One thing which kind of bothers me: there is a whole bunch of very strong wizards literally in the same year (or almost the same year).

Sirius Black + James Potter + Peter Pettigrew. All of them learned how to become unregistered Animagi. As I understand Animagi are really rare in the HP world.

Severus Snape invents new spells and is a genius in Potion making (even back at school age).

I am comparing this to Harry Potter's year (specifically main heroes - Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger). Yeah, they are clever. And there were couple of extraordinary bits of magic which they performed (like the Patronus Charm). However, no new spells were invented, no extraordinary abilities (like Animagi) figured out. And if you look at anti-heroes (like Draco Malfoy) they are even weaker.

I am curious - why is there such a huge difference between their abilities?

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    so 4 out of 75ish? Pretty much the same ratio as Harry's year considering 4 teenagers saved the world ;) – NKCampbell Oct 6 '17 at 20:43
  • @NKCampbell I am not talking about their wins. I am talking about purely magical abilities. – Victor Ronin Oct 6 '17 at 20:44
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    The twins arent too shabby either. If you'd get them motivated, they'd have figured out how to turn themselves into animagi or Filch into a veela. – user68762 Oct 6 '17 at 20:51
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    @Morri You are right. I haven't thought about them. Frankly, they figure out more magic than Harry Potter's gang. – Victor Ronin Oct 6 '17 at 20:55
  • @VictorRonin "Harry Potter's gang" was focused on stopping Voldemort in pretty much every single school year. That doesn't leave a lot of time for researching new spells. – Anthony Grist Oct 6 '17 at 20:56

Except for Severus Snape, we don't really have a basis of comparison to determine this.

The Marauders all became Animagi, which is an advanced form of magic. However, we don't know exactly how advanced, and if it's harder to learn than something like the Patronus Charm.

Many wizards who have the skill to become Animagi probably don't, because it's difficult, can go horribly wrong, takes a lot of time, and probably isn't particularly useful to the average wizard. The Marauders all had a reason to become Animagi. In addition, it wasn't an effortless thing for them to do - it took them around three years to do it.

“Instead they did something for me that would make my transformations not only bearable, but the best times of my life. They became Animagi.’

‘My dad, too?’ said Harry, astounded.

‘Yes, indeed,’ said Lupin. ‘It took them the best part of three years to work out how to do it. Your father and Sirius here were the cleverest students in the school, and lucky they were, because the Animagus transformation can go horribly wrong – one reason the Ministry keeps a close watch on those attempting to do it. Peter needed all the help he could get from James and Sirius. Finally, in our fifth year, they managed it. They could each turn into a different animal at will.” - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, and the other students during Harry's year at Hogwarts didn't have any real need or desire to become Animagi, but it's unclear whether or not they had the skills to do it if they chose to. In addition, becoming an Animagus isn't compared in depth with any of the things that people in Harry's year do, so we can't really say for sure that the Marauders becoming Animagi makes them better wizards than Harry's year.

The Marauders also invented the Marauders' Map. That was the Marauders' other bit of advanced magic. While nobody in Harry's year came up with any inventions like that, Fred and George and their various products they invented for Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes are probably comparably clever inventions, and they invented a larger amount of things than the Marauders did. They didn't invent a map like the Marauders' Map, but they wouldn't have needed to despite their love of pranks and sneaking around Hogwarts,since they had the original Marauders' Map.

Severus Snape is the only one whose skills can be relatively easily compared with the students in Harry's year. Potions was a mandatory class at Hogwarts, so every student in Harry's year would have done it regardless of their talent or desire. None of them were as skilled at Potions as him.

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    There was also the Marauders Map... seems like pretty advanced stuff – user68762 Oct 6 '17 at 21:10
  • @Morri Agreed! :) That's another thing the Marauders did that was pretty advanced. – Arya Oct 6 '17 at 21:12
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    I agree with the sentiment that that HP used time for different purposes. However, per my understand becoming an Animagus is more complex than Patronus. I don't have quotes. However, it was mentioned that there was something like 10 registered animages and it was mentioned that not all adult wizards can do full Patronus. I think it means probably several orders of magnitude in differences of how many people can do one vs another. – Victor Ronin Oct 6 '17 at 21:22
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    @VictorRonin Yes, there were only 7 registered Animagi. But it's likely that very few wizards wanted to put the time and effort into becoming Animagi. It took the Marauders three years. That's a lot of time to devote to something, so regardless of their skills, unless they had a pressing reason to do it, it's likely many wouldn't bother. Other than the number of wizards who do it, it's unclear how the difficulties measure up. – Arya Oct 6 '17 at 21:28

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