Harry Potter: 15 Things About The Marauders That Make No Sense

The Marauders in a flashback scene

Twenty years before Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Marauders were the most famous gang of Hogwarts heroes.

They were four students who all belonged to Gryffindor House. Harry’s own father, James Potter, Pureblood scion rebel Sirius Black, the secret werewolf Remus Lupin and the runt of the group Peter Pettigrew.

They quickly became friends in their first year. However, their bonds depended even further when Remus’s lycanthropy came to light. Instead of shunning him, James, Sirius, and Peter became Animagi so that the four of them could stay together.

Their friendship persisted even through the first war against Voldemort. Although each of the Marauders met unfortunate ends, their legacies and their families endured into Harry’s era and beyond.

Peter Pettigrew has been forsaken for his treachery, but James, Sirius and Remus remain among the favorite characters of many Harry Potter Fans.

However,  certain parts of their story are just baffling. Some of their greatest magical accomplishments are never satisfactorily shown. They made decisions that should have been easily avoidable mistakes. Mistakes that cost some of them their friendships or their lives.

Without the Marauders, there would be no Harry Potter or Harry Potter series. But there are somethings about them we can’t stop scratching our heads over.

Messers Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs are embarrassed to present the 15 Things About The Marauders That Make No Sense!


Marauders Map

The Marauder’s Map is one of the most complex and useful magical artifacts in the series. It’s an enchanted map that shows the entirety of Hogwarts. It includes the castle itself and all the surrounding grounds.

The map even has all of the secret rooms and passageways that the Marauders discovered during their time as students.

Most fabulous of all is that map’s ability to show all of Hogwarts’s inhabitants. When viewing the map every single person on school property will appear in real time. Every student, every teacher, every visitor.

Not only that, but the map will identify a person and their position regardless of any type of concealment or disguise. It doesn’t matter if they are under an invisibility cloak, disguised with polyjuice potion or transformed into an animal. The map will show them.

The map is also enchanted to only be accessible to would-be trouble makers and to be inscrutable to Severus Snape.

So how in the name of Merlin’s beard did four wizarding students make it? It seems like the sort of complex specialized magic that most students never properly learn how to do.

The map obviously contains tracking and revealing charms, but it also can adapt to newcomers who were never at the castle during the Marauder’s days.


McGonagall cat in Harry Potter

Sirius and James became fast friends with Remus at Hogwarts. But Remus kept making up elaborate excuses every month to deal with his lycanthropy. His friends quickly discovered the true nature of his absences. To ease his solitary burden, and take on whole new adventures, the three Marauders resolved to become Animagi.

It is never fully explained in the books, but becoming an Animagus is no easy feat. It’s probably one of the most difficult personal magical processes a witch or wizard can undertake.

According to short stories on Pottermore Presents, becoming an Animagus requires preparing a potion. One of the ingredients is a mandrake leaf.

This sounds simple enough, except that the aspiring witch or wizard must keep the mandrake leaf in their mouth for an entire month. No losing or swallowing. Then the leaf must be added to a complex potion involving moonlight, pure morning dew and a lightning storm.

While waiting for the storm, the witch or wizard must recite an incantation every day at sunrise and sunset.

So how could three Hogwarts students do all this while keeping it secret? From Albus Dumbledore no less. Even just the part with the mandrake leaf? How does any wizard eat or drink properly while keeping something in their mouth for a month? Even while sleeping?

It just shows how far the Marauders will go for their friends.


Sirius Black Animagi in Harry Potter

Once a witch or wizard becomes an Animagus, they can transform into their animal form at any time. However, according to the Pottermore Presents, a witch or wizard cannot chose what animal form they will become when they finally drink the Animagus Potion.

Intrinsic qualities about the witch or wizard determines it, like personality or character. In that sense, an Animagus form is similar to a witch or wizard’s corporeal patronus. They won’t know what it will be until it appears.

That must have posed some problems for the Marauders. They wanted to transform into animals that would keep Remus company while in werewolf form, and also keep him in check.

Is there any way for a witch or wizard to make an educated guess about what their Animagus form will be?

Did James, Sirius and Peter suspect they would transform into a stag, a dog and a rat? What if they transformed into birds of some kind, or they all transformed into small rodents? What if they transformed into a kind of animal that a werewolf would prey upon?

They were counting on Peter’s rat at least to disable the Whomping Willow because he was so small. Seems like a lot of risk factors.


Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

For better or worse, students are sorted into one of four Houses when they first arrive at Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin.

James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew were all sorted into Gryffindor. That undoubtedly facilitated the four of them becoming best friends as the Marauders.

Based on the traits that Gryffindor prizes, it’s easy to see why James, Sirius and Remus all joined that house. The three of them were brave and often stubborn, willing to fight for what they believed in. And then there is Pettigrew.

From his school days into adulthood, he’s always shown as meek, selfish and cowardly. He betrays Lily and James to save himself and then frames Sirius for his crimes to escape justice.

One has to wonder what the Sorting Hat saw in Pettigrew to place him in Gryffindor. J.K. Rowling has revealed that Pettigrew was a Hat-Stall.

The Sorting Hat took more than five full moments to decide where to put him. What was the deciding factor then? We know the Sorting Hat takes student choice into account.

Was Pettigrew already friendly with James and Sirius? Did he beg the hat to let him join his friends in Gryffindor and did the Hat decide, ‘might as well’?


Albus Dumbledore made a lot of progressive minded exceptions in admittance and staffing of Hogwarts. Hagrid was a half giant convict, Argus Filch was a squib and Severus Snape was a former Death Eater.

Remus Lupin may have been Dumbledore’s most unorthodox acceptance. Remus had been bitten by the werewolf Greyback at a young age. His parents raised him in isolation for fear of his safety and the safety of others.

Dumbledore visited the Lupin’s home personally to invite Remus to Hogwarts. He explained that special arrangements would be made to let him endure his transformations safely.

However, why the Shrieking Shack? Also, why the Whomping Willow? Wouldn’t it seem suspicious to plant a violent tree, capable of harming students, right in the middle of the Hogwarts grounds?

Could Dumbledore just do that without having to explain it to the staff? Or the Ministry? Why keep the Whomping Willow around after Remus graduated?

The Shrieking Shack itself seems likely to draw suspicion too. Why force Remus to transform in a location where he could be heard screaming and gnashing, even if the surrounding villagers couldn’t know what they were hearing?

It just seems like the kind of mystery that more than a few Hogwarts students would investigate.


Fred and George Weasley give Harry Potter the Marauders Map in a scene from 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'

The Marauder’s Map was the most prized creation of James, Remus, Sirius and Peter. It was a testament to their magical talent and crucial to their reckless antics at Hogwarts. They specifically enchanted it so that only they could use it, or at least only other people with their same spirit for rule breaking.

Sometime before the Marauders leave Hogwarts, they lose possession of the map. By the time Fred and George Weasley arrive at Hogwarts, Argus Filch has the Marauder’s Map under close watch. They steal it and carry on with the antics that the Map enables.

However, how did the Marauders lose the Map to Filch of all people? Filch is a squib. Since he’s unable to perform much magic, he’s always had trouble keeping up with the most slippery Hogwarts trouble makers.

He presumably outmaneuvered the Marauders late in their Hogwarts careers, though, when they were most capable, and took the Marauder’s Map away from them.

The Marauders either couldn’t or wouldn’t get it back. J. K. Rowling has written on Pottermore that the James, Remus, Sirius, and Peter were all more concerned with joining the war effort against Lord Voldemort by the end of the Hogwarts careers.

They were apparently content to leave the map behind.


Young James and Lily Potter at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Throughout most of the books, Harry’s noble image of his mother and father is reinforced by his grown up friends and teachers. Through the Pensieve, Harry gets to see a less flattering side of his father in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

He sees his father’s arrogance and his cruelty, especially towards Snape. Worse yet, he sees his would be mother Lily Evans showing disgust for James.

Later in the book, Remus and Sirius console Harry. They basically tell him that James grew out of his mean, flashy, juvenile behavior.

That is believable, if vague. We know that James grew committed to fighting Voldemort with the Order of the Phoenix and that he sacrificed his life to protect Lily and Harry.

However, we never see how Lily and James actually fall in love with each other. James always found Lily attractive, but Lily thought James was an arrogant toe-rag.

Was there always some attraction beneath the disapproval? What changed to make Lily’s opinion of him change?

With everything we find out about James and Lily and Snape by the end of the series, don’t we deserve to see a little of how Harry’s revered parents finally fell in love? What made them decide to start a family during the first war against Voldemort?


Peter Pettigrew waving and escaping

Sybil Trelawney’s prophecy about the fall of Voldemort changed everything. It said that a boy born at the end of July, to parents who had defied Voldemort three times, would be the one to defeat the Dark Lord.

Voldemort became obsessed with finding the prophesied family and harming their child. The Potters soon fell within his sights.

To protect Lily and James, Dumbledore urged Lily and James to go into hiding, while Lily was pregnant with Harry. As an extra protection, they used the Fidelius charm to hide their location from the world entirely. Except for one person they picked to be their secret keeper.

Dumbledore offered to be the Potters’ secret keeper. They were going to choose Sirius, godfather to their son Harry. But Sirius persuaded them to switch to Peter Pettigrew. Sirius claims that he thought no one would suspect a bluff like this, making such a weak person like Pettigrew the secret keeper.

Obviously, Voldemort was already exploiting Peter’s weakness for his ends. James said he would have perished rather than betray his friends.

If that’s true, wouldn’t loyalty that true be the best possible choice for a secret keeper? You really have to question Sirius’s thinking here, in suggesting Peter.


Harry Potter and the invisibility cloak

There are “common” invisibility cloaks in the wizarding world, but Harry’s cloak is special. It is in fact the Deathly Hallow described in the Tale of the Three Brothers.

Supposedly, the Cloak of Invisibility was granted to Ignotus Peverell by Death itself, as a reward for outsmarting him. Ignotus passed the Cloak down to his son when he passed awayd. For generations, the Cloak served his family, including James Potter.

James used the Cloak throughout his time at Hogwarts. It enabled him and his friends to accomplish all kinds of mischief and rule breaking. Dumbledore found out about the Cloak after the war against Voldemort began, around the time James and Lily went into hiding.

When James showed Dumbledore the cloak, Dumbledore asked to borrow it and study it. He was consumed with curiosity, wanting to continue his quest for the Deathly Hallows he had given up in his youth.

Dumbledore confesses to Harry at the end of Deathly Hallows that taking the Cloak from James at the time was a selfish mistake. However, why would James agree to let Dumbledore borrow it at all?

Surely, anything that powerful to help hide him and his family from Voldemort would be worth keeping.


Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Sirius must have had his wand with him when he went to confront Peter Pettigrew for betraying the Potters. Evidently, Peter was prepared to frame Sirius and make his escape.

Sirius was sentenced to life in Azkaban for the devastating curse that destroyed a dozen muggle bystanders. His wand must have been confiscated by the Ministry of Magic.

That wand was presumably the same wand that Sirius got when he first visited Ollivanders at the start of his Hogwarts Career.

When he escaped Azkaban he definitely got a wand with him again. Harry and his friends see Sirius use it against Peter Pettigrew to force him into his human form again.

However, was this his original wand from before his imprisonment? It seems unlikely Sirius would want to risk recovering his own wand and would want to stay hidden as much as possible. So did he get himself a new wand and make it loyal to him?

Sirius’s wand is never specifically described in terms of wood or core type or length. What details we do have come from the wand developed for the movies.

It appears thin and dark and engraved with runes along its length sides. But we still never learned whether this was the same wand Sirius had before his wrongful term in Azkaban.


Remus Lupin and Sirius Black

Sirius and Remus were best of friends and two of the Marauders. Their friendship was so solid that even discovering Remus was a werewolf did not ruin it. Instead the Sirius joined James and Peter in becoming Animagi.

Every month during Remus’ transformations, they would assume their animal forms and frolic around the Hogwarts grounds, playing and exploring. The trust and respect built up between them was very deep.

All four of the young men joined the Order of the Phoenix after graduating Hogwarts, including Remus and Sirius.

So where did the distrust between them come from after Sybil Trelawney’s prophesy? James’ best friend was Sirius, so it made sense for James to invite Sirius to be his son’s Godfather and his secret keeper.

Sirius persuaded James to make Peter Pettigrew the secret keeper instead as part of a reverse psychology trick.

For unknown reasons, Sirius didn’t tell Remus of this change. He evidently suspected that Remus might be spying for Voldemort.

Did it have something to do with Remus being a werewolf and most werewolves siding with Voldemort? Unless it was the pressure of the war, they seemed to resolve that fear while at Hogwarts.

Sirius says so himself in Prisoner of Azkaban: “I’ll never understand why I didn’t see [Peter Pettigrew was] the spy from the start.”


Peter Pettigrew wasn’t going to be caught by Sirius. He cast a deadly curse around him that caused a dozen muggles to perish and cut off his own finger to fake his own demise and frame Sirius.

After that he lived constantly as a rat. He wanted to get himself taken in as a pet by some wizarding family so that he could keep tabs on current events in the wizarding world.

The Weasleys worked well in this regard. At some point Percy Weasley adopted Pettigrew in his rat form.

The Weasleys gave Pettigrew the pet name Scabbers. They didn’t think anything extraordinary of Scabber’s one missing toe. Nor did they question it when Scabbers far outlived the conventional lifespan of a common garden rat.

He lived so long that Percy passed Scabbers on to his younger brother Ron. Despite being disappointed with another hand-me-down, Ron was fond enough of Scabbers to bring him to Hogwarts.

Percy and Ron never gave any serious thought to Scabbers living so long. Perhaps they were simply happy to still have Scabbers around that they never questioned it.

Also, plenty of ordinary appearing animals in the wizarding world seem to have peculiar traits.


The Marauder’s Map was taken from the original Marauders by Argus Filch near the end of James, Sirius, Remus and Peter’s Hogwarts careers.

The Map stayed locked up in Filch’s office until the Weasley Twins, Fred and George arrived. They unleashed a whole new generation of mischief and mayhem upon Hogwarts, especially after they took the Marauder’s Map for themselves.

Fred and George were obviously clever enough to figure out how it works. With the Map they could monitor the exact location of all the castle’s inhabitants. And they could navigate the many secret passages leading in and out of the castle.

So here’s a quandary. Fred and George never shied from teasing their younger brother Ron, especially once they were all at school together.

They would have readily taken the chance to stay up late and spy on Ron while he was sleeping in the Gryffindor dormitory. If they did, wouldn’t they have seen Peter Pettigrew on the Map, at least two years before Harry did?

It seems like major oversight on Fred and George’s part. If they did spot him why did they never mention it? Were Fred and George such trouble makers that they couldn’t be bothered to investigate further?


Remus Lupin Turns Into A Werewolf in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Remus was forced to endure his transformations into a werewolf since his was first bitten by Fenrir Greyback. He was usually enclosed and isolated.

However, becoming a werewolf once a month was still agonizing. The only times his transformations were bearable were after the other Marauders became Animagi.

They let Remus’s werewolf tendencies exercise safely in the company of other animals away from humans.

After Remus’s time at Hogwarts, there was a ray of progress in the Wolfsbane potion. With this potion a werewolf could keep his human faculties and memories.

He could peaceful sleep through the transformation instead of violently lashing out. However, the ingredients are expensive and the preparation is difficult.

Remus wasn’t able to regularly use the potion until it was provided for him by Snape while Remus taught Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts.

Making sure the potion is effective requires the werewolf to imbibe it once a day for a week leading up to a full moon. So Lupin had to have it as part of his routine.

Yet he still forgot to take it on the night Pettigrew escaped towards the end of Prisoner of Azkaban. With Remus being so fearful of the harm he could inflict, did it really never occur to him throughout all the danger of that evening?


Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter and Adrian Rawlins as James Potter

Dumbledore had James and Lily use the Fidelius charm to protect themselves while in hiding from Voldemort. Their hiding location would be kept a secret by magically granting that knowledge to one person only, a secret keeper.

Once a secret keeper is chosen and the knowledge is concealed, no one could ever find the Potters. Not even if Voldemort pressed his flat nose up against their living room window.

The knowledge could only be gained if the secret keeper makes a voluntary choice to divulge the information.

This was the treacherous case with Peter Pettigrew. He revealed the Potters’ hiding spot to Voldemort. But many fans think there should have been a way for Lily and James to avoid that risk all together. Why not use each other as their secret keepers?

Arthur and Molly Weasley apparently used each other as their secret keepers during the second war against Voldemort. Was this just something hadn’t occurred to any one during the first war?

Perhaps there is some exclusion to the charm that prevents secret keepers from falling under overlapping realms of protections.

If James made Lily the secret keeper of his location, would one of them be unable to find the other afterwards? Would they have to cast their Fidelius charms on each other at precisely the same time?


Are there any other things you’ve noticed about the Marauders in Harry Potter that make no sense? Let us know in the comments!

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