Marauder Era Ships: Which Ones Sailed? by hpboy13
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Editor’s Note: The following essay entertains speculation about possible relationships between contemporaries of Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter. It should not be regarded as canon but is highly entertaining and chock full of fodder for discussion groups—enjoy!
As the last Harry Potter book draws ever nearer, we are all scrambling to organize and finalize theories. So, anyone who’s an HP fan must have heard of several ships[*] from the Marauder’s Era. I’ll refer to them as m-ships in this essay to make life easier. These m-ships basically put together two of the following characters: Lily, Petunia, James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and Snape. However, I have seen m-ships for just about any two of these seven characters. So ignoring the m-ships that some may consider inappropriate, I will analyze each and every m-ship, try to back it up with a little canon, and see how it might play a role in Deathly Hallows. Let’s begin!
M-ship 1—James and Lily
I had to mention this one. This m-ship is the only one that’s canon. It is unknown what role it has yet to play, but we can be pretty sure it does have a role to play in DH. While we know that this relationship came true, we know precious little about how it came to be. In“ Snape’s Worst Memory,” we see that Lily hated James with a passion. Sirius and Lupin say on page 671 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, “She started going out with him in seventh year. . . . Once James had deflated his head a bit. . . . And stopped hexing people just for the fun of it.” (OP29) This never really struck me as a valid reason for Lily to just get over her dislike, and I feel there is more to it. Whatever happened—James somehow saving Lily, Lily being dared to give James a chance, or something else—I’m fairly sure we’ll find out what it is.
M-ship 2—Snape and Lily
This is one of the most popular m-ships, and one of the best supported. There is a lot of evidence supporting it, and you can read it in other essays, like the one here. I’ll do a sum-up for you.
The scene that indicates this m-ship the best is “Snape’s Worst Memory” in Order of the Phoenix. Why would that be Snape’s worst memory? Surely he’s been bullied plenty of times before. The common belief is that it’s his worst memory because Snape, probably inadvertently, called Lily “Mudblood.” Lily was very likely the only friend Snape had. They probably became friends during Slughorn’s Potions lessons. They both hated the Marauders, so they could have sat together and become friends. Snape probably developed a crush on her. But when he called her “Mudblood,” that would probably have been the end of their friendly relationship. And that’s why it’s Snape’s worst memory. He lost the only girl he ever loved.
This would also explain a lot about Snape’s feelings towards Harry. Harry is the manifestation of Lily’s love for Snape’s enemy—no wonder he hates Harry! It’s interesting to know that Snape never insults Lily throughout the series, while he regularly makes snide comments about James.
This m-ship could actually be very important in DH. I think it may be the reason Dumbledore trusts Snape, and the reason for Snape’s change of loyalties (I won’t go into Snape’s loyalties in this essay, I’ll just discuss why this may be the reason he is or was on the good side). When Snape brought news of the prophecy and Voldemort went to kill the Potters, Snape probably felt awful because he was causing the death of the only girl he loved. This is probably the tale of deepest regret that Snape told Dumbledore.
M-ship 3—Remus and Lily
A lot of the proof for this ship comes from the third movie, when Remus speaks to Harry. He says that Lily was kind to him when many others turned away, and she had a way of seeing inside people (that’s not the exact quote, but something like it). While the movies are far from canon, particularly Prisoner of Azkaban, Jo did say that the PA movie had a lot of foreshadowing in it, and this seems to be the most obvious bit of foreshadowing. However, I think I can whip up something even without this.
We know that Lily was just short of being a saint: super-nice and super-smart. I’m sure that when the Marauders first started Hogwarts, they didn’t immediately become best friends forever. I take it Remus was quite alone, probably picked on for his shabby and frail appearance. So I think Lily took pity on him and befriended him. Remus was quite smart, so these two would have connected quite well while James and Sirius were goofing off. Lily was smart as a whip, and I’m sure that she figured out Remus’s “furry little problem.” This would have probably increased her pity. It’s easily conceivable that their friendship developed into a sort of crush. Out of all the m-ships involving Lily (besides Lily/James), I think this is the only one where Lily may have had romantic feelings in return.
How it ended is pretty easy to figure out. Remus was befriended by James and Sirius. Remus saw how much James loved Lily. For the sake of their friendship, Remus decided to stay away from Lily. Whether this relationship got past the crush stage is yet to be seen, and probably not very important. The only way I could see this relationship coming into play in Deathly Hallows is if it turns out Lily and Remus had a child in secret or something, and she mysteriously pops up in book 7. But since this is extremely unlikely to happen, I don’t think we need to worry about this m-ship too much.
M-ship 4—Sirius and Lily
Jo has used the “opposites attract” philosophy with Ron and Hermione already, so why not use it again? And nowhere can you find two more opposite people. It is possible that Lily wanted to break away from being a perfect angel, and found herself falling for Sirius. However, that all sounds a lot like a cheesy fanfiction. But if Lily went for James, she might have gone for Sirius, for all we know. Maybe they did have a thing going for a little while, but Sirius probably wouldn’t want to jeopardize his friendship with James, and would end it.
However, this is the least likely and least supported of all the m-ships concerning Lily. Lily hated James until he matured, and since it looks like Sirius never matured (WEB LINKTLC pt. 2), I really don’t think she’d be attracted to him. As for Sirius, he probably wouldn’t care much for Lily when he had other girls all over him, and since James had probably made it clear Lily was his.
M-ship 5—Peter and Lily
We know that Lily defended the outcasts, like Snape. Peter was probably an outcast as well, until he started hanging with the Marauders. It’s very possible Lily intervened on his behalf at some point. And since she was so pretty and popular, there’s a good possibility he liked her. Also we know that Peter liked to be with people in power, such as the Marauders and Lord Voldemort. If he had a relationship with a popular girl, that would definitely increase his “power,” so he might have pursued a relationship for that.
If Peter and Lily did have a relationship, it might also explain why Peter betrayed James and Lily. If he had a relationship with Lily, or even a crush, and Lily started going out with James, Peter wouldn’t have been very happy. Feeling betrayed by both of them, he would not hesitate to rat them out to Lord Voldemort. If Harry finds this out, I think his feelings of bitterness towards Peter will only increase. We haven’t seen the last of Wormtail, and he still has a life-debt to repay to Harry.
M-ship 6—James and Petunia
If this m-ship actually occurred, it would explain a lot about the relationship between Lily and Petunia. Many fans theorize that something happened to embitter Petunia, other than her jealousy of the attention Lily was receiving from their parents. So what if James and Petunia had some sort of relationship going? I find it hard to come up with a scenario for this that does not delve into the deepest realms of fanfiction and improbablility. The only contact Petunia would have with James would be when he was already with Lily. However, Petunia might have fallen for James at that point. We know he was good-looking, and charming, and funny. So Petunia fell in love with James. But James loved Lily too much to go for Petunia. That left Petunia more bitter than ever and was probably the final straw that broke the two sisters apart forever.
M-ship 7—Snape and Petunia
Now, for this m-ship to stand any chance, a number of assumptions are necessary. But let’s explore it anyway. This pairing was discussed in great detail in another essay at WEB LINKLeaky, WEB LINKThe Unsinkable Ship by futureweasley. But I’ll give you my take on it. First, we need to assume that the Snape/Lily m-ship is valid, or at the very least that Snape and Lily were very good friends. Otherwise Petunia and Snape would have never even interacted. So Lily brings Snape home with her, and Snape meets Petunia. At this point, we don’t know what could have happened. But one possibility is that they started hanging out and slowly fell in love. Snape may not exactly be a nice, loving character, but Jo confirmed in WEB LINKPart 3 of the Leaky Cauldron/MuggleNet interview that Snape has been loved. Might it not have been by Petunia? Since we can find out so little about the nature of this relationship, it’s impossible to tell how it ended. But we can try.
It goes back to “Snape’s Worst Memory.” What if it’s his worst memory because not only did he alienate his friend (Lily), but he lost his only way of getting to the girl he loved (Petunia). This could actually have been the cause of the rift between Petunia and Lily. Lily would refuse to bring Snape over again, Petunia would be mad at her for not letting them be together. It’s also possible that a part of Petunia was mad at Snape for this. In that case, Snape would be the “awful boy” Petunia overheard telling Lily about Dementors and Azkaban. If the man she loved instead of her good-for-nothing sister’s boyfriend said something, Petunia would likely remember it much better.
How this will play out in book 7, if it is true, is anyone’s guess. Possibly, Snape and Petunia will meet up again, and that will cause Petunia to spill the beans to Harry about whatever she needs to tell him. Maybe, if Snape is good, Petunia will be the one to convince Harry to forgive. Only July 21st will tell.
M-ship 8—Remus and Petunia
This is my personal favorite. In fact, I shipped them before HBP came out and Remus ended up with Tonks. Anyway, I can see this happening perfectly. Either Lily would bring him home when they were friends at the beginning (doubt it), or the Marauders would tag along when Lily brought James over (much more likely). So while James and Lily hung out, and Sirius and Peter did who-knows-what (in the PG sense), Petunia and Remus would start hanging out together, since they were the quiet ones.
As for how it ended, that’s an easy one. Remus would want to protect Petunia from his “furry little problem” (HBP16) This would definitely make Petunia hate wizards, and this would make Remus “that awful boy.” As for how it will affect DH, I think I can guess. Remus will convince Harry to talk to Petunia, at which point Petunia will reveal whatever she has to reveal.
A compelling bit of evidence is Petunia’s line about “that awful boy” telling Lily about Dementors. We know that Remus is quite knowledgeable about Dementors, as he is the one who tells Harry about them and then teaches Harry how to use a Patronus. Another piece of evidence (though this may be stretching it a bit) is how at the end of Order of the Phoenix, Tonks is described as offending Petunia more than everyone else put together. Tonks wouldn’t exactly be in Petunia’s good books if she was the woman Remus loved, after Remus broke things off with Petunia.
M-ship 9—Sirius and Petunia
This one is the most fun to imagine, simply because of Sirius’s character. Once again, I envision them meeting up when Lily brought James over and the Marauders tagged along. There’d be some attraction between them. In the end, Sirius would dump her, because he’s such a “ladies’ man” and can’t stay with one girl too long. This would leave her bitter, and leave him as “that awful boy.” I find it interesting that we always get Vernon’s reaction to Harry mentioning Sirius, but never Petunia’s. The same happens in Half-Blood Prince, when Dumbledore mentions that Sirius is dead. I think this might be because Jo doesn’t want to give anything away.
Also, Sirius might have pursued a relationship with Petunia as a way of rebelling. We know that he couldn’t stand his parents and their pureblood mania. What better way of rebelling than hooking up with a Muggle girl?
How this will affect DH is a tough one, but I’ll try. I think Harry and Petunia may get into a fight over Sirius, and in the reconciliation, Petunia reveals whatever she has to reveal. Jo has said that “there’s more to Petunia.”
M-ship 10—Peter and Petunia
Both of their names start with “Pet,” maybe that’s Jo’s way of giving us a hint. This m-ship is discussed in the WEB LINKLeaky essay, WEB LINKThe Half-Blood Squib. This m-ship bases itself on the idea that outsiders find each other. So Lily’s hanging out with the Marauders and having a great time and everything. Petunia is an outsider to that. But Peter probably was as well—he was always tagging along. So these outsiders found each other and fell in love—hey, you never know!
It’s interesting that they’re both associated with information they shouldn’t have. Petunia is constantly spying on her neighbors, and tells Vernon all about it. Whereas Peter was feeding Voldemort information about Lily and James. Also, the little finger is a motif with these two characters. Peter chopped off his little finger when he faked his death, and it led to Sirius recognizing him. And Petunia is described in Prisoner of Azkaban as sticking her little finger out when she drinks her tea. Why would Jo put that in? It could be her way of giving us a clue.
Another possibility for this m-ship is if they shared a common bitterness about Lily. For this, we have to assume that the Peter/Lily m-ship occurred. That leaves Peter bitter over Lily. As to why Petunia’s bitter about Lily, it could be due to non-romantic causes (plain old sibling rivalry), or due to any of the M-ships 6-9. So they both strongly dislike Lily. They started talking about it, and they click!
How or why they broke up is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they just decided it wasn’t working out. Or perhaps it was something else. I am curious to know what Petunia’s reaction to the “murder” of Peter was. How this might affect DH is anyone’s guess. Harry doesn’t particularly like Petunia or Peter. If he finds out about an affair between Petunia and Peter, that might make him more distant to Petunia, which will complicate things because he needs information from Petunia. And there’s still the life-debt. Curious, indeed.
To sum it all up, almost any one of the above mentioned m-ships could come into play in Deathly Hallows. Why, any number of them might come into play. We really don’t know because so much of this is speculation. But it’s a lot of fun to speculate! The various combinations of present-day students have been analyzed to death, but I find the Marauder’s Era ships very interesting. We still need to find out more about Snape, Jo said there’s more to Petunia, Jo said we’ll learn something huge about Lily in Deathly Hallows, Pettigrew still has a life-debt to Harry, and I doubt we’ve heard the last of Sirius. These characters will come into play somehow, and there’s a good chance that they’ll have been romantically involved with each other at some point. Of course, we’ll know all the answers on July 21, which I await with a mixture of anticipation and hysterical crying.
[*] Ed. Note: “Ship” is short for “relationship,” an abbreviation in common use in the Harry Potter fandom.