The Trio and The Marauders: Friendships, Flaws and the Future
As I was exploring the astounding amount of Harry Potter-related essays and editorials online, I came across that tried and true comparison between the Marauders and Harrys generation. The particular piece that sparked my initial thoughts was located elsewhere and compared Harry to James, Ron to Sirius, Hermione to Remus…and Peter Pettigrew to Ginny Weasley.
Yes, this piece suggested that perhaps Ginny Weasley is the hanger-on that Peter Pettigrew was; that Ginny was angry and bitter about what happened to her in the Chamber of Secrets and how everyone seemed to ignore her traumatic experience; and that Ginny would be the one to betray Harry and his friends, and perhaps the entire Order, to Voldemort.
I wondered if this author read the same books I did.
Most commentary I have seen places Neville in Peter’s role. But Neville doesn’t tag along after Harry, Ron and Hermione; he doesn’t express the drooling delight over the exploits of our trio that Peter did over James; and after the events of Order of the Phoenix at the Ministry, and the fight at Hogwarts in Half-Blood Prince, I find it hard to believe that Neville will betray anyone, let alone Harry. He has proved himself a brave Gryffindor, loyal to Hogwarts, to Dumbledore, and to his friends.
So why do we compare Harry and his friends to the Marauders at all? They are quite different except for their close friendship. But comparisons give us clues, clues give us theories, and theories tide us over until the next book comes out. So we compare things like this to figure out what might come next. Its harmless and fun, as far as Im concerned, and Id like to offer a few thoughts that I had about these comparisons and where they might lead.
In doing so I must acknowledge a great editorial by DemenTom here on MuggleNet that discusses the theory of Platos three-part soul and how it relates to Harry, Ron and Hermione. I very much enjoyed The Trio and the Three-Part Soul and applied its ideas to the Marauders in order to map out my own thoughts. Many thanks!
It seems reasonable to begin by assuming that Harry plays a role similar to his father’s role in his circle of friends. Ron, as Harry’s best friend, is like Sirius in several ways. And given their academic nature, I see the comparison between Hermione and Remus as well. Our trio plays out the three-part soul discussed in the editorial mentioned above and so did James, Sirius and Remus, in very similar ways that Harry, Ron and Hermione do.
Harry, like his father, is talented at Quidditch. He is a loyal friend, despises the Dark Arts, and leads with his heart. Ron, like Sirius, is a true best friend, and acts on instinct and reaction. Hermione and Remus both seem more grounded, more rational, and more into their studies.
There are differences, though. Harry is not as arrogant as his father, and his strengths in school are different than James’. Ron is not from a Dark wizard family that has burned him off of the family tapestry; in fact, he is from a large and loving family that supports the fight against Voldemort. And Hermione is obviously not a werewolf, though her Muggle parentage does set her apart at times (though not quite as much as being a werewolf would!).
Together our trio forms a picture of the complete and balanced soul. Their friendship is strong and united. James, Sirius and Remus experienced the same — except for Peter Pettigrew. Peter intruded on the completeness of the other three; he was not a part of the three-part soul, and he was unable to truly integrate himself into the close circle formed by James, Sirius and Remus. Perhaps this is what left him vulnerable to the Dark Lord; and in doing so it also left the other three vulnerable as well.
Who, then, is Harry’s own Peter Pettigrew? Who follows our trio, fawning over their every move? Who is unable to integrate themselves into the completeness of the friendship formed by Harry, Ron and Hermione? Who is vulnerable as an outsider, and will be tempted to betray them?
I believe there is no one.
In comparing these two generations of friends, I think that our current trio improves on the character flaws of the first. They have evolved. Harry is humble where his father was not; Ron is from a family that supports Dumbledore, whereas Sirius had a Death Eater for a brother; and Hermione is whole, untouched, accepted. Together the three Marauders were complete, but because of Peter Pettigrew, as a group they were flawed; Peter threw them out of balance. For Harry there is no fourth friend who is unable to complete the three-part soul, unable to integrate into the complete friendship formed by the other three. Harry, Ron and Hermione do not suffer the same flaws as their Marauder counterparts, and their friendship does not suffer the flaw of an unintended fourth person. They are in balance.
In the tale of the Marauders, this fourth person also functioned as a major impetus to the plot. Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal helped set in motion the events that surrounded the prophecy and shaped Harrys life. This impetus is not needed in Harry’s story anymore because the prophecy has not been fulfilled: it is still in motion. And Harry does not need a betrayal to motivate him to go after Voldemort; he has more than enough motivation already. It is possible he may be motivated by other events as well, something that will make his resolve stronger in book seven. But I do not think it will be a betrayal the likes of Peter Pettigrew’s.
If we are going to continue the comparison in this manner, perhaps we can look to some ideas about how the story concludes for our current trio. Perhaps with no betrayal, Harry will live. However, there will still be a great battle, and perhaps like Sirius, Ron will lose his life. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius said he would have died for his friends, and I believe Ron is capable of saying and doing this as well. This will leave Hermione alone, much like Lupin has been. JKR has said one of Harry’s friends becomes a teacher at Hogwarts, and that it wasn’t Ron. Perhaps Hermione will follow in Lupin’s footsteps then and join the faculty at Hogwarts. I can definitely see her as a teacher (more so than Neville, sorry Longbottom lovers!). Going another generation further, can you not see her as a Professor McGonagall in middle age, even as Headmistress?
Ginny is Harry’s Lily. Just like it took James and Lily until seventh year to begin their relationship, so it took Harry quite a while to recognize Ron’s younger sister and start dating her. He may have broken up with her at the end of Half-Blood Prince but she is not out of the story yet. First of all there is that Weasley wedding, which will surely throw her and Harry back together in some way.
Speaking of which…Fleur had hoped to have Ginny and her own sister Gabrielle as bridesmaids. Gabrielle will be several years older, and like her sister is part Veela. Can you not see Ron making a fool out of himself with her, and Hermione’s exasperated reaction? Can you not see this setting up a perfect scene for Ron and Hermione to finally admit their feelings, maybe share that kiss we have all been waiting for? I could see this. And as DemenTom discussed, Ron and Hermione – representing Harry’s instinct and reason – need to be balanced for Harry to succeed. Which he will, whatever the consequences.
I have many other thoughts about the conclusion of the story, things I think may happen, things I want to happen, and things I dread will happen. But for those of you who like to look back to the past to see how it will shape Harry’s future, I think these thoughts offer another way of comparing the Marauders with our trio and contemplating how the story will turn out.