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Mischief Managed... Not!

by David Haber

I believe there is a small mistake in the movie script of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The error is when Lupin says "Mischief managed" to the marauder's map just after saying goodbye to Harry at the end of the movie. Fred and George stole the map from Filch. They would have no way of knowing the original incantations used to operate it. But Lupin uses the same incantation in this scene.

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Reader Comments: (Page 9)

As for knowing the right incantation, didn't the map tell harry to say Dissendium?

Doubtful we'll ever find out; but it's possible that Real George asks out loud how to make it go away, and the 'map' Fred tells him (in cartoon bubble), "Mischief Managed".

What I've found odd is how the map knew it was Professor Snape; It's one thing to be able to identify people; But how did the Map know Snape was the originator's Enemy?

Posted by scout from Bronx, NY on June 20, 2007 09:15 AM

Doubtless the Marauders, in their constant enmity of Snape, programmed something into its making that portrayed Snape as the enemy. I almost wouldn't be surprised if they tried to program it to have thought bubbles following him around on the map spelling out insults at him.

Posted by Connor K from Rigby, ID on July 8, 2007 7:35 PM

i think it's just the sort of thing the marauders would have made up exactly, and i don't think it's at all improbuble that fred and george could pretty easily guess it. i just do.

Posted by raven on July 13, 2007 8:31 PM

In my opinion, there is no mistake. As has been said numerous times on this board, the Weasley twins are extremely talented, clever, and mischievious. Moreover, the map does communicate with it's intended reader as we have seen through its interaction with Snape. So, it makes perfect sense that the map would have sensed the intentions of the Weasleys to use the it for nefarious purposes. My fantasy of the episode would go like this:

[the twins have just gotten the map back to their dormitory]

Fred: Alright, let's see. There must be a simple way to operate this.

George: That's right. Because the simplest answer is usually the right one!

Fred: Right-o George. Why don't we try a simple revealing spell. *Aparecium* [Fred points his wand at the map on which words begin to form]

Map: *Mssrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs offer their compliments to the young masters for their interest in this parchment. Yet, what would be the intentions of such individuals?*

George: Well, we'd like to be able to get around the castle without getting caught won't we. You know, survey the wonders that Hogwarts has to offer and perhaps enjoy a few laughs at the expense of its staff on the rare occasion.

Map: *Your intentions seem dishonorable enough, but do you swear that you intend the mischief you proclaim?*

George: Yes, of course.

Fred: We swear.

Map: *Do you solemnly swear?*

Fred: Yes, we solemnly swear that we are up to no good.

[the map appears]


I am certain that the Weasley's would have had no difficulty operating the map as intended, especially since they are the types of people the map was intended for. AND, think about this: How did they know what the map could potentially do when they took it unless they were drawn to it in some way?

Posted by Brad from Arlington, VA on July 16, 2007 9:44 PM

Has anyone mentioned the REAL mistake in the third movie: the moment AFTER Lupin confiscates the map from Harry and Snape? He takes Harry into his classroom, and says to him, "I don't want to know where you got this map, Harry." At this point, wouldn't it seem obvious to Harry that Lupin KNOWS it's a map, but Harry didn't tell him? So theoretically, Harry's next line in the movie SHOULD have been "How did you know that's a map, Professor?" Instead, the movie just continues on, and Lupin's slip-up is forgotten.

Posted by Mary from Virginia on July 17, 2007 12:05 PM

I think that the mistake is not really a mistake. The map is smart and insulted Snape, so I think it could have told Fred & George what the correct wording was.

Posted by Katie from California on July 17, 2007 3:51 PM

This is what Rowling said about it in an interview, and I think it make it clear that it is not a mistake:

MA: How did Fred and George figure out how to work the map?

JKR: Don't you - well. This is how I explained it to myself at the time, and this does sound glib. Don't you think it would be quite a Fred and Georgeish thing to say in jest, and then see this thing transform?

MA: Yeah.

JKR: Can't you just see them?

ES: But the exact word combination? Is that just a lot of luck, or Felix Felicis -

JKR: Or, the map helped.

MA: Yep, yeah. You can see them sort of answering and joking with each other -

JKR: And the map flickering into life here and there when they got closer and closer, and finally they hit upon the exact right word combination and it just erupts.

Posted by Rasila from Amsterdam, The Netherlands on July 19, 2007 12:01 PM

I dont think it was an error because Fred and George are extremely smart when it comes to trouble-making. They also figured out how to get into the kitchens (tickling a pear in a painting), and how to get into the Room of Requirement (walking past a wall three times while thinking where you need to be). I'm not sure if the kitchens were on the map, the the Room of Requirement is not on there and I'm pretty sure that none of the faculty would have told them about it.

Posted by Scott from Washington on July 29, 2007 01:25 AM

The author of "Mischief Managed... Not!" is forgeting about when Snape tried to open the map. It said that he should keep his big nose out of their buiness. If Fred and George used the same charm as Snape did then maybe the map knew Fred and George were friends with Harry and that they really were up to mischief. The map probably thought it was safe to reveal itself to Fred and George.

Posted by Leela from New York on July 30, 2007 08:15 AM

Good catch on the Mischief Managed mistake. The one that gets me much worse is when Hermione lies to McGonnagal in the troll scene "I've read about them... if it weren't for... I'd be ." If Hermione was crying in the bathroom and Harry/Ron had to reenter the castle to warn her then WHY DID SHE MAKE UP A LIE to keep from getting in trouble?

And... more importantly, how would she know to make up that particular lie taking Harry and Ron off the hook? Why not just say "I was crying in the bathroom all afternoon after I got into a fight with Ron and Harry. Then a troll came in and tried to me. Harry jumped on it's arm and Ron used Wingardium Leviosa to defeat it. If they hadn't come back for me I'd be . Now we are all friends again" This is much more troubling to me.

This scene is totally baffling to me in both the book and movie. I do know why Rowling added the scene so that the friendships are cemented by covering each others' backs, but if trolls are such a big threat that the entire great hall jumped up in panic then how can one imagine Professor McGonnagal being more interested in the trio's explanations for disciplinary reasons rather than to discover the identity of the person who let the troll in. The whole issue s on Griffindor getting and losing points? This was by far the strangest and most poorly conceived scene in the book and movie. Rowling should have listened to the editor and canned it.

Posted by Dave from washington dc on July 31, 2007 11:27 AM

the map probably recognised them being troublemakers (like it recognised snape being a git) and told them what to say

Posted by dk from il on August 1, 2007 01:24 AM

Dave from Washington DC:

Remember Hermione got told off for "handling the troll herself" so if she had told it the way it was it would seem that Harry and Ron were being reckless and decided to save Hermione. And besides, they all would have gotten into trouble instead of Harry and Ron being awarded and Hermione being punished. It would hurt Gryffindor House more and that would be poor thanks from Hermione when they had just saved her life.

And I'm sure that the matter with the troll didn't settle there in the bathroom. Dumbledore and the Heads of Houses probably looked into it. They aren't that stupid.

As for the Marauder's Map, I think the map showed Fred and George how to work it and James (Harry's son) probably learned the same way.

Posted by C.J. from Utah on August 12, 2007 10:47 PM

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