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The Marauders and The Golden Years

This article talks about the generation that came before the Harry Potter books – The Marauders – and their mischief in depth.

Credit: Chernin Entertainment

J.K. Rowling has given the world one of the biggest literary masterpieces of its time and with it she’s given us abundant storylines and side characters to obsess over. The Marauders, in particular, have shown to be the most interesting. Even though we only have limited information about them, a lot of fans have come together and decided to make a few facts ‘canon’, which means that even though it hasn’t been written by Rowling herself, the fans consider it to be true.

Who are The Marauders? What is Their Story?

‘The Marauders’ as most fans like to believe, was a term coined by Minerva McGonagall to describe a group of four notorious Gryffindor boys who attended Hogwarts in the 1970’s. Namely, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. They belonged to the generation that came before the Harry Potter series.

The Marauders were the most popular group of boys in Hogwarts and their agenda was to cause havoc and have fun, something which got them a lifetime worth of detentions and a big fan following. James and Sirius were considered teenage heartthrobs and were the biggest rulebreakers. Remus on the other hand was soft-spoken and well-mannered, keeping both boys in check and as for Peter, he was more of a follower than a leader and tended to trail after those with strong personalities, something which didn’t translate well as time went on. Their group was built on the pillars of friendship, righteousness and fun.

James Potter

Young James Potter. Credit: Ecosse Films.

James Potter was Harry’s father and was known to be quite arrogant in his early school days. He was a quidditch sensation with striking good looks sweeping girls off their feet and was an only child born into money. There are also a lot of fan theories that talk about James being a descendant of Godric Gryffindor. No matter how he was in school, James always stood for what was right. He was on the right side of the war and held the people he loved in the highest regard. Sirius once described him as someone who would rather die than betray his friends. He was intelligent, athletic, brave, loyal, and charming and was eventually made Head Boy. James died at the age of 21, fighting till his last breath to save his family. He is canonically fan-casted by young Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Sirius Black

Young Sirius Black. Credit: Momentum Pictures.

Sirius Black was born into one of the most well-known pureblood families and was the heir to the House of Black. His family consisted of pureblood fanatics and Sirius disagreed with their views on blood purity. He defied tradition by being sorted into Gryffindor rather than Slytherin and befriended James Potter, whose family was known for being ‘blood-traitors’ in the pureblood society. Sirius was very intrigued by Muggles and his room had posters of Muggle girls and motorbikes. This attitude didn’t sit right with his family and after getting into a fight at home, Sirius left at the age of 16 and took refuge with the Potters.

His Uncle Alphard left Sirius all his wealth which helped Sirius stand on his own two feet. He was Harry’s godfather and James’s best friend. He died at the age of 36 in the Department of Mysteries and is canonically fan-casted by young Ben Barnes.

Peter Pettigrew

Young Peter Pettigrew. Credit: Sony Pictures.

Peter Pettigrew, albeit a part of the marauders, didn’t play a specific role. He was quite different compared to the other three boys and often idolized them and lived in their shadows. This did not translate well as when James went into hiding with Harry and Lily, Peter chose himself over his friendship and told Voldemort where they were which led to James and Lily’s untimely death.

When he was confronted by Sirius, he fired a spell that ended up killing loads of Muggles and chopped his own finger off and vanished, framing Sirius for everything. His betrayal was the reason why Harry grew up without his parents and Sirius was sent to Azkaban. He turned out to be a very weak-hearted character who chose what was convenient and ended up joining Voldemort in the second wizarding war. He is gifted an enchanted hand by Voldemort and is asked to strangle Harry, but he hesitates. This leads to him choking himself to death. He died at the age of 38 and is often fan-casted by Dane Dehaan.

Remus Lupin

Young Remus Lupin. Credit: Columbia Pictures

Remus Lupin was the voice of reason for the marauders and always made sure they didn’t go too far. He was a half-blood wizard who was attacked by a werewolf named Fenrir Greyback when he was a child and suffered through lycanthropy throughout his life.

Remus was very conscious of his problem and often considered himself a ‘monster’ and was afraid to make friends. He would disappear every full moon and to excuse himself he used to tell the marauders that his mother was sick. Eventually, the other marauders found out and instead of turning their backs on him, like Remus expected, they tried to help him during his transformations. Remus was made prefect in 5th year and eventually became the DADA teacher at Hogwarts in Harry’s third year. He married Nymphadora Tonks and died next to her in Battle of Hogwarts at the age of 38. He is often fan-casted by Andrew Garfield.

Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs

Remus Lupin in his werewolf form, Warner Bros.

To help Remus during his transformations, the rest of the boys decided to join him by turning into Animagi. An Animagus form is when a witch/wizard can morph into an animal. They are bound to register their transformation with the Ministry as it is a legality. By their fifth year, they were able to achieve their Animagus forms.

However, they decided to remain unregistered as they wouldn’t be allowed to join Remus if they registered themselves. James morphed into a stag, Sirius into a big black dog, and Peter into a rat. Prongs, Padfoot, and Wormtail, respectively. Moony was Remus’s werewolf form, which James sometimes referred to as ‘his furry little problem’. They also created the Marauders map, very advanced level magic, which showed everyone at Hogwarts even in the secret hallways. Filch confiscated the map in their sixth year and it was found years later by Fred and George Weasley.

The glorification of Severus Snape

Severus Snape. Credit: Warner Bros.

The Harry Potter fandom is split into two groups- people who think Lily should’ve ended up with Snape because he was technically a ‘good person’ and people who are right. Severus Snape is, more often than not, not held accountable for his actions. The movies tend to glorify him and portray James in a bad light, but the viewers must remember that the memory we see is Snape’s most hateful memory of James. James was arrogant, sure but he grew out of it.

Lily did not make the ‘wrong decision’, especially considering the fact that she was the smartest witch of her generation. Snape was completely obsessed with Lily and to ‘protect’ her he asked her to join the wrong side of the war. Him even suggesting that Lily should be on his side to remain ‘safe’ was asking her to be racist against her own kind. Snape did what was convenient, not what was right.

James on the other hand was immature and maybe even a little envious of Lily’s friendship with Snape, which made him act irrationally. Because of this he purposely picked fights with Snape which made Snape despise James. Snape was Lily’s friend and her introduction into the magical world. Their friendship was important to her, but she never desired more than that. Snape, however, did. He also started hanging out with the other Slytherins and hated on other muggle-borns that weren’t Lily. All this just made him a hypocrite. James has also been known to risk his life to save Snape from Remus during one of his werewolf transformations, when Sirius set him up. This shows that when the time came, James always did what was right.

James and Lily: The Hogwarts ‘It couple’

James and Lily Potter. Credit: Warner Bros.

From what we are told of James and Lily, they were very different in a lot of aspects but they believed in the same things. Lily initially didn’t like James because he was academically neck to neck with her and while she was a hard worker, he wasn’t. He was just smart. He acted obnoxiously around her by constantly trying to impress her and get her to go out with him. Over time he understood that acting like an arrogant prat wouldn’t impress Lily and matured around 6th year. They fell in love around 7th year when they were both made head boy and head girl.

They are also known to be soul mates because of their matching Patronuses, that of a stag and doe. This means that the happiest memory they think of when they form their Patronus is of each other. Snape is known to have a doe Patronus because of his obsession towards Lily, which is what eventually led him turning his back on Voldemort. Lily made the right choice by marrying someone she loved and who eventually became her destiny, not someone who was blindly obsessed with her.

Written By

An English and Film student at Trinity College Dublin.

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