The Marauder's Map

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Chapter 10 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Marauder's Map← Chapter 9 | Chapter 11 →

Synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Harry is deeply disappointed over his first-ever Quidditch loss and losing his broom. He is also worried that he has seen the Grim three times, twice just before he was nearly killed: once by the Knight Bus, and then by falling off his broom during a Quidditch game. He says nothing about the Grim, however, to Hermione, who would scoff, or Ron, who would panic. The Dementors also trouble him, and Harry is beginning to realize that, when they approach him, he hears his mother's screams as she was being murdered.

Returning to classes on Monday is a relief, even with Draco's taunts. Professor Lupin also returns and cancels the Werewolf essay Professor Snape had assigned. After class, he tells Harry he is sorry that the Whomping Willow destroyed his broomstick. The willow was planted during his first year at Hogwarts. Lupin tells Harry that his reaction to the Dementors is not weakness. Dementors drain peoples' happiness and good memories, leaving only the bad. Harry's dreadful memories make him particularly vulnerable. Harry reveals he can hear Voldemort murdering his mother whenever the Dementors are near him, leaving Lupin visibly shaken. Harry wants Lupin to teach him how to defend himself against the Dementors the way Lupin did on the Hogwarts Express. Lupin promises he will after the Christmas holidays.

With that promise, Harry's outlook brightens; Ravenclaw flattening Hufflepuff in Quidditch, bringing Gryffindor back into the running for the Cup, also helps. Ron and Hermione are staying at Hogwarts over Christmas, further bolstering his morale. Even the prospect of missing yet another Hogsmeade weekend hardly bothers him. Borrowing Which Broomstick from Oliver Wood, Harry intends to spend the Hogsmeade weekend reading up on a replacement for his destroyed broomstick. Fred and George, however, have other ideas. Claiming Harry's needs are greater than their own, they bequeath him their Marauder's Map, a magical parchment they stole from Filch their first year. The map, apparently created by Messrs. "Moony," "Wormtail," "Padfoot," and "Prongs," shows seven secret passageways in and out of Hogwarts, as well as every person's location within the castle. Fred and George say Filch apparently only knows about four tunnels. One of the remaining three has caved in, and one starts under the Whomping Willow, making it too dangerous. The passage at the One-Eyed Witch statue goes directly to Honeyduke's Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade village. To activate the map, the user must say, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," and "Mischief managed" to make it blank again.

Harry opens the One-Eyed Witch's hump with "Dissendium!", a spell provided by the map, and heads down the passageway. He emerges in Honeyduke's basement. Upstairs, Harry sneaks up behind Ron and Hermione. Ron believes he Apparated, but Harry tells him about the Map. Ron is upset that Fred and George never told him about the map. Hermione demands Harry turn it in to Professor McGonagall, but Harry refuses, believing the Dementors swarming the village will prevent Black accessing the two usable passageways. They set off for the Three Broomsticks. Ron, who seems to have a slight crush on Madam Rosmerta, the pub's owner, gets a round of Butterbeer.

Professor McGonagall, Professor Flitwick, Hagrid, and Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, enter. Ron and Hermione quickly hide Harry under the table. The four, plus Madam Rosmerta, sit down at an adjacent table. When Rosmerta complains the Dementors are affecting her business, Fudge explains they are necessary because Black is so dangerous. Rosmerta mentions that Sirius and James Potter were great friends once, always in the Three Broomsticks together. This surprises Harry. Fudge says that not only was Sirius James' best friend, but also best man at his wedding and Harry's godfather. James and Lily knew Voldemort was hunting them and went into hiding. They used the Fidelius charm to conceal themselves and appointed Sirius their Secret-Keeper. Dumbledore, aware someone close to them was leaking secrets, offered to be their Secret-Keeper, but they declined. Barely a week later, Voldemort killed James and Lily, although he met his own demise in baby Harry. Obviously Black, tired of playing double agent, had thrown his lot in with Voldemort but, after his defeat, fled for his life. Peter Pettigrew, another Potter friend, caught up to Black the next day and accused him of betraying James and Lily. Black killed him and twelve Muggle bystanders with a single curse. Only Pettigrew's bloodstained robes and a severed finger remained. Black was sentenced to Azkaban. It is believed he is trying to reunite with Voldemort, perhaps after killing Harry to prove his loyalty. The teachers depart; Harry, Ron, and Hermione are too stunned to speak.

Analysis[edit]

Harry shows his more mature analytical thinking here as he realizes that the screams he hears whenever the Dementors approach are his mother's during her murder. Eventually, he is able to recall her last words, desperately pleading for her life. Slowly, his memory is uncovering more pieces to a horrific, long-buried puzzle.

Professor Lupin seems particularly, though momentarily, taken aback when Harry mentions hearing his mother's screams. Though he never explains why it affects him, it seems more emotional than just a teacher reacting sympathetically to his student's misfortune; it could indicate that Lupin has some prior connection to James and Lily. He also expresses remorse about the Whomping Willow destroying Harry's broomstick. Curiously, the Marauder's Map shows a secret passageway starting at the Whomping Willow's base, though no reason has been given as to why a tunnel would be located next to such a dangerous tree or where it might lead. Lupin tells Harry that the willow was planted the year he started Hogwarts. If there is any correlation to the willow being planted next to a tunnel the same year Lupin arrived at Hogwarts, nothing is mentioned here, but it should perhaps be considered. This is, obviously, no ordinary tree; given its massive size, it should be much older, and it is probable that magic accelerated its growth in addition to making it "whomping," for some as-yet unknown purpose.

Whoever Padfoot, Moony, Wormtail, and Prongs may be, they were obviously exceptionally talented Wizards to have created such a map. Since the map shows Hogwarts, it can be presumed they were students there, though when is unknown. The Twins' gift gives Harry new-found freedom and power over his own actions, and he feels no hesitation in using the map to dodge school rules, with Ron's encouragement, and over Hermione's usual objections. As usual, even though Hermione strongly objects to Harry having the map, she refrains from reporting him.

While the Marauder's Map is an extraordinary magical creation, it is even more extraordinary that the Twins willingly give it up. This certainly shows how much they care about and respect Harry to part with such a valuable and handy artifact. It is also a testament to their superior magical abilities that they were able to unlock the map, as well as apparently feeling they can continue their "extracurricular" activities unimpeded without this useful document.

When Harry secretly slips into Hogsmeade, his fun excursion ultimately brings unwelcome news and additional distress when the story behind Black's imprisonment is revealed, along with why he is attempting to break into the castle. Harry, thrown into an emotional turmoil after learning that Black betrayed his parents, now understands why there is so much concern over his safety and Black's motive for wanting to kill him. That Black is also his godfather, someone who is supposed to love and protect him, only adds to Harry's despair, particularly as he already has a family that despises and mistreats him. Harry now realizes what Malfoy meant about wanting revenge—he knew Black had betrayed the Potters, as did Mr. Weasley when he spoke to Harry at the train station.

Just how the previous Wizarding war has scarred Fudge with lingering fears is evident to us here, and also that he suffers ongoing nightmares about the events surrounding Sirius Black's capture. With Sirius' escape following Fudge's recent meeting with him, Fudge seems afraid that Voldemort's previous reign of terror will be revived, and he does everything he conceivably can, with his limited imagination, to protect the Wizarding world from that reoccurring.

Also, when Snape substituted for Lupin in the Defence Against the Dark Arts class, he assigned a paper on Werewolves; while there is still too little information to understand why Snape chose this particular subject, Hermione may have some idea. As usual, Hermione is the only student dismayed by the cancellation of the essay; it's safe to assume that she alone has completed it, and may have learned something interesting from it.

On a side note, we hear in this chapter that Madam Rosmerta was somehow involved in running the Three Broomsticks when James Potter and Sirius Black were students. This makes Madam Rosmerta literally old enough to be Ron's mother, as she must have been at least as old as James and Sirius when they were at Hogwarts. Seen in that light, Ron's crush on Madam Rosmerta seems a little ludicrous. Adult readers may recognize, however, that 35 to 40 years old is nowhere near as "ancient" as it appears to the nominal target audience (age 12 to 15) for this book. This aspect of Ron's development is entirely normal, and helps to round out his character.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

Review[edit]

  1. What is the Marauder's Map and how does it work?
  2. How did Fred and George come into possession of the Marauder's Map? Why are they willing to give it up to Harry?
  3. What was Sirius Black's relationship with James and Lily Potter?
  4. Why is it believed that Sirius Black betrayed Lily and James Potter and Peter Pettigrew?

Further Study[edit]

  1. How could the Twins know what the Marauder's Map was when they stole it? The map requires precise instructions to be used. How were they able to figure out how to use it?
  2. Why would a dangerous tree like the Whomping Willow have been planted on school grounds during Lupin's first year at Hogwarts? Why would it be planted over a tunnel and where might the tunnel lead to?
  3. If the huge Whomping Willow had only been planted the year Lupin started at Hogwarts, how and why did it grow so big in such a short amount of time?
  4. Why would Lupin be so shaken when Harry tells him about the screaming he hears whenever the Dementors approach him?
  5. Who might Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail be? What could their relationship to the Marauder's Map be?
  6. What might the names "Moony", "Padfoot", "Prongs", and "Wormtail" actually mean? Do the names fit any characters that have been seen so far?
  7. Does Sirius Black's betrayal of James and Lily Potter seem logical? Is there another explanation, given what is known about the personalities involved?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Unknown to Harry, he has just inherited another relic that belonged to his father: the Marauder's Map. James Potter, along with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, created it in their sixth year using their combined knowledge about Charms and Hogwarts' grounds. This map not only symbolizes Harry navigating his way through the many turmoils he encounters throughout the series, but it aids him in more practical ways, usually by helping him avoid detection during his night-time sojourns around Hogwarts. It plays a role in Barty Crouch Jr.'s plot to murder his own father during Harry's fourth year. It keeps Harry aware of Malfoy's activities in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Finally, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry carries the map with him when he leaves Hogwarts to hunt Voldemort's Horcruxes. Though the map is less useful while he travels the countryside, it becomes a talisman that bolsters his morale, provides a source of familiarity and comfort, and is a means to remain connected to Hogwarts and his friends, as well as to his late father, who helped create it. Most importantly for Harry, it allows him to gaze at Ginny's name, thus allowing Harry to retain his connection with her while she is at Hogwarts, and confirming for the reader the ongoing romantic attachment between them.

Lupin's reaction to Harry's revelation that he hears his mother's screams deeply affects Lupin because he was close friends with James and Lily Potter. Lily was particularly accepting and kind to him when they were at school together. Lupin is also shaken that this is Harry's only memory about his lost mother, and he will do much to help him come to know the person she, and also James, were. Also, his response about Harry's broom is more than mere sympathy. He likely feels partially responsible for the Whomping Willow destroying it because it was on his behalf that the dangerous tree was planted when he first arrived at Hogwarts as a student. The Willow's purpose is to protect the entrance to a secret passage at its base that leads to the Shrieking Shack. This is where Lupin, who is a Werewolf, was confined during the full moon, to protect students and staff during his transformations. This protection is no longer needed as a potion is now available that allows a transformed Werewolf to retain his human awareness during the lunar cycle. We have already seen Lupin is drinking this potion, and will learn more about it later in this book.

The Hogwarts faculty are generally unaware that the One-eyed Witch tunnel exists; Lupin, one of the creators of the Marauder's Map, must know about it, and presumably Sirius, another creator, does as well. We later suspect that Snape may have retrieved partial knowledge of it from Harry's mind. As useful as it may be, however, this passage is never used after its appearance in this book.

It is revealed later that Dumbledore, and several other faculty, do know about the tunnel leading from the Whomping Willow. Also, Snape is aware that Sirius Black knows it exists. Regardless, it appears that this passageway, which the Trio uses later in the story, was never monitored or sealed off after Black's escape. It is unclear why Dumbledore never considered this a necessary precaution, especially after Black by-passed the castle's security. Perhaps the tunnel starting outside the castle proper, and ending inside a boarded-up house, leads to a false sense of security. It is also curious as to why the tunnel was never blocked or eliminated entirely following Lupin's departure from Hogwarts, being as it was no longer needed for his benefit. With the tunnel sealed, the Whomping Willow, a very dangerous plant, could have been removed or disabled. However, the Whomping Willow, and the tunnel, will prove valuable plot devices later in the story.

According to Minister Fudge, Sirius Black was the Potter's Secret Keeper to hide them from Lord Voldemort, but Black betrayed them and later murdered Peter Pettigrew, leaving only Pettigrew's finger behind. This ties in to another fact: Scabbers, Ron's pet rat, lacks a toe on one paw. It will be discovered that Scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew, who, like Black and James Potter, is an Animagus, his rat form prompting the nickname "Wormtail." Pettigrew severed his own finger to make his faked death appear more convincing. Black, seeing the Weasley family's picture in the Prophet while they were in Egypt, recognized Pettigrew's rat shape and the missing finger, and realized that Pettigrew was alive and what he had done; Pettigrew is why Black has come to Hogwarts. In the next book, Pettigrew will be forced to sever another body part.

It is interesting to note that Fudge seems to believe here that a re-animated Voldemort is possible; when Madam Rosmerta suggests that as a horrible possibility, Fudge admits that they believe that is Black's plan. Yet, in the next book, when Dumbledore asserts that Voldemort has returned, Fudge rejects this claim. One must wonder what has happened in the meanwhile to cause Fudge's beliefs to change so wildly.

Connections[edit]