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Thread: The Marauders' Characterisation

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  1. #1
    Rhi for HP
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    The Marauders' Characterisation

    Currently I'm writing a chaptered Lily/James fic where, naturally, the main characters are the Marauders. However, I'm running into a few roadblocks.

    What do you guys think about Wormtail's character? I've read way too much fanfiction, and now I have no idea what my stand on the matter is. Part of me says he's uncool, a tagalong, obtuse, etc. There's certainly canon evidence for that. And yet...the Marauders didn't outright reject him. Did he have his redeeming qualities, do you think, or was he just a very persistent tagalong?

    What do you think about swearing with the Marauders? As a high school student, I know full well most teenage boys will not say "gosh darnit!" when life isn't going their way. And yet...swearing in the books is very minimal and light, the worst being Mrs.Weasley's explitive shouted at Bellatrix during the last battle in DH. So, do you think swearing is OOC? What do you think?

  2. #2
    Amber0_o
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    For the swearing, Jo never outright eliminated it, she simply eliminated the need to write out exactly what the word was. 'Ron swore under his breathe' appeared far more often than '****', said Ron.

    As for Peter's place in the Marauders, I believe they kept him there for the ego boost. We see that James keeps releasing and catching the Snitch, and is obviously enjoying the attention he is getting from Peter. When James and Sirius start to attack Severus Peter is there 'watching hungrily'. Peter hangs around the Marauders for protection, and so he can enjoy watching them attack other students. James and Sirius keep him around for an ego boost, now and again.

  3. #3
    bluexroses
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    Swearing in itself is not OOC but, like Amber said, rarely is it directly stated. I think this comes from the fact that there are younger children who read the books as well as older ones. Don't want to corrupt them too early now do we?

    Peter was the uncool tagalong. He admired the Marauders and obviously wanted to be a part of that. I think the reason he stayed was the same reason he joined up with ol' Voldy. Peter is a cowardly person, and he follows people with power to avoid getting hurt. First it was James and Sirius, who used to make fun of other students (namely Snape). Then it was Voldemort, who was terrorizing the entire wizard world.The best way to avoid getting your lunch money taken? Befriend the bully.

    Now as much as we all hate Snape's prejudice against James, he did sort of have a point. James was a bit of an arrogant prick. He and Sirius enjoyed the attention. Peter was also handy to have around to do the dirty work. Notice how it was Peter who was the rat that had to dodge the Whomping Willow and push the knot? The Potters made him Secret-Keeper only because they thought nobody would suspect that the awkward, bumbling sidekick. Now that's not to say they didn't trust him. I'm sure the four got be very close friends throughout the years, but Peter... well, I'll put it this way: If Peter was the werewolf, I doubt they'd become Animagi for him.

    *hoping that makes some sort of sense*
    ~Ayesha

  4. #4
    Fifth Year Hufflepuff
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    fg_weasley's Avatar
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    Well, here goes. Read at your own risk. lol, only joking.

    As far as Wormtail's character goes, I'm going to have to diagree on what everyone else has said, for the most part. I think you are right on both counts that he was somewhat of a tag-a-long, but also that the Marauders didn't reject him, and that was for a reason. I think there is no denying that he was a bit of an odd match for them, but at the same time they were best mates. I know I, for one, find it very annoying when author's either exclude him completely (which you, apparently, have no intentions on doing, so kudos to you) or else they make him a complete, uncool idiot that doesn't fit at all. To me, this simply wasn't true. I mean, really, the Marauders were really popular, and if you are going to talk about their ego you have to admit that it wouldn't make sense for them to have Peter around if he was really that uncool, right? Ego boost or not, they would have probably feared he would do more damage than good. James and Sirius already had big heads as it was, and I certainly don't think Remus had him around for that reason. I'm not saying it isn't entirely for that, but you have to keep the rest of the Marauers' characterization in mind as well. Sirius was very loyal and Peter was his friend. Maybe not as well attached as James or Remus, but he there was some grounding. As I said before, Remus didn't need nor want the 'ego boost,' and James may have been an arrogant prat but when it came to his friends he was honest. With Peter, I think you have to have a happy balance of this--in that I mean, he would have been somewhat of a misfit, but he was a Marauder. The best advice I can give you is to keep that in mind. As an author, you have to remember that Peter had not done any of the terrible things he does in his future, and I think some people want to paint a nasty picture of him because of those things.

    And swearing, I think, would not have been uncommon, and I agree whole heartedly with Amber. However, I feel too that in certain situations, and with certain phrases, you could have it in there. For instance, in my own Marauder Era story, their really isn't any swearing that you actually see until Sirius becomes REALLY angry. So, like I said, certain situations, I can see it happening. There's no need for it in regular conversation, or for small things like surprise, you know? For that you can just say that he swore under his break. I think in situations where the characters are particularly angry would be the best case scenario. Also, I think you have to keep their characterization in mind. I think Sirius would be the most likely to swear, especially when compared to say, Remus. I really can't see Remus swearing at all. James is a maybe, and Peter definietly not.

    Sorry, that was a little long. I also sort of went on a Peter rant there--again, sorry. But I hope it helps a bit. I think Peter is somewhat of a delicate character, and I hope I didn't sound too rude or judgemental or anything. I really think his character is a sort of cross between both aspects.

    ~nikki
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  5. #5
    LifeAtRandom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhi for HP
    Did he have his redeeming qualities, do you think, or was he just a very persistent tagalong?
    I believe it was an odd combination of both. Peter may have hero-worshiped his friends, but I'm sure there were other students who did too, and that shouldn't be the sole reason for excepting Peter to the group.

    I imagine that while James and Sirius enjoyed the attention Peter gave them, they also saw some good qualities in Peter (perhaps loyalty? though that doesn't last forever, obviously). They also could have pitied him for trying so hard at being their friends and eventually accept him into the group.

  6. #6
    Rushia
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    I absolutely agree with fg_weasley.

    Peter needs to be treated with great delicacy. He is not as straight-forward as the other Marauders, and he's very complicated. Cowards are some of the most complicated characters. While Peter was, undoubtedly, a coward, you have to remember that he was also in Gryffindor. What would make him worthy of being in the House categorized as "the brave at heart"? Remember that it's a lot easier to be brave when your life isn't on the line. Perhaps he acted a lot more daring and brave in his days at Hogwarts before he got scared into spying for Voldemort. The Peter we see in the books went through a lot before we actually see him in PoA. He fought in a war, got threatened by the greatest Dark wizard of the age, caused the deaths of two good friends and the imprisonment of another because of his cowardice, accidentally--I believe--killed people in order to escape from a friend who had come to kill him {and oh yes, I don't think Sirius had any intention of bringing him to the Ministry. I don't think it was just twelve years of festering hatred that made him say he "meant to" kill Peter back then. I think he really did.}, then twelve years of hiding as a rat because everyone he used to be friends with would probably want to kill him if they knew he was alive and what he'd done, being confronted and almost killed by his two best friends, saved by the son of the man he caused the death of, almost got Kissed by dementors, and then his only option was to chase rumors of the man least likely to hurt him: Voldemort. And I do say "least likely" because Peter wasn't an idiot like some people assume: he fully knew what being on Voldemort's side meant. But he didn't feel he had a choice.

    I think he was a completely different person back in his school days. Don't let the Trio era Peter influence you too much. He went through a lot of hardship before we saw him, and his bravery had been almost completely knocked out.

    In addition to being a Gryffindor, he was also a Marauder. Keep in mind several things when factoring this in: the personalities of James, Sirius, and Remus; what the Marauders were known for doing; and how very difficult it was to become an Animagus. Yes, Peter had help from James and Sirius, but it would take some work and knowledge from him as well to actually make his own transformation work. {I think Sirius called him "talentless" because: 1; he was pissed at Peter and had been stewing in hatred for twelve years, 2; every word he spoke was calculated to hurt, and 3; Sirius was very talented himself, so he had a skewed opinion about what would be "talentless."} Peter probably wanted to be James and Sirius, so strove to please them. Which means helping with pranks, being useful, and joking around with them. It was a hero-worship born out of envy, I think, but Peter probably greatly admired James and Sirius and strove to be just like them. Something to keep in mind which will probably deviate from the "fanboy" image.

    Can you tell I've put a lot of thought into this? I'm currently working on a project to explain how Peter transformed from the Marauder into the traitor we see in the Trio era. I don't think he's a bad guy--he just became a victim of circumstances. And the circumstances started after he left Hogwarts.

  7. #7
    meryal
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    I think that fg_weasley and Rushia pretty much covered it, but there is one more thing that neither mentioned that I think is rather important. Peter is far cleverer than anyone really gives him credit for, considering he was a spy for Voldemort just like Snape was for Dumbledore. He was smart enough to hide it and in reality, in some ways, did a far better job of hiding it. Snape was always a mysterious character and we didn't know what his true colors were until the very end. Peter however, was such a good spy, that no one mistrusted him or even really considered him because he was the one who ended up being the Potters' secret keeper. He was never a dumb kid and that is probably a large reason why Sirius was so cruel in describing him, because even he fell for it. Peter is someone who doesn't show his intelligence often, and for that reason he was always under valued and never seen as a threat until after Voldemort's first fall. Peter was by no means a phenomenal wizard but he was stronger than most give him credit for.

  8. #8
    cmwinters
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    I almost always detest how Pettigrew is portrayed in fanfiction, which is saying something as I have little use for his character.

    All I have to say on the matter is this:

    When Remus & Sirius confronted Peter in the Shrieking Shack, and Peter was lamenting the power and horror of the Dark Lord, Peter was pleading his case with "but he would have killed me".

    And Sirius' reaction was "then you should have died! Died, rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you!"

    You do not say that to, or expect that of, someone who is not really really close to you. Someone you truly thought would have done so IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    Sirius *convinced James* to make Peter the Secret Keeper, with the intention that he (Sirius) was going to go out and "draw fire", so to speak, and Sirius did so, and James agreed to do so, because they believed Pettigrew would keep the secret.

    Lupin suspected Black and Black suspected Lupin, but NONE of them suspected Peter.

    None of them.

    Your life, your livelihood, and that of your only child is not something that you entrust to a "tagalong".

  9. #9
    FullofLife
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    There is evidence in the book (a whole lot of it) to tell us that Peter was nothing more or less than a tagalong. Peter, in my humble opinion, was introduced and written into the series as the betrayer. The way he is written makes me feel that Jo, while planning Harry's background, needed a person close to the Potters who could betray them. Sirius, betray James? Never. Remus? Not very plausible. I'm supposing she invented little Peter Pettigrew so that she'd have a character who would and could betray his best friend and send him, his wife to their deaths. Possibly because of this, Peter is always portrayed in the books as a person who "hero-worshipped" his friends and had little talent. He was a character built to betray and so, even when we see him in Snape's memory in OotP, he is a hero-worshipper, in awe of Sirius and James, obviously annoying and clearly foolish.

    The simple thing is that because we have always imagined Peter to be a tagalong, he has always been one. We don't expect a strong, loyal character to suddenly do an about face and throw his friends to their deaths. This is what Peter's character has become to us, and possibly to Jo, explaining why, when we see him as a teenager in OotP, he is not much different from the Peter we saw in PoA and GoF. Every single person in the book who has ever described Peter Pettigrew to us has described him as, simply, a rat. Peter stays in character throughout the series.

    Another scenario that fits the tagalong theory is that neither of the three friends ever suspceted Peter could betray them. Remus suspected Sirius and vice versa. Sirius begged James to change to Peter at the last second - that is how strongly he suspected Remus. No one expected Peter, weak little Peter who could hardly duel (according to McGonagall) to go over to Voldemort. No one. He wasn't clever enough so the idea never crossed their minds.

    However, it does not fit the characters of James and Sirius to befriend someone like Peter. They spent their teenage years being bullies, beating up on people like Snape, who were probably less prone to being bullied than people like Peter himself. It makes absolutely no sense to find that on one hand James is pals with a person like Peter, who has to work to keep himself from drooling over James and Sirius, and attacks people like Severus. Something had to have happened to make them friends.

    Of course, it is also possible that Jo never decided to go into depth with us about Peter because it would take up too much time. I know that when I write, I dream up everything about my characters. Even the lesser ones. Things my readers will never find out. Its possible that JK Rowling knows exactly why James and Sirius were friends with Peter, and why Peter eventually turned, but we have no idea. These are questions that are unanswered, and the best we can do is to make up reasonable explanations to fill in the gaps.

    This is how I see it. Peter Pettigrew was a decent child from a decent family. He may have had something wrong with him mentally. Something that would later trigger turning. Or he may have been a completely normal person, overjoyed to be accepted (remember the picture Harry finds in DH?) and enjoying life. Whatever the case, it is my opinion that something happened somewhere along the line that caused Peter to go to Voldemort or (more likely) caused Voldemort to send someone to Peter. Did Voldemort threaten him? With what? Death? It seems unlikely that that was the only thing, considering that James was already in hiding and Peter could have done the same.

    What did Voldemort see in Peter that James and Sirius were blind to?

    Something, right? IMHO, if James and Sirius were blind to it, it means that whatever it was, it had only surfaced recently. He may have been cowardly, but he still had his friends. There was something about Peter that James and Sirius and Remus missed, that Voldemort did not.

    Like cmwinters said. You don't expect someone to give their life for you if you knew they would not be able to do it.

  10. #10
    wauwabee
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    Peter, in my story, is a character I am quite proud of. I hate him, but I'm really happy with how he has been turning out. To me, Peter was a little bit like Neville only not brave in the slightest. He's quiet, hopeless at dueling but he is very good when it comes to subjects that don't require too much coordination, and Peter is very observant. He has to be if he was a spy for Voldemort for over a year.

    And I don't think he was just a tag along that Sirius and James used to boost their ego, if that had been the case, Sirius would not have even suggested him as the Potter's Secret-Keeper. I think Peter was more of the guy everyone looked out for. James, Sirius and Remus all cared for him, thats why his betrayal is so horrible. And even Lily was quite fond of Peter. She said in the letter to Sirius in DH that "Wormy was over the other day, he seemed down." or something along those lines she liked Peter enough to give him her own nickname; Wormy.

    As for swearing, I think that is really up in the air. It all depends on how you develop your characters.

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