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In the world of Harry Potter, there are a few unique and distinct items that stand out. One of the most iconic is the Marauder’s Map. The film does a good job of introducing the artifact and putting it to good usel; however, the film didn’t really have the time to dive into the history of the map and its creators.

Who Are the Marauders in Harry Potter?

The Marauders were an exceptional group of Hogwarts students who accomplished many noteworthy achievements, and they used affectionate nicknames –Messrs Moony (Remus Lupin), Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew), Padfoot (Sirius Black) and Prongs (James Potter)– to refer to each other sign the Map. The four Gryffindors attended Hogwarts together and were the best of friends. However, Peter would later betray James and Lily to Voldemort after they made him their Secret Keeper, Sirius, becomes Harry’s godfather; meanwhile, Remus teaches Harry Defense Against the Dark Arts and becomes a friend and mentor to him.

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James and Sirius were also the leaders of their group, both from old wizarding families. They met each other on the train to Hogwarts in their first year, just like how Harry would meet his best friend Ron Weasley. Sirius was the outcast within his family because he didn’t stand for the pure-blood bigotry so ingrained within the rest of them. While still at school, Sirius ran away from his family and lived with James and his parents.

Meanwhile, Remus and Peter joined the group and added their own importance to the dynamic. Remus was quieter, but a true and loyal friend. Peter, on the other hand, was less talented than his friends but an avid supporter of them.

Remus was also bitten by a werewolf, Fenrir Greyback, when he was just a boy, and he worried if he would be allowed to attend Hogwarts at all. However, Albus Dumbledore made the accommodations in order to support Remus’ education and he was able to attend school and make friends for the first time in his life. Eventually his friends learned why he disappeared during the full moon, and they loved him all the same after. Not only did the Marauders accept Remus with his condition, they also went above and beyond in their attempts to support him during his transformations.

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Why Can the Marauders Turn Into Animals in Harry Potter?

They pulled off remarkable magic in order to join Remus during the full moon, as James, Sirius and Peter taught themselves to be animagi – wizards who can turn themselves into animals – in their fifth year. James learned to turn himself into a stag, which is the form of Harry’s patronus, and Sirius’ animagus is a large black dog. When transformed into these larger animals, James and Sirius were able to run around with Remus in his werewolf form and help keep him from hurting anyone.

Meanwhile, Peter’s form of a rat would come in handy when the Marauders needed to freeze the Whomping Willow, as Dumbledore arranged a tunnel under it for him. Thanks to Peter’s size, he could get to the knot on the tree that froze it without harm.

What is the Marauders Map in Harry Potter?


Becoming unregistered animagi wasn’t the only remarkable thing the Marauders accomplished while at Hogwarts. They also invented the Marauder’s Map. This map had the ability to the whereabouts of everyone on the grounds of Hogwarts. This real time tracking is especially impressive because it can’t be tricked by  enchantments. For instance, Harry sees Peter Pettigrew’s name appear on the map while he’s in his rat form, and when Barty Crouch Jr is impersonating Mad-Eye Moody, the map identifies him correctly despite his use of Polyjuice Potion.

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The map also includes a variety of secret passages within the castle, as well as secret passages in and out of the school grounds. This includes the passage to the Whomping Willow and a passage Harry uses to get into Honeydukes.

There is a noticeable absence from the map though that Harry discovers in his fifth year. The map does not show the Room of Requirement. Harry isn’t sure if that absence is a defense mechanism of that room itself, or if the Marauders never actually discovered the room; therefore, they weren’t able to plot it onto the map.

How Did Harry Potter Get the Marauders Map?

At some point, the Marauders lost custody of the map ,and it ended up in the hands of Argus Filch, who kept it in his office for some time. Once, while he was punishing Fred and George Weasley, they stole the map and unveiled its secrets.

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They learned that to access the map, one must tap it with their wand and utter the phrase, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” Without the password, the map will not reveal its true purpose. Snape learns this the hard way when he discovers it and is insulted mercilessly while trying to unveil its secrets. To clear the map, the user must say, “Mischief Managed.”

Harry gets the map in his third year when he’s unable to attend Hogsmeade with his friends. Fred and George bestow him the map, as they believe his need for it outweighs their own. From that point, Harry uses the map faithfully throughout the series to help navigate the castle and keep an eye on his friends and enemies.

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The Marauders and their map are an important part of Harry Potter. Harry’s connection to his father, his godfather and his mentor is strengthened because he inherits their map, and the betrayal of Peter is made all the more heartbreaking and unforgivably knowing how close knit that bond had been in the first place. Knowing more about the Marauders and their map is both interesting, and heartbreaking depending on the context of the information.

KEEP READING: Why Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Is the Most Underrated in the Franchise

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About The Author

Margaret Lockyer
(358 Articles Published)

Margaret Lockyer has a degree in English with an emphasis on Apocalyptic Literature and a double major in History which she earned while playing ice hockey for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. She currently works in the Canadian film industry and in her spare time she likes practicing yoga, talking about movies, and petting dogs. You can find her on LinkedIn:

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