Harry Potter Off Camera: The Marauder Years

We only get the briefest of glimpses into what life was like for Harry’s parents (and their friends) as they grew up – but we learn enough about each of their characters to get a pretty good idea. So it’s fun to imagine their daily existence, so much more open and carefree than Harry’s years at Hogwarts would prove to be.

Little Snape Playing in Spinner's End, by mneomosyne

Of course while Harry’s parents were growing up, there was another boy not far from Lily who would one day have a far greater impact on the life of her only son. From what we’ve seen Snape’s childhood was solitary and lonely. It’s fascinating to imagine how his experiences might have led him to become the person he did.
“I know who you are. You’re that Snape boy! [You] live down Spinner’s End by the river.” (DH33)


Sad Memories, by Helene Sirois

We’ve seen enough glimpses to know that Snape’s childhood was likely also marked by actual abuse. No wonder he was so excited to meet Lily (his first friend?) and to go to Hogwarts (certainly his first chance to escape); in many ways his home life was quite as terrible as Harry’s would be later.
A hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner…. (OP28)


Lovers, by gerre

Meanwhile, not far from Snape, Lily was growing up with her sister Tuney, and imagining a future very different from the one she would have. Well, at least when she and her sister weren’t poking fun at each other.
Two girls were swinging backward and forward…. (DH33)

(by gerre)


How? by gerre

And growing up a Muggle, Lily must have occasionally had experiences much like Harry’s – making strange things happen and wondering how on earth it could be….
The problem was, strange things often happened around Harry…. (PS2)

(by gerre)


Marauders, by Iria Abella

Once Snape and Lily finally did leave for Hogwarts, they soon encountered four other boys whose childhoods had been very different from their own, but whose adult lives would one day have something very much in common with theirs: all six, in one way or another, would one day revolve around Harry Potter.
Harry [then] saw his father: slight, black-haired like Snape, but with that indefinable air of having been well-cared-for, even adored, that Snape so conspicuously lacked. (DH33)


A Typical Night in the Gryffindor Common Room, by Katrina 'Rohanelf' Young

And when they reached Hogwarts, James, Sirius, and their friends quickly made a reputation for themselves as the pranksters of the school. We’ve seen the Gryffindor common room ruled by the Weasley twins; it’s not hard to imagine the same room in earlier days being just as raucous thanks to the Marauders.
“Naturally,” said Madam Rosmerta, with a small laugh. “Never saw one without the other, did you? The number of times I had them in here — ooh, they used to make me laugh. Quite the double act, Sirius Black and James Potter!” (PA10)


by Laura Freeman

And of course, it’s not a stretch to suggest that the bulk of the Marauders’ pranks likely revolved around a certain young Slytherin classmate of theirs….
“Look, Harry” said Sirius placatingly, “James and Snape hated each other from the moment they set eyes on each other, it was just one of those things.” (OP29)


His Sun III, by Vizen

More important for Snape, though, was the friendship he had forged with Lily Evans. While James made his first trip on the Hogwarts Express with Sirius, the way Harry later would with Ron, Snape made his with Lily – and the relationship was clearly the most important thing in his world.
A little smile twisted Snape’s mouth when she said his name…. (DH33)

(by Vizen)


Confidences, by Agatha 'Agathum' Liévin-Bazin

And for years Lily and Snape remained “best friends.” Snape often ran with Mulciber and Avery, and shared their fascination with the Dark Arts. But his encounters with Lily transformed him into a happy, caring person that it’s hard to imagine him ever being in any other context.
Harry doubted that Snape had even heard her strictures on Mulciber and Avery…. his whole body had relaxed, and as they walked away there was a new spring in Snape’s step. (DH33)


Waiting, by Laura Freeman

Meanwhile, when they weren’t wreaking havoc, James, Sirius, and Pettigrew were discovering that their friend Lupin was in fact a werewolf – and learning to become Animagi to keep him company.
“Now, my three friends could hardly fail to notice that I disappeared once a month,” [said Lupin]…. “But of course, they, like you, Hermione, worked out the truth…. And they didn’t desert me at all. Instead, they did something for me that would make my transformations not only bearable, but the best times of my life. They became Animagi.” (PA18)


Summertime Shrieking Shack, by mneomosyne

And for all the trouble the Marauders did get themselves into, the fact that they ran around the Hogwarts grounds together every month was never detected by the Hogwarts staff.
“Soon we were leaving the Shrieking Shack and roaming the school grounds and the village by night.” (PA18)


Again, by Vizen

As the Marauders got better at magic and mischief, however, they had a dark side, too: they also got much better at being bullies. And for Severus Snape, it’s clear there was nothing he could do to avoid them.
What was making Harry feel so horrified… was that he knew how it felt to be humiliated in the middle of a circle of onlookers, knew exactly how Snape had felt as his father had taunted him, and that judging from what he had just seen, his father had been every bit as arrogant as Snape had always told him. (OP28)

(by Vizen)


Potions Revision, by FrizzyHermione

Snape’s friendship with Lily was changing, too; it’s easy to imagine them studying for O.W.L.s together, but just a short time later Lily would break off the friendship altogether.
“Slipped out?” There was no pity in Lily’s voice. “It’s too late. I’ve made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you….” (DH33)


Hey, Evans, by Hannah-Dora

And all the while a certain other Gryffindor boy was paying a bit more attention to Lily as well….
“All right, Evans?” said James, and the tone of his voice was suddenly pleasant, deeper, more mature. (OP28)


The Prank - Part IV by Caladan

And the Marauders’ pranks on Snape reached a fever pitch when Sirius sent Snape looking for a werewolf. It’s amazing he wasn’t expelled, and the incident was a key moment in the lives of all of the young boys involved.
“Your saintly father and his friends played a highly amusing joke on me that would have resulted in my death if your father hadn’t got cold feet at the last moment….” (PA14)

(by Caladan)


The Prank - Part VIII by Caladan

That particular prank must have left Lupin feeling pretty bad, as well.
“Sirius thought it would be – er – amusing, to tell Snape all he had to do….” (PA18)

(by Caladan)


Goodbye My Almost Lover, by Hannah-Dora

As the kids entered their sixth year at Hogwarts, it’s clear James began to tone things down, and he and Lily began drifting together just as she and Snape were drifting apart. By the end of the year, Lily and James would be named Head Boy and Girl.
“Once James had deflated his head a bit….” (OP29)


A Quick Peck, by Ani Bester

And less than a year later, they were officially a couple.
“Your father was the best friend I ever had and he was a good person. A lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it.” (OP29)


Beginnings, by Miri

When it came time to leave Hogwarts, James and Lily went one way, and unsurprisingly, Snape went another – and joined the Death Eaters.
“Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater…” (GF30)

(by Miri)


Summons, by Sayurikemiko

It’s hard not to wonder how quickly he regretted his decisions that led him to that point.
“You can’t wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?” He opened his mouth, but closed it without speaking. “I can’t pretend anymore. You’ve chosen your way, I’ve chosen mine.” (DH33)


Home, by gerre

And with Snape no longer a part of Lily’s life, Lily and James made preparations to get married – and soon afterwards, have a son. Though not before James stopped by the Evans’s house to annoy Petunia a bit.
“Of course James thought it was so funny….” (DH10)

(by gerre)


27 Responses to “Harry Potter Off Camera: The Marauder Years”

  1. Thanks for the new page, it’s great! Love the picture by Ani Bester. It is fun to try to picture them all growing up.

    I wonder how much Sirius dislikes his parent’s pure-blood mania at this point? I’ve always thought he might have had the beginnings of it before Hogwarts (which is why he was put into Gryffindor), but as he spent time with James, it becomes much more pronounced.

  2. I’ve been waiting and waiting for a new page. So, thanks! Yeah, for some reason i get obsessed with the marauder years. I think it has something to do with the Harry’s gradual realization that his parents weren’t perfect and that there is a reason Snape is well, Snape.

  3. What a great Christmas present, Josie. I had basically decided there weren’t going to be any more new posts here. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the awesome page! The flashbacks to the Marauders, Lily and Snape were some of my favorite parts in the series.

  5. Great page Josie.

  6. Josie, I love your last comment about James annoying Petunia. Oh I would love to see their first meeting.

  7. Wow Josie! You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the progression of the artwork, and I love the quotes you pull in to tell the story of the Marauder Years. Thanks for the Christmas gift!

  8. Nice to know you’re updating again.
    I wonder what Lily’s parents were like. All we heard about them is that they were overjoyed when Lily got her letter.

  9. Nice update. I think that this page would also be a perfect spot to place one or more pictures from that non official peace of literature that is the 800 word prequel, don’t you think?

  10. Jose Lopes, it would be a perfect spot for it, if such drawings existed. I don’t know of any, though – do you? (Or does anyone?)

  11. It says in, I think book 5, that Lupin was made Prefect, but later on James became head boy. I thought you were only eligible to be a head boy if you were a prefect. Does anyone know the answer to this?

  12. I haven’t seen any art for that postcard prequel, either. Maybe I’ll talk to my artist friends and try to get one of them to draw something. It’d be great to see the looks on those cops’ faces!

    Thanks for the new page, Josie! You never let us down. :)

  13. Just this one:
    and maybe a few more if you google for “elvendork”.

  14. BestSeriesEver – there are two possible explanations. The first is that you don’t have to be prefect to be Head Boy – nowhere is that explicitly stated. The second (more probable one) is that being Quidditch Captain counts. When Harry is made Captain in HBP, Hermione exclaims that that puts him on equal footing with prefects – he can use their bathroom and everything – so perhaps it counts towards Head Boyship as well. And James was the Quidditch Captain as well.

    Love this page, thanks for the update Josie!

  15. Head boys would differ under different systems. Usually, all the prefects are announced at the same time, just before the end of their second-last year of school. This is because the outgoing prefect body would be too busy preparing for their final exams to run the school as well. And this means that the head boy and head girl would be announced at that time too. In Muggle schools, the future prefects’ own year and the one immediately below are asked to vote, and when the votes are tallied the staff meet to discuss the results. Typically but not inevitably, the boy and girl with the highest number of votes become head boy and head girl. (Other systems include having the relevant class members present themselves as candidates for election should they so wish.)

    However, strange things can happen. I have seen block voting for a most unsuitable candidate, simply because he was a bully and had reminded people that they’d better support him or else. The staff did not appoint him to any position, let alone head boy, and made sure he knew why.

    At Hogwarts, prefects serve for longer than one year. And their time of tenure coincides with the years in which they (often) do most of their growing up. Remus was always going to be prefect material, and so it was right that he was an early appointee. James would have been hopeless until he sorted himself out – preventing Sirius from setting Wolf Remus on Snape was a promising sign, and then there was the Lily factor. So he could well have been made a prefect during Remus’s first year on the job, and would then have had time to show his worth and become head boy without too much drama. Of course his sporting talent probably helped!

    It is unlikely that a school like Hogwarts would have followed the system of having a set number of prefects every year, equally divided according to House and gender. (Some Muggle schools do, and find themselves having to make unsuitable choices just to play the numbers game.) So that would provide another opening for late developers.

    From a teacher’s perspective, I find James and Neville the most inspirational characters. They reach such remarkable heights from such very unlikely beginnings.

  16. Deborah Hubbard, Hogwarts does follow the set number, and therefore has to play the numbers game as you say. That’s what we see in Book 5, when “that complete COW Pansy Parkinson” is made prefect – surely the only thing about Pansy that merits a prefect badge is that she’s a better alternative than Millicent Bulstrode.

  17. I know better than to argue with you, hpboy13, but I suspect that nothing in the wizarding world is likely to be what it seems at first glance.

    When Harry, Pansy etc are at Hogwarts, enrolment seems pretty low. A lot of people have speculated that this might have been a consequence of potential parents’ uncertainty about the future, specifically a future with Voldemort running it. (Of course, they could just as well argue that this would be a good reason for having large families, Weasley-style.) And we just don’t know how big the school was in the Marauders’ time. If, as seems likely, it was bigger than in Harry’s time, then appointing an extra prefect or two could be a good move. I don’t think we know enough about the system at Hogwarts to assume that they always and only paint by numbers. Is there is or is there ain’t a Missing Gryffindor Girl? How many she-Slytherins are there?

    Pansy, undoubtedly bovine, would certainly impose discipline (and might well make lampshades out of Muggle skin …) but without the support of her Head of House she wouldn’t have been considered; subject to the Headmaster’s approval, granted.

    It’s also worth noting that although the standard practice is that one is a prefect for more than one year, one is only Head Prefect in one’s final year, as Percy proves. That would imply four prefects per House, typically but perhaps not necessarily in different years. Could there be a gap there? Much as one loves Lupin, he isn’t one of nature’s head boys; and nor is Snape. And even assuming that the numbers game is consistently played, it must still be possible for, say, a prefect to be confined to St Mungo’s with some long-lasting ailment and miss the better part of a year. Would the school operate with one prefect short of a picnic, or would it at least consider appointing a stand-in (who would then become a permanent appointee de facto, even when the original choice limped back to school)?

    The real problem with Hogwarts and its enrolment statistics, as I see it, is that the building is disproportionately huge for its students. All those unused rooms! Why? A dormitory could surely act like a Room of Requirement and change its size to fit its occupants, but a whole castle full of empty spaces and bored staircases (why else would they change direction once a week?) needs an explanation. Perhaps Pottermore will Exceed Expectations and suggest one?

  18. Question for Deborah Hubbard and other British contributors: What does it mean in Britain to call a woman a cow? In the US, it means that she’s fat and ugly, so it’s startling to hear other characters call Pansy and Fleur “cows.” Obviously, it means something completely different in Britain. Does it just mean that she’s stupid, or is there a nuance here that I’m missing?

    (Deborah, I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts about Hogwarts and prefects, and I apologize for going off on a tangent here!)

  19. @Billie a cow is just a name for an unpleasant female. It’s milder than the term bitch but they are pretty much interchangeable. Since the books side away from bad language JKR used the term cow but I like to think that Hermione couldn’t bring herself to say the word bitch. After all she always tells Ron off for his language.

  20. Thanks, Billie! Tangents are always fun.

    Amy’s right, I think (though I’m South African, not a Brit) – cow, like bitch and cat, is a term applied to a woman one doesn’t like, for whatever reason. ‘Cats’ tend to be spiteful women so that term is narrower.

    It’s fascinating that the publishers felt free to change ‘philosopher’s stone’, which means something, to ‘sorcerer’s stone’, which doesn’t, to make life easier for Americans, but left cows intact to confuse them. I hadn’t been aware that human cows in the States are identified by something pretty objective (fat and ugly) rather than something subjective (the speaker finds them unpleasant, envies them etc). Thanks for that!

  21. Thank you, Amy and Deborah. That totally makes sense now!

  22. Deborah, according to Jo there aren’t any “missing Gryffindor girls” – Harry just never interacts with them. If you think about it, Harry is rather a recluse at Hogwarts – he only hangs out with Ron and Hermione, barely even knows anyone outside Gryffindor until the DA forms (I still find it odd that he doesn’t know half his year by name in Book 5).

    And Snape, who prizes intelligence, would not appoint Pansy as prefect unless the alternatives were much worse. I am convinced of that. As to substitute prefects… we don’t know much about the situation, but there is never any mention of it. In CoS, when Penelope Clearwater gets Petrified, there’s no mention of a replacement – nor is there any reference made to substitute prefects in Book 6, when students are disappearing left and right.

    As I understood it, there are prefects assigned in Year 5 and they are prefects for the remainder of their careers at Hogwarts. This would mean 24 prefects at a time (8 per year for 3 years). The best among Year 7 become the Head Boy and Head Girl – so only two Heads, not four.

    And I think the building is disproportionately large to accommodate potential growth. As the population grows (I bet after 1998, there’ll be a “baby boomer” generation in the wizarding world), they want them all to be at home in Hogwarts, and not have to tack on extra rooms like the Burrow.

  23. In an ideal world, HPboy and I would be having coffee together once a month … as it is, let’s take it point by point.

    Harry has found a secure niche for himself for the first time he can remember – he interacts with Quidditch players, the boys in his dormitory, other Weasleys and Hermione. Apart from that, he has no needs. And he might well be reluctant to venture too far out of his safe space, until events compel him to. Then he runs the DA and gives more scope to his sense of duty, his “saving people thing”, but he’s never going to be a party animal like Lavender.

    Also, he’s a boy. To a considerable extent, he behaves like a typical boy: he lacks the kind of social curiosity typical of girls. I’ve known boys who have spent every day of every school week in the same class with the same people and haven’t known the names of the kids who, for whatever reason, don’t interest them. Highly competitive boys identify the competition; naughty boys identify their fellow crooks; fearful boys identify possible threats. The rest just pass them by. (By the same token, there could well have been substitute prefects or even demotions, and Harry wouldn’t have a clue about them. Or not bother to think about them when we’re reading his thoughts! Like Charms Club: until it impacted on his Quidditch life, who knew? I bet Prof Sprout runs a Herbology Club, but I can’t prove it.)

    As for JKR’s take on the girls of Gryffindor, I simply don’t buy it. I reckon she’s making it up to try and conceal her own lack of either maths or plotting. Where would the harm have been in having a quick mention or two of, say, Xanthe and Clarabel in the common room? Nope; she forgot about them. They did nothing for her imagination, so they weren’t there. (If they’d ever existed, wouldn’t they have got a mention one way or another when the DA started up? Either they joined out of loyalty or they stood out by their refusal to join.)

    OK; now the prefects! Snape pretty well had to make Draco a prefect to maintain his own credentials. He’s a self-serving Slyth, looking after Number One, sucking up to Lucius. And Crabbe and Goyle would have been hopeless anyway! Draco isn’t a strong character, but he’s influential. And Snape does try to help him … in many ways. Pansy? I think that she’s a kind of J Edgar Hoover of a prefect: she’d be so much trouble if she’d been overlooked that she just had to be appointed. So the Slytherins get one negative leader and one non-leader with potential. And Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff get who, exactly? Nobody that Harry notices.

    Another point is that the prefect system, like many others, just unravels towards the end. Hermione is a Muggle; if she hadn’t chosen to stick with Harry and Ron, she’d be out of school in book 7, prefect or not, and there’d be very few possible replacements. Leaving that kind of thing vague saved JKR from having to mention too many irrelevant details and clogging up the plot. She wasn’t to know that people like us would ever exist!

  24. Well, two other Gryffindor girls did exist in the planning phase (http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/sources/source_hpm.html and PS11 on Pottermore). JKR also states she meant for there to be more than 40 in each year but just wanted to have some names on hand to dropin the text. Alas, in the books, neither the intended class size nor Hermione’s other roommates come across.

  25. Hahahaha, did anybody else notice, the drawings Lily and Tuney make of each others future selves, husbands, lovers, and children, all come true. That was a lovely touch!

  26. Ravenclaw gets Terry Boot and, um, Padma Patil. Hufflepuff Ernie MacMillian and Hannah Abbott. Hermione says so in OotP after the cow comment (nice clarification by the way….)
    Jo did mean for there to be an equal 40 in Harry’s year originally. In OotP, those two girls joined with the rest of the Gryfs – it’s noted his entire year from Gryf is there.
    Hogwarts was built for 1000s of students, because I believe when it was built it needed to be big. Plus the Founders may well have hoped it would increase, instead of decrease, and built more to accommodate.
    Love Josie’s pics and annotations!
    Reading HP is a bit of an unusual “double” culture experience as I’m from Aust. We get the British version, mostly, as we speak largely British English, with our own Aussie slang.
    Cheers to Jo Rowling!

  27. @Amritorupa—I just noticed that. That’s adorable!

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