marauders map

The Marauder’s Map, as most Potterheads would agree, is one of the most ingenious wizarding inventions of all time. A map enchanted to show the whereabouts of every creature and every hidden passage at Hogwarts, it is well worth a revisit. Let’s get started then.

And yes, I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.

The history of the map can be traced way back to 1975, when the then Hogwarts mischief makers – Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs), managed to pull off a bit of highly advanced magic and enchanted an innocent looking piece of parchment with a Homonculous Charm. This tricky piece of magic enables the owner to identify every person’s location within Hogwarts (Ghosts and poltergeists not exempted). The map is not fooled by Invisibility Cloaks, Polyjuice Potion, Animagi and Disillusionment Charms.

However, it has its own flaws; it cannot, for instance, locate the Room of Requirement, nor can it show the Chamber of Secrets. Also, it does not distinguish between different people having the same names.

The funniest thing about the map is that it is specially designed to drive away the curiosity of the Marauders’ arch enemy, Severus Snape, using a few well-framed sarcastic remarks. We will soon get to that. Let us now trace this map’s journey through the Harry Potter series.

The map, after being confiscated from the Marauders (in their seventh year) by Filch, is later stolen by Fred and George Weasley, in their first year. The map reveals itself only on the utterance of the words –“I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good” and reverts to a harmless looking parchment on saying “Mischief Managed”.

Harry is gifted the map by Fred and George during his third year at Hogwarts when they get wind of the fact that he’s not allowed to Hogsmeade anymore. The map reveals a hidden passage to Honeydukes (the sweet shop at Hogsmeade) and Harry conveniently uses it to get to Hogsmeade. Nevertheless, the map also puts Harry in some very tight spots. Malfoy catches a glimpse of Harry near the Shrieking Shack and Snape finds him lurking in the corridors at night with this map. When a furious Snape tampers with the map, little does he know that he is in for an unanticipated surprise! Here’s what the map shows Snape.

Mr Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.
Mr Prongs agrees with Mr Moony and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.
Mr Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a Professor.
Mr Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slime-ball.”

Lupin saves Harry from the wrath of Snape by arriving at the right moment and keeps the map with himself, only returning  it to Harry at the end of the year.

In the Goblet of Fire, the map plays a key role as it shows Barty Crouch in Snape’s office, much to Harry’s bafflement. It is actually Barty Crouch Jr., the son of Ministry worker Barty Crouch, who breaks into Snape’s office to get more supplies for his Polyjuice Potion (He impersonates Alastor Moody). The absence of this small detail changed the whole course of the book, for otherwise the impostor would have been exposed immediately.

In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry uses the map to track Umbridge during secret Defence classes, lest she should be made aware of the Dumbledore’s Army. In the Half-Blood Prince, Harry utilises it to tail Malfoy, on whom he has a strong suspicion. The map, however does not show the Room of Requirement, where Malfoy works on something very queer, thus leaving Harry’s attempts futile.

In the Deathly Hallows, the map finds itself a place in Harry’s Mokeskin pouch, along with other seemingly worthless items. It doesn’t come into much play, for the Golden Trio are outside Hogwarts. However, Harry spends sometime watching Ginny’s dot just for the relief of it.

After the war, the map hasn’t been used for a long time. But it is suspected that James Potter II sneaked it out of Harry’s drawer and took it with him to Hogwarts. Grandfather’s traits, don’t you think?


Hope you enjoyed this piece on the Marauder’s Map. Please do comment below and leave your suggestions! For, only then can I say, “Mischief Managed”!


Source credits: Apart from my set of Harry Potter books, HarryPotterWikia is the source to some outside-the-novel information.