The Roman Myth That Inspired Remus Lupin's Name In Harry Potter

Harry Potter culture has always given readers and viewers alike an enchanting universe to flock to when life seems mundane and grim. From the first book's publication in 1997 to the final film's release in 2010 and beyond, J.K. Rowling's magical progeny has become generation defining. But with a second look, we see that the wizarding world is more rooted in our own than we know.

Since his first appearance in "The Prisoner of Azkaban," Remus Lupin's character is one fans of the franchise have always adored. He's one of the story's most benevolent protagonists who has a Jekyll-and-Hyde-like tendency to turn violent and animalistic when the moon sees fit. In short, he's a werewolf.

While werewolves are (for better or worse) widely understood to be non-existent, the different mythological terms that refer to them are abundant, and Remus' name/backstory is chalked with them — most of which have Latin/Roman origins (via Wizarding World).

Follow the wolf prints

"Lupus" is a Latin term that translates directly to '"wolf," while "Remus" was the name of a Roman child who was nursed and raised by wolves (via The Daily Universe). 

In Roman mythology, Remus had a brother named Romulus who also grew up learning how to howl and hunt on all fours. Those familiar with Rowling's books might also recall that Professor Lupin used Romulus as an alias on "Potterwatch" (a pirate radio program for those in rebellion against Lord Voldemort) in order to shield his identity (per Wizarding World).

He's also not the only wolf in the pack with a name that can be traced back to mythological roots. Lupin's father, Lyall, is a more shrouded character who is only referred to in the novels. His name is derived from an old Norse word, "Liulfr," which translates directly to "wolf" (Wizarding World). All in the family, we suppose.

Another unforgettable Harry Potter hero who met a tragic end was Sirius Black. As you probably recall, Black had the ability to transform into a large black dog at will (unlike Lupin, whose shape-shifting nature was far less voluntary). 

The name "Sirius" is inspired by the brightest star in Canis Major ("Great Dog") and is often called The Dog Star (The Daily Universe). The wolfpack is strong in The Wizarding World, and so is their link to our own.