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

The Marauders[5] were a group of four Gryffindors, who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1971-1978. The four students that had a knack for rule-breaking and mischief making were:


It is thought the Marauders' friendship began in their first or possibly second year at Hogwarts. By their fifth year, all but Remus, who was a werewolf, had secretly become unregistered Animagi in order to help Remus during his transformations. James' Animagus form was a stag (Prongs), Peter's was a rat (Wormtail), and Sirius' was a large black dog (Padfoot). 'Prongs' and 'Padfoot' 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 Maruders travelled the Hogwarts Grounds and Hogsmeade during the transformation period, and found out a lot about them in the process.

"We owe them so much."
George Weasley on the importance of the Marauder's Map to him and his brother.[src]

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. 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 commited 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.

The Marauders would all go on to become participants in the original Order of the Phoenix against the Dark Lord, Voldemort, in their adult careers. Pettigrew, however, influenced by Voldemort due to his fear, turned on James and his wife Lily and revealed their secret location having been made Secret Keeper of the Potter cottage, which ultimately led to their murders.

In addition, when Sirius Black found out about the traitorous act of Pettigrew, he confronted him, but Pettigrew cunningly exploded everything around him – killing twelve Muggles in the process – transforming into his Animagus form of a rat and made it look like Sirius was the traitor, Sirius having been the original plan for Secret Keeper, even going so far as to fake his own death. Pettigrew made this look possible by actually cutting off one of his own fingers and make it appear as though that was all that was left of his annihilated corpse. Sirius was then arrested and sentenced without a trial while the actual traitor, Peter Pettigrew, got away.

Pettigrew's tactics were so believable that even the fourth Marauder, Remus Lupin, thought it was his old friend Sirius that had betrayed the Potters' to Voldemort and murdered Pettigrew. Sirius was imprisoned in Azkaban for Pettigrew's crimes. Peter, fearing reprisal from remaining Death Eaters who blamed him for Voldemort's downfall, went into hiding, remaining a rat for twelve years after his faked death. In this time, he became the pet rat of the unsuspecting Weasley family, who named him "Scabbers". He wanted to remain with a Wizarding Family so he could hear if Voldermort was regaining power.

Twelve years later, Sirius Black finally changed into his Animagus form and escaped from Azkaban prison, seeking revenge on his former friend Peter Pettigrew, who he had discovered was still alive and realised was going back to Hogwarts with Ron Weasly, 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 Maruders Map. 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.

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 killed in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries by his Death Eater cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. After his death, Sirius' name was cleared when Voldemort came back in the open.

Peter Pettigrew met his end in 1998, strangled by his own silver hand when he hesitated to kill Harry Potter in the dungeon of Malfoy Manor because of the debt he owed Harry. Remus Lupin was killed soon after in the Battle of Hogwarts in a duel with Antonin Dolohov. Once this had happened, no Marauders remained.


The Marauders

The Marauders at Hogwarts.

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.

Sirius - 'Padfoot': The dog is the emblem of faithfulness and guardianship. Dogs are considered loyal and temperate, and are symbols of courage, vigilancy and loyal fidelity. 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 navigationers 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 referrence 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

Remus - 'Moony': Wolves, similarly to dogs, signify valor 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': Since the times of the plague in the 14th-century rats have been symbolic of uncleanliness and impurity. 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.

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 refered to as "the Marauders" by Ron Weasley in 1997.
  • 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.'
  • Interestingly, the Marauders die in the opposite order from which they are introduced by their nicknames: Prongs, Padfoot, Wormtail, 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.
  • Also, all of them die whilst protecting Harry Potter from Voldemort or his Death Eaters; James is killed 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 seem to have something to do with their transformed states. Lupin turns into a werewolf at the full moon, Pettigrew transforms into a rat, which has a tail that resembles a worm, Sirius transforms into a dog, which have padded feet, and James turns into a stag, whose antlers are prongs (this is explained to Harry by Lupin at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban).
  • 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 families 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.
  • Sirius is James' second cousin (not completely proven, but likely anyway), and Nymphadora Tonks, who marries Remus, is Sirius' second cousin. Peter does not seem to be related to the other marauders.
  • 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." [6]


Notes and references

  1. James Potter is murdered by Voldemort. Peter Pettigrew betrays the Potters, fakes his own death, and goes into hiding. Sirius Black is framed for the crimes and sentenced to Azkaban.
  2. Deaths of both Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin, the last surviving members.
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. 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.
  5. JK Rowling official site - FAQ
  6. Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, Page 288

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