The Marauder’s Map was capable of identifying any wizards or witches within Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, be it in Animagi form, werewolf form, wearing an invisibility cloak, under the influence of Polyjuice Potion or even ghosts, including the poltergeist Peeves. It also had accurate documentation of every classroom, room, corridor, hallway, and secret passageway within and outside the castle, except for a few places that were possibly not known to the creators of the map, like the Chamber of Secrets and the Room of Requirement. It also showed the Hogwarts grounds and the secret passageways under the grounds that led to locations outside the castle, like the Shrieking Shack and Hogsmeade village.
The map’s creators were the Marauders, James Potter, who was nicknamed Prongs; Sirius Black, who was called Padfoot; Remus Lupin, who was called Moony and Peter Pettigrew, who was called Wormtail. Their nicknames appeared on the cover of the map as they probably didn’t want anyone to know them as the actual creators of this map.
The Map Creation
The Marauder’s Map was created by Prongs, Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail, also known as the Marauders, using the Homonculous Charm. This was a very advanced and powerful charm that could track the identities and locations of everyone present in the castle and the grounds at any given time. Furthermore, they also added other charms, like the one they used within the map to insult Severus Snape, their arch-rival, constantly.
They used their ability to turn into animals to map and plot the palace grounds and other surroundings undetected with the help of James Potter’s Invisibility Cloak to help them plot the insides of the castle. They ended up creating a masterpiece of a map which would be a unique magical document with exclusive access to every inch of the grounds and every corner of the castle. The map was a magical drawing on a piece of parchment that could be awakened by tapping the map with a wand of any wand core and uttering the secret incantation, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Only then would the Marauder’s Map come to life, and the contents of the map reveal themself to the possessor of the map.
This map’s creation began in the year 1974 by James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, four friends who went to Hogwarts together. Remus Lupin was a werewolf, and his three friends figured it out quite early. With Dumbledore’s guidance, the Whomping Willow was planted to prevent students from going near the Shrieking Shack. A passageway led from Hogwarts to the shack for Lupin to stay during his transformation. However, his friends decided to transform themselves into Animagi and keep him company. It was during these trips that the four of them loitered around Hogwarts as animals and were able to plot a map with every little detail surrounding the castle and the school grounds. It was later used by them to go on adventures and ensure that no one was on their path or inside the secret passages while they traveled. The map was finished and completely ready by the year 1978, which was James’s, Sirius’s, Remus’s, and Peter’s final year at Hogwarts.
It was somehow confiscated from the Marauders by Mr Argus Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts, probably after getting a tip-off from Severus Snape, and remained in his possession for quite some time until Jacob’s sibling from the Hogwarts Mystery video games stole it from Mr Filch around the year 1987. It was once again confiscated and kept locked by Mr Filch but was stolen again by Fred and George Weasley when they were in their first year. They later gave it to Harry Potter when the latter wanted to go to Hogsmeade village but didn’t have permission to do so. It was extensively used by Harry and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, during their countless adventures and missions.
Although the precise circumstances for the creation of such a map are not known, and the true originator between the four is also unknown, the Marauder’s Map remains a fine relic of the magical world. It warrants a little too much freedom of information and could be dangerous in the wrong hands, as it reveals the movements of every person in the castle.
Appearance in the Harry Potter Series
The Marauder’s Map first appeared in the Harry Potter series in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Fred and George Weasley handed it to Harry Potter. They had stolen the map from Mr Filch’s office. Harry was unable to go to Hogsmeade village due to lack of permission, but the Weasley twins decided to help him out by giving him this map. With its help and with his Invisibility Cloak, Harry was able to secretly go to Hogsmeade without attracting any attention. He then started using this map for several of his escapes and adventures.
Harry got caught with this map by Snape when he tried to search for Peter Pettigrew within the castle. Since the map shows the location of every person inside the castle, it shows a dot pointing to the presence of Peter Pettigrew near one of the corridors. It was later revealed that Peter was an animagus and was a rat that was Ron’s pet named Scabbers. Remus Lupin saved Harry from Snape and confiscated the map in the guise of wanting to inspect it further for possible Dark Magic. Furthermore, when Snape tried to figure out what the parchment was, it insulted him badly. This was probably woven into the map’s function.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, during Harry’s fourth year, Harry used the map several times, especially to go to the prefects’ bathroom to figure out a clue for the Triwizard Tournament, and on his way back, he lost the map. Barty Crouch Jr, who was disguised as Mad-Eye Moody at that time, figured out a way to evade Snape from once again getting a hold of the map and kept it with himself until his actual identity was outed.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry constantly consults the map to safely transport the members of Dumbledore’s Army within the castle without getting caught by the Inquisitorial Squad, Professor Umbridge or Mr Filch. However, when they are actually caught, Hermione finds a clever way to get rid of Umbridge by taking her to the Forbidden Forest in the guise of showing her a weapon, only for her to insult some centaurs, including Bane and Magorian, who kidnapped her out of rage.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry uses this map to keep an eye on Draco Malfoy as Harry believes that Draco is a Death Eater. Although thought to be an obsession of Harry due to lack of evidence by many people, Draco is later revealed to be a Death Eater.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry keeps an eye on Ginny when he is on the search for Horcruxes, just to make sure she is alive and safe. He does this by looking at the map and searching for her on it. This is proof that the map works irrespective of the location it is in.
In the Harry Potter movies, the Marauder’s Map follows a very beautiful design quite on par with its description in the books. It has the names of its inventors on the front with a welcome message that refers to their nicknames with the designation “Messrs,” a mark of their high esteem.
Live Location – Predicting the Future
The Marauder’s Map is a possible example of a piece of literature that predicts the future in the real world. While some rudimentary technologies resembling live location sharing as we now know it existed during the writing of the Harry Potter series, it is still a very interesting coincidence that the map should exactly mimic the functions of live location sharing features of most GPS-embedded smartphones these days. This technology allows a person to share their exact location with someone else, just like the Marauder’s Map would show a person’s location to someone else.
Why was Newt Scamander on the Marauder’s Map?
We believe that Newt may have been there at Hogwarts during Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to possibly retrieve information or something else from Dumbledore or from Hogwarts after traveling in time using a Time Turner. During the events of the Fantastic Beasts series, Newt may have had to get something specific from the future, probably to defeat the dark wizard Grindelwald. Newt may have used a Time Turner and come to Hogwarts at that time, probably even have met an Older Dumbeldore and returned to his time. Interestingly, this may also be the reason that Dumbledore eventually thought of using the Time Turner to help Sirius and Buckbeak, something that may not have been an obvious choice for him otherwise. An even wilder and extremely “meta” theory would be that Newt came to retrieve and then place the Marauder’s Map itself, something that didn’t exist in the time of the Fantastic Beasts series. This would open very interesting possibilities and several new connections between the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts storylines.
How does Harry Potter get the Marauder’s Map back from Moody?
It is believed that Harry just retrieved the Marauder’s Map from Barty Crouch Jr’s desk after his death. Barty was disguising himself as Mad-Eye Moody and trying to eventually send Harry to Voldemort using the Triwizard Cup as a portkey. However, the Marauder’s Map could risk this mission from succeeding, which is why he confiscated it from Harry.
Why is Harry Potter’s dad called Prongs?
Harry’s dad, James Potter, is called Prongs because his animagus form was that of a stag, which had prongs on its head. The nickname Prongs was, therefore, an affectionate name kept by his friends that honoured his stag animagus identity.