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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[9] 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. They had a knack for rule-breaking and mischief-making. While at Hogwarts they also created the Marauder's Map, which continued to help future generations of mischief-makers.[1]

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 led 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 he and his friends were saved from further 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

The Marauders' strong friendship began in their first year at Hogwarts. Sirius and James met on the train and had been inseparable ever since and the two met Remus and Peter afterwards. 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).[1]

As 'Padfoot' and 'Prongs', Sirius and James were large enough to control Remus (Moony) during his monthly transformations into a werewolf. 'Wormtail' (Peter) was small and nimble enough to get past the Whomping Willow's defences, so the group could get to the Shrieking Shack. The Marauders were frequently out of their beds at night to explore Hogwarts' grounds and the village of Hogsmeade during Lupins' transformation.[1]

In the period between their fifth and seventh years at Hogwarts, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter created the Marauder's Map, a small, bewitched roll of parchment that displayed the castle grounds and inhabitants of Hogwarts — including all staff, ghosts and students — in great detail.[1] At an unspecified point, Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch confiscated the map and kept it in a drawer in his office labelled 'Classified and Highly Dangerous'. Fred and George Weasley stole the map in their first year, and later passed it on to Harry Potter in 1993.[8] Harry had been the sole owner of the map since then.

The Marauders in their fifth year at Hogwarts

The Marauders were all members of Gryffindor House and greatly despised their Slytherin enemy, Severus Snape. It was discovered in Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts that James and Sirius often bullied Snape (calling him 'Snivellus' and using humiliating spells on him), while Peter cheered them on.[3] Although he greatly disapproved of their bullying, Remus did not try to stop them, something he would later come to regret.

In their Hogwarts years, the Marauders were affiliated with Patricia Rakepick, a Gryffindor student four years above them who shared their interest in breaking rules. They also shared their dislike towards Snape. Rakepick knew about the Marauder's Map as well.[10]

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

Lily and James Potter had their son Harry Potter in 1980, and Sirius was made godfather.[8]

The Marauders would all go on to become members of the original Order of the Phoenix against the Dark Lord, Voldemort, as adults. Peter Pettigrew, though belonging to the Order of the Phoenix, later turned on his friends in favour of Voldemort's protection. Recently forced into hiding, James and Lily Potter made Pettigrew the Secret Keeper of their location, at Sirius's suggestion. His theory in doing this was that Peter was the least expected choice, further protecting the secret.[8]

In a selfish act to save himself, however, Peter revealed the location of the Potters' cottage to Voldemort and betrayed his friends. Consequently, James and Lily were murdered at the hands of the Dark Lord in an attempt to protect their infant son, Harry, from being hurt.[2]

Pettigrew as Scabbers, the Weasleys' pet rat

An incensed Sirius confronted Peter about his traitorous actions in a Muggle street, but the latter narrowly escaped by unleashing a curse all around him — killing a dozen Muggles in the process — and cut off his own finger. He then transformed into his rat form and fled into the sewers, framing Sirius as the traitor to the Potters and a killer. Sirius was taken to Azkaban with no trial, where he faced twelve years of imprisonment before his escape in 1993.[2]

Peter had successfully faked his own death and remained the victim to Sirius's falsely alleged crimes. In his rat form (under the name 'Scabbers') he came into the possession of Percy Weasley and later his younger brother Ron.[2]

Sirius's years in Azkaban were spent with the knowledge that he was innocent, and that the true traitor and killer was Peter Pettigrew. So strong was the belief that Sirius was guilty that the fourth Marauder, Remus, thought one of his oldest friends was a killer and the reason that the Potters' location had been revealed to Voldemort.[2]

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."
— Remus was introduced as the new DADA professor[src]

Remus during his time as the DADA professor at Hogwarts

in 1993, Sirius Black was able to escape Azkaban in his Animagus form (Padfoot being malnourished enough to slip through the Azkaban bars, and thwart the Dementors). Sirius' goal was to seek revenge on his former friend Peter Pettigrew, whom he had discovered was still alive and currently hiding as Ron Weasley's pet rat, Scabbers, at Hogwarts. At this time, Remus Lupin had been the newly appointed Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. He met Harry Potter at this time, and discovered that Peter was alive from the Marauder's Map, further concluding that Sirius was innocent. Lupin kept his lycanthropy a secret from the students.[1]

Sirius's wanted poster after his escape from Azkaban

Sirius Black and Remus Lupin reunited to reveal Scabbers as Peter Pettigrew. The old friends were about to finish Peter once and for all, but Harry Potter stopped them, telling them that Peter should be taken to Azkaban to clear Sirius's criminal record.[2]

However, the plan backfired, and whilst the others were distracted with Remus's sudden transformation into a werewolf, Peter once again escaped to rejoin his old master, Lord Voldemort.[11] With his servant's help in 1995, Voldemort was able to regain his full body and regain magic ability using a Rudimentary body potion. Peter lost his hand in the process — to which his master replaced it with a silver one.[12][13]

Remus resigned from his post as a Hogwarts professor soon after when Snape 'accidentally' let it slip to the students and other staff that Remus was a werewolf.[14]

Second Wizarding War

Main article: Second Wizarding War

Voldemort returned to power for the second time, kick-starting the Second Wizarding War. A new Order of the Phoenix was established whose members included both Remus and Sirius, who were both members of the original Order.[5]

Sirius preparing to duel Bellatrix Lestrange in the Death Chamber before he was murdered

Sirius was murdered in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries by his Death Eater cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. He was struck with an spell in a moment of recklessness, causing him to fall through the Veil in the Death Chamber to his death.[15] After his death, Sirius's name was cleared of all charges when Voldemort and his supporters came back in the open. His death also caused Harry an extreme amount of grief and pain but also strengthened his resolve in his fight against Voldemort and his followers. This also caused the Minister for Magic at the time (Cornelius Fudge) to finally acknowledge Voldemort's returned presence in the wizarding world.[16]

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

In April 1998 Remus's wife Tonks became pregnant with a boy, whom they asked Harry to be the godfather of, as they considered Harry to be the best option.[17] Shortly before Teddy's birth, Peter Pettigrew met his end in 1998. He was 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 for saving his life.[7] Remus Lupin was murdered soon after in May of 1998 during the Battle of Hogwarts in a duel against Antonin Dolohov. Lupin's death marked the end of the Marauders. His death also fortified the tradition of all four members dying in a way that was affiliated with Harry.


Harry briefly spoke with his father, mother, Sirius, and Remus through the Resurrection Stone, before facing Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. The echos of the three Marauders and Lily gave him the strength he needed to face Voldemort and they also kept the Dementors at bay. They were with him until he entered the clearing where Voldemort and his Death Eaters were located, as he dropped the stone before their confrontation.[18]

After Remus and Tonks's deaths, Teddy was raised by his maternal grandmother Andromeda Tonks, with help from his godfather. Harry named his first son in honour of his deceased father and Sirius, James Sirius Potter.[19] It is also noted the James Sirius takes after his grandfather and Sirius, sharing many of their personality traits. The Marauder's Map was also passed on to a new generation of students.


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 Ron Weasley 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 of the Marauders had died. James protecting Lily and Harry, Sirius dies in the Department of Mysteries, Remus was killed in the Battle Of Hogwarts, and Peter was strangled by his new hand Lord Voldemort gave him in a moment of unloyal deliberation.
  • 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 lastly 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, which seems to fit their activities better, as a marauder is someone who roams a place, often to cause trouble or at least mischief.
  • It is also relevant to note that all of them die whilst protecting Harry Potter from Voldemort or his Death Eaters. James is murdered by Voldemort trying to buy 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) and Lupin dies whilst fighting Antonin Dolohov, in an attempt 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 films 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.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Moony is misspelled "Mooney" as an inside joke to the film's visual effects supervisor, Karl Mooney.
  • 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.[20]
  • 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."[21]
  • Notably, in the films Sirius is the only Marauder who dies on-screen. James' corpse is shown, Peter is last seen being incapacitated by Dobby, and Lupin's corpse is shown. The films make it unclear how Lupin died.


The Marauders at Hogwarts

  • Remus - "Moony": Wolves, similarly to dogs, signify valour and guardianship, as well as a strong sense of family and loyalty. 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, Roman mythology tells the story about two boys named Romulus and Remus, who were abandoned in the woods by their mother, and raised by wolves. Romulus was a nickname Remus Lupin uses as coverage on the radio, in the last book. Remus, much like a wolf, essentially communally rears his friend's son, as communal raising of pups is common practice in wolf packs, with Remus being a member of James's pack in a sense.
  • 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. Rats are also common prey for snakes, which does end up being the case. Pettigrew meets his end by suffocating himself - which is one way that snakes kill - by the silver hand given to him by Voldemort whose emblem is a snake.
  • Sirius - "Padfoot": The dog is the emblem of faithfulness, loyalty, courage, vigilance, and guardianship. Dogs are considered man's best friend and this definitely proves true in the case of Sirius and James. The name Sirius derives from the star, which 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 pride, masculinity, nobility, and power. The image of a stag was used quite often by old English kings and many other kinds of rulers. The stag is fitting for James, as within the Marauders he upholds a sort of leadership and power.


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 5 (The Order of the Phoenix)
  6. 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.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
  9. JK Rowling official site - FAQdead link
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 15 (Secrets and Lies)
  11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)
  13. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
  14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)
  15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  17. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 25 (Shell Cottage)
  18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34 (The Forest Again)
  19. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Epilogue (Nineteen Years Later)
  20. Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, Page 288
  21. Zap2It - J.K. Rowling denies plans for 'Harry Potter' Marauders prequel, talks Dumbledore's 'coming out'