Lily Potter is the mother of Harry Potter, who shared with Harry the most striking aspect of her appearance, her brilliant green, almond-shaped eyes (OP28). Lily was born to a Muggle family and grew up with her sister, Petunia, not far from Spinner’s End in the town of Cokeworth (Pm).
When she was 8 or 9 years old, Lily met an odd, intense neighborhood boy named Severus Snape. It was through Severus that Lily discovered that she was a witch (DH33), a fact which allowed her to attend Hogwarts and made her parents very proud (PS4), though Petunia was quite jealous.
“You are a witch. I’ve been watching you for a while. But there’s nothing wrong with that. My mum’s one, and I’m a wizard.”
— 9-year-old Severus Snape (DH33)
As young girls, Lily and Petunia were very close; however, once Lily was invited to Hogwarts and Petunia told she couldn’t attend, a rift grew between them that never healed. Lily’s best friend soon became Severus Snape, even though he was a Slytherin, and fascinated by the Dark Arts. Lily and Severus remained friends until it became clear to her at the end of their fifth year that he had been seduced by Voldemort’s notion of pureblood supremacy. At Hogwarts, she also met James Potter, a very popular and talented student who was thought to be “the height of cool” — except by Lily, who considered him to be conceited and was disgusted by his rather trigger-happy attitude toward jinxing people. For his part, by the end of their fifth year James was very taken with Lily. Though Lily didn’t know it, Snape was deeply in love with her, and his heart broken when she started dating James in her seventh year (DH33).
Lily was considered by her teachers to be “bright,” “vivacious,” and a very gifted witch, especially at Potions (HBP4). She was Head Girl of Hogwarts her seventh year (PS4), and also very pretty (DH34). Dumbledore believed that though Harry looked very much like James, his deepest nature was one he had inherited from Lily, along with the color of his eyes (DH33).
After finishing Hogwarts, joined the Order of the Phoenix, together with James’ three closest friends: Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. Reckoned among the best of Dumbledore’s loyal supporters in the first war against Voldemort, Lily and James were remarkable in that they defied Voldemort personally on three occasions and escaped each time, though narrowly (OP37). Lily and James probably married during the summer or fall of 1979. Lily did not see her sister Petunia after leaving Hogwarts, although some minimal contact appears to have existed between the sisters (PS1).
A prophecy made in the fall of 1979 by Sybill Trelawney changed everything when it was partially overheard by Severus Snape and reported to Voldemort. The prophecy foretold the birth of a boy “with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord” at the end of July, so as soon as Lily became pregnant the Potters went into hiding (OBT/CH). Voldemort waited to see what children were born, and began planning the murder of the Potter family (OP37, HBP25). Snape got wind of this and begged Voldemort to spare Lily, though he could not trust his assurances. Snape realized that in order to really protect his precious Lily, he needed Dumbledore’s help. Snape altered his own life and Voldemort’s when he offered Dumbledore his complete allegiance and informed the Headmaster that the Potters would be attacked soon by Voldemort himself.
However, even Dumbledore could not guard against treachery. When Voldemort arrived at Godric’s Hollow on October 31, 1981, he quickly killed James, and headed for Harry’s cot. The Dark Lord remembered Snape’s pleas, but Lily would not stand aside. She shielded her child with her body and Voldemort was forced to kill her. Her sacrifice unexpectedly created “old magic” protection for her son that could ward off even an Avada Kedavra curse, so when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, his spell rebounded on him and destroyed his body. Lily’s sacrificial magic was so deep and strong that Harry was given the tools he needed to live under his mother’s protection for sixteen years, and eventually defeat Voldemort for good. Voldemort had created the very menace he was seeking to destroy (OP37, DH33, DH36).
After the deaths of Lily and James, Dumbledore stepped in, setting aside the legal arrangements the Potters had made for Harry’s care. (Since Sirius Black was almost immediately condemned to Azkaban without trial, however, changes would have been required in any case.) Dumbledore, feeling that Harry’s physical safety from Voldemort overrode any other consideration, chose the course he considered right over what would have been easier for him to live with: arranging for the strongest possible magical protection over the child rather than a loving home for him. Dumbledore cast a charm to reinforce the protection Harry gained from the shedding of his mother’s blood as long as Harry lived with someone of that blood. Ironically, this made the Dursleys — otherwise unfit as guardians in any other sense for the child — the only possible guardians to seal the charm and thus help keep the boy alive (OP37). Dumbledore explained the protection which Lily’s sacrifice gave to Harry with these words:
“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.”
— Dumbledore (PS17)
Born: 30 January 1960 (DH16).
Died: 31 October 1981 (CR, PS1) at the age of 21.
Eyes: brilliant green and almond-shaped, like those of her only son (OP28).
Hair: dark red, long and thick (OP28).
Distinguishing features: very pretty.
FAMILY & FRIENDS
Ancestry: Muggle-born witch .
Mother: A Muggle, died before 1981.
Father: A Muggle, died before 1981.
Husband: James Potter; they married very quietly sometime between summer of 1978 and fall of 1979. Sirius Black was their best man. James was killed the same night as Lily, 31 October 1981, by Lord Voldemort at Godric’s Hollow.
Siblings: An older sister (DH33), Petunia (Evans) Dursley.
Location of childhood home: Near Spinners End in Cokeworth, a rundown industrial area of the English Midlands (DH33, Pm).
Childhood: According to Petunia, their parents were delighted to discover that Lily was a witch.
Affiliations: Slug Club, Order of the Phoenix.
LILY AT HOGWARTS
Years: 1971 - 1978.
Awards: Head Girl her 7th year at Hogwarts.
SKILLS, MAGICAL DEVICES, ETC.
Wand: Willow, 10 1/4", swishy (nice wand for charm work) (PS5).
Skills: Charms, possibly (PS5), or Potions (HBP9). According to Horace Slughorn, Lily had an "intuitive grasp of potion-making." (HBP18).
Unusual abilities: one of the few members of the Order of the Phoenix to defy Voldemort personally three times and survive (OP37).
Gringotts' Vault: 687 (PS/film).
Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Lily Potter
Overview[edit | edit source]
Lily Potter (née Evans) was a Muggle-born witch and Harry's mother. She was born 30 January 1960 and died on 31 October 1981 at age 21. She was quite young, 19 years old, when she became pregnant with Harry, giving birth to him at 20.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.
Philosopher's Stone[edit | edit source]
At the start of the book, Albus Dumbledore confirms to Minerva McGonagall that both Harry's parents have been killed.
Harry has been told that his parents had been killed in a car crash, which is why he was living with his aunt and uncle.
In the hut on the rock, when Rubeus Hagrid arrives, there is a fair amount of discussion about Lily. Petunia Dursley, her sister, bitterly recounts how proud everyone else was that they had a witch in the family, and of the way she would come home with pockets full of frog spawn and do magic in the house, but she (Petunia) saw Lily for what she was: a freak. Hagrid is shocked that anyone could have believed that James and Lily could have died in a car crash, tells Harry that they were murdered by the evil wizard Voldemort, and mentions that James and Lily were head boy and head girl.
Lily's image (along with her husband James's) appears in the Mirror of Erised when Harry finds it the first time at Christmas.
A large number of pictures of Lily and James are in the photo album given to Harry by Hagrid just before Harry leaves the school for the summer.
Prisoner of Azkaban[edit | edit source]
Harry, in talking with Professor Lupin about Dementors, mentions that when they approach him, he can hear Voldemort murdering his mother. Lupin is apparently moved by this revelation. This causes some conflict in Harry; he misses his mother greatly, and would do almost anything to hear her voice and see her face, as we have already seen. But if the only way that can happen is for him to suffer attacks from Dementors? And is he going to be able to fight Dementors, if something he wants so dearly would be removed by that fight?
Lupin later comments that Harry looks extraordinarily like his father, except for his eyes. He has his mother's eyes.
In the Shrieking Shack, we hear Sirius Black's side of what happened when he was confronted by Peter Pettigrew. Pettigrew had yelled that Sirius had betrayed James and Lily, then blew up the street, changed into his rat shape, and escaped, leaving behind his own cut-off finger and robes. Sirius had then been taken to Azkaban, where he had served time for the murder of Pettigrew. It turns out that it was Pettigrew who had betrayed James and Lily to Voldemort.
Goblet of Fire[edit | edit source]
In the battle in the graveyard, while Harry is battling Lord Voldemort, shadows of the people Voldemort has killed begin appearing. Harry's father and mother both appear and speak with him.
Order of the Phoenix[edit | edit source]
At Grimmauld Place, during the party that Mrs. Weasley throws to celebrate Ron being made Prefect, Moody shows Harry an old picture of the Order of the Phoenix. Harry's father and mother are present in the picture. While Moody clearly intends this as something of a treat, Harry feels that he has been rather taken by surprise, and is evidently dismayed at having this picture presented to him.
In Professor Dumbledore's Pensieve, Harry sees Professor Snape's memory of an episode where his father and the other Marauders are bullying a teenage Snape. Harry also sees his then-teenage mother, who yells at Harry's father to leave Snape alone. She even goes to the length of aiming her own wand at James.
Half-Blood Prince[edit | edit source]
When Harry first meets Horace Slughorn, Slughorn appears to be biased towards pure-bloods, which is no surprise given that he was head of Slytherin house. However, that doesn't mean that he refuses to see qualities in the Muggle-born; Harry's own mother, for instance, was quite a powerful witch, though of Muggle parentage, and was one of Slughorn's favorites.
In Potions class, Professor Slughorn mentions that Lily had been truly excellent at potions, and attributes Harry's skill to his being Lily's son.
Deathly Hallows[edit | edit source]
While viewing Snape's memories in the Pensieve, Harry sees Lily as a child at her original Muggle home. Severus Snape, also then a child, informs Lily that she is a witch and that he had been spying on her and seeing her do incredible things. Snape explains the magical world to Lily and they soon develop the bond of friendship, despite the interference of Lily's sister Petunia. Later in the memories, when Lily is at Hogwarts, she explains to Snape that they can't continue their friendship because she has issues with the type of person Snape is becoming and who he associates with. Even though Lily marries James, she is Snape's unrequited love.
As he goes to meet Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, Harry finds that he has the Resurrection Stone, and uses it to summon the shades of his godfather Sirius Black, Lupin, his father James, and his mother Lily. Lily tells him that he has been so brave, and the four of them accompany Harry to the clearing where Voldemort and his Death Eaters wait. Harry then drops the Stone, and the four shades vanish.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
In book six, it is repeatedly mentioned that Lily has extraordinary potions skills. Professor Slughorn, as mentioned, says she was one of his brightest and most charming students.
She was a beautiful soul, forgiving, kind, compassionate, but did not entertain evil. She was not a typically judgmental person. And everyone loved her; she was good with everyone.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Lily loves too much to save herself. She gave her life to protect her one year old son, Harry. From a pragmatic view, that could be considered a weakness —it seems likely Voldemort would think so— though the philosophy of the books portrays it as a strength.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
Lily's parents are proud to have such a talented daughter, but her sister Petunia despises Lily for her magical abilities, seeing her as a freak. In the start of the first book, we learn that Vernon and Petunia have largely cut the Potters out of their family tree.
We learn that she met James Potter in Hogwarts, and although she leaves the impression that she dislikes him because he behaves like an arrogant bully, they eventually fall in love with each other, get married, and have a son, Harry.
As a member of the Order of the Phoenix that opposes Voldemort, we are told that she, with her husband, confronts him three times, and manages to escape. However, when The Dark Lord learns from Severus Snape about the prophecy, he starts looking for the Potter family. Pettigrew's betrayal leads Voldemort to Godric's Hollow, where he kills Lily and James.
She seems to have cherished her son, Harry, as she sacrificed her own life to protect him from Voldemort, refusing to stand aside. On those occasions when her shade was brought back, she said that she was proud of him and loved him.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
Lily Evans Potter is seen as kind and caring person who stands up to bullies, including Lord Voldemort. Her friendship with Severus Snape was a close one, though Lily never loved Severus; this friendship ended when Severus called her a "mudblood", the most discriminatory name in the Wizarding world. Even though Lily ended the friendship at that point, Severus still promised Albus Dumbledore "anything" in return for protecting her when Voldemort targeted her small son.
Knowing about the restrictions on magic done by students out of school, readers may be surprised by Petunia's assertion in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone that Lily was always bringing home frog spawn and doing magic at home. We must bear Petunia's anti-magic bias in mind here, of course. If Lily was born in January, she will have turned 17 and thus come of age in January of her sixth year at Hogwarts. She will have then been able to legally perform magic at home starting with the Easter Break that year, and all later vacations, including the summer between her sixth and seventh years. To our less biased eyes, one summer and three school breaks does not constitute "always", but one must remember that Petunia, already smarting from being shut out of the Wizarding world, as we discover in the final book, and seeing this as one more thing that she can't ever do, would have dwelled on these few periods obsessively, and they probably now appear in her memory to occupy far more time than they ever actually spanned.
Our only view of Lily's school days, seen as it is through the eyes of Snape, ends in her fifth year when she broke off her friendship with him. At that time, Lily hated James Potter because of his arrogance. We must assume that between then and her seventh year, James grew up, as she apparently fell in love with the man James became. They married shortly after they graduated Hogwarts, and they joined the Order of the Phoenix to fight Lord Voldemort and Death Eaters. When her son was born, she cared and loved him more than anything in the world, even to the point where she sacrificed her own life to save him.
Throughout Harry's life, he lacked the connection between mother and child which is so psychologically necessary to a child. It is possibly because of this lack that he reacts strongly to being surprised by the image of his parents presented by Alastor Moody in Grimmauld Place, during Harry's fifth year. Harry's loss has made his interactions with memories of his mother and father a very private business, and presentation of the picture in such public surroundings leaves him feeling that he must conceal his feelings on having these memories reactivated.
It is, perhaps, surprising that Harry turned out so well despite being reared by Lily's abusive sister. A number of times in the series, we hear that Harry inherited his mother's eyes, and it seems her personality, and good heart and soul. It may have been this gentle strength in himself that sustained him through the difficult times in the Dursley family home. Harry, perhaps, does not recognize this in himself.
Questions[edit | edit source]
Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.
At least twice, it is noted that Harry has Lily's eyes. (Although the films are, as mentioned, not canon, it is worth noting that this characteristic is also mentioned in the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.) Clearly this is important, but we don't find out why, specifically, until the final book of the series. Snape, as he dies, asks to look into Harry's eyes. We shortly learn that Lily is the love of Snape's life, that his sacrifices over the years were for Lily's love, and looking into Harry's eyes he was able to see Lily looking at him in his final seconds. We can only assume that much of Snape's antipathy towards Harry was the result of this constant reminder of what he had lost and what he had surrendered for her.
We never discover the shape of Lily's Patronus, but we see that Snape's is a doe. As Dumbledore recognizes immediately that this means Snape's unrequited love for Lily has remained in force, we must assume that there is some relationship there. It is unknown whether Lily's Patronus would also be a doe, or whether Snape simply sees her in that light due to her being "mated" to James, whose Patronus is a stag. While the author has since stated that Lily's Patronus is, in fact, a doe, we should point out that the author, in interviews, often tailors her responses to the audience, and so we must lend less weight to this response than to the published work, in which the shape of Lily's Patronus is not mentioned.
When Harry brought Lily's shade back with the Resurrection Stone, she seemed to look at him hungrily and as if she was not able to look at him enough. She also told her son that she was proud of him, and that she will love him forever and be with him until the end of his life.
A Theory On What Happened To Lily Evans' Parents
Of all the things J.K. Rowling has gone back and added details to on Pottermore, one big question for fans remains: What happened to Lily Evans' parents in Harry Potter? I've written before about just how maddeningly little we know about Harry Potter's parents in general, especially when you consider how they were married at 18 and had Harry when they were 20. According to the books, all of Harry's grandparents were deceased by the time Voldemort attempted to kill him, which is of course why he was shuffled off to the Dursleys'. But isn't the fact that all of Lily and James' parents were dead when they were 21 years old remarkable enough to warrant some kind of explanation?
With James' parents, at least, it was a little easier to fill in some holes. He came from a prominent pureblood wizarding family that refused to join the Death Eaters, which would make them a natural target. So they were either murdered or died of old age — the narrative does mention that they are very old to be parents, which is part of why they were so indulgent with James, their only child.
But what about Lily's parents? The information we have about them is even more limited. We know that Petunia was resentful over how proud her parents were that Lily was a witch, but we have no information about their personalities, their careers, or what happened to them.
Enter Tumblr user thelittlemerms, a Ravenclaw who just offered the explanation we've been waiting for over a decade to hear. Brace yourselves, Potterheads, because the sauce is about to get rough. Here's the theory they posted to Tumblr:
SO I JUST HAD A THOUGHT
Lily’s parENTS. WTF happened to them?
Because like, okay I can assume James’s parents are dead because, you know, wizard war, but her parents are muggles. They don’t have anything to do with any of that bullshit. like what are the chances of not only Harry’s parents, but both sets of Harry’s grandparents being dead? Like, it seems like they have to be dead for Dumbledore to say that the Dursley’s are Harry’s only family but I highly doubt they died of natural causes, because at most they would have been in their fifties when Harry was a babe.
So then, did Voldemort kill them? This seems plausible, given the fact that Voldemort confronted Lily and James three times before they died and we have no idea what happened any of those times. one of those times could have involved the death of Lily’s parents.
But, I feel like James and Lily would have been smarter than that and would have done more to protect them, could this be a situation similar to Hermione’s parents, in which Lily decided to wipe their memory of her? Maybe intending to fix it one day, maybe not, but either way she died and never got the chance. And now they’re just living out their lives completely unaware of their wizard grandson.
However, given the fact that there was no indication that the Dursley’s were ever sent into hiding or felt threatened by Voldemort, I’m not even sure that this would be the case. Maybe, her parents memories weren’t erased, she just told them to move and cut off contact with them, and having already cut off contact with her sister she didn’t think she would be in danger. Likely, Voldemort probably didn’t even care that much about her muggle family members as they weren’t that much of a threat. And James and Lily didn’t bother to tell anyone where her parents were because the possibility of Harry being raised by them, raised by muggles, didn’t even occur to them. Even if they did die, they had Sirius and Lupin and Peter. No, harry would almost certainly be raised in the wizarding world.
So then, when comes time to find Harry a place to stay, Dumbledore either couldn’t find her parents or didn’t even try that hard to look, because he’s a dumbass and thought putting him with the Dursley’s was an okay plan. And Petunia doesn’t contact her parents to tell them Lily’s dead, because she’s stubborn, or because she herself doesn’t know where they are now because she hadn’t been talking to them for years before they moved anyway.
So now, Lily’s parents are just living their lives having no idea what happened to their daughter, never knowing she died, and possibly not even knowing they have a grandson.
I'll pause for TEARS — because honestly, this is so realistic it hurts. I flat out accept this as canon. (Also, mad props to the "because he's a dumbass" line, which should be on Dumbledore's headstone, IMHO.) After all the silence on J.K. Rowling's end, this seems like the most fitting way to bring it around full circle and offer up an explanation for why she's been so mysteriously quiet about Lily's parents in the past. Hopefully, the story she writes around it is as adequately soul-crushing as this idea. Happy Monday, y'all!!
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy
Also kissed. The road home through traffic jams took enough time and we had time to discuss problems, life, work and other daily affairs. For the arrival of our dear guests, my wife Olga prepared thoroughly, the table was full of all kinds of culinary delights, wine and whiskey.
Her body seemed to glow from within. Rodion sucked to one breast, Katya to the other. Tasha herself squeezed Rodion's penis with one hand, with the other hand worked between Katya's thighs, massaging her friend's elastic, excited labia. And her swollen clitoris. The Parfyonovs simultaneously pushed her, causing her to fall on her back, and then themselves, like vultures, attacked her, feeling an imminent.
Walls. In the mirrors I watched a slender little figure covering my mighty pale body, Nikita finished his cigarette, threw the butt out the window, spat and filtered. Through his teeth: You've talked about how great you are a hundred times already. Nick turned in the back seat, examined the twitching and sweaty body and shook his head.
It's still early, let it calm down a little, otherwise I can't stand loud screams, you know.
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Do you sleep. - Eve was at the opposite end of the line. - She hesitated a little. - I wanted to apologize. For what.