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"There were four heroes as it were in the previous generation and one of them betrayed the others, and then there were the three. So I wanted Harry to be surrounded by... James and Sirius and Lupin, all of whom had died in a way for him. You know Lupin had laid down his life in Harry's battle, he didn't have to come back, he didn't have to fight. James had died trying to protect the family; Sirius very obviously had died fighting along with Harry."
J. K. Rowling expands on the Marauders[src]

The Marauders[3] were a group of four Gryffindors and classmates: Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter. The four attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1971-1978. The four students that had a knack for rule-breaking and mischief making.

The Marauders would all go on to fight in the First Wizarding War and some in the second. They were also participants in the original Order of the Phoenix, an organisation lead by Albus Dumbledore in the struggle against the Dark Lord, Voldemort. All of the Marauders died whilst protecting Harry Potter from Voldemort or his Death Eaters, including Peter Pettigrew. Peter did not kill Harry because of a life debt he owed him. As a result Harry was able to escape and in a way was saved from torture.


Hogwarts years

"Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief Makers
Are proud to present
—The Marauder's Map[src]

The Marauders in their Animagus forms: Lupin (as a werewolf) is on the far left

It is thought the Marauders' friendship began in their first or possibly second year at Hogwarts. By their fifth year, all but Remus Lupin, who was a werewolf, had secretly become unregistered Animagi in order to assist Remus during his transformations. James Potter's Animagus form was a shining red stag (Prongs), Sirius Black's was a shaggy black dog (Padfoot), and Peter Pettigrew's was a fat grey rat (Wormtail). 'Padfoot' and 'Prongs' were large enough to control Remus (Moony) during his monthly transformations and 'Wormtail' was small enough to get past the Whomping Willow's defences so the group could get to the Shrieking Shack. The Marauders were all members of Gryffindor House and most greatly despised their Slytherin rival, Severus Snape, whom James and Sirius often bullied, while Peter tended to cheer them on. Although he apparently disapproved of their bullying, Remus didn't try to stop them, although he sometimes made them feel guilty about it. The Marauders travelled the Hogwarts grounds and Hogsmeade during their transformation period, and found out a lot about he grounds in the process. This would come in handy in the near future.


The Marauders in their fifth year at Hogwarts

At some point during their time at Hogwarts, presumably some time between their fifth and seventh years, the four boys created the Marauder's Map, a magical parchment that displays the grounds and denizens of Hogwarts once the incantation "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" is spoken (with the counterspell being "Mischief managed"). Otherwise, the Map insults those who try to use it. This happened when Snape tried to use the map in 1993. At an unspecified point, the map was confiscated by caretaker Argus Filch and placed in a drawer in his Office labelled Classified and Highly Dangerous. Eventually, Fred and George Weasley stole the map after seeing the drawer in Filch's Office and committed the secret passages shown on it to memory, then later gave it to Harry Potter so he could sneak into Hogsmeade. Harry has been the sole owner of the map since then.

First Wizarding War

Main article: First Wizarding War
"Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!"
James Potter moments before his death[src]

The Marauders and Lily Potter as members of the original Order of the Phoenix

The Marauders would all go on to become participants in the original Order of the Phoenix against the Dark Lord, Voldemort, as adults. Pettigrew, however, influenced by Voldemort due to his fear, turned on James and his wife Lily and revealed their secret location, having secretly been made Secret Keeper of the Potters' cottage at Black's suggestion, which ultimately led to their murders, while attempting to protect their infant son Harry from Voldemort.

Ron and Scabbers

Pettigrew as Scabbers, the Weasleys pet rat

Sirius Black confronted Pettigrew about his traitorous actions, but Peter exploded everything around him — killing twelve Muggles in the process — cut off his finger, then transformed into his Animagus form and fled into the sewers, framing Sirius as the traitor. Sirius, who was supposed to have been the Secret Keeper of the Potters when he persuaded them to turn to Peter instead, was taken to Azkaban with no trial, where he would reside until his escape twelve years later. As Peter had cut off his finger, combined with the explosion and falsely shouted accusations to Sirius, he successfully faked his own death and fled into the sewers. Later on, he came into the possession of Percy Weasley and later on, his younger brother Ron Weasley.

No one other than Sirius and the Potters knew that Peter was truly the Secret Keeper, this secrecy also led to the fact that Sirius was a betrayer. The 'evidence' of Pettigrew's destruction meant that even the fourth Marauder, Remus Lupin, thought it was his old friend Sirius that had betrayed the Potters to Voldemort and murdered Pettigrew.

Between wars

"On a happier note, I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year. Firstly, Professor Lupin who had kindly consented to fill the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher."
—Albus Dumbledore introduces Remus as the new DADA professor[src]

Remus during his time as the DADA professor at Hogwarts

Twelve years after the war, Sirius Black finally changed into his Animagus form and escaped from Azkaban prison, seeking revenge on his former friend Peter Pettigrew, whom he had discovered was still alive and realised was going back to Hogwarts with Ron Weasley, where he could get to Harry easily. At this time, Remus Lupin had gone on to become the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, keeping his lycanthropy a secret from the students, and discovered Sirius was not guilty after seeing Pettigrew was still alive on the Marauder's Map.


Sirius's wanted poster after his escape from Azkaban

The two then united to stop Pettigrew and exposed him as Scabbers. They were about to kill him but Harry stopped them, thus saving his life, stating that he should be taken to Azkaban instead and could be used to prove Sirius was innocent. Pettigrew escaped when Remus suddenly transformed into a werewolf, after which Pettigrew rejoined his master, Voldemort, and helped him to regain his full body, in the process losing his hand, though Voldemort replaced it with a silver one. Remus later resigned from his Hogwarts teaching position when Snape 'accidentally' let it slip to the students that he was a werewolf.

Second Wizarding War

Main article: Second Wizarding War

When Voldemort rose to power for the second time, launching the Second Wizarding War, a new Order of the Phoenix was established whose members included Remus and Sirius. However, Sirius was murdered in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries by his Death Eater cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. After his death, Sirius' name was cleared of all charges when Voldemort and his supporters came back in the open.

Tumblr msep05SPe31qeijvdo8 r1 250

The bodies of a deceased Remus and Tonks in the Great Hall

In April 1998 Tonks (Remus's wife) became pregnant with a boy, whom they asked Harry to be the godfather of. Shortly before Teddy's birth Peter Pettigrew met his end in 1998, strangled by his own silver hand when he hesitated to murder Harry Potter in the dungeon of Malfoy Manor because of the debt he owed Harry. Remus Lupin was murdered soon after in the Battle of Hogwarts in a duel with Antonin Dolohov. Once this had happened, no more of the Marauders remained.

After Remus and Tonks deaths, Teddy was raised by his maternal grandmother Andromeda, with help from his godfather. Harry named his first son in honour of his deceased father and godfather.


As teenagers
As adults

Behind the scenes

  • The Marauders never actually refer to themselves as "the Marauders" in the books, but the term quickly developed among fans as a reference to the Marauder's Map. They were also referred to as "the Marauders" by Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. J. K. Rowling later confirmed on her website however that 'James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter dubbed themselves "marauders", hence the way they titled the map.'
  • By the end of the seventh book, all four Marauders died. James protecting Lily and Harry, Sirius dies in the Department of Mysteries, Remus is killed in the Battle Of Hogwarts, and Peter is strangled by his new hand Lord Voldemort gave him.
  • Interestingly, the Marauders die in the opposite order from which they are introduced by their nicknames: Prongs, Padfoot, Wormtail, and Moony. James is the first to die, his death taking place immediately before the first book. Sirius is then killed at the Department of Mysteries. Peter is killed in Malfoy Manor and Remus is killed in the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • They may have named themselves after the English word Marauders-which meant "raider". This could be a reference to all the people they bullied and "raided" in their time at Hogwarts. They could also have taken the name from the French Maraudeurs, whcih seems to fit their activites better, as a marauder is someone who roams a place, often to cause trouble or at least mischief.
  • Also, all of them die whilst protecting Harry Potter from Voldemort or his Death Eaters; James is murdered by Voldemort trying to make some time for his wife and son to escape from their house, Sirius dies when Bellatrix knocks him into the veil (he was fighting her to give Harry and his friends time to escape), Pettigrew dies letting Harry and the others escape from the cellar (contemplating his life debt); Lupin dies fighting Antonin Dolohov, trying to give Harry time to find a Horcrux.
  • The Marauders' back story was cut out of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and their connection to the Marauder's Map was never explained. J.K. Rowling has been asked how she felt about this change and said she was fine with it and understands that things have to be cut from movies sometimes.
  • Their nicknames all have something to do with their transformed states. Lupin turns into a werewolf at the full moon (Moony), Pettigrew transforms into a rat, which has a tail that resembles a worm (Wormtail), Sirius transforms into a dog, which have padded feet (Padfoot), and James turns into a stag, whose antlers are prongs (Prongs). This is explained to Harry by Lupin at the end of his third year.
  • Only two of the Marauders went on to have families of their own. James Potter, who married Lily Evans and fathered Harry Potter, and Remus Lupin, who married Nymphadora Tonks and had a son named Teddy. Neither family lasted for very long, as both parents would eventually be killed, orphaning their children, and leaving godfathers to guard their sons (Sirius in the case of the Potters, and Harry in the case of the Lupins). However, the two sons' childhoods differ drastically. While Harry is raised by his cruel aunt and uncle and separated from his godfather, Teddy is raised by his loving grandmother with help from his godfather.
  • In dressing the Marauders for the flashback scene in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón drew inspiration from The Beatles. "James was like Paul—good looking and sure of himself—and Sirius was like John, as he was a bit of an anarchic troublemaker. We gave them sideburns, little glasses and longer shirts." Ultimately, the scene was cut from the final film.[4]
  • In 2013, J. K. Rowling stated that she has no intention of ever writing a prequel book for the Harry Potter series featuring the Marauders, stating simply that she "doesn't like prequels."[5]


The Marauders

The Marauders at Hogwarts

  • Remus - "Moony": Wolves, similarly to dogs, signify valour and guardianship. In the study of dreams, werewolves often represent an inner struggle or battle. This is certainly the case with Lupin, considering his desire to be accepted by his trouble-making friends and his desire to repay Dumbledore's chance to attend Hogwarts often collide. Furthermore, the Roman mythology tells the story about a boy named Remus, who was abandoned in the woods by his mother and was raised by wolves. His brother was Romulus — a nickname Remus Lupin uses as coverage on the radio, in the last book.
  • Peter - "Wormtail": The rat is the emblem of uncleanliness and impurity. Since the times of the plague in the 14th century, their quiet nature often has connotations of sneakiness. Note that Pettigrew does not become a snake, who have largely the same symbolism as rats. This is good evidence that he was not a Slytherin at school. Also, rat is slang for snitch or informant, and, in his later life, Pettigrew did indeed inform Voldemort where the Potters were hiding.
  • Sirius - "Padfoot": The dog is the emblem of faithfulness, loyalty, and guardianship. They're also symbols of courage and vigilance. Dogs are considered man's best friend and this definitely proves true in the case of Sirius and James. Also, the star Sirius, is traditionally known as the dog star. The dog star is often used by sailors and navigators to follow as a safe and trustworthy passage, similar to the way Harry, Ron, and Hermione, along with Ginny, Neville, and Luna, trust Sirius so much they follow him deep into the Ministry even though the trial was a red herring. The surname, Black, is not only the colour of his animagus, but also a reference to the expression "the black sheep", which describes his role in relation to his family. Sirius could be considered the deputy of the Marauders as James and Sirius were the closest to each other.
  • James - "Prongs": The stag is symbolic of someone proud, noble, and powerful. In fact, the image of a stag was used quite often by old English kings and many other kinds of rulers. This image is fitting to James, the leader of the Marauders.


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  2. Pettigrew, during the First Wizarding War, defected from both the Marauders and the Order to join the Death Eaters, and informed Voldemort of James and Lily's whereabouts, which the other three Marauders were unaware of until 1981.
  3. JK Rowling official site - FAQ
  4. Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, Page 288
  5. Zap2It - J.K. Rowling denies plans for 'Harry Potter' Marauders prequel, talks Dumbledore's 'coming out'

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