Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite Harry Potter book. It introduced a whole set of new characters that I immediately fell in love with: Sirius and Remus, and yes, even Peter. Of course, Lily and James had been previously mentioned, but their characters also got a more in-depth description in the third installment of the series.
So I loved that particular book because it gave me more information about them: the infamous Marauders of Hogwarts and Lily, who I imagine acted as a sidekick to their quartet as soon as she took up with James. So yeah, I love those guys. I probably love them more than any other characters in the book, and that’s a little odd: they hardly get the kind of in-depth attention a character like Harry gets, or Hermione or Snape or almost anyone else apart from, say, Seamus Finnigan.
Yet there is an explanation for my obsession, and I’ll share it with you. Be warned, though: after reading this post you won’t be able to ever think of the Marauders again without gross sobbing. Their storyline is just so freakin’ tragic.
First of all, I think it’s the elusive nature of their characters that appeals to me. You want seventeen-year-old Sirius to be a flamboyant bisexual Bowie fan? It doesn’t say anywhere in canon that he wasn’t. Enjoy your daydream or, for those of you familiar with fandom jargon: headcanon.
My second argument sort of flips the first one on its head: we know everything about Harry. Of course, I love him, but there isn’t a single thing about Harry that’s mysterious or unpredictable. Let’s be honest, the Weasleys aren’t exactly full of surprises, either. But Sirius is. The fact of his existence is a surprise to Harry in the first place, and after that his political convictions (I.E. not a Deatheater) are even more surprising.
Thirdly, I am a stickler for tragedy. If you want me to develop a strong emotional bond to a character, make them suffer. Think of Sam Winchester from Supernatural. Contentment simply isn’t interesting. When you are content, your life is characterized by a lack of conflict, and conflict is a storywriter’s bread and butter.
The Marauders’ storyline is riddled with tragedy. Four eleven-year-old boys become close friends in 1971. They soon discover that one of them is deeply troubled by an incurable affliction, and the others master a particularly tricky feat of magic to support him. The loyalty and friendship between these boys was breathtakingly strong.
As these innocent boys pull good-natured pranks all over the school and slowly become adults, a war is tearing their world apart. This time is particularly hard on Sirius as he is kicked out by his parents. Luckily, he finds a home with James, his best friend in the whole wide world.
After a while, James moves in with Lily Evans, the love of his life, the peach to his cream. Frightened by the War around them and eager to start their lives right away, they have a baby. Then, at only twenty-one years old, Lily and James are killed by Voldemort. Peter Pettigrew, the one who betrayed them, escapes justice by faking his own death. Sirius Black, lifelong best friend of James who had finally found a real home with him, is prosecuted as a murderer for crimes he didn’t commit and imprisoned in the worst penitentiary facility imaginable.
Let me repeat: at that time, the Marauders were only twenty-one.
It is, quite possibly, the saddest story I’ve ever heard.
Remus Lupin, James and Sirius’s introverted, troubled friend, who has been struggling with lycanthropy since childhood, is left all alone. His friends are dead, and the only one still living is deemed responsible for their deaths. Regardless of whether you believe Remus and Sirius were in love with each other (which I do, but that’s another blog post) that’s terribly sad. Remus is a victim of the war in his own way. He has lost everything he holds dear and is forced to keep on living. Perhaps I love him most of all, that bookish, chocolate-loving witty werewolf.
So, with all those heart-wrenching backstories, I don’t find it strange that the Marauders are the favorites of many a frenzied fangirl like myself. They have inspired endless amounts of transformative works, from stories to art to songs to videos. Let me just give you a taster real quick.