What Does Padfoot Mean in Harry Potter?

Harry Potter

Remember! Harry had mentioned Padfoot to Snape as a code word in Harry Potter and Order of Phoenix

What does Padfoot mean and why had Harry mentioned it as a code word?

Okay, before knowing about Padfoot in detail, let us first know about how it all got started.

Earlier in Hogwarts

Four very close friends were studying at Hogwarts between the years 1971 to 1978. They all belonged to the house of brave, Griffindor- James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew.

This group was named Marauders, whose leader was James Potter. They were pretty famous for breaking the rules of Hogwarts and creating mischief around.

They even created the map named Marauder’s Map, which continued to help future mischief makers. It even helped Harry go to different forbidden places of Hogwarts and discover many secrets.

These friends were also given nicknames: Prongs, Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail.

Why were they provided with such nicknames, and to whom did those nicknames belong? Let’s dip into this matter.

Who was Prongs?

Prongs was a nickname of our very own James Potter. He was an Animagus as he could turn himself into a shiny red stag whenever desired. He had been wisely named Prongs, as prongs referred to the antlers of a stag.

The name actually fitted him as a stag is a symbolic representation of pride, nobility, masculinity, and power, and he was the one who possessed all these characteristics.

Besides, the whole Potter family is bound by the representation of a typical animal. The Patronus of Lily Potter is a doe, and the fully formed Patronus of Harry is also a stag.

Ultimately, James sacrificed his life to protect his family: Lily, and Harry, while fighting with the Dark Lord.

Who is Wormtail?

Peter Pettigrew was nicknamed Wormtail. His Animagus form was a rat with a worm-like tail. Thus he was named Wormtail.

Thus, Pettigrew could turn himself into the fat grey rat whenever he wanted.

He was considered to be dead soon after the Potter family had died. Later on, he was discovered to be a rat, Scabbers, which was lovingly cared for by Ron.

Despite being a member of the Marauders and a good friend of James, he betrayed him as a secret keeper. He revealed the hiding locations of Potters to the Dark Lord, who eventually killed James and Lily.

Then, Peter faked to be dead, cutting one of his fingers to frame Sirius Black for his murder and what he did to Potters.

He was probably not a worthier one to be called a Gryffindor. The house of Gryffindor is for brave ones, and he constantly proves himself as a coward and a disloyal friend.

Who was Moony?

Moony was the nickname of Remus Lupin. He, being the werewolf, comes into his wolf form during the full moon.

He was attacked by a werewolf named Fenrir Greyback when he was a child. Unlike other Animagus who could transform themself into the desired animal of their own will, Lupin was compelled to come into wolf form during a full moon without his will.

He was seen as Professor of Defence Against Dark Arts and even considered the best teacher by many students at Hogwarts. He was the one who gave Harry a private lesson in casting the Patronus charm, only the way to repel Dementors.

He was a member of the Order of Phoenix and fought against the Death eaters in both wizarding wars. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Remus was also murdered by Death Eater Antonin Dolohov.

So, what did Padfoot mean?

You must have guessed who Padfoot was till now!

It was definitely Sirius Black (Among the four, he is only the one remaining to be mentioned). Now again, the curiosity arises, why is he called Padfoot, and what does it mean?

Just like all other Marauders, he was also an Animagi. He could turn himself into a big black dog. In that case, we could relate to him as Padfoot, as dogs have padded paws that help them walk quietly and protect them from getting injured.

Talking further about Sirius Black, he was a vital person to Harry. He was Harry’s Godfather, the father figure that Harry craved the most.

Throughout his life, Sirius had put his life in danger many times to help Harry and for his loyalty to the Order of Phoenix.

During a heated duel with Bellatrix, Sirius died during the battle between Orders and Death eaters. 

When did Harry mention Padfoot?

All it happened in Dolores Umbridge’s office when the golden trio: Harry, Hermione, and Ron, broke into her (Umbridge’s) office and got caught. She called Snape and asked for the truth serum.

Snape told Umbridge that the truth serum had already been finished as it was used before on Cho. When he was about to leave, Harry shouted, “He’s got Padfoot……. he’s got a Padfoot in the place where it is hidden.”

Upon hearing this, Umbridge asked Snape what he was talking about, to which Snape responded he didn’t know what Harry was talking about.

What does Harry mean by Padfoot?

Obviously, it was about Sirius. Harry had said, “He’s got Padfoot at the place where it’s hidden. “It was Sirius Black whom Harry wanted to indicate.

Now another question arises, whom did Harry refer to as “he,” and what place did he want to indicate to Snape? Again, what is hidden in that “place” as indicated by “it”?

Here, “he” refers to Voldemort, and “place” refers to the Department of Mysteries’ Hall of Prophecy, and the thing indicated by “it” that was hidden was the prophecy.

Voldemort wanted to get that prophecy of Harry so that he could find a way to kill him, Harry. As the prophecy could be taken only by the one to whom it belonged, the Dark Lord captured Sirius so that Harry could come there and take that prophecy for him.

Thus, Harry wanted to indicate to Snape that Sirius Black was captured by Voldemort and kept at the Department of Mysteries’ Hall of Prophecy.

He used code words to convey this matter so that Umbridge could not understand what he said. Why didn’t Harry want her to understand? So that she could not hinder Snape from helping them. 

Did Snape know about Padfoot?

Why not? Snape was a batchmate of Black and other Marauders. He used to get bullied by them, especially by Sirius Black himself. He may have heard his friends calling Sirius by his nicknames several times.

Snape pretended in front of Umbridge that he had no clue what Harry was talking about, but he certainly knew what Harry meant.

Does Snape tell the Order about Padfoot?

We are sure that Snape got the message Harry wanted to convey to him. He pretended not to understand anything in front of Umbridge, but he had actually gone to the Order to inform them about the matter.

He went on his Patronus to the Order of Phoniex and informed about Padfoot.

Also, Harry and his Dumbledore Army arrived at the Department of Mysteries’ Hall of Prophecy. We could witness Dumbledore arriving there between the duel between Harry and Voldemort. Later other members of the Order also came.

This ultimately proved Snape had told Order about the matter. This also proved Snape cared for Harry and the ones attached to him.

At last,

Despite being so unlucky in the matter of family and their affection, Harry was somehow lucky to get Sirius Black as his godfather. Dumbledore has even mentioned him as a mixture of Harry’s father and brother.
He was the one who could sacrifice his life for Harry, and even he sacrificed himself for Harry’s safety. Even Harry was so attached to Sirius. He has done more than he could to free Sirius from Voldemort.
Unfortunately, Harry lost his godfather in the Hall of Prophecy battle. Bellatrix had cast Avera Kedabra cast on Black.
Besides Sirius, another father-like figure in Harry was Professor Lupin. He was the one who taught Harry to overcome his fear of Dementors. Lupin later even referred to Harry as the godfather of his son.
Hence Marauders have played significant roles in Harry’s life, both in a nice way and in a bad way. Be it Padfoot or Moony who sacrificed themself for the shake of Harry or be it Wormtail who backstabbed Harry’s parents and became the cause of their death
Later, we also witness that Harry named his first son name as James Sirius Potter from the name of his father and godfather. This also shows how respectful had attached he was toward Sirus.


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