in terms of a Dom who prefers to be in control then a sub would be someone who prefers not to be in control. A sub is not incapable of being in control, mind you; a sub simply prefers to let someone else take charge. The difference between "reluctant" and "unable" is considerable and should not be overlooked in this case.
At a later time, I do intend to address this subject in much more detail, but let me take a moment to say what subs are not. Despite popular misconceptions, subs are not:
1) WeakThe thing about subs is that we are subs by nature, not by choice, meaning that we have a desire to submit. That doesn't make it a compulsion, though. We can, and do, choose to whom we submit. I've personally met Doms online who got angry when I didn't want to talk about a starting a permanent BDSM relationship with them (i.e., accepting their "collar"). Why? Because they were Doms, dammit, and I was supposed to want to submit to them. My response: "Bzzzt! Wrong answer, but thank you for playing!" I do have a desire to submit but to someone I trust, care about, and find interesting. For whatever reason, those Doms didn't arouse my interest, so the idea of submitting to them only seemed irksome, not exciting. When they attempted to bully me into submitting, I merely laughed. Of course, this isn't about me. This is about Professor Lupin.
4) Crazy or
5) Doormats (someone who obeys when just anyone gives them an order)
Unfortunately there isn't nearly as much canon material to draw on with Lupin as there is with Snape. Since I ended with the gut reactions in my analysis of Snape as a Dom, I'm going to start with that in my analysis of Lupin as a sub. The reason for this is subs are very intuitive people. As for my seeing Lupin as a submissive, that's also mostly intuitive. I probably won't be able to explain my subliminal reasoning very well, but I'm a sub, and intuition is what we do. We have a tendency to fly by the seat of our pants, gauging others' emotional reactions and responding to them. Subs are people pleasers who try very hard to keep their loved ones happy. We learn from a young age to spot the signs of when people aren't happy in order to try to fix things before the problems get out of hand.
Tilly loved Lupin immediately, but she didn't identify with him. As for my gut reaction to Lupin, I will say I also liked him immediately. More than that: I felt like I knew him immediately and empathized with him, even before I knew there was any reason he needed empathy (besides his clothes). I identified very strongly with Lupin. I liked Snape, of course, but I also liked Lupin even though he was kind in contrast to Snape's cruelty, pleasant in the face of Snape's hate, quiet in response to Snape's blustering. Right away, I saw the two as opposites in many ways. For example, let's look at two similar quotes from Prisoner of Azkaban:
1) "Wait a moment, Harry," Lupin called. "I'd like a word." (42)Both Snape and Lupin are described as using the same verb, yet Snape commands while Lupin requests. One could argue that Snape is angry and Lupin is only concerned. That is true. Regardless of that, we would never expect Snape to say, "I'd like a word." Nor would we expect Lupin to say, "I want a word," unless he prefaced that statement with a "please," or followed it with a "thank you."
2) "Lupin!" Snape called into the fire. "I want a word!" (1)
While I'm on the word "please," Lupin says "please" seven times in Prisoner of Azkaban four times in chapter seven, twice in chapter seventeen, and once in chapter nineteen and every single time he is addressing one or more students. By contrast, Snape has not yet said "please" to students or anyone else in any of the four books, unless one counts the school song (43), which we don't know if Snape actually sang. Of course, this could simply mean Lupin is polite and Snape is ... not. I don't doubt that, either, but it's an interesting observation notwithstanding. Then there is the matter of how Lupin speaks.
Besides being hoarse, Lupin's voice is described as "mild" (18), or he is said to speak "mildly" (1). "Mild" is synonym of "gentle" or "meek" and, of course, "submissive." Another word used to describe Lupin's manner of speaking is "light" or "lightly." That word can mean "flippant," "casual," or "gentle." Let's take a closer look at the instances in which "light" or "lightly" are used to describe Lupin's manner of speaking.
After the boggart lesson, when Harry says he didn't do anything to earn House points, Lupin replies with the following statement:
"You and Hermione answered my questions correctly at the start of the class, Harry," Lupin said lightly. (34)Since Lupin is quite professional in his teaching methods, I doubt he would be "flippant" in class, or at least not at this point in the class. Even when Lupin learns that Snape is Neville's greatest fear, however, he doesn't say a single unfavorable thing about his colleague. One could call Lupin's suggesting that Neville should dress Snape in drag "flippant," but he really doesn't have much of a choice. He certainly can't influence Neville's greatest fear, after all, and must work with what he has. As for the other two possibilities, this use of "lightly" can go either way: "casually" or "gently." Here's the next occurrence:
"You think so?" said Lupin lightly. "Do you really think anyone deserves that?" (37)Like Dumbledore, Lupin is none too fond of dementors. He says they are "among the foulest creatures that walk this earth" (42). When discussing the Dementor's Kiss with Harry, then, Lupin would hardly be "flippant" or "casual." I'm inclined to think Lupin says this "gently," as well. And the last example:
Black's wand arm rose, but Lupin seized him around the wrist, gave him a warning look, then turned again to Pettigrew, his voice light and casual. (33)When he is addressing Pettigrew about the subject of James and Lily's death, Lupin would also not tend to be "flippant." His speaking "gently" here certainly makes sense, since he's just arrested Black's wand arm to avoid the appearance of threatening Pettigrew. "Casually" also makes sense; however, Rowling already qualifies his tone of voice as both "light" and "casual" in this instance. The use of "light" to mean "casual" here would be redundant. Furthermore, the fact that Rowling uses both words here may indicate that the other instances in which she uses "lightly" are not meant to be taken as "casually."
Since we have already ruled out Lupin's speaking "flippantly" in all three cases, and none of those instances preclude Lupin's speaking "gently," I am inclined to think Lupin speaks "gently" each time. "Gently," as mentioned above, is a synonym of "mildly," as well. Since we have canon confirmation that Lupin speaks "mildly," this is consistent. And, of course, as I've already pointed out, "mildly" is a synonym of "submissively." So we have no less than five instances in which Lupin could be considered to at least speak "submissively." This choice of words seems to indicate Rowling intended for Lupin to be a submissive, at least in temperament, even if he's not into kinky sex. That's just how Lupin speaks, though. Let's look at what he actually says.
Lupin is self-effacing, which is another submissive characteristic. The Patronus he summons on the Hogwarts express (18) is on a par with Dumbledore's Patronus (14). If my Patronus were as good as that of someone called "the greatest wizard of modern times" (20), I think I'd be rather proud of myself. If that same great wizard trusted me to ride the train to protect the students from the dementors, I might also begin to consider myself an expert. And yet Lupin tells Harry that he doesn't "pretend to be an expert at fighting dementors ... quite the contrary" (42).
If you don't think Lupin's train ride was at Dumbledore's suggestion, then consider this: The children have never seen an adult on the train before, besides the witch who pushes the food cart (18). The train ride also follows a full moon hence Lupin's exhausted sleep (18). That is more than a little inconvenient. Some have taken Lupin's being on the train to mean the Werewolf Code of Conduct (2) prevents werewolves from Apparating. Since there are no details about what the Code says, however, I think that's a bit of a leap.
One could also argue that because Lupin leaves Hogwarts in a carriage (7), he isn't allowed to Apparate. As many times as we've been told that one cannot Apparate or Disapparate in Hogwarts castle or on the grounds (7, 14, 38, 44), though, we should know Lupin couldn't have Disapparated away regardless. The carriage may well have been taking him outside the protections so he could Disapparate. Lupin also seems to be travelling immediately after a full moon each time. Perhaps his transformations leave him too weak to Apparate or Disapparate.
Also, the fact that Lupin carries chocolate with him on the Hogwarts Express is telling. He seems to have known he was expected to protect the children from the dementors and treat them afterward. If he hadn't expected dementors, would he have brought chocolate along? Chocolate is a luxury. Why would a poor man carry chocolate unless he anticipated running into dementors? Some would say for them, chocolate is a "necessity," even in the absence of dementors. I doubt Lupin would agree. After all, he's just been exposed to the same dementor, and yet he doesn't eat any of the chocolate himself (18).
Now let's take a look at how others react to Lupin, starting with the reader. None of us would ever dream of calling Lupin the "Defence master," or the "Dark Arts master," would we? The title of "master" fits him about as well as it fits Flitwick meaning not at all. And yet, not only does Lupin give us the first example of intentional wandless magic in the books (18), but he's also the only Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Madame Pomfrey so far seems to approve of (18). Since Madame Pomfrey occasionally doesn't even approve of Dumbledore's actions when it comes to treating students (6, 45), that is saying something. Lupin is clearly not incompetent, so why doesn't he command the same sort of respect Snape does?
I've already touched on the association of the word "master" with Snape to imply dominance. Would Rowling be so gauche as to refer to Lupin as a "slave" to make the point that he was a submissive? Of course not. She doesn't have to. Besides describing his manner of speaking as "light" and "mild," she's already made the moon control him due to his lycanthropy. We also have a "master" in the books to whose "control" Lupin is subject: Snape, via the Wolfsbane Potion. In the section where I discussed Snape as a Dom (A), I talked about how Doms give orders expecting them to be obeyed. Let's now look at how people react to Lupin with regards to his authority.
On the Hogwarts Express, the children in the compartment with him listen when Lupin tells them to be quiet. We can only assume they don't move around too much after he tells them to stay where they are. And yet, he has to tell them "Eat it. It'll help" twice and assure them he hasn't poisoned the chocolate to get them to follow that bit of instruction (18). Why would he have to repeatedly urge children to eat candy? Remember, this is after he's made the dementor clear off. The danger has passed, and Lupin made said danger pass, and yet the students no longer listen to his "commands." It can't be that they aren't grateful, especially since those same children are the only ones who clap enthusiastically for him at the feast (18).
Peeves the Poltergeist obeys McGonagall's orders, although grudgingly (17, 19, 46). We also know Peeves wouldn't dare taunt Dumbledore (36). Of course, who would? When Lupin comes upon Peeves stuffing gum in a keyhole, Peeves calls the new teacher "loony, loopy, Lupin" (34). After Lupin politely suggests that Peeves remove the gum, Peeves responds by blowing "a loud wet raspberry" (34). Granted, Lupin does send him off cursing afterward, but Harry notices this distinct lack of respect for Lupin on Peeves' part.
We're told that Peeves usually shows the teachers respect (34). Since that statement isn't qualified with "except Quirrell and Lockhart," we can only assume that Peeves must have shown Lupin's predecessors the same respect as the other teachers. Lupin is not only competent in his job, but he's also a powerful wizard. Why then would Peeves have singled Lupin out as someone he thought he could intimidate? It couldn't merely be because Lupin was a former student at Hogwarts. Snape also qualifies under that heading, and we aren't told, "Peeves showed respect for all the teachers except Snape."
We do know the Bloody Baron is the only one at Hogwarts who can really control Peeves (19, 43). He seems to intimidate all the other ghosts, however, not just Peeves (47). One could argue, of course, that Snape is the head of Slytherin House and, because of that, the Bloody Baron Slytherin's resident ghost is subservient to him. Yet we never see Nearly Headless Nick Gryffindor's resident ghost doing Professor McGonagall's bidding, so I don't think that argument holds water. Furthermore, somehow I don't see Snape running to a ghost for help with another ghost. If he knows enough spells to keep Peeves out of his office (8), I'm sure he knows enough spells to keep Peeves out of his hair at other times, without the Bloody Baron's help.
Draco Malfoy and his gang of Slytherins show no respect for Professor Lupin, of course (18, 36). As Malfoy is a rich snob, as are most of his pure-blood Slytherin friends, that's hardly surprising. Snape loathes Lupin, at least as far as Harry can tell (18), so one would expect Snape to have no respect for Lupin, either. And, of course, Snape proceeds to advise Lupin on how to conduct his own class (34), even though Lupin is clearly not incompetent.
Now you might think, "If Lupin is a sub, and Snape is a Dom, why wouldn't Lupin do whatever Snape tells him?" Recall what I said before about subs not being doormats. If Snape hasn't earned Lupin's respect as a Dom, Lupin wouldn't feel compelled to do anything Snape tells him. In fact, he does just the opposite. Despite Snape's "advice," Lupin decides to entrust something difficult to Neville Longbottom, and embarrasses Snape in front of his entire class, even if after the fact, as Snape embarrassed Neville (34).
"If Lupin doesn't trust Snape and won't do anything he says," you may counter, "then why would Lupin agree to drink Snape's Wolfsbane Potion?" For a couple of reasons: First, the full moon is Lupin's greatest fear (34, 37). He most likely considers the Wolfsbane Potion a blessing, no matter who makes the potion. Second, not only does he trust Snape's potion brewing abilities (36), if not the man himself, but he also knows that Snape knows first hand how dangerous he is when he hasn't had the potion (21). As a result, Lupin has no doubts that Snape has adequate motivation to make the potion properly.
Before I move on to the next set of people reacting to Lupin, I want to take a moment to talk about Lupin as a "people-pleaser." That is another sub trait and will, of course, lead to my next set of people reacting to Lupin. After Lupin hears about Harry's broom being smashed by the Whomping Willow, he tries to fix the situation any way he can. He obviously can't afford to buy Harry a new broom (48), so he suggests the next best thing: repairing the old one (42).
Seemingly against his better judgment, Lupin then agrees to give Harry anti-dementor lessons (42). One could argue that Lupin, as a friend of Harry's parents, only agrees to this in order to protect Harry, so he won't fall off his broom again. That could be accomplished quite well, though, by Harry's not playing Quidditch until the dementors leave Hogwarts' grounds. I know what you're thinking now. "How dare you even suggest such a thing? Harry must play Quidditch!" Given a choice between death and Filch, Harry chose Filch (46). When it comes to choosing between death and not playing Quidditch, however, Harry apparently prefers to risk death.
Of course, this is hardly surprising. In Goblet of Fire, Harry's ostensible goal was merely to live through the Triwizard Tournament. He could have just as easily accomplished that by sending up red sparks at the first sign of danger in the Third Task, or indeed the second he stepped inside the maze (49). Did he do that? Of course not! He had to win! And in Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry ranks his hopes of securing the House Cup for the third year running ahead of the possibility of dying. Cornelius Fudge's words seem very appropriate here: "The boy has undoubtedly been foolish" (45).
And yet, Harry still manages to talk Lupin into anti-dementor lessons. Lupin could have merely agreed because he thought Harry would never master such "highly advanced magic" (37). In that case, however, he probably would have suggested that Harry sit out the Quidditch season. He lets Harry know in no uncertain terms that he disagrees with his decision to risk his life by sneaking into Hogsmeade (1). Clearly Lupin is concerned for Harry's safety. So why would he agree to the anti-dementor lessons without some assurance that Harry could master the Patronus Charm?
Lupin could have agreed just because he's a huge Quidditch fan, of course, but I'd hate to think he'd risk sacrificing Harry's life merely for a sport. Thankfully he has the good sense to at least look shaken when the "dementors" put in their appearance of at Harry's next Quidditch match (50). Rather than suggesting Harry simply not play Quidditch, however, Lupin agrees to anti-dementor lessons. To me, this says that Lupin is a people-pleaser. He knows Harry loves playing Quidditch, and he wants Harry to be happy, so he tries to teach Harry something "ridiculously advanced" (37), rather than disappointing him.
Lupin doesn't want to disappoint anyone he cares about, of course, but most of all not the "dominant" people in his life. I also see Dumbledore and Sirius Black as Doms, although that is not as obvious with them as it is with Snape. I won't bother to write an essay on Dom!Dumbledore or Dom!Black, however, since I don't find either of them interesting enough to put forth that kind of effort. But I have finally reached the quote I used at the beginning of this section.
What Lupin says about betraying Dumbledore's trust screams sub to me (21). Not just that he felt bad, of course anyone who respected the headmaster would. The fact that Lupin says Dumbledore's trust meant "everything" to him sounds like a sub talking. To a sub, there is nothing worse than disappointing your Dom. Pleasing your Dom is a great high, while disappointing your Dom is an all-time low. Disappointing one of his "Doms" (in this case, Dom!Dumbledore) because of something selfish like wanting to have fun with his friends would bother anyone, but it would really devastate a sub.
"If Dumbledore's trust meant so much to him," you might ask, "why wouldn't Lupin have simply told his friends it was too dangerous? Why wouldn't he just insist on staying in the Shrieking Shack instead of roaming the grounds and Hogsmeade?" For one thing, they were "young, thoughtless carried away with [their] own cleverness" (21) Then again, maybe that's just an excuse. Perhaps Lupin has always had trouble refusing his friends' wishes. If any of his friends were Doms as I see Sirius Black Lupin especially wouldn't want to disappoint them.
Lupin is caught between a rock and a hard place. He knows his friends will be highly disappointed if he doesn't go wandering with them, but he also knows Dumbledore will be disappointed if he finds out. So what does he do? He opts for pleasing his friends and hoping Dumbledore will never find out. After Dumbledore does find out many years later what does Lupin do? When Dumbledore shows up in his office to tell him his carriage has arrived, Lupin seems to want to leave as quickly as possible (7). This reaction speaks volumes to me.
Dumbledore is one of the most understanding characters in the canon. He's someone you can't help trusting (18). Harry even goes so far as to tell Dumbledore he thought his dead father had conjured his Patronus because he knew "Dumbledore wouldn't laugh" (7). So why doesn't Lupin just shrug and say, "I'm sorry. I screwed up. I should have told you, but I was too afraid to." Most people would do something like that, but most people aren't subs. What Lupin does is exactly what I, as a sub, would do and I've had others who identified themselves as subs tell me the same thing. I would also have a great deal of trouble looking Dumbledore in the eye for years afterward, and I imagine most other subs would, too.
The last thing I want to touch on regarding why I see Lupin as a sub is, in a way, back to how people react to him. More than that, however, is that other characters attempt to protect him, whether or not he needs protection. Hermione learned Lupin was a werewolf fairly early in Prisoner of Azkaban (37), and yet she covered up for him (51). Imagine that a teenaged girl taking it upon herself to "protect" a full-grown man.
This strikes me a more than a little odd. Lupin isn't a house-elf, after all. He still inspires Hermione's protective streak, though just as enslaved house-elves do even when she has witnessed him taking care of himself and her in the process. Remember, Hermione is the one who tells Harry about Lupin's summoning a Patronus on the Hogwarts Express, even though she didn't know what the "silvery thing [that] shot out of his wand" was (18).
Dumbledore covered up what could be considered an attempted murder to protect Lupin while he was in school (21). In addition to that, imagine all the explaining Dumbledore must have had to do to the Minister of Magic. Not only would he have to defend his hiring a werewolf, but he'd also had to explain that Lupin was not in league with Black and was, in fact, trying to protect the children (45).
Both Hermione and Dumbledore's actions could, of course, be considered merely protecting Lupin because he's a werewolf. If Lupin were a Dom and werewolf, though, I wonder if they would have had the same urge to protect him. I'll refrain from lapsing into psychobabble about how being a werewolf from such a young age may have affected Lupin's goodness of fit with his family of origin and may have indeed been the very thing that made him a sub. That is a discussion for another time.
Here is an example of someone's protecting Lupin that cannot readily be linked to his lycanthropy. When Snape ties Lupin up in the Shrieking Shack, Black roars in rage and starts toward Snape, presumably to attack him for tying Lupin up (33). Lupin isn't hurt. He isn't bleeding. He's just tied up and squirming on the floor. Now, Doms get very protective of their subs (and it does wonders for our egos, I can tell you). I've said before that I see Black as a Dom. Perhaps Black's overreaction in this instance is because he can't stand the idea of Snape another Dom tying up Lupin, because he considers Lupin his sub, in a way.
In one specific place in Prisoner of Azkaban, I found myself empathizing with Lupin more strongly than in any other part of the book. When he said he'd battled with himself all year over whether or not to tell Dumbledore that Black was an Animagus (21), I knew exactly how he felt. I had a very similar experience with my former Master. Our rule was I had to tell my Master anything I thought he needed to know. Most of the time this was no problem, as I'm a fairly honest person.
I knew, however, that one of our mutual friends had been sent to prison for drug possession. I also knew that my Master hated drugs. I further knew that my Master didn't know about this mutual friend's past. I knew my Master wouldn't reject our friend because of that, but our friend didn't know that. I told my Master finally, after much internal conflict. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I felt I had to choose between one of my best friends and obeying my Master. I positively ached for Lupin in that scene, because that seemed to me at least to be what he had to do.
D. "It is very painful to turn into a werewolf." (21), or Why canon!Lupin could be a masochist.
In one series of my stories, I've turned Lupin into a masochist. I'll admit my motivation is the result of highly subjective interpretation of what is or isn't stated in Prisoner of Azkaban and, of course, seeing Lupin as Snape's opposite. Since masochism is a sexual response to physical pain and we never see Lupin in a sexual light in the canon we can never know for certain what "turns him on." This is why I say above "Why canon!Lupin could be a masochist." I'm not saying he is, just that the possibility exists. Not a single one of us could ever know for certain unless we shared nerve endings with him. As he is a fictional character, that will never happen. It would even be highly unlikely if he were a real person. We'd still have to take his word for it.
Here's how I came to that highly subjective conclusion. In the Shrieking Shack, when Lupin starts to talk about his transformations, he says they were "terrible," but he hesitates first. "My transformations in those days were were terrible. It is very painful to turn into a werewolf" (21). Most people would happily shake their heads, say "Poor Lupin," and read on. That little hesitation caught my attention, though. Why? Because I'm a masochist.
Lupin hesitates a few other times when speaking in Prisoner of Azkaban. In a couple of these places, Rowling states outright that he hesitated. In the interest of brevity, I've included only the instances in which Rowling clearly states Lupin hesitated, along with statements in which is speech is interrupted with dashes. This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it meant to be. With nearly three chapters in Prisoner of Azkaban devoted to little more than Lupin's dialogue in which his speech is riddled with pauses this section would be a behemoth if I included all his hesitations.
Lupin's hesitations generally fall into one of two categories: 1) when the subject affects him emotionally, or 2) when he's thinking, and especially when he's thinking of the "proper" thing to say. No doubt some of these examples fall into both categories, as well. Some examples of Lupin's hesitating when the subject of the conversation affects him emotionally are:
1) When he's trying to decide whether or not to give Harry anti-dementor lessons (42)Some examples of Lupin's hesitating when he's thinking of the proper thing to say are:
2) When Harry asks if he knew James (37)
3) When he figures out Peter was the real Secret Keeper (51)
4) When he speaks of how the Whomping Willow and the Shrieking Shack allowed him to attend school (21)
1) When explaining why Snape thought Harry got the Marauder's Map from the manufacturers (1)The question we must ask ourselves is this: When Lupin hesitates while speaking of his "painful" transformations, is it because his transformations are sad to recall, or because it's not proper to admit one enjoys pain? ("My transformations were terrible. Yeah, terrible, that's it!") One might say I'm blowing that one little hesitation all out of proportion. After all, I myself have grouped another instances of Lupin's speaking about his lycanthropy in with the hesitations when the subject affects him emotionally. One could just as easily conclude that here the subject matter also affects Lupin emotionally. I don't attempt to deny that, which is precisely the reason I say Lupin could be a masochist rather than he is. By contrast, I have, in fact, concluded that Snape is a sadist.
2) When he speaks of the relationship between his friends and Snape in school (21)
3) When he talks about the "trick" Black played on Snape (21)
4) When he speaks of Snape's "accidentally" telling the Slytherins about his lycanthropy (7)
5) Before returning the Marauder's Map (7)
On the other hand, all fanfiction involves some speculation about the characters, since none of us is J. K. Rowling. Any fanfic including sexual relations between characters involves more speculation, and slash fanfic especially. For example, since the books are from Harry's point of view, Harry is the only character for whom we can have any real clues as to his sexual orientation. So far, Harry has only shown heterosexual tendencies by being attracted to Cho Chang (19, 35, 37, 38, 49, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57), and yet writers still slash Harry all the time.
Call me a canon stickler, but I refuse to slash Harry until he begins to show some attraction to members of his own sex ... Well, that and I don't particularly like Harry, either. I find virtually no sex appeal in a 14-year-old, and I don't consider him interesting enough to speculate as to what he'll be like when he's older. My point, however, is I have more canon-based "evidence" to conclude Lupin is a masochist than other writers have to make Harry bisexual, although slash fiction with Harry is commonplace.
Another of Lupin's hesitations I've cited above has similarly been extrapolated to extremes. When Lupin speaks of how he and his friends related to Snape in school, he says, "we er didn't like each other very much" (21). If Lupin had not hesitated, his words would be interpreted literally. Because of his hesitation, that statement has been subjected to widely varying interpretations. Lupin's words can be taken as an attempt to downplay severe animosity (and the resulting "trick") in order to get the children to trust Sirius Black. Others who write fanfiction have taken this hesitation to mean Lupin and Snape were romantically involved during school.
The example above is interpreting Lupin's words to have the exact opposite meaning of what he states. While I don't personally write Snape and Lupin as "involved" during school, I can see the validity of the hypothesis: that Lupin hesitates because he doesn't want to admit he's gay in front of the children. Similarly, I feel completely justified in interpreting Lupin's hesitation in speaking of his transformations as possibly because he enjoys pain. If Lupin is a masochist, he would be just as hesitant to admit to liking pain, since that is even more taboo than merely being gay. In front an old friend who probably wouldn't understand and three children, he would hesitate and say his transformations were "terrible."
Lupin never once says the pain of his transformations was the part he disliked. The closest he comes to that is, "But apart from my transformations, I was happier than I had ever been in my life" (21). We do know that Lupin's transformations drain him and have made him old before his time. Consider Ron and Harry's respective post-transformation observations of Lupin. Ron notes that Lupin looks as though "one good hex would finish him off" (18). Harry later observes, "It certainly looked as though he had been ill. His old robes were hanging more loosely on him and there were dark shadows beneath his eyes" (42). Even if Lupin enjoys pain, apparently his transformations are still stressful.
Because of how the boggart reacts to him, we know the full moon is Lupin's greatest fear (34, 37). Yet, is the fear related to his actual transformations and the consequent pain? Or does his fear merely stem from the possibility of infecting someone else with lycanthropy and possibly even killing someone? When he speaks of roaming about the grounds with his Animagus friends, Lupin calls his transformations as "the best times of [his] life" (21). He adds that "Sirius and James transformed into such large animals, they were able to keep a werewolf in check," even though the thought of their many "near misses" haunts him (21). Clearly the possibility of attacking someone while in his wolf form is one of Lupin biggest concerns (7), which could easily translate to why the full moon is his greatest fear. His fear probably has nothing whatsoever to do with pain.
Most people automatically equate "pain" with "bad," but I don't. Perhaps Lupin doesn't, either. He states, "The screams and howls the villagers used to hear were made by me" (21). Just for the record, wolves howl normally that is how they identify themselves to other wolves. Screaming also does not necessarily translate to something bad. People on a roller coaster scream while they are enjoying themselves. Many people scream during sex when they are enjoying themselves. And masochists can also scream while enjoying themselves, in much the same way as people who scream during sex.
For those who think these conclusions are completely preposterous, I ask you to consider one last thing before passing judgment: "The villagers heard the noise and the screaming and thought they were hearing particularly violent spirits" (21). If Lupin were ripping himself apart in wolf form, wouldn't the noise be described as "whining" or "yelping"? Screaming is a human trait. Human screams might be mistaken for ghosts, and even those of some other animals. If you've ever heard a rabbit scream which is one of the most bloodcurdling sounds on earth you would know exactly what I mean. I seriously doubt, however, that the sounds of a wolf in pain would be mistaken for ghosts.
When Harry hears "yelping" and "whining," he concludes there is a "dog in pain." In other words, Sirius is in trouble (58). Dogs and wolves taxonomy aside are the same species. Dogs were domesticated from wolves. The two can interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring as opposed to dogs and coyotes, for instance, which can't. Dogs and wolves also tend to make the same noises (howling, growling, yelping, whining), although dogs tend to bark more often than wolves do.
Rowling seems quite aware of the noises Sirius would make in his dog form when he is in pain. Yet the noises Lupin's wolf form makes, supposedly when in pain, are described as "screams" and "howls." I personally find this odd. Also, how would a wolf "scream" while its mouth was occupied with biting? It's quite possible that Lupin injured himself before his transformations while still in human form and screamed in the process. His wolf form could then have gone on to destroy the Shrieking Shack because it couldn't reach prey.
As long as I've addressed the Roman symbolism with Snape, I might as well address that with Lupin. Remus of "Romulus and Remus" fame was the twin upon whose blood Rome was founded. So we already have a subliminal association of Lupin as a victim or martyr. This is only reinforced by his "victimization" by wizarding society as a werewolf. Some in this fandom have even gone so far as to compare Lupin to Christ, which I can also see, from Lupin's meek, humble manner. I personally wouldn't take the analogy that far (although I couldn't resist writing Lupin doing a little carpentry). Lupin as a martyr, however, conjures up all sorts of images in my mind, only the least of which is being bound, arms out to his sides, like Christ on the cross. It also evokes images of Lupin's submitting to great pain and suffering, which we know he does at least once a month, regardless of whether he likes the pain.
II. Does the bondage involved in the Shrieking Shack cause Snape and Lupin to be cast in a kinky light?
That certainly doesn't hurt, especially for those of us who already have that bent. Add to that descriptions of sounds in terms of the crack of a whip (26, 34, 54), and the lovely mental image of brandishing a whip (33), and pretty soon a BDSMer's subliminal mind will jump for joy. By the way, I am not counting any references to someone's "whipping around," a wizard's "whipping out" his wand, or the wind's "whipping through" someone's hair. These are actual references to an actual whip used as a simile in the text.
We all read the same Shrieking Shack scene, of course (33). The first time through, I probably read it the same way as everyone else did. The second (and third and fourth) time, here's what I saw:
Snape follows Lupin to the Shrieking Shack, expecting to find him consorting with a murderer. But whom does he tie up? The murderer? No, he ties Lupin up instead. That could be explained by the fact that Lupin is a werewolf and about to transform. If Snape is so concerned about Lupin's transformation, however, why didn't he just bring the potion that would have made Lupin safe? Perhaps Snape prefers ropes to potions. Since Snape is obsessive about potions, that would be saying something, wouldn't it?
After Snape is knocked out, Black unties Lupin. Does Lupin thank Black for untying him? No, although he thanks Harry for disabling Snape. Lupin is exceptionally polite and free with his thanks throughout Prisoner of Azkaban (remember the seven "pleases" in one book to Snape's zero in four books). I would think a little "thank you" to Black for untying him would be in order. Unless, of course, Lupin doesn't mind being tied up and is, in fact, a little disappointed when Black lets him loose.
When Lupin ties Pettigrew up, he uses the same thin snake-like cords Snape used. "But those are just ropes," you might say. Oh no, those aren't just ropes. Those are ropes that with a snap of his fingers Snape calls into his hand. Those are very useful ropes, especially if one is already into bondage. After Pettigrew is tied up and they decide to take him to the castle, Black conjures manacles to chain someone to Pettigrew. And who is the first to volunteer? Lupin, of course. Does that mean he simply dislikes and distrusts Pettigrew, or that he also likes manacles?
So, in conclusion, with all these elements churning around in my subconscious "masterful" and "sadistic" Snape, "mild" and possibly "masochistic" Lupin, imagery of whips cracking and people brandishing whips, topped off with bondage in the Shrieking Shack seeing Lupin and Snape as a kinky couple became the most natural thing in the world.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 14: Snape's Grudge
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 16: Through the Trapdoor
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 11: Quidditch
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 13: Nicolas Flamel
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 15: The Forbidden Forest
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 17: The Man With Two Faces
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22: Owl Post Again
8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 25: The Egg and the Eye
9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 14: The Unforgivable Curses
10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30: The Pensieve
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35: Veritaserum
12. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 5: The Whomping Willow
13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9: The Writing on the Wall
14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 9: Grim Defeat
15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 8: The Potions Master
16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 1: The Worst Birthday
17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11: The Dueling Club
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5: The Dementor
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12: The Triwizard Tournament
20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
21. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
22. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys
23. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 1: Owl Post
24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 3: The Burrow
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10: The Rogue Bludger
26. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 2: Dobby's Warning
27. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18: Dobby's Reward
28. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8: The Quidditch World Cup
29. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 9: The Dark Mark
30. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 21: The House-Elf Liberation Front
31. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28: The Madness Of Mr. Crouch
32. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4: At Flourish and Blotts
33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort
34. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7: The Boggart in the Wardrobe
35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27: Padfoot Returns
36. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8: Flight of the Fat Lady
37. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12: The Patronus
38. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
39. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 18: The Weighing of the Wands
40. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36: The Parting of the Ways
41. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33: The Death Eaters
42. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10: The Marauder's Map
43. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat
44. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 29: The Dream
45. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21: Hermione's Secret
46. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel
47. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8: The Deathday Party
48. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 11: The Firebolt
49. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 31: The Third Task
50. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 13: Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw
51. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 17: Cat, Rat, and Dog
52. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7: Bagman and Crouch
53. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 19: The Hungarian Horntail
54. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22: The Unexpected Task
55. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23: The Yule Ball
56. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 24: Rita Skeeter's Scoop
57. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26: The Second Task
58. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20: The Dementor's Kiss