Well, it wasn’t going to be anyone else, was it? Peter Pettigrew was by far the worst of the four Marauders. While it can be said that he was loyal to his friends during school, that was mainly due to the protection they offered him. Pettigrew was weak, with an instinct for self-preservation and his loyalty only lasted until he found someone more powerful to hide behind. So, when Voldemort was on the rise, Wormtail did what he did best. He put himself above all others, swapped sides and betrayed those closest to him. That makes him a rubbish Marauder in our eyes.
Nevertheless, when considering Pettigrew’s position in this rank order, it would be very short-sighted to not ponder some of things that made him a Marauder in the first place. He did become an unregistered Animagus (along with James and Sirius) to help Lupin after all. He was one of the creators of the Marauder’s Map, demonstrating quite a high level of skill when it came to magic… though he can’t take too much credit for it. He wasn’t as talented as his friends and relied on their willingness to help him keep up. Judging by what we know of his personality, he probably only became an Animagus to keep the others on side, and not for any noble or selfless reason.
However, none of these schoolboy exploits make us think he deserves to be held in higher-esteem or placed further up this list. Simply put, Peter Pettigrew was a selfish coward. He only looked out for himself, hid from what he had done by posing as a rat for the best part of thirteen years, betrayed those closest to him, killed Cedric Diggory and was an all-round unpleasant human being.
It feels strange to be putting Harry’s father second from last – but we do have good reason. We don’t think he was a bad person or wizard, but we also don’t know that much about James outside of people’s memories of him.
There is no doubt that James Potter was fundamentally a good person. Though he is only ranked one place above Peter Pettigrew, it might as well be a million – he’s that much better. James was a talented wizard. He was able to become an unregistered Animagus while at school and he truly did that to help his friend, which demonstrates his loyalty. He was also incredibly mischievous. He and Sirius (in particular) had a reputation to rival Fred and George – it’s no wonder the Marauder’s Map ended up in their hands. When it came down to it, he stood up for what was right. He joined the Order of the Phoenix, despite knowing it would be dangerous, and lost his life fighting for a better wizarding world.
Having said that, James was no squeaky-clean hero, and he certainly had an interesting past. There’s no other way to say this, he was a bully. During his school days he tormented Severus Snape and exhibited quite an unpleasant arrogant streak. His skill at Quidditch, coupled with his inflated ego sometimes reminded us of Cormac McLaggen – which is not a flattering comparison. Yet James did grow out of this behaviour. We don’t think Lily Evans would ever have gone near him if he hadn’t done some serious growing up.
It feels quite unfair to put James third, especially when he didn’t have as much time as the others to demonstrate who he was outside of school and as an adult. He was still very young when he died, though we know the man he had become by the time of his death was one he could be proud of. James was a loyal friend, loving husband and father – who was brave until the very end.
It was tough deciding where to place Sirius and James, but in the end, we felt that Sirius deserved second place. Sirius was brave, loyal, roguish and clever – just like James. Yet, he had to make a choice about who he was and what he stood for at a much younger age. When he went to Hogwarts he turned away from his family, rejecting their hateful rhetoric and chose to follow his conscience. That kind of conviction, especially in someone so young, cannot and should not be underestimated.
Sirius did have one other advantage over James, he lived longer – so we got to see who he was first-hand and witness his admirable dedication to Harry. There’s no doubt that Sirius took being a Godfather seriously and he really did love Lily and James’s son. He was there for Harry and provided him with guidance, acceptance and (if he had been able to clear his name) would have even given him a home. Harry’s wellbeing was always at the front of his mind. The way he immediately came to Harry’s aid in the Department of Mysteries, with no concern for his own safety, was a clear example.
Yet the problem with Sirius was that he was incredibly impulsive and reckless. For instance, his prank against Snape when they were all at school was incredibly stupid and dangerous. If it hadn’t had been for James’s last-minute change of heart, he could have been responsible for Snape’s death and would have made his friend a killer – which would have destroyed Remus. He also didn’t seem to grow out of his irresponsibility (though being locked up in Azkaban makes this more understandable) and whether he set the best example is questionable.
Overall, Sirius was an excellent Marauder. His wild-streak, humour, dedication to his friends and commitment to fighting Voldemort all added up to one incredible, if complicated, wizard.
After careful consideration there was really only one person who could take the top spot. Remus Lupin was the Marauder who was the best all-rounder. An incredibly intelligent wizard, a fantastic teacher, a father figure to Harry, someone who was not averse to a bit of tomfoolery and arguably the best role model out of all the Marauders. There’s no doubt that Remus Lupin was anything but a force for good in the wizarding world.
One thing that we believe sets Remus apart from all the others was his compassion. Having been an outsider, he did a lot to ensure nobody else felt the same. Where his friends sometimes (or often) lacked tact or empathy, he made up for it. Whether it was reaching out a hand to the friendless Peter at school, or teaching Harry how to battle a Dementor, he always championed the underdog.
We also very much appreciated how that compassion allowed him to be less rigid when it came to accepting the flaws of others. As a werewolf, he knew what it was to be judged. So, despite having a less than friendly relationship with Snape while at school, he was still willing to be the better person, put any animosity aside and work with him when they both joined the Order of the Phoenix – which was far more than Sirius ever did.
Again, Remus isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. He may not have been so actively involved in the bullying of Snape, but he didn’t stop his friends either. His desire to fit in and be liked sometimes meant he kept quiet when he shouldn’t – even as an adult. He didn’t mention that Sirius was an Animagus to Dumbledore because he didn’t want to admit to breaking his trust while at school.
All in all, Remus did the most to help Harry and the wizarding world. Whether he was being the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Harry and his friends ever had, offering to help with the Horcrux hunt, working for the Order of the Phoenix or just making Neville Longbottom feel like he could do anything, Remus was one of the very best.
Do you agree with our ranking? What order would you put the Marauders in, and how different would your list be?