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Aurora Sinistra
Biographical information
Born

Prior to 1970[1]

Blood status

Half or pure-blood (possibly)[2]

Title(s)

Professor

Physical information
Species

Human

Gender

Female[3]

Hair colour

Brown[4]

Eye colour

Brown[5]

Magical characteristics
Wand

Unknown

Affiliation
Occupation

Professor of Astronomy

Loyalty
"Prof. Aurora Sinistra... Astronomy."
—Sinistra's name and subject on a list of teachers.[src]

Professor Aurora Sinistra[8] was a witch and member of the Astronomy department at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She may have once attended the school as a student, and could have been part of the Slug Club because of her astrological skills[9]. At some point, she applied for a seat in the Astronomy department and was accepted. Sinistra taught her students at midnight at the topmost tower of Hogwarts Castle, and taught the names of stars and constellations, aswell as the movements of the planets and other astronomical matters[10]. She was a regular attendant for the Start-of-Term Feast each year, usually sitting near the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore[11], and seemed to be a friend of the Substitute Professor for Care of Magical Creatures, Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank[12].

During the 1991–1992 school year, Professor Sinistra presumably taught the famous Harry Potter every Wednesday at midnight. Topics included studying the night sky with telescopes and learning the stars names through their deductions[13]. The following year, the professor was present at the discovery of a Petrified Justin Finch-Fletchley, and helped transport him with Filius Flitwick, the Charms Master, to Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital wing[14]. In 1994, Sinistra attended the Yule Ball with "Alastor Moody", and danced a nervous two-step, careful to avoid his wooden leg[15], though she spent most of her time watching over the proceedings with other members of staff[16]. The year after, she was presumably inspected by Dolores Umbridge, the Hogwarts High Inquisitor, and passed. As preparation for her fifth years' Ordinary Wizarding Levels, Professor Sinistra gave out large amounts of homework, and was seen chatting to Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank numerous times throughout the year[17]. During the 1996–1997 school year, she attended the Slug Club Christmas party, hosted by Horace Slughorn, and likely took part in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower months after[18]. It is also likely that she participated in the Battle of Hogwarts the following year.

Biography

Early Life

Sinistra was born between 1930 and 1970[19] and began her magical studies at the age of eleven. It is most likely that she attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and, if so, achieved a high graded O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. in Astronomy, as she went on to teach this subject for many years after. It is also possible that she was a member of the Slug Club[20], formed by Potions Master Horace Slughorn, for her astronomical talents. Sinistra continued her studies until at least sixth year, before leaving school for the outside world.

Career at Hogwarts

Professor

Professor Sinistra sat at the High Table.

Early Career

"There have been a few changes in staffing this year..."
The Headmaster beginning to introduce new teachers.[src]

At some point, Sinistra applied for a place in the Astronomy department at Hogwarts and was accepted, becoming a Hogwarts Professor. She taught her lessons at midnight at the top of the Astronomy Tower, the highest point of the castle[21], and probably had an office elsewhere. Her students each required a telescope for her lessons, and she taught all about the different stars and constellations, aswell as moons and planets. She regularly attended the Start-of-Term Feast, where she appeared to enjoy socializing with other teachers, such as Pomona Sprout, the Herbology professor[22], and Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, the substitute for Professor Kettleburn[23]. She was known to give large amounts of homework to students in their fifth year and those who continued Astronomy for sixth and seventh[24].

1991-1992 school year

"They had to study the skies every Wednesday at midnight and learn the names of stars and movements of planets."
—A description of Professor Sinistra's classes.[src]
Female teacher

Professor Sinistra seated in the Great Hall.

At the beginning of the 1991–1992 school year, the famous Harry Potter arrived at Hogwarts, and was Sorted into Gryffindor House at the Sorting ceremony, which Professor Sinistra may have attended[25]. He studied Astronomy every Wednesday at midnight, and it is more than likely that Sinistra taught these lessons rather than another member of the department[26]. For her classes with first years, she made them study the stars of the night sky and have them identify each star from their deductions[27].

1992-1993 school year

"Justin Finch-Fletchley was carried up to the Hospital wing by Professor Flitwick and Professor Sinistra of the Astronomy department..."
—Professor Sinistra after the third petrification attack.[src]

During the 1992–1993 school year, Professor Sinistra continued her career in the Astronomy department. This year, however, the Chamber of Secrets was opened once again, having killed a Ravenclaw named Myrtle in 1943. Sinistra was present when Muggle-born student Justin Finch-Fletchley was discovered, petrified after an attempted attack on him by the Basilisk. Together, she and Professor Filius Flitwick, the Charms Master, removed Justin's body and took him to the Hospital wing where he was to be treated by Madam Poppy Pomfrey. Thankfully, the Chamber was closed at the end of the year and the Basilisk slain[28].

1994-1995 school year

Cdfpromo-novas (1)

Aurora Sinistra and Alastor Moody at the Yule Ball.

"Mad-Eye Moody was doing an extremely ungainly two-step with Professor Sinistra, who was nervously avoiding his wooden leg."
—Professor Sinistra at the Yule Ball.[src]

During the 1994–1995 school year, the Triwizard Tournament took place at Hogwarts Castle. For the Start-of-Term Feast, Professor Sinistra sat next in between Severus Snape and Pomona Sprout, and was seen talking to the latter[29]. She was also present at the arrival of the students of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, and probably joined in singing the school song[30]. At Christmas, the Yule Ball took place, which Sinistra attended wearing a red dress with a cardigan and her hair done up[31]. She watched over the proceedings with Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Igor Karkaroff and another witch[32], and was asked to dance by Bartemius Crouch Jr. posing as Alastor Moody. Sinistra danced a nervous two-step, careful to avoid his wooden leg, and seemed rather uncomfortable[33].

1995-1996 school year

"Professors McGonagall, Grubbly-Plank and Sinistra gave them even more homework..."
—Sinistra and her colleagues preparing their fifth years for their O.W.L.s.[src]
File:Trelawneyandsinistra.jpg

The following academic year, Professor Sinistra sat inbetween a wizard and Sybill Trelawney, and tried to pay attention to Dolores Umbridge's speech rather than watching Trelawney make a mess of her meal[34]. Later in the year, when Umbridge was made High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, it is assumed that Sinistra's lessons were inspected. Also that year, she gave large amounts of homework to her fifth years as preparation for their Ordinary Wizarding Levels. One of these known pieces of homework was a project on Jupiter's moons. Throughout the year she was seen talking to Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, the stand-in professor for Rubeus Hagrid, the Care of Magical Creatures teacher[35].

1996-1997 school year

Unidentified teacher in slug party

Professor Sinistra at the Slug Club Christmas party.

"The lightning-struck tower. Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time..."
Sybill Trelawney predicting the Battle of the Astronomy Tower.[src]

For the Start-of-Term Feast of the 1996–1997 school year, Professor Sinistra was seated at the staff table inbetween Professor Dumbledore and Hagrid[36]. That year, Horace Slughorn replaced Snape as Potions Master and reformed the Slug Club. At Christmas-time, Sinistra attended the Slug Club Christmas party in a red dress with black jewellery, and was seen drinking[37]. At the end of the year, the Battle of the Astronomy Tower occured and Dumbledore was killed. Sinistra probably helped drive off the Death Eaters. She later raised her wand in respect to her fallen leader[38].

1997-1998 school year

Raiseprofessor

Sinistra raising her wand after the death of Albus Dumbledore.

"I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts..."
Lord Voldemort before the Battle of Hogwarts.[src]

The following year, Hogwarts was taken over by the Death Eaters, but the staff remained there to protect the students. At the end of the year, Hogwarts stood fast against Lord Voldemort and defeated the Death Eaters inside the Castle. The Battle of Hogwarts then took place, and it is likely that Professor Sinistra participated in it, or helping evacuate students at least.

Future

If Professor Sinistra survived, it is probable that she continued teaching Astronomy under Minerva McGonagall and later her successor. However, it is just as possible that she retired or left the school before 2017, though she would be only forty-seven years old at the least.

Relationships

Hogwarts Staff

Female teacher2

Professor Sinistra with Albus Dumbledore.

"Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher, was talking to Professor Sinistra of the Astronomy department. On Professor Sinistra's other side was the sallow-faced, hooked-nosed, greasy-haired Potions master Snape."
—The Welcoming Feast of 1994.[src]

Professor Sinistra had a good relationship with the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and would frequently occupy the seat on his side. They also stood together at the Yule Ball, watching over the proceedings, and she smiled to herself when he walked onto the dance floor with Minerva McGonagall. When Dumbledore's body was found at the foot of the Astronomy Tower, Sinistra raised her wand in respect, and it is likely that she would be haunted by his memory teaching at the tower where he died. During the Start-of-Term Feast of the 1994–1995 school year, Professor Sinistra was seated next to Pomona Sprout, the Professor of Herbology. The two were seen chatting together by Harry Potter prior to the Sorting ceremony. This is a sign that they may hve a good relationship, or they may just be socializing politely. Also at the start of the 1994–1995 school year, Sinistra was sat next to Severus Snape, the Potions master. It is unknown if this was intentional, as she was talking to Professor Sprout on her other side instead. When the Yule Ball took place in the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle, Professor Sinistra was the date of Bartemius Crouch Jr. impersonating Alastor Moody. He danced ungainly with her, and she nervously avoided his wooden leg. It is unlikely that the two had feelings for each other, or that Sinistra had feelings at least. The following year, she sat next to Sybill Trelawney, and appeared disgusted by her eating habits.

Hogwarts Students

"Europa is covered in ice, not mice."
Hermione Granger correcting someone else's homework for Sinistra.[src]
File:Hermsysisnis.jpg

Professor Sinistra's relationship with her students is unknown, but she is respected by them, as she is almost always referred to as Professor Sinistra, rather than just by her surname. Her classes were never criticized either, despite the fact that they required students to get up at midnight and climb all the way up to the top of the Astronomy Tower with their telescopes. Even the fact that she gave large amounts of homework to her fifth years' during their Ordinary Wizarding Levels never earnt a disrespectful remark from her pupils. From this, it can be deduced that she had a good relationship with the students she taught, perhaps especially with Hermione Granger, who earnt an Outstanding in Astronomy.

Etymology

Professor Sinistra's surname originates from the Latin "sinister", meaning "left" or "with a direction to the left". The most probable explanation for this is that the planets of the solar system rotate counterclockwise (from right to left). Sinistra is also the name of a star of the constellation of Ophiuchus. The contemporary meaning of the word "sinister" is "having bad intent", but considering Professor Sinistra's uninvolvement in the plot this likely has no meaning to the story. The first name 'Aurora' indicates a relationship with the dawn, however it is probably derived from 'Aurora Borealis', a phenomena which occurs when solar winds interact with the earth's magnetic field.

File:Sinis.jpg

Behind the scenes

  • Professor Sinistra has been played by Natalie Hallam in the film adaptions since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • Thanks to the scarcity of information surrounding her, Professor Sinistra is rather popular in the fan fiction community, as her character can be moulded in any way the writer wishes. She is even on a House Competition on Mugglenet Interactive. The most common piece of fanon about her used to be that she is Head of Ravenclaw House. This has however since been disproved as J. K. Rowling has said that the Head of Ravenclaw is Professor Flitwick.
  • Professor Sinistra´s first name only appeared on a list of of the Hogwarts professors which was released on JK Rowling´s website.
  • Aurora's first name was originally supposed to have been Aurelia.[39]

Appearances

Notes and References

  1. Slughorn resigned from his teaching position in 1981, meaning Sinistra would have been a member of the Slug Club by at least then, if she was a member. Plus, it is unlikely she would be a teacher were she born earlier.
  2. Since there was no mention of her being replaced in the Deathly Hallows, she must have stayed. However, the Carrows would not allow a Muggle-born to teach at Hogwarts, so she must be half or pure-blooded.
  3. Unspecified until the Yule Ball, when she danced with "Alastor Moody".
  4. Film adaptions.
  5. Film adaptions.
  6. As she attended the Slug Club Christmas party.
  7. Mentioned in the Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire.
  8. The Harry Potter Lexicon's transcript of "More idle jottings, page 1".
  9. She attended the Slug Club Christmas party.
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  11. Harry Potter film adaptions.
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the Order of the Phoenix.
  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film).
  17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  18. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film).
  19. In order to be present during Slughorn's tenure as a professor.
  20. As she attended the Slug Club Christmas party.
  21. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  22. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  23. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  24. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  25. Her current actor had not yet taken up the role, so Sinistra could have been played by another, unnamed actor.
  26. Since she taught him every other year until his sixth, when he dropped Astronomy.
  27. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  28. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  29. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  30. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
  31. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
  32. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
  33. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  34. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film deleted scenes
  35. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  36. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  37. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  38. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  39. Early draft of J.K. Rowling


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