mcpotterdore (mcpotterdore) wrote in hp_essays,
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PoA Film Marauders Explanation, Explained

One of the biggest gripes amongst HP fans is that a great narrative detail of PoA the book was omitted from the PoA film: The explanation of the Maurauders and their relationship.  Now granted this ommission sort of shock to me as well. What would have easily been a half an hour backstory of Lupin's school days with James, Sirius and Peter was condensed into about 10 minutes, even less if you don't consider the confrontation post Pettigrew transformation. However I never am one to ever think that films are merely a visual copy of a particular novel, but instead a work that has it's own hints, logic and ideas. It always sort of amazes me how so many fans here could be so bright and fervent in producing various theories and plots (many of them very plausible) that they shut off their analytical brains when it comes to the films. Basically the explanation of the Mauauder's is there, but hidden under nuance and dual serving scenes and lines in the film. This post is basically to show how much the film reflects the book...more than you might imagine.

PoA DVD Chapter 12: Talent for Trouble

This scene deals with Harry talking with Lupin on the bridge of Hogwarts in the film. It basically borrows from the other person to person chats that Harry has with Lupin in Chp 8: Flight of the Fat Lady and Chp 10: The Marauder's Map. The main change that helps greatly with explaining the Marauders' relationship (especially their close knit friendship) is that instead of showing any hint of friendship between James and Lupin until Chapter 12: The Patronus in the book, which is nearly halfway through the book, we get it far earlier into the DVD.

As you can see even then any hint of Lupin being friends with James is reserved at best and glossed over:
PoA Chp 12: The Patronus"You heard James?" said Lupin in a strange voice.

"Yeah..." Face dry, Harry looked up. "Why -- you didn't know my dad, did you?"

I -- I did, as a matter of fact, said Lupin. We were friends at Hogwarts. Listen, Harry -- perhaps we should leave it here for tonight. This charm is ridiculously advanced.... I shouln't have suggested putting you through this.

In the film he reminisces fondly about both James and Lily at the same time. In such a way that he seem to have personally knew Lily and at least seems impressed enough by James' talent for trouble to admire it. So right off the bat instead of having Lupin distancing himself from James, he shows how close he was to him. So instead of later having to explain the closeness of the relationship of the friendship between James and Lupin later, it's already established at least by Lupin acknowledging he knew the Potters but at most close friends with them.

PoA DVD Chapter 19: The Patronus

This pretty much is the equivalent of Chapter 12: The Patronus in the book however a tiny bit more is revealed. The quote above about Lupin knowing James is changed for this quote instead in the film:

PoA Film(After Summoning a patronus)And just so you know Harry...I think you'd have given your father a run for his money. And that....is saying something.

This quote really sort of cements the idea that Lupin knew James not just as acquaintances but closely enough to say the comment in such a tone that indicates that he was very close witness to James' feats, even possible being a part of them.

PoA DVD Chapter 24: Sirius Black

This is basically the Shrieking Shack and the explanation of the Marauder's Map and the history being the Marauders. Not once Marauders was mentioned in this scene you don't need a nickname to really indicate the closeness of a group of friends. It's the experiences and emotions that determine how close friends are. Now granted "The Marauders" sounds extremely great on paper...geeky in fact. But you know what they say about names..."What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." In this case the bond of friendship is still as strong by any other name and I think that's one of the main problems that people tend to have a problem letting go.

The idea behind using the term Marauders to describe their friendship and with society's overuse of words for "comrades" has sort of made the simple word "friend"; seem too simple. The idea behind the change in the film isn't explaining the origin of their friendship, but the feeling of betrayal because of the friendship. It's the emotion and anger from Lupin and Sirius that elevates the idea of a close group of friends betrayed to the same level of friendship seen in the Marauders in the books.

PoA DVD Chapter 26: Friends Becomes Foes

Now I might be jumping around here. But this portion should be basically renamed: How does James fit all into this?

I've always subscribed to the idea that James being Prongs was sort of easy to equate to being the stag patronus that we see in the film. With the very loose idea that Harry mistakes himself for being his father across the lake, one could only assume that the stag was probably the real incarnation of his father during that part.

The other idea that required a bit of thinking was when Sirius talked to Harry before he left on Buckbeak in PoA Chp 32: Two Places at Once. This being a departure from the text of since Dumbledore explains it a bit more plainly:
PoA Chapter 22: Owl Post again"You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night."

It took a moment for Harry to realize what Dumblefore had said.

"Last night Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi," said Dumbledore, smiling. "An extraordinary achievement -- not least, keeping it quiet from me. And then I remembered the most unusual form your Patronus took, when it charged Mr. Malfoy down at your Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. You know, Harry, in a way, you did see your father last night.... You found him inside yourself."

That isn't to say that the PoA film had anything less to say...just more to think about. There is the idea that because Harry's parents are with him (metaphorically) in his heart. Since it's his heart that powers the positive emotion of his corporeal patronus that he really did see his dad that night...as Prongs as implied in the film:
PoA FilmSirius: I expect you're tired of hearing this...but you look so like your father. Except your eyes. You have--

Harry: My mother's eyes

Sirius: It's cruel that I got to spend so much time with James and Lily, and you so little. But know this, the ones who love us never really leave us. And you can always find them; in here.

[puts his hand over Harry's heart]

However the main problem with this idea is who is Prongs? James and Lily have been discussed almost in tandem throughout the film. The idea that Sirius implies about Harry's parents (not his father James specifically) being in his heart could cause confusion. We certainly can imagine that both James and Lily could have been left out from being animagi. Heck it seems that there is more emphasis put on Lily than James considering that it's only her screams that we hear when Harry faints from Dementors; Lupin discussed her in a bit more intimate detail than James and a constant reference to Harry having her eyes. Lily could have easily been part of the fab four as much as James there isn't really anything indicating the Marauders to be a Boys only Club right now. So where do we go?

All the way back to the chapter title of this section.

The interesting idea about this film is how dual purpose even some of the most throwaway lines are. Take for instance in PoA DVD Chapter 26 a small bit of comedy from Sirius about fleas. But let's look closely at the quote:
PoA FilmSirius Black: Sorry about the bite, I reckon that twinges a bit.

Ron: A bit? A bit? You almost tore my leg off!

Sirius Black: I *was* going for the rat. Normally, I have a very sweet disposition as a dog. In fact, more than once, James suggested that I make the change permanent. The tail I could live with. But the fleas? They're murder.

Well there you go. One werewolf, two animagi and one unaccounted for. James suggested Sirius to make the change permanent; where we can assume that since he knows of their animagus abilities that James himself would join in the fun as well and Lily will be just be Lily.

Finale aka Who wrote the map?

In the end there really isn't anything more lacking in dialogue or information regarding the Marauders in the film compared with the novel. Some ideas were changed to streamline it, but not to really cut anything that one couldn't have pieced together in the first place. Although the explanation of the Marauders Map was omitted, it should be somewhat clear as to who are the authors of the Map and thus why Lupin and Sirius know how the map works. It's funny that time and time again many people bring up the idea that they should explain how Lupin and Sirius know how to use the map, however no one really questions how the Twins are able to use the map in the first place.
  • Wormtail should be the easiest to recognize as Peter Pettigrew due to countless cartoons and comics of rats showing long pink ridged tails that do indeed look like worms.

  • Padfoot probably presents the more difficult idea considering that not everyone owns a dog and are familiar with dogs but should at least realize from most pictures that dogs do have somewhat padded feet.

  • Prongs is also difficult considering the abstraction of the stag as the patronus in the first place. However if one could already draw the correlation between the stag and the father James. One could also draw an assumption that since James is talented he would be Prongs.

  • Lupin being a werewolf isn't really difficult. The meaning of his last name for once thing already means wolf which is about as original as Professor Sprout being the Herbology teacher. The change of his boggart from the ambiguous silver orb to an actual moon behind clouds helps as well with the werewolf lesson. However aside from Moony being Lupin in the first place doesn't really catch the audience's mind that he is one of the author's of the Marauder's Map; the point is nearly driven in with anvil size hinting in PoA Chapter 20: Seeing the Impossible. Even though Snape hints out heavily at the werewolfiness of Lupin, this dual serving comment is actually doing triple duty:
    PoA FilmProfessor Snape: [taps the blank Marauder's Map with his wand] Reveal your secrets.

    [writing appears on the map]

    Professor Snape: Read it.

    Harry: "Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, offer their compliments to Professor Snape and..."

    Professor Snape: Go on.

    Harry: "... and request that he keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business."

    Professor Snape: Why you insolent little--

    Lupin: Professor

    Professor Snape: Well, well, Lupin. Out for a little walk... in the moonlight, are we?


    Is there an echo in the Hallways of Hogwarts? Of course shortly afterwards when Lupin scolds Harry, he knows the properties of the map. However if the last hint of Lupin knowing full well how to close/shut down the map with mischief managed doesn't drive the point home, I don't know what else would.
So there you go. Everything you need to know isn't cut out, but just reinterpreted in the film. If PoA the book was a mystery waiting to be unraveled that might require multiple viewings, then who's to say that it's film counterpart shouldn't also echo the adventure?  Don't take this post as "Thinking outside the book," but more of "Thinking inside the film".
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