Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Nymphadora Tonks

Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character
Nymphadora Tonks
Gender Female
Hair color Changes constantly
Eye color Changes constantly
Related Family Andromeda Black, Ted Tonks
Loyalty Order of the Phoenix

OverviewEdit

Nymphadora Tonks, or as she prefers to be called, Tonks, is an Auror, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Her parents are Andromeda (Black) Tonks, who was Sirius' favorite cousin, and Ted Tonks, who was a wizard, though Muggle-born. Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange are Tonks' aunts from her mother's side, though none of them would admit that. She attended Hogwarts around 1984-1991 as a Hufflepuff.

Role in the BooksEdit

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Order of the PhoenixEdit

Nymphadora Tonks joins the cast of characters at the beginning of the fifth book, when she arrives at Number Four, Privet Drive to help escort Harry to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. From Harry's conversation with her, we learn that Tonks is a Metamorphmagus, and that she went to Hogwarts, but was not made a Prefect, mostly because she was unable to control herself. Most of the time, her hair is shocking pink; it appears that this is her favorite hair color, because she seems to revert to it quite easily. We learn that she is an Auror working for the Ministry of Magic, which is a great help to the Order. With the Order being largely underground at this time, Tonks still has to work at her regular Auror duties; we see her occasionally, doing guard duty for the Order.

At dinner at Headquarters, Tonks amuses Ginny and Hermione by changing the shape of her nose. Apparently, this is a common game, because they keep asking for their favorites.

Tonks accompanies the group to the train station to board the Hogwarts Express. For the duration of the trip, she disguises herself as an old lady.

Several times over Christmas break, Tonks visits Headquarters. She accompanies the Weasley family as they visit Arthur Weasley in hospital. At the end of Christmas Break, she travels to Hogwarts with the Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione in the Knight Bus. Stan Shunpike says that "that bossy lady 'oo is witchu" has paid a premium to get them to Hogwarts quicker, so their stop will be the next but one.

Tonks takes part in the battle in the Department of Mysteries in the end of the book, although she is knocked out halfway through the battle by Bellatrix Lestrange.

Half-Blood PrinceEdit

In this book, we first see Tonks briefly when Harry is taken to The Burrow by Dumbledore. She is sitting in the kitchen, apparently talking something serious over with Molly Weasley. Harry is immediately struck by how depressed she looks. Tonks does not stay, but departs almost immediately once Harry has arrived, and Harry observes that Mrs. Weasley looks troubled.

Discussing Tonks' listless appearance with Hermione, Ginny, and Ron the next morning, Harry discovers that Mrs. Weasley had apparently been hoping that Bill would express an interest in Tonks, instead of Fleur Delacour, to whom he is now engaged. Ron suggests that with Tonks looking as sad as she does, there was little chance of Mrs. Weasley's hopes being fulfilled.

On the Hogwarts Express, Harry is caught by Draco Malfoy attempting to eavesdrop. Draco immobilizes him, and after breaking his nose, leaves him on the train as it returns towards London. Tonks, getting onto the train before it has completely left, frees him and returns him to the platform. She then takes him up to the school, where she sends a message for assistance entering the school grounds. As Hagrid is not present, the messenger reaches Severus Snape, who comes to the gate to let them in. Snape comments that Tonks' Patronus has changed; the one Harry saw was something large and hairy, Snape cuttingly remarks that he had liked the old one better, and it had seemed stronger.

It is mentioned at Christmas time at The Burrow that Tonks had been invited, but had instead chosen to spend Christmas alone. This demonstrates that she has become depressed and withdrawn. Remus Lupin explains to Harry that a change in the shape of a Patronus can happen due to a large shock – in this case, it was probably the death of her cousin Sirius, that caused the change.

On one occasion when Harry is attempting to enter the Room of Requirement, he is surprised by Tonks, looking more burdened still, who claims to be looking for Dumbledore, but seems rather aimless when she wanders away after their meeting.

Tonks is one of the members of the Order of the Phoenix who is present at Hogwarts, fighting Death Eaters at the school in the climactic battle in this book.

In the end of the book, we learn that the real reason for Tonks' depression is because she has fallen in love with Lupin, who has been trying to convince her that they cannot be together because he is a werewolf. However, in the last chapter, we see Tonks and Lupin holding hands, and Tonks has obviously regained her ability to change her appearance, as her hair is once again bright pink.

Deathly HallowsEdit

Tonks proudly shows Harry her wedding ring when a group of Order members go to get Harry. Tonks then also says she's sorry Harry couldn't be there and that it was a small event, leaving us to believe that Lupin didn't want it that public but would have liked Harry to be there. When the Order members and their "Harrys" leave the House and Ron is the "Harry" that goes with Tonks, she tells Ron to hop on and hold tight. We then see Ron hops on, then sends an apologetic glance towards Lupin before holding on to her waist.

Tonks arrives quite late at The Burrow; apparently she had been intercepted by Bellatrix Lestrange and had quite a battle to get away from her.

Lupin later reveals to Harry, Ron, and Hermione that Tonks is pregnant. Lupin seems to be angry with himself, fearing that his son might be a werewolf; he feels that is a burden too great to saddle anyone with, and he had not wanted to pass on the horrible and painful trait to someone else. Additionally, he does not want Tonks and the child to face the same prejudice he faces, even though Tonks, being a half-blood, is already facing that sort of prejudice as the Wizarding world falls under Voldemort's control.

Tonks has the baby, and Lupin travels to Shell Cottage, where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are staying, to tell them the good news. Lupin asks Harry to be godfather, saying that he and Tonks had discussed it.

When the Order members come to Hogwarts through the Room of Requirement, Lupin shows everyone a baby picture and it proves that the baby has inherited his mother's Metamorphmagus traits. Tonks had been left at home with Teddy, her son, for the final battle but is worried about Lupin and shows up to look for him. She hears he was last seen battling Dolohov on the grounds, and runs off to find him.

Later as Harry walks back into the Great Hall with Severus Snape's memories, he spots Lupin and Tonks lying on the ground together, both dead.

StrengthsEdit

The fact that Tonks is a Metamorphmagus has made her extremely valuable, both as an Auror and as a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Tonks is a very strong, friendly, funny, and outgoing person.

WeaknessesEdit

As soon as we are introduced to Tonks, we learn that she is extremely clumsy – she enters the story by breaking a dish in the Dursley's kitchen. Throughout the books, she is always breaking things, knocking objects over, and falling down. Because of this, she says she almost failed the "Stealth" portion of her training to become an Auror. However, this got better over the course of book six.

Relationships with Other CharactersEdit

Tonks has a romantic interest in Remus Lupin and they are shown holding hands at the end of the sixth book. By the beginning of the seventh book they are married, and have a child on the way.

AnalysisEdit

One of the things that makes this series of books so powerful is that through the seven-year arc of the series, characters mature and change. This is particularly true of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, of course, as they are in a stage of their lives where there is normally great change; that is discussed in greater detail in their articles. However, a particular strength of this series is that this character growth is not restricted to the main characters, but happens to all characters in the story to some degree. As a case in point, let us take Tonks. She is quite young, having just completed her Auror training; she would be about seven years older than Harry, making her about 22 to Harry's 15 when they meet at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She is disapproving of the sterile neatness of the Dursley's house, and feels much more at home in Harry's room which has been inhabited by the equivalent of a caged beast for four days. She indicates that she has never gotten the hang of cleaning, herself. She apparently routinely makes a show at dinner, changing her nose shape between bites. She is very much the young, carefree witch at this stage in her life.

During the course of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Tonks keeps up her carefree ways, right up to the battle at the Ministry. There, possibly for the first time in her life, she is engaged in a battle against superior odds with a very real possibility that she will die. This is, for anyone, a maturing experience.

It is quite possible that upon regaining consciousness and discovering that her cousin Sirius had literally gone beyond the Veil, Tonks had done some rather serious reconsideration of her life. It was likely in the course of this that she discovered that what she had previously shared with Remus, which we don't see, but can infer, was rather more serious than she had thought. When we see Tonks in September after the battle, she seems much more mature: her hair color is subdued, and she herself is much more reserved. She also seems quite depressed, having difficulty changing her appearance, always seeming on the verge of tears, and even appears thinner than usual. Ron, Harry, and Hermione assume she is upset over Sirius' death, and Harry even suggests that Tonks may have been in love with him, which is why she's so crestfallen. It is only at the end of the book that we find that it is Lupin, rather than Sirius, who is the object of her affections. One must assume that she had attempted to move her relationship with Remus on to the next stage and been rebuffed; and there almost certainly was something going on before that, as six weeks (from the battle at the Ministry, to when Harry arrives at The Burrow) is a very short time to re-assess your life, fall in love, start considering marriage, and show the effects of being refused. It is a safe assumption that there had been some snogging going on behind the scenes for the duration of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We can only speculate that the author chose to not show us these scenes of Lupin and Tonks together because of Lupin's delicacy concerning these matters.

We can easily see that Tonks is taking a much more serious view of life throughout Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; from the time we first see her in July, right to the end of the book, she seems less care-free. It is perhaps a criticism of aging in general that maturity seems to rule out being care-free, but that is the case; as one matures, one starts taking an interest, and being concerned by, things outside oneself, which does lead one to act with increased sobriety. We do know that Tonks wants to make a life-long commitment to Lupin by the end of the book, which is something that she clearly would not have imagined possible at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It is this growth and change in her that brings Tonks alive for us, that makes us care about her, and that makes us glad that Lupin seems to be willing to entertain the idea of settling down with her.

QuestionsEdit

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

Greater PictureEdit

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.
Last modified on 14 January 2014, at 00:21