Peter, James and (Remus) John

by Isla Kennedy

When JK Rowling gave her webchat at the start of last month, she gave me a lot of food for thought. For example, who will the next Minister for Magic be? However, one comment was especially intriguing to me:

kylie: What does the “J” in Remus J Lupin stand for?

JK Rowling replies -> ‘John’. Boring but true! – From ‘The Leaky Cauldron’

So anyway, I noticed that Peter, James and John were the names of the three disciples that Jesus took with him everywhere. When he went up the mountain, and Moses and Elijah appeared with him, Peter, James and John were there. When he went to heal Jairus’ daughter, Peter, James and John were there.

Could JK Rowling have included religious symbolism in this? Sirius, as far as we know, does not share a name with any disciple, and so he could be said to represent Jesus. Jesus did not follow the norm expected of him, but mixed with Gentiles and Outcasts. In the same way, Sirius did not accept his family’s authority and joined the Gryffindors. What is more, he talked with Purebloods who were ‘on the wrong side,’ like James.

Also, Jesus died an unfair and cruel death on the cross, dying in place of others. Sirius did not deserve to die that day, when he fell through the veil. It is possible that his life was taken so that Harry, and everyone else, might live in peace. Three days later, Jesus rose to life. I am not sure how this reckons in Harry Potter, but it is possible that Sirius might rise again.

On to the first of our three remaining Marauders: Peter. During the feast of the Last Supper, Peter was told that he would deny the Lord three times.

 “I tell you Peter,” Jesus said, “the cock will not crow tonight until you have said three times that you do not know me.” Luke 22:34 (Good News Version)

If we replace the word ‘deny’ with ‘betray’, we can get a good idea of Wormtail’s three times. First, he agreed to be secret keeper for the Potters and then gave away their position to Voldemort. Second, he killed twelve Muggles with a wand behind his back (leaving Sirius to take the blame) and then ran off to live with the Weasley family. Third was after he’d been revealed in the shrieking shack, when he escaped yet again. The cock has crowed, Peter, if you represent it by Sirius’ death. The night is represented, unusually, by the time of peace. Perhaps this is because it is so busy during the daytime, yet at night all is quiet, waiting.

Yet Jesus said that Peter would one day become the head of his church. Is Peter going to come out and lead the Order into battle and rescue them from the Dark Lord? Simon Peter turned back to Jesus, after his temptation that he could not resist. Peter could not resist the temptation of Voldemort, yet he may turn back to the side of good. Simon Peter was a disciple, and Pettigrew was in the generally good house of Gryffindor.

Even JK Rowling herself gives clues that Peter may be redeemed. From the webchat again:

Rita: What about Wormtail? Is there hope for redemption?

JK Rowling replies-> There’s always hope, of course. You’ll find out more about our rat-like friend in book six.

I don’t know much about the other disciples, James and John. However, they were brothers, sons of Zebedee. Although in Harry Potter they may not have been related, they were very close. It was James’ idea for them to become Animagi in order to help Sirius, as far as I can tell.

To sum up: Peter, James and (Remus) John are symbolic of the three disciples of Jesus, never far from him. Sirius is symbolic of Jesus. Peter will be redeemed, and Sirius will come back. Well, I can never give up hope!