This month’s Author Takeover comes from our YALC Gryffindor Head of House, Non Pratt, author of Trouble, Remix and her latest novella with Barrington Stoke, Unboxed. Unboxed is about four teenagers who reunite after the passing of a close friend. In previous years they had put together a time capsule to commemorate their best summer, at age 13. Now the time has come to re-open the box. This is a story of secrets, memories, friendship, and the bonds that unite us through time.
In her Author Takeover, Non turns her eye for complicated friendships to some of our most beloved Potter characters. You can find Non on Twitter @NonPratt or follow @BarringtonStoke for more information about Unboxed and their Super Readable Books campaigns.
Time heals all things? Non Pratt on the heartbreaks of best friendships
Friendship is something I can’t seem to stop writing about. I’m fascinated by the things that can tear these precious bonds apart – jealousy, betrayal, the imbalance of needing someone more than they need you… and the one thing that’s completely beyond your control and can undoubtedly do the most damage:
For me, there’s nowhere in literature that demonstrates the devastating impact time can have like in Harry Potter. And no, I’m not talking about the Golden Trio; I am (of course) talking about the sub-narrative of the Marauders.
In my first read of Prisoner of Azkaban, most of my tears were reserved for Harry (“’Are you mad?’ said Harry, his voice easily as croaky as Sirius’s. ‘Of course I want to leave the Dursleys! Have you got a house? When can I move in?’”) and the snatching away of the one thing he’s always wanted. But afterwards, on subsequent re-reads, it’s the Remus/Sirius dynamic that gets me thinking… (no, not like that… well, not entirely.)
The Marauders are best friends, like proper become-an-illegal-Animagus-so-you-can-hang-with-a-werewolf-every-full-moon besties. A werewolf who feels undeserving of love; an arrogant, privileged young man with a complicated-at-best relationship with his family; a tagger-on who isn’t all that good at magic; and charmed-lifer James Potter. These guys are the Breakfast Club of Hogwarts – and we’re given the rare privilege of seeing what happens afterwards.
When James, he of the charmed life, perfect wife, and first to become a father, is killed, all that shared history, all that love, all that trust is shattered. Because the remaining Marauders know that it was one of them who betrayed him.
(No sympathy for Peter in this instance, obvs.)
Lupin loses everything in one night. The family he made of his friends is gone. Two dead, one left – the one that had to have been the reason the other two died…
Sirius loses his best friend, James, and is betrayed by Peter. BUT because he never told Lupin what he was doing, because (entirely consistently with his character) Sirius rushed off to avenge his friends’ deaths before talking about it with anyone, Sirius has spent the last twelve years dealing with a different kind of betrayal. The betrayal of his one remaining friend thinking is it he, Sirius, who is to blame.
The line “I haven’t been Sirius’s friend for twelve years, but I am now” has a particular poignancy when you think about it…
In Order of the Phoenix, when Sirius falls through the Veil, my Azkaban-old sympathies for Harry flare up at the thought of him losing family again, and then, and then, you think about the person who holds Harry back, who has to say over and over again to a distraught boy who’s the nearest thing Lupin has to family that Sirius is dead…
Imagine having your one remaining best friend snatched from you and being forced to put someone else’s feelings ahead of your own.
When he says – over and over – “There is nothing you can do…” to Harry at the end of Order of the Phoenix, is Lupin really talking to Harry, or is he finally admitting that time, the greatest of enemies to the greatest of friends, has won?
There is no going back for the Marauders.
But I wish there were.
— YALC (@yalc_uk) July 31, 2016