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The Marauder's Map was a wizarding parchment which showed the location of everything in Hogwarts Castle, including secret passageways and the whereabouts of every person in the school. It was very powerful and couldn't be fooled by disguises, e.g. Animagi. It did not include locations that the inventors had failed to find like the Chamber of Secrets, and it did not include unplottable locations.



The parchment was plain and ragged until a person tapped it using a wand and spoke the words: "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good". Ink lines would begin to spread like a spider's web and joined up into a drawing of the school's layout. To get the ink to disappear, you had to tap it again and say "Mischief managed".[1]

It was very detailed. It showed and labelled the location of every room and tower in Hogwarts Castle, and labelled what was in the school grounds. It further labelled seven secret passageways, which were unknown in general to the school. A few of these led to Hogsmeade. It had tiny dots by the name of every person in the school showing their location, and followed that person wherever they went.[1]

These secret passageways included:

It does not actually show the final destination of passageways that led to Hogsmeade because they weren't in the school grounds. One passageway for example, could be found in the Whomping Willow. The passageway to the Shrieking Shack, but that wasn't on school grounds and the lines stopped at the edge of the paper and the name will disappear.[2] It doesn't differentiate if two people share the same name, e.g. Barty Crouch Snr. and Barty Crouch Jnr. were just labelled "Bartemius Crouch". It does show the true name of anyone using Polyjuice Potion, and showed the name and location of a person in Animagus form, and a person using the Cloak of Invisibility.[2][3]


It was capable of understanding the intentions of whoever was in possession of it, and knew who they were.[1][4] It was able to insult Professor Snape whenever he had it and knew that he had demanded to know what it was. It knew how he could be insulted and he was told to keep out of their business. Since Snape and "Prongs" didn't like each other, he could have taught it how to insult Snape so it's unknown if it could insult any other untrustworthy person.[4]

If you were trying to get into a secret passageway and couldn't understand how, it showed you how to open it. If you were standing at the one-eyed witch statue's entrance, your ink self would tap the witch using a minute wand and a tiny speech bubble would show a word. The word was a password which had to be spoken, and the entrance would open.[1]



Before June 1978, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew invented the Marauder's Map. Having trained for three years starting in their second-year to be Animagus, and using their ability and knowledge to sneak around the school, they learned about the school, including secret passageways. They invented the Marauder's Map to detail their knowledge, and it was very helpful when they were sneaking around and rule-breaking because it showed where people were. They used their nicknames based on their Animagus (and in Lupin's case, lycanthropy) to disguise who the inventors were.[2]

It was eventually confiscated by Argus Filch, who had to have had an idea of what it was because he put it in a filing cabinet labelled "Confiscated and Highly Dangerous".[1] He probably found it by June 1978, because Lupin had known about it getting confiscated and it had stayed in the school when they graduated.[5]

Fred and George

In 1989 to 1990, Fred and George Weasley were taken to Filch's office for rule-breaking. They saw the filing cabinet labelled "Confiscated and Highly Dangerous" and dropped a Dungbomb so Fred had a chance to grab anything in it. He happened to grab the Marauder's Map, and they took it.[1]

Fred and George eventually worked out how to use it because it kept flickering into life and giving clues. They used it to sneak round, and especially took notice of the secret passageways. It was very useful for their pranks. But having grown to hold Harry Potter in high favour and finding out he was unable to go to Hogsmeade, they eventually thought he had a better need for it and they knew where the secret passageways were now anyway and decided to give it away.[1]

Harry Potter

Harry Potter needed the Marauder's Map to get into Hogsmeade, so Fred and George gave it to him because they now knew every location by heart. They advised what secret passageways he should use, because a few had been found by Filch and a few had caved in or been difficult to get to. Harry first used it to take a secret passageway to Honeydukes cellar. Hermione thought he should have given it to Professor McGonagall to check it wasn't dangerous, but Harry and Ron didn't want to do that.[1]

In February 1994, he wanted to use the Honeydukes passageway again to get to Hogsmeade. He checked the Map to find out if anyone was nearby and saw Neville heading that way. He was unable to get in the passageway by the time Neville found Harry. Professor Snape passed by and found it strange they were hanging around in that corridor. Harry later checked it again to see if Snape had stopped searching the corridor so he could try again, and he had. He went to Honeydukes and then back to the school a few hours later only to find Snape waiting. He intercepted Harry and asked what he had hidden in a coat pocket. He just saw a blank parchment and demanded Harry tell him what was it was and how it worked, but he told Snape it was a Zonko product. He thought Harry was lying and asked the parchment to show what it was instead, but it insulted Snape and he asked for Professor Lupin to check it out.[4]

Lupin knew what it was because he had helped invent it, but he supported Harry by saying it was just a joke product. Ron arrived and backed it up too, by telling Snape he had purchased it for Harry at Zonko's. Snape sounded like he sort of suspected who had invented it and was worried Harry had been given it by Black or Lupin. Lupin told Snape he was keeping it. He then told Harry he knew what it was and Harry was curious to know how he knew, and why he and Snape were concerned about whoever had invented it. Lupin told Harry whoever had invented it would find it entertaining to persuade Harry to leave school grounds. He asked if Lupin knew who those people were, and he told Harry he did. Lupin was probably worried about Black finding it, because he would have known how it worked too.[4]

In June, Lupin thought Harry would head over to Hagrid's Hut for Buckbeak's beheading and checked the Map to see if he did. He was shocked when he saw Harry, Ron and Hermione by a fourth name: Peter Pettigrew. He thought Peter had been killed by Black twelve years earlier, and Lupin now knew Black was innocent. He traced the four and Black to the Shrieking Shack, where he told Harry the truth.[2] Because Lupin had abandoned the parchment in an office and failed to close it, Snape later found it and saw Lupin running down a secret passageway to the Shack.[6]

Notes and sources