It's a day that ends with "y," and that means Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has just made a bombshell revelation about one of the characters in her beloved children's series. This time, it's about Remus Lupin — the former Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and Voldemort resistance crusader who turns into a werewolf during every full moon.
According to Pink News, Rowling revealed in her recent release, Short Stories From Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies, that Lupin's affliction was, "a metaphor for those illnesses that carry a stigma, like HIV and AIDS."
"All kinds of superstitions seem to surround blood-borne conditions, probably due to taboos surrounding blood itself," Rowling wrote, according to the site.
In the books, Lupin's condition causes him to withdraw from friends and family when his symptoms manifest, since being a werewolf is highly stigmatized in the wizarding world.
In real life, discrimination and misinformation about blood disorders like HIV are ubiquitous — and the United Nations AIDS Program says that they are among "the foremost barriers to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support." According to AVERT, which cites the People Living with HIV Stigma Index, roughly one in every eight people living with HIV is being denied health services because of the discrimination they face.
Lupin, for his part, eventually finds love, friendship and acceptance throughout the course of the series, and, according to Pink News, Rowling said that he is "one of her favorite characters in the entire Potter series."
"The wizarding community is as prone to hysteria and prejudice as the Muggle one, and the character of Lupin gave me a chance to examine those attitudes," she wrote.