Two weeks before the end of the term, the sky lightened suddenly to a dazzling,
opaline white and the muddy grounds were revealed one morning covered in glittering
frost. Inside the castle, there was a buzz of Christmas in the air. Professor
Flitwick, the Charms teacher, had already decorated his classroom with shimmering
lights that turned out to be real, fluttering fairies. The students were all
happily discussing their plans for the holidays. Both Ron and Hermione had decided
to remain at Hogwarts, and though Ron said it was because he couldn't stand
two weeks with Percy, and Hermione insisted she needed to use the library, Harry
wasn't fooled; they were doing it to keep him company, and he was very grateful.
To everyone's delight except Harry's, there was to be another Hogsmeade trip
on the very last weekend of the term.
“We can do all our Christmas shopping there!” said Hermione. “Mum and Dad
would really love those Toothflossing Stringmints from Honeydukes!”
Resigned to the fact that he would be the only third year staying behind
again, Harry borrowed a copy of Which Broomstick from Wood, and decided to spend
the day reading up on the different makes. He had been riding one of the school
brooms at team practice, an ancient Shooting Star, which was very slow and jerky;
he definitely needed a new broom of his own.
On the Saturday morning of the Hogsmeade trip, Harry bid good-bye to Ron
and Hermione, who were wrapped in cloaks and scarves, then turned up the marble
staircase alone, and headed back toward Gryffindor Tower. Snow had started to
fall outside the windows, and the castle was very still and quiet.
He turned, halfway along the third-floor corridor, to see Fred and George
peering out at him from behind a statue of a humpbacked, one-eyed witch.
“What are you doing?” said Harry curiously. “How come you're not going to
“We've come to give you a bit of festive cheer before we go,” said Fred,
with a mysterious wink. “Come in here...”
He nodded toward an empty classroom to the left of the one-eyed statue. Harry
followed Fred and George inside. George closed the door quietly and then turned,
beaming, to look at Harry.
“Early Christmas present for you, Harry,” he said.
Fred pulled something from inside his cloak with a flourish and laid it on
one of the desks. It was a large, square, very worn piece of parchment with
nothing written on it. Harry, suspecting one of Fred and George's jokes, stared
“What's that supposed to be?”
“This, Harry, is the secret of our success,” said George, patting the parchment
“It's a wrench, giving it to you,” said Fred, “but we decided last night,
your need's greater than ours.”
“Anyway, we know it by heart,” said George. “We bequeath it to you. We don't
really need it anymore.”
“And what do I need with a bit of old parchment?” said Harry.
“A bit of old parchment!” said Fred, closing his eyes with a grimace as though
Harry had mortally offended him. “Explain, George.”
“Well... when we were in our first year, Harry—young, carefree, and innocent
Harry snorted. He doubted whether Fred and George had ever been innocent.
“Well, more innocent than we are now—we got into a spot of bother with Filch.”
“We let off a Dungbomb in the corridor and it upset him for some reason —”
“So he hauled us off to his office and started threatening us with the usual
—” detention disembowelment and we couldn't help noticing a drawer in one of
his filing cabinets marked Confiscated and Highly Dangerous.
“Don't tell me —” said Harry, starting to grin.
“Well, what would you've done?” said Fred. “George caused a diversion by
dropping another Dungbomb, I whipped the drawer open, and grabbed—this.”
“It's not as bad as it sounds, you know,” said George. “We don't reckon Filch
ever found out how to work it. He probably suspected what it was, though, or
he wouldn't have confiscated it.”
“And you know how to work it?”
“Oh yes,” said Fred, smirking. “This little beauty's taught us more than
all the teachers in this school.”
“You're winding me up,” said Harry, looking at the ragged old bit of parchment.
“Oh, are we?” said George.
He took out his wand, touched the parchment lightly, and said, “I solemnly
swear that I am up to no good.”
And at once, thin ink lines began to spread like a spider's web from the
point that George's wand had touched. They joined each other, they crisscrossed,
they fanned into every corner of the parchment; then words began to blossom
across the top, great, curly green words, that proclaimed:
Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present THE MARAUDER'S
It was a map showing every detail of the Hogwarts castle and grounds. But
the truly remarkable thing were the tiny ink dots moving around it, each labeled
with a name in minuscule writing. Astounded, Harry bent over it. A labeled dot
in the top left corner showed that Professor Dumbledore was pacing his study;
the caretaker's cat, Mrs. Norris, was prowling the second floor; and Peeves
the Poltergeist was currently bouncing around the trophy room. And as Harry's
eyes traveled up and down the familiar corridors, he noticed something else.
This map showed a set of passages he had never entered. And many of them
seemed to lead —
“Right into Hogsmeade,” said Fred, tracing one of them with his finger. “There
are seven in all. Now, Filch knows about these four”—he pointed them out—”but
we're sure we're the only ones who know about these. Don't bother with the one
behind the mirror on the fourth floor. We used it until last winter, but it's
caved in—completely blocked. And we don't reckon anyone's ever used this one,
because the Whomping Willow's planted right over the entrance. But this one
here, this one leads right into the cellar of Honeydukes. We've used it loads
of times. And as you might've noticed, the entrance is right outside this room,
through that one-eyed old crone's hump.”
“Moony, Wormtaill Padfoot, and Prongs,” sighed George, patting the heading
of the map. “We owe them so much.”
“Noble men, working tirelessly to help a new generation of lawbreakers,”
said Fred solemnly.
“Right,” said George briskly. “Don't forget to wipe it after you've used
it or anyone can read it,” Fred said warningly.
“Just tap it again and say, 'Mischief managed!' And it'll go blank.”
“So, young Harry,” said Fred, in an uncanny impersonation of Percy, “mind
you behave yourself.”
“See you in Honeydukes,” said George, winking.
They left the room, both smirking in a satisfied sort of way.
Harry stood there, gazing at the miraculous map. He watched the tiny ink
Mrs. Norris turn left and pause to sniff at something on the floor. If Filch
really didn't know... he wouldn't have to pass the dementors at all...
But even as he stood there, flooded with excitement, something Harry had
once heard Mr. Weasley say came floating out of his memory.
Never trust anything that can think for itself, if you can't see where it
keeps its brain.
This map was one of those dangerous magical objects Mr. Weasley had been
warning against... Aids for Magical Mischief Makers... but then, Harry reasoned,
he only wanted to use it to get into Hogsmeade, it wasn't as though he wanted
to steal anything or attack anyone... and Fred and George had been using it
for years without anything horrible happening...
Harry traced the secret passage to Honeydukes with his finger.
Then, quite suddenly, as though following orders, he rolled up the map, stuffed
it inside his robes, and hurried to the door of the classroom. He opened it
a couple of inches. There was no one outside. Very carefully, he edged out of
the room and behind the statue of the one-eyed witch.
What did he have to do? He pulled out the map again and saw to his astonishment,
that a new ink figure had appeared upon it, labeled Harry Potter. This figure
was standing exactly where the real Harry was standing, about halfway down the
Harry watched carefully. His little Ink self appeared to be tapping the witch
with his minute wand. Harry quickly took out his real wand and tapped the statue.
Nothing happened. He looked back at the map. The tiniest speech bubble had appeared
next to his figure. The word inside said, “Dissendium.”
“Dissendium!” Harry whispered, tapping the stone witch again.
At once, the statue's hump opened wide enough to admit a fairly thin person.
Harry glanced quickly up and down the corridor, then tucked the map away again,
hoisted himself into the hole headfirst, and pushed himself forward.
He slid a considerable way down what felt like a stone slide, then landed
on cold, damp earth. He stood up, looking around. It was
pitch dark. He held up his wand, muttered, “Lumos! “ and saw that he was
in a very narrow, low, earthy passageway. He raised the map, tapped it with
the tip of his wand, and muttered, “Mischief managed!” The map went blank at
once. He folded it carefully, tucked it inside his robes, then, heart beating
fast, both excited and apprehensive, he set off.
The passage twisted and turned, more like the burrow of a giant rabbit than
anything else. Harry hurried along it, stumbling now and then on the uneven
floor, holding his wand out in front of him.
It took ages, but Harry had the thought of Honeydukes to sustain him. After
what felt like an hour, the passage began to rise. Panting, Harry sped up, his
face hot, his feet very cold.
Ten minutes later, he came to the foot of some worn stone steps, which rose
out of sight above him. Careful not to make any noise, Harry began to climb.
A hundred steps, two hundred steps, he lost count as he climbed, watching his
feet... Then, without warning, his head hit something hard.
It seemed to be a trapdoor. Harry stood there, massaging the top of his head,
listening. He couldn't hear any sounds above him. Very slowly, he pushed the
trapdoor open and peered over the edge.
He was in a cellar, which was full of wooden crates and boxes. Harry climbed
out of the trapdoor and replaced it—it blended so perfectly with the dusty floor
that it was impossible to tell it was there. Harry crept slowly toward the wooden
staircase that led upstairs. Now he could definitely hear voices, not to mention
the tinkle of a bell and the opening and shutting of a door.
Wondering what he ought to do, he suddenly heard a door open much closer
at hand; somebody was about to come downstairs.
“And get another box of Jelly Slugs, dear, they've nearly cleaned us out
—” said a woman's voice.
A pair of feet was coming down the staircase. Harry leapt behind an enormous
crate and waited for the footsteps to pass. He heard the man shifting boxes
against the opposite wall. He might not get another chance —
Quickly and silently, Harry dodged out from his hiding place and climbed
the stairs; looking back, he saw an enormous backside and shiny bald head, buried
in a box. Harry reached the door at the top of the stairs, slipped through it,
and found himself behind the counter of Honeydukes—he ducked, crept sideways,
and then straightened up.
Honeydukes was so crowded with Hogwarts students that no one looked twice
at Harry. He edged among them, looking around, and suppressed a laugh as he
imagined the look that would spread over Dudley's piggy face if he could see
where Harry was now.
There were shelves upon shelves of the most succulent-looking sweets imaginable.
Creamy chunks of nougat, shimmering pink squares of coconut ice, fat, honey-colored
toffees; hundreds of different kinds of chocolate in neat rows; there was a
large barrel of Every Flavor Beans, and another of Fizzing Whizbees, the levitating
sherbert balls that Ron had mentioned; along yet another wall were “Special
Effects”—sweets: Droobles Best Blowing Gum (which filled a room with bluebell-colored
bubbles that refused to pop for days), the strange, splintery Toothflossing
Stringmints, tiny black Pepper Imps (“breathe fire for your friends!”), Ice
Mice (“hear your teeth chatter and squeak!”), peppermint creams shaped like
toads (“hop realistically in the stomach!”), fragile sugar-spun quills, and
Harry squeezed himself through a crowd of sixth years and saw a sign hanging
in the farthest corner of the shop (UNUSUAL TASTES). Ron and Hermione were standing
underneath it, examining a tray of blood-flavored lollipops. Harry sneaked up
“Ugh, no, Harry won't want one of those, they're for vampires, I expect,”
Hermione was saying.
“How about these?” said Ron, shoving a jar of Cockroach Clusters under Hermione's
“Definitely not,” said Harry.
Ron nearly dropped the jar.
“Harry!” squealed Hermione. “What are you doing here? How—how did you —?”
“Wow!” said Ron, looking very impressed, “you've learned to Apparate!”
“'Course I haven't,” said Harry. He dropped his voice so that none of the
sixth years could hear him and told them all about the Marauder's Map.
“How come Fred and George never gave it to me!” said Ron, outraged. “I'm
“But Harry isn't going to keep it!” said Hermione, as though the idea were
ludicrous. “He's going to hand it in to Professor McGonagall, aren't you, Harry?”
“No, I'm not!” said Harry.
“Are you mad?” said Ron, goggling at Hermione. “Hand in something that good?”
“If I hand it in, I'll have to say where I got it! Filch would know Fred
and George had nicked it!”
“But what about Sirius Black?” Hermione hissed. “He could be using one of
the passages on that map to get into the castle! The teachers have got to know!”
“He can't be getting in through a passage,” said Harry quickly. “There are
seven secret tunnels on the map, right? Fred and George reckon Filch already
knows about four of them. And of the other three—one of them's caved in, so
no one can get through it. one of them's got the Whomping Willow planted over
the entrance, so you can't get out of it. And the one I just came through -well—
it's really hard to see the entrance to it down in the cellar, so unless he
knew it was there...”