|Portrayed By||Anna Popplewell|
|Place of Birth||Stratford|
|Date of Birth||2 June, 1979|
|Mother||Abigail Hamilton Sutton|
|Siblings||4 brothers: +4, Anthony (+2), Stephen (-4), Eric (-9)|
|First Appearance||Honi soit qui mal y pense|
Born at the South Warwickshire hospital in Stratford where her family resided, Claire Elizabeth is the middle child of the five Suttons. After their two older boys, aged two and six at the time, Abigail and Ellis Sutton hadn't been expecting another child — and certainly hadn't budgeted for her — but when they found out that yet another baby was on the way there was no doubt that the still-young couple weren't bringing her into the world. (The fact that she was a girl was an added bonus.) Money was even tighter with a third child around, but somehow the family survived. Abigail worked full-time as a teacher and only got short maternity leave; Ellis was in tech support. There was always enough food, and that was sufficient.
Two more boys joined the Sutton family before Claire was ten, one when she was four and one at seven, before Abigail decided that she shouldn't keep allowing the chance of having any more children.
But that doesn't really matter right now, because this story isn't really all that much about the rest of the Suttons. This story is about Claire, the middle child. She grew up amongst older and younger brothers, in a family barely making ends meet. While she was lucky enough to get her own bedroom in theory, it was a walk-in closet that connected both to the hallway and her parents' bedroom. Once she was old enough to care, at around the stubborn age of five, they shoved a dresser up against the second door.
Being five didn't just bring Claire a tall bureau to entirely block her parents' convenient access to her bedroom (and, for their sake, also her access to her parents' bedroom — but she didn't really think of it as being about them, considering, after all, what do parents need privacy for?) but the beginning of school. Like her brothers before her, Claire entered the world of Essex Primary School, where like her brothers before her she was teased for her Oxfam clothing and messy hair.
The hair, though, was easy to fix — telling her mother the kids teased her got Abigail to, for the first time, pay very close attention to the fact like unlike her other children, Claire was a girl and needed to be dolled up like one. New clothes were out of the question, but from then on Claire had plaits every day, just like the other girls. And she was smart — and daring, too. When her year one class got a pet snake and all the others were afraid to touch it at first, Claire adored the little corn snake. They were fast friends, and the creature climbed up down and all around her arms. She got the other children to like the snake, and her brothers to like the snake, and before they knew it the Suttons were the summertime caretakers of the snake.
|Essex Primary School picture.|
Claire's grades were good, and she even managed to make friends, some of whom encouraged her to come to their houses and do things like eat and not be around grimy brothers. She never brought anyone over to hers, ashamed of the family's poverty once she experienced the others' homes.
The trouble was, though, just weeks after Claire started year four — merely months after her eighth birthday — her sociability faded. Her intelligence seemed to be clouded away. The family worried. Claire slept all the time. She lost weight.
Something was terribly wrong.
The first thought, of course, was that she simply had the flu, but she didn't seem to get better. There were long waiting lists to get into a doctor. The school suggested that Claire might be suffering from the fad diagnosis of the century, attention deficit disorder — for all that it was overdiagnosed in 1987, it was a real disorder, and Claire certainly had some of the symptoms. Most of the others, however, were not present and the Suttons dismissed it. (Later, another Sutton child would turn out to really have ADD, and they would learn the differences, but again, this is Claire's story.) One night, though, everything came to a head. After being constantly tired, constantly thirsty and eating little bits anytime she could get her hands on food and wasting away despite it all for almost a month, Claire began to vomit. And vomit. And shake. She was unable to breathe properly and her tongue was dry as paste. Ellis rushed her to Accident & Emergency, where within the hour she was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis.
|A sick Claire trying to be cheerful. Not pictured age 8.|
Life changed forever in that moment: if Claire made it through the episode of acidosis, which she was likely to, she would be a member of the chronically ill world. She would be taking medication every day. Mostly unconscious, Claire wasn't all that concerned with it — but her parents were terrified.
Slowly, the episode lifted. Claire remained in the hospital for three weeks, and while she was there, she received all the education a young diabetic would. The new advent of the insulin pen, a very young technology, was there for her to learn with — no drawing up insulin for an 8 year old, surely. This, at least, the Suttons were pleased by.
NHS Diabetes took care of the costs for Claire's medical care, but the time spent with his daughter in the hospital in the end cost Ellis his job. Things got even worse on the financial front, with Ellis spending hours a day at the Job Centre simply waiting. The kids went off to school where Claire had to start all over again trying to pick up where she left off and give herself shots at least four times a day.
But life continued apace, and eventually the Suttons got used to things again. Every time things settled down for Claire, though, it was only a matter of time before they were shaken up again.
It took them weeks to really believe that the Hogwarts letter sent just after Claire's birthday wasn't a prank.
|Claire and brother Anthony.|
All the boys were angry that they weren't magical creatures, as they called Claire, and the younger ones thought maybe being diabetic would also make them wizards (their parents did not wish to encourage this). Now, things for the Suttons were even weirder, and it wasn't a surprise that Claire's oldest brother began to resent her for being the 'special' one, not once but twice.
Claire was more afraid of leaving home with her insulin. Boarding school? Really? Magical boarding school? What was she supposed to do about her health there?
The answer, apparently, was 'manage.' As much as the food on the Hogwarts Express terrified her and she didn't dare taste a bite, she managed. As many questions as were asked about her pens, she held her ground. And when the skinny little Muggleborn was sorted into Slytherin, imagine the shock at her new House table. 'Sutton' wasn't a name anyone had heard of. Someone whispered that Claire even smelled like a Mudblood — and yet she was a part of their House now. They couldn't really give her back.
In time, despite her decidedly un-Slytherinlike attitudes and un-Slytherinlike background, Claire proved herself a worthy scheming and resourceful trickster, full of gall. And ideas. So long as none of them had to do with Dark Magic, which she really didn't understand.
Time passed, though, as time is wont to do, and Claire adjusted just as Hogwarts adjusted to her. People got used to her odd Muggle medicine and her disease that was rare if at all seen in the wizarding world — there was no magical yet known remedy for it, so there was no real judgement for her not taking it in the first place. Claire's life became the sort of complicated where she was bridging herself between two worlds. She'd expected to either become firmly ensconced in the wizarding world (the witching world, as she chose to call it to her family, because they had no wizards to be concerned with) or feel left out all the time and want to run to the safe haven of London whenever she could. To her great surprise, it turned out to be both. Claire was comfortable wherever she went, and was able to swap between cultures quick as you please.
Well, almost. Certain things about the magical world she still never really grasped, and while she never did things like say the Dark Lord's name, she could be heard making jokes about the Devil and muttering things about why people who didn't know who the Devil was still had Christmas holidays. Despite all these oddities, she even actually made some friends in her House.
|Claire's cat Trouble.|
Except for a few unpleasant departures from school for a few days due to needing to get her diabetes sorted out in the sort of hospital that could actually handle her diabetes — which were Muggle hospitals that poor Professor Snape did not enjoy the trip to very much — everything basically went well. For once, there were no large upsets. Hogwarts life was actually good for Claire, and her vacations with her family were, as well, despite the highly jealous brothers. Her letters kept them entertained, anyway.
During her winter home at age thirteen, Claire acquired a cat she promptly named Trouble after a neighbor family had to give him up. While she told her parents she'd get a job to pay for the kitten, of course she never actually did except for summer odd jobs at a coffee bar, a position that she's managed to get good at enough that they hold it for her every summer, now.
Just having gotten used to the lack of chaos in her life, of course, the magical world had to go and ruin that tenuous comfort. Her fifth year was a giant mess of good things and bad: she made the Slytherin Quidditch team as Chaser at the beginning of the year, and then things got weird. They got weird enough that they couldn't possibly have been considered weird before, no matter how much Claire had thought they were. The Quad-House Cup, which she was trying to distance herself from because it completely ruined her ability to actually play that much Quidditch, was a disaster. Or else, the year was a disaster. With students being attacked by Death Eaters and their Head of House disappearing to become one, Claire was forced to face the reality that Death Eaters were, in fact, not a joke or a story but something very real, and that evil in the world was very real as well.
When a village was attacked, killing innocent third parties, Claire's system couldn't take it anymore. Stress messes with one's glucose levels, and she was lucky to miss the final attack at Hogwarts at the end of her fifth year due to having been pulled out earlier, suffering from what was instead an attack on her own body from her own body. For six weeks Claire remained semi-conscious, just to wake up out of acidosis again and discover that her school had been attacked, there had been deaths, there were a pile of letters waiting. The Suttons debated not letting Claire go back after the stress it had caused her, but she insisted. She also tried to persuade them to run away, maybe to America, which was, of course, nonsense.
Returning for her sixth year, Claire has so far been forcing herself into normalcy. Pretending having all the French students there wasn't reminding her of last year. Pretending she didn't feel like a traitor for not being at the attack, for having the survivor's guilt of having been undergoing a very different sort of trial and a different sort of suffering than anyone else. Pretending it didn't make her feel weak.
At least, in her sixth year, Claire actually got to play Quidditch.
Half sarcastic cynic and half pile of positive energy, Claire is actually very friendly for all that she's not always the most sociable. She is going to speak up when she's got an opinion, nine times out of ten, but she's not exactly Queen Outgoing for the fact that her illness tends to be the first thing anyone knows about her — either that or that she's Muggle-born, and neither are winning her any popularity contests.
|Claire's Patronus, an African wild dog. (By Siobhan <3)|
She sticks at least somewhat to Muggle culture, and yet manages to fit in perfectly well with the wizarding world too: most of the time. There are some areas in which Claire clearly shows preference for the Muggle way of doing things, and, in fact, isn't even all that fond of the word 'Muggle,' for all she uses it in public. (In private, with trusted souls, she might be more inclined toward 'mundane.')
Enthusiasm is the name of Claire's game when sulking and making sarcastic comments isn't — if she shows interest in something, she throws herself into it full throttle. The best example of this is Charms, easily the class in which she has the most skill and, subsequently, the most interest, though she isn't exactly poor at any of her classes and keeps up well academically.
- June 1979: Born in Stratford, UK.
- September 1984: Starts elementary school at Essex Primary.
- February 1987: Diagnosed diabetic after a prolonged episode of ketoacidosis.
- May 1987: Claire's father Ellis loses his job.
- July 1990: Receives Hogwarts letter. Sorted into Slytherin.
- September 1994: Makes Slytherin Quidditch team as Chaser.
Since Claire is a diabetic, she carries an insulin pen and a glucometer, generally, as well as some kind of food. Most people at Hogwarts know there is something odd about her health-wise and that she uses strange Muggle instruments to keep track of it.
Her patronus is that of an African wild dog, also known as a painted wolf (picture seen above, click to enlarge). It is not actually a wolf, contrary to the name!
Trouble the cat lives with her at Hogwarts.
"Just what are you accusing him of?" demands the voice of Claire from next to her friend the suit of armor. "Being able to walk and thieve it from someone on the other side of the room? Because they can only turn their heads, as far as I know." — The Shield of Fashion, Claire to Pierrick
"So you have magical seizures. I don't think that's really all that big a deal. Also, narcoleptics sleepwalk so maybe you do, in fact, also have magical narcolepsy. Ever go anywhere interesting?" — Claire diagnoses Cianan, here
"You mean you're always creepy and not just sometimes?" Respect for authority: Claire cannot has it. — Claire interpreting Jas
Trivia and Notes:
- Claire's favorite color is red, despite being a Slytherin.