The Harry Potter series is, of course, a story that follows Harry Potter. We enter the wizarding world through his eyes, we experience the story through his perspective – highs, lows, suffering and all. This means that we get a deep, unique insight into Harry’s thinking, into how he reacts and feels. But it also means that our insight into other characters’ heads is limited. After all, Harry Potter may be our series’ protagonist, but the wizarding wars were not just his story. They affected an array of characters – most of them in ways we’ll never truly understand. Take, for example…
Ginny Weasley’s first year at Hogwarts was a dark and difficult one. It was the year when, aged 11, the youngest Weasley was introduced to Tom Riddle’s diary; in time, it began to use her as a vessel for evil, before trying to kill her. Harry saved her, of course, and the story moved on. But did Ginny also move on? Such an experience, after all, was likely to leave scars. With us not being in her head it’s hard to be certain, but there were clues. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, for example, her reaction to the Dementors was severe, with her ‘shaking like mad’, according to Ron. And then there was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which Ginny told off Harry for being careless with a mysterious book. It’s fair to assume that the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets never really left Ginny.
Katie Bell was not a major character in the Harry Potter series – but that doesn’t mean that those in the background don’t have stories to tell. Her big moment, of course, came in Half-Blood Prince, when – under the Imperius Curse – she was made to carry a cursed opal necklace in an attempt on Albus Dumbledore’s life. In a mix of fortunes, Katie ended up inadvertently touching the necklace through a tiny hole in her glove; it wasn’t enough contact to kill her instantly, but it caused terrible pain, and she needed six months in St Mungo’s to recover.
How would such a near-death experience affect someone so young? How did she find adjusting to life afterwards? When she was asked about it after the event, she seemed rather well, but surely you wouldn’t forget this in a hurry.
There were times when Harry Potter’s story, his suffering and grief and trials and tribulations, overshadowed everyone else’s – even those closest to him. Take Hermione during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, possibly her darkest time. For not only was this the book where Hermione modified the memories of her parents – how difficult must that have been? – but it was also the story in which she was tortured brutally by Bellatrix Lestrange. It says something about how dark and tragic Deathly Hallows was that this was one of its milder elements, but that didn’t stop it being a horrible and traumatic thing to go through.
Did it affect her more than she let on? Or did she consider the experience as just a bad thing that happened in a year of bad things happening? Either way, it’s fair to assume that this was one memory that wouldn’t have faded for a long, long time.
The grand finale of the Harry Potter series, the Battle of Hogwarts, claimed many lives – some of which came as a shock to both wizards and readers alike. For readers, the pages stopped there. But for wizards such as the Weasleys, the story would have gone on – as the shock of Fred Weasley’s death turned to grief and trauma.
How did the loss of his brother affect Ron? How did it affect the other Weasley siblings? Did Molly ever have a good day after the death of her son? Did Arthur? And, perhaps most tragic of all, how did George deal with the loss of his twin? According to J.K. Rowling, George never truly got over the death of Fred, naming one of his children after him. It’s little surprise. The psychological effect of losing your twin is enormous – he must never have felt whole again.
This, sadly, is the story that we don’t see: of Teddy Lupin, the son of the late Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, growing up without a mother or father. It has obvious parallels to Harry Potter’s upbringing as an orphan – an unhappy upbringing, full of unresolved issues from never knowing his parents. How would Teddy feel when people told him of Remus and Nymphadora’s noble sacrifice? Would he be angry at the Death Eaters who killed them? Would he grow up hating Lord Voldemort? Would he be sad when hearing stories of just how brilliant they were?
As Harry Potter knew, just because you never knew someone fully, it doesn’t mean that you can’t grow up grieving for them. Luckily for Teddy, at the very least, he will grow up among people – namely the Potters and the Weasleys who will be able to guide him through those formative years.