There is a monster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Earlier this summer, Hogwarts underwent a minor scandal when esteemed Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Remus Lupin was revealed to be none other than a werewolf. Parental reaction to this news was immediate. Mere days after the news broke, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was overheard to have said, "The school hasn't received this much owl post since Rita Skeeter's article saying that we were changing the dress code from robes to lederhosen!" As a result of this new discovery, many people now believe that Professor Lupin poses a great threat to the safety of Hogwarts' students.
BUT DOES HE?
No, Lupin is not the monster of which I speak. Werewolves are not nearly as treacherous as the masses believe. They are only truly dangerous once a month, when they transform, and a source close to the school has informed me that Wolfsbane Potion was employed throughout the year to keep Lupin from being a danger.1 In fact, Lupin is practically a puppy dog compared to the monster we at The Quibbler have discovered at our children's school.
It may be hard to believe at first, but the evidence is incontrovertible: Astronomy Professor Aurora Sinistra is a vampire.
Not much is known about the woman before Dumbledore hired her as Astronomy professor in 1964. Could it be that she was hiding in Transylvania, hoping to avoid the prejudices of witches and wizards who would consider her a threat? Could it be that she worked as a Muggle phlebotomist before her identity was discovered? Could it be that Dumbledore rescued her from some deadly (or shall I say "un-deadly"?) situation and brought her to England to live and to teach? Of course, the Headmaster is a kind and generous man who is willing to allow nearly anyone a chance ’ consider Remus Lupin again, if you will. Who but Dumbledore would so generously give a humble werewolf a teaching position at a boarding school? Is it not conceivable that he would perhaps offer a similar job to a vampire? It is simply thrilling to discover that such a unique creature is so close to the next generation of witches and wizards. There are far too many problems today with those who would fight for pureblood supremacy and other such nonsense. Hiring a werewolf and a vampire to be role models is a brilliant move by Professor Dumbledore. Clearly, he hopes to create a well-rounded and diversified teaching staff that will encourage Hogwarts students to accept all beings on an equal basis.
There are probably those of you reading who do not believe that Professor Sinistra could possibly be a vampire. However, a look at the woman's name reveals more about her than you might think. Her first name is Aurora ’ a simple, lovely name.
BUT IS IT?
In Greek mythology, Aurora was the goddess of the Dawn. A cover up name for a vampire if ever I heard one! Goddess of the Dawn indeed! Vampires despise and often fear the dawn. What better way to distract from her true nature than to use a name that draws attention to the sunlight? But Sinistra does show a sly, witty sense of humor in this choice of names. Research into the nature of her namesake reveals that the goddess "flies across the sky announcing the arrival of the sun." 2 And Sinistra likewise turns into a bat and flies away with the sun's arrival. Clever, indeed, but not clever enough to fool The Quibbler.
Her last name is even more revealing. "Sinistra" ¦ rather reminiscent of "sinister' isn't it? A clue as to her plans for tasty Hogwarts students? Perhaps. A peek into her sordid past? Quite possibly. Pure coincidence? Certainly not! And if this obvious play on words, which again shows Sinistra's bizarre sense of humor, is not convincing enough for some, consider the Latin root of the word: official Ministry of Magic Latin Experts Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short say that "sinistra" means "wrong, perverse, or improper." 3 Need I even ask what could be more improper and perverse than the drinking of human blood?
Aurora + Sinistra = Vampire.
Next, we must look the subject Professor Sinistra teaches. There is always much to learn about a person (or a vampire) based upon the profession he or she chooses. Whether the professor chose her field or Professor Dumbledore conferred it to her when she was hired can only be speculated. Astronomy, of course, is studied in the dead of night4 ’ the best time for a vampire to be out and about. Certainly a sunlight-wary creature cannot teach classes during the day! Astronomy is the natural choice for a vampire wishing to teach. Furthermore, and I of course mean no offense to the great scholars of astronomy, this field does not require any real magical skill. Telescopes and star charts and mapping the planets, while a vital part of magical theory, do not necessitate any spell work. As vampires are clearly included in paragraph twelve of the Guidelines for the Treatment of Non-Wizard Part-Humans,5 we must assume that Sinistra has no magical ability. She is a vampire, not a witch. It appears, then, that astronomy suits both her strengths and her weaknesses. What better way to conceal a vampire within the walls of a school than to give her a job teaching a non-magical subject in the middle of the night?
However, while the decision was logical, it may not have been wise. As excited as I am to see a vampire teaching at Hogwarts, I am greatly concerned by the implications of a vampire teaching this particular subject.
As is common knowledge, centaurs are strongly opposed to vampires.6
Could it be that vampires have a wrong or perverse understanding of the stars? Centaurs, of course, are extraordinarily brilliant astronomers and diviners, so it makes perfect sense that they would oppose anyone or anything that distorts the night sky. Vampires do live unnaturally long lives. They have centuries' worth of night skies to observe, so who is to say that they don't have some sort of sinister view of the stars and planets? If this is indeed the case, parents need to be wary of what their children are learning from this woman. For instance, since discovering this information, I have been sure to teach my daughter proper astronomy every summer when she returns home from Hogwarts. She has told me that Sinistra teaches nothing about the astrological houses or which colors should be worn to counteract their negative effects. Vital information such as this cannot be withheld from our children, so I encourage every parent reading to make sure to supplement his or her child's education over the summer. If you feel under qualified to teach this material yourself, please contact The Quibbler (details located in the front of the magazine), and we would be more than happy to set you up with a tutor. As the great Rowena Ravenclaw once said, "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure." To this end, every effort must be taken to ensure the security and safety of our children's knowledge. I would be more than happy to help make up for the astronomical deficit that lingers because of the hiring of this vampire.
I must conclude by saying that it is true, despite her lack of proper teaching skills, that there have been no recorded problems with Professor Sinistra. There have been no mysterious disappearances of students, no reports of people suddenly showing up to class pale and gaunt with bite marks on their necks. I believe Dumbledore has been keeping Sinistra firmly in check over the years she has been teaching.
How exactly Professor Sinistra manages to stay alive (or undead, I should say) without imbibing in human blood is a matter that requires further investigation, and we at The Quibbler certainly intend to continue our research to bring you the truth. It is possible that Dumbledore supplies her with human blood from an outside source or that she has managed to survive on the blood of animals in the Forbidden Forest. Or, if my phlebotomy theory is correct, she may have stored up blood in the past so that she can remain alive without fresh victims.
Despite what we still do not know, Sinistra's true nature needs to be public knowledge. Parents should be aware of what their children are learning and from whom they are learning it. I strongly believe, though, that the lessons in diversity and equal treatment of all beings that Hogwarts students can learn through Professor Sinistra are phenomenally greater than any other subjects taught in the classroom.
And while her record at the school may be clean, we do not know what her past held and we may never know what may come from Professor Sinistra in the future. In all likelihood, she is working to prevent Nargles from taking over Hogwarts. Think of the vast amount of space in the castle from which to hang mistletoe! What self-respecting Nargle wouldn't want to live in a place like that? But Nargles and vampires are even more strongly at odds than vampires and centaurs, and it is common knowledge that Nargles are deathly afraid of vampires. Inspections of castle mistletoe around Christmastime never reveal any Nargles, so it is clear that Sinistra's presence is warding them off. For her service in this manner, I thank Professor Sinistra, and I wish her a long life full of service to Hogwarts and to the wizarding community.
1. Said source wished to remain anonymous, but more can be read on this topic in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which details the school year during which Lupin taught.
2. Quoted from Greek scholar Risa Gordon's work.
3. From a personal interview with Lewis and Short.
4. My source at the school informs me that Astronomy classes take place at midnight.
5. An intelligent young ministry worker named Percy Weasley recently informed me of this fact, and for his information I am grateful.
6. Scamander, Fantastic Beasts, xiii (footnote 3).
Gordon, Risa. "Aurora." Encyclopedia Mythica. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/aurora.html.
Lewis, Charlton and Charles Short. "Sinister." A Latin Dictionary. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2344398.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000.
”””. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
”””. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1997.
Scamander, Newt. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2001.