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James Potter Character Analysis: Unlikable Hero

James Potter Character Analysis: Unlikable Hero

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James Potter is the father of the famous Harry Potter. At Hogwarts, he was best friends with fellow Gryffindors Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They called themselves the Marauders and were troublemakers. While Lupin was a werewolf, the other three boys were unregistered Animagi.

After school James joined the Order of the Phoenix to fight against Lord Voldemort. He also married Lily Evans and together they had a son, Harry Potter. A prophecy suggested that Harry would have the power to defeat Lord Voldemort, so the Dark Lord hunted down the Potters. He killed James and Lily, but Harry survived and became “the boy who lived”.

About James Potter

Born27 March 1960 – 31 October 1981
Blood StatusPure-blood
OccupationStudent
Marauder
Head Boy
Order of the Phoenix
PatronusStag
HouseGryffindor
Wand11 inch Mahogany with unknown core
Zodiac SignAries

James Potter Family Tree & Early Life

James Potter was born in 1960 to Fleamont Potter and his wife Euphemia. The Potters are a pure-blood wizarding family descendant from Ignotus Peverell, the youngest of the three brothers of the Deathly Hallows. Ignotus gave his invisibility cloak to his son before he died, and it eventually came into the hands of his descendant James.

The Potters were older parents, even by wizarding standards, so James was raised in a house with little discipline and structure, but plenty of love. As a result, as a young boy, he was quite proud and did not tend to respect limits. But he was still a good and loving person.

Young James Potter

James Potter Arrives at Hogwarts

James started at Hogwarts in 1971. He was sorted into Gryffindor, which pleased him greatly as he wanted to be in the same house as his father. He quickly became friends with the other Gryffindor boys in his year, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They soon became a gang of troublemakers calling themselves the Marauders.

While James was not an overly diligent student, he was intelligent and naturally talented and so excelled in his classes. He was also soon put on the Gryffindor Quidditch team playing Chaser.

In their second year, James, Sirius, and Peter figured out that their friend Remus was a werewolf, and that this was why he would also disappear around the full moon. Rather than abandon him, the three other boys taught themselves to be Animagi, so that they could accompany Remus during his transformation.

By their fifth year, they had achieved this and James could transform himself into a stag. Consequently, his friends called him Prongs. Despite wizarding law, the three boys never registered themselves as Animagi.

The boys also pooled their magical skills to make the Marauders Map, an enchanted parchment that showed all the secret passageways in Hogwarts Castle, and also the location of everyone in the castle. This helped them greatly in achieving their mischief.

For most of his years at Hogwarts James was quite obnoxious and self-confident. He enjoyed showing off and showed little concern for the feelings of other students. For example, he would hex other students for entertainment, and constantly ruffle his hair to appear as if he had always just come off his broom.

James Potter and Severus Snape

Severus Snape attended Hogwarts in the same year as James but was in Slytherin. The two boys immediately developed a dislike for one another. Severus considered James arrogant and was often the victim of his bullying. When James was asked to explain his dislike for Snape, he said that it was simply his existence.

The problems between the boys were made worse because Snape liked to follow the Marauders to try and get them in trouble. This meant that he was often the victim of their pranks and amusing hexes.

On one occasion, Sirius tried to trick Snape into coming across Lupin while he was in his werewolf form. James prevented him from doing this, saving his life. But Snape was never grateful to James for this.

James Evans and Lily Potter

James had a crush on fellow Gryffindor student Lily Evans, who happened to be good friends with Severus Snape, as the two knew each other before school. She was also unimpressed by James Potter, considering him arrogant and obnoxious.

She once scolded James for hexing Snape and demanded that he leave Severus alone. James responded that he would if she would agree to go out with him. This exchange angered Severus, who also had a crush on Lily, and told the “filthy little mudblood” not to help him.

James demanded that Snape apologize to her, but she told James that he was as bad as Snape with his bullying behavior and that she would never go out with him, even if it was a choice between him and the Giant Squid in the lake at Hogwarts.

This incident seems to have marked a turning point in the life of all three. Lily and Snape grew apart as Lily was concerned about Severus’ Slytherin friends and his increasing interest in the Dark Arts. Lily’s words also seem to have caused James to have reflected on his own behavior, and he started to calm down and treat his fellow students with more respect.

James was eventually made head boy, alongside Lily as head girl, and managed to change Lily’s mind about him. The two started dating in their final year at Hogwarts.

James and Lily Potter

James Potter and Sirius Black

James and Sirius were best friends at school, so when Sirius could no longer stay at home because of his family’s obsession with pure blood and interest in the dark arts, James’ parents allowed Sirius to live with them. The two boys became even more like brothers.

When James’ parents died in 1979/80, James inherited their fortune and he used this money to support his family, and also his friend Remus Lupin, who struggled to find work due to his werewolf status.

James Potter and Lily Evans Marry

Before they had even finished school, James and Lily decided to become engaged. This meant that James had to meet Lily’s family, specifically her sister Petunia and her fiancé Vernon Dursley.

Vernon tried to impress James with his car, while James tried to impress Vernon with his wealth in the wizarding world. The two quickly developed a dislike for one another as they found no common ground. Eventually both Petunia and Vernon stormed out of the restaurant, leaving Lily in tears. James promised to apologize and make up with the pair, but he never seems to have done this.

When Petunia and Vernon married in that same year, James and Lily were invited, but Lily was not a bridesmaid.

James and Lily’s own wedding not long after was a small affair due to the dangers of the Wizarding War. Petunia chose not to attend, but Sirius Black served as best man.

James Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

After school James joined the Order of the Phoenix to fight against Lord Voldemort, along with Lily, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. The adventure of being part of a rogue rebel group probably appealed to James’ personality.

It is known that James and Sirius were attacked by three men on broomsticks. The ensuing activity led to a police chase with two muggle policemen and the Death Eaters. Eventually, they used their wands to raise a police car in the air, causing the chasers to crash into it.

During the course of the war, James and Lily defied the Dark Lord three times. The first seems to have been their refusal to join Lord Voldemort when he tried to recruit them.

James Potter and the Birth of Harry

Despite the dangers of the time, Lily became pregnant, and on 31 July 1980, she gave birth to their son Harry.

At around the same time, Sybill Trelawney revealed a prophecy about the Dark Lord and a boy that would be born on the last day of July to parents who had defied Lord Voldemort three times. While this boy could have been Harry, or another child called Neville Longbottom, Voldemort believed that it was Harry.

The Potters went into hiding. At some point in 1981, they decided that they needed to enhance their security. Following the advice of Albus Dumbledore, they decided to use the Fidelius Charm to protect their location at James’ family home in Godric’s Hollow. They had originally chosen Sirius Black as their secret keeper to protect their location. But Sirius convinced them to choose Peter instead, as he would be a less obvious choice.

This change proved a fatal mistake as Peter was a spy for Lord Voldemort within the Order of the Phoenix. Peter revealed the Potters’ location and Lord Voldemort arrived on 31 October 1981.

Death of James Potter

When the Potters realized that their security had been breached, James told his wife Lily to flee with Harry while he held him off. But James had left his wand in the living room and was defenseless when he encountered Lord Voldemort. The Dark Lord struck him down with the Killing Curse.

Lord Voldemort would soon kill Lily as well, telling her that she did not need to die if she just handed over the boy. But instead, she placed herself between the Dark Lord and Harry and died for him.

This act of love and bravery created a spell of protection that prevented Lord Voldemort from being able to kill the baby Harry. Instead, his curse bounced back on him, robbing him of his physical form. He did not die as parts of his soul were preserved in Horcruxes. During the act, he also inadvertently made Harry into another Horcrux for his soul.

These tragic events ushered in a period of peace in the wizarding world, until the Dark Lord would return again.

James Potter After Death

Harry’s memories of his parents were very limited, being only a year old when they died. Living with his aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon, they also hid the true nature of Harry’s parents and their deaths from him. Harry only learned the truth about his parents when he received his letter to attend Hogwarts.

Nevertheless, Harry would have several contacts with his parents from beyond the grave.

In his first year, Harry came across an enchanted mirror that Albus Dumbledore was using to protect the Philosopher’s Stone at Hogwarts. The mirror showed the viewer their greatest desire, and for Harry, this was to be reunited with his parents.

Harry sees his parents in the mirror

When Harry was exposed to Dementors, he was forced to relive the horrible memory of the night that his parents had died.

When Lord Voldemort brought Harry to the cemetery in Little Hangleton to restore his body in 1995, the two dueled. Due to the connection between Harry and Lord Voldemort, and between their wands, during the duel, Lord Voldemort’s wand performed a Priori Incantanem spell. This meant that phantasms of his most recent victims emerged from his wand. These included James and Lily. They gave Harry encouragement and distracted the Dark Lord so that he could escape.

The following year, when Harry was taking Occlumency lessons with Severus Snape, he was also able to see his father through Snape’s eyes. This raised many questions for Harry about his father, who he also considered arrogant and obnoxious. While Remus and Sirius insisted that James was just young and foolish, Harry was unconvinced.

Finally, during the final stages of the Wizarding War in 1998, Albus Dumbledore had given Harry the Resurrection Stone to give him the courage to face Lord Voldemort and sacrifice his own life to destroy the Horcrux inside him. When Harry used the Resurrections Stone, he saw James and Lily, as well as some other loved ones. They supported him during this difficult moment.

James Potter Personality Type & Traits

James comes across as confident and brave. He joined the Order of the Phoenix and was willing to sacrifice his life to protect his family. But he also comes across as a bit selfish. He seems to have joined the Order as much for the love of excitement as belief in the cause, and he always put himself first.

For example, he seems never to have apologized to Petunia and Vernon. He also seems to have stopped bullying other students to win Lily’s respect, rather than due to his own conscience. Of course, he was only 21 when he died, so he may well have matured if he had more time.

James Potter Zodiac Sign & Birthday

James was born on 27 March 1960, which means that his zodiac sign is Aries. People born under his sign tend to like action and excitement, and also have a tendency to act before they think. They tend to be very self-involved. While they care about other people, they can struggle to see how their actions affect others.