Lily J. Potter (née Evans) (30 January, 1960–31 October, 1981) was an English Muggle-born witch, the younger daughter of Mr and Mrs Evans, and the younger sister of Petunia Evans. She learned of her magical nature as a child, after Severus Snape recognised her as a witch and told her of the existence of magic. Lily attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1971-1978. She was Sorted into Gryffindor House and was a member of the Slug Club. In her seventh year she was made Head Girl and began dating James Potter.
After Hogwarts, Lily married James. Along with their friends Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, the couple joined the Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War. She and her husband defied Lord Voldemort himself three times. Shortly afterwards, Lily and James had a son, Harry James Potter, of whom they made Sirius the godfather. However, the family was forced to go into hiding after a prophecy was made concerning Lord Voldemort and their infant son. She and James were betrayed by Pettigrew and thus both were murdered by Voldemort on Hallowe'en night in 1981, while trying to protect their son.
Lily briefly appeared again through the Resurrection Stone to encourage Harry in his own sacrifice during the Battle of Hogwarts in May 1998. She appeared along with James, Sirius, and Remus. After the end of the Second Wizarding War, Lily had three grandchildren through her son: James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter, and Lily Luna Potter, the last of whom was named in memory of her.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life (1960–1971)
- 1.2 Hogwarts years (1971–1978)
- 1.3 First Wizarding War (1978–1981)
- 1.4 Post-mortem and legacy (1981–1998)
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Magical abilities and skills
- 5 Possessions
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Media
- 8 Etymology
- 9 Behind the scenes
- 10 Appearances
- 11 Notes and references
Early life (1960–1971)
- Lily: "I'm not a freak. That's a horrible thing to say."
- Petunia Evans: "That's where you're going. A special school for freaks."
- — The sisters argue before Lily departs for Hogwarts[src]
Lily J. Evans was born to Mr and Mrs Evans, two Muggles of the Evans family, on 30 January, 1960. Her family lived in Cokeworth, England. She had an older sister named Petunia, whom she was quite close to. At the age of nine, Lily became friends with Severus Snape, who lived down in Spinner's End, which was within walking distance of the Evans' house. However, her family was apparently better off, since Petunia sneered at Snape for coming from that poverty-stricken neighbourhood.
Severus was the first person to tell Lily that she was a witch, and he went on to teach Lily a great deal about the wizarding world while the two eagerly awaited the time when they could attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry together. Lily's magical abilities and friendship with Severus caused problems between the Evans sisters. Envying her sister's abilities, Petunia wrote to Dumbledore, asking if she could attend Hogwarts with Lily. However, the headmaster kindly refused her petition. The letter was later found by Lily and Severus.
At the age of eleven, Lily bought her wand from Ollivanders in Diagon Alley. The wand was 10¼ inches, willow, "swishy", and according to Garrick Ollivander, good for charm work. Shortly before her depart to Hogwarts, Lily and Petunia argued about magic again. Her sister called her a "freak" for possess that power and said it was better that she went to that school so "normal people" would be safe.
Hogwarts years (1971–1978)
- Severus Snape: "I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just —"
- Lily: "Slipped out? It's too late. I've made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends... You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine."
- — The end of Lily's friendship with Severus Snape[src]
At the age of eleven, Lily started attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where she was Sorted into Gryffindor house. She became quite skilled at Potions, attracting the attention of Professor Horace Slughorn, who made her a member of his Slug Club for the students that he considered talented and possibly succesful in the future.
In her fifth year, Lily stood up for her then best friend, Severus Snape, when he was being bullied by James Potter. Lily attempted to stop his bullying, addressing James only by his surname and vice versa in this moment. It is implied that such bullying had happened more than once. However, Snape lashed out at her in his humiliation, calling her a "filthy Mudblood." He then begged for Lily's forgiveness, but she asked him if he still intended to join the Death Eaters. When he didn't deny this, Lily realised that Snape did not understand what was wrong with the Death Eaters. This led to a parting of ways between Lily and Snape, as the former had already become dismayed by Snape's fascination with the Dark Arts and friendship with his Slytherin house-mates Mulciber and Avery, both of whom were aspiring Death Eaters.
By Lily's fifth year, James had developed a crush on her, but she didn't reciprocate, calling him an "arrogant toerag" because he bullied other students, particularly her former best friend. James's best friend, Sirius Black, later commented that James couldn't resist showing off and making a fool of himself whenever she was around. While she didn't approve of his bullying, she did admire how James stood up for his friends and other people who were cruelly treated by aspiring-Death Eater.
During their seventh year, James matured somewhat, proving himself to be responsible and brave. However, it is implied that he still had the desire to bully Snape, but was willing to stop actually doing it for Lily's sake. This led to her agreeing to go out with him; gaining genuine affection for him in the process. Due to their academic achievement, skill, and responsibility, the young couple eventually were chosen to be Head Boy and Head Girl.
In late 1977, Lily and James had a disastrous first meeting with Petunia and her then-fiancé, Vernon Dursley, which presumably took place over Christmas break, as they were both still at Hogwarts. When Vernon tried to impress James with his car, the wizard in turn boasted of his own material wealth, and a row ensued. The evening ended with both Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant and Lily bursting into tears, with an ashamed James promising he'd apologise and make it up (which, due to his and Lily's untimely deaths, never happened). Petunia was married by the end of 1977. Though Lily and James were invited to the wedding, her sister refused to have Lily as a bridesmaid, upsetting her deeply. At the reception, Vernon wouldn't talk to James, but described him as "some magician" within his earshot.
First Wizarding War (1978–1981)
Marriage and the Order
Sometime after graduating from Hogwarts in 1978, Lily and James married, the wedding took place sometime between the summer of 1978 and the autumn of 1979, with Sirius serving as James' best man. Petunia and Vernon refused to attend the wedding, and Lily had little contact with her sister from that point on.
Living off James' family fortune, the Potters became full-time members of the Order of the Phoenix, an organisation dedicated to fighting Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, along with their friends Sirius, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. During the war, Lily and James defied Voldemort on at least three occasions, the first being when they refused to join his cause when he tried to recruit them.
Life in hiding and death
Lily became pregnant in the autumn of 1979. Around the same time, Sybill Trelawney made a prophecy in front of Albus Dumbledore, predicting that "the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches" and would be "born to those who have thrice defied him". The first part of the prophecy was overheard by Lily's ex-friend, Snape, who had since become a Death Eater. He loyally reported what he had heard to his master, but became horrified when Voldemort came to believe that Lily's son was the subject of the prophecy. It was the threat to Lily that led Snape to change sides, warning Dumbledore of the Dark Lord's plans, and vowing to do anything to keep the woman he still loved safe. It was Snape's continuing devotion to Lily, that made Dumbledore certain of his double agent's true loyalties.
The Potters went into hiding while Lily was still pregnant. Their son, Harry James Potter, was born on 31 July, 1980. Due to the danger they were in, Lily and James chose to keep Harry's christening a "very hurried, quiet affair" with Sirius as the only guest. The couple also chose Sirius to be their son's godfather. Lily sent a birth announcement to Petunia; it was to be the last piece of information she ever sent her sister, though Petunia would later send Lily a vase for that Christmas.
In a letter to Sirius dated around Harry's first birthday in July 1981, Lily mentioned that the family had a pet cat and relayed a story about Harry flying on the toy broomstick Sirius had given him as a birthday present, in which she shared a tea with Bathilda Bagshot. The Fidelius Charm was placed on their home in Godric's Hollow. Their Secret-Keeper, Peter, was chosen as a less-likely target for the Death Eaters than Sirius, but he betrayed the Potters by telling Voldemort of their whereabouts barely a week later.
On 31 October, 1981 Voldemort entered their home. James told Lily to take Harry and leave while he held him off, although he and his wife were wandless and thus couldn't defend themselves. James was murdered before Lily and Harry could escape the cottage. Trapping mother and son in Harry's nursery, Voldemort, honouring Snape's request to spare her life, offering Lily a chance to step aside. However, she steadfastly refused to stop shielding her son, so Voldemort murdered her.
Because Lily's death was a pure loving sacrifice (she intended to die and wasn't hoping to save herself, despite having the choice to), Harry was marked with the protection of her love and Voldemort's Killing Curse rebounded off the one-year old. The rebounded curse destroyed the Dark Lord's body and temporarily defeated him. Harry was left unscathed, except for a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. Thus, Harry became known as the "Boy Who Lived", and his fate was sealed.
After Lily and James were murdered, Petunia (Lily's sister) was the one to arrange the funeral, as James had no family left. Afterward, she grudgingly cared for her sister's only child.
Harry's first year at Hogwarts
However, his mother's death wouldn't be the last Harry would see of her. During his first year at Hogwarts, he happened to stumble upon the Mirror of Erised. In this mirror he saw his parents for the first time, along with his grandparents and other ancestors. Also at the end of Harry's first year, Hagrid gave him a photo album filled with pictures of his family and of himself as an infant.
In Harry's fourth year, Wormtail had placed Voldemort's rudimentary body into a cauldron containing the nearly finished potion. He added the first two ingredients: his hand and Harry's blood, as Voldemort believed it would make him stronger and make his enemy touchable. This was because he indirectly received Lily's sacrificial protection. However, this action also bound Harry's life to Voldemort again but inversely: Harry couldn't die as long as Voldemort still lived, which ironically meant he couldn't kill the boy.
During Harry's duel with Voldemort in the Little Hangleton graveyard, they experienced Priori Incantatem. Shades of his mother and father, and others whom Voldemort had murdered came out of Voldemort's wand, encouraging Harry and distracting Voldemort so the younger wizard could escape from the graveyard.
In his fifth year, Harry entered Severus Snape's memory of being bullied by James and Sirius via the use of Pensieve, and saw his mother standing up for Snape. He also witnessed Snape calling Lily a Mudblood, which caused the end of their friendship. This, was considered Snape's worst memory.
Battle of Hogwarts
In 1998, Harry relived that same memory of Snape's, as well as many others containing his mother, in the Pensieve after Snape's death.The memories revealed that she and Snape had been best friends since their childhood and brought to light Snape's unrequited and continuing love for Lily, years after her death.
- "Less substantial than living bodies, but much more than ghosts, they moved toward him. And on each face, there was the same loving smile... Lily's smile was widest of all. She pushed her long hair back as she drew closer to him, and her green eyes, so like his, searched his face hungrily, as though she would never be able to look at him enough."
- — Lily getting a glimpse of Harry through the Resurrection Stone[src]
Finally, during the Battle of Hogwarts, when Harry believed himself to be walking to his own death, he used the Resurrection Stone to bring back the spirits of Lily, James Potter, Sirius, and Remus. Both James and Lily told Harry that they were "so very proud of him" for his outstanding courage and strength, and assured him that they would stay with him until the very end. Harry described their very presence as his courage, the reason he was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other, with Lily smiling at him and James nodding encouragingly.
After the war
Lily was a beautiful woman with thick, dark red hair that fell to her shoulders, and almond-shaped, bright green eyes. Apparently, her eyes were extremely distinctive, because every person who knew Lily would always see them in her son, Harry.
When the aged Harry travelled back to the past, he commented that even in the face of death, she was still beautiful.
Personality and traits
Lily was known for being a vivacious, talented, and popular student. She was a responsible student and leader to be Head Girl in her final year at Hogwarts. Horace Slughorn noted that Lily was witty and charming. Remus Lupin once described her as an uncommonly kind person with a habit of seeing the best in others, even when they could not see it themselves.
Lily was a woman of sound moral principles and would stand by them no matter what it cost her, though her actions sometimes were ineffective. On at least one occasion, she called out James Potter and Sirius Black for their bullying of her best friend, Severus Snape. When she realised Snape's devotion to Voldemort's genocidal cause (of which she was a target at the time) and increasingly deep fascination with the Dark Arts, caused her to end her friendship with him permanently.
Though she had a sharp tongue and had no problems in standing up to others when she was in a temper, Lily was still the type of person who would give others a second chance when they had proven themselves worthy of it. The most notable instance of this quality would be how she finally agreed to date James after he had matured out of his bullying ways, despite the fact that she didn't have a good opinion of him during their early school years.
Lily's and her husband's most celebrated virtues were their courage and capacity for self-sacrifice: defying Voldemort three times as members of the Order of the Phoenix and even dying to protect their son Harry. It was noted by Dumbledore that Lily was very much like her son, especially in strength. Her strength is further commented on by her grandson Albus in that she would understand her fate and the fact that she would never see her son grow up.
Magical abilities and skills
Since even Lord Voldemort was willing to overlook Lily's Muggle-born status and ask her to join him, this is proof that she was a truly powerful and accomplished witch. She was noted for her particular talent in Potion-making and was able to conjure a corporeal doe Patronus, a mark of superior magical ability.
- Love: Lily displayed a tremendous amount of love throughout her life. When she was only 21 years old, she lovingly sacrificed her own life for her only son despite being given the choice to leave him behind and live. It was this very sacrifice that enabled Harry to survive the Killing Curse, which rebounded off him and destroyed Voldemort's body. It protected her son from her murderer for 16 years after her death, especially due to their blood connection.
- Duelling Along with her husband James, Lily was able to defy and escape Lord Voldemort three times, which showcased her remarkable talent in martial magic.
- Potions: According to Slughorn, Lily was an excellent potioneer who impressed him. She had an "instinctual understanding" of the subject.
- Charms: Lily excelled in charm-work - her wand was described as being "nice for Charms work".  She was able to animate teapots to make "[them] sing" and effectively conjure a corporeal doe Patronus, which is an incredibly advanced piece of protective magic.
- Transfiguration: Lily was revealed to have been proficient in transfiguration. When home from Hogwarts for the holidays, she "turned teacups into rats".  She also transfigured a lily petal into a fish, which Slughorn described as "beautiful magic, wondrous to behold".
- Control of Underage Magic: Before attending Hogwarts, Lily already had a level of control over her magic - once she literally flew into the air after jumping off a swing and subsequently slowed her descent to lightly land on the ground. She also went on to manipulate a flower to open and close its petals like "some bizarre, many-lipped oyster".
- Wand: Lily's wand was 10¼" long, made of willow, and had an unknown core. The wand was described as "swishy" and "nice for Charms work" by Garrick Ollivander.
- Potters' Cottage: Lily owned this cottage in Godric's Hollow along with her husband James during the final weeks of the First Wizarding War. This is where she and her husband were murdered and her son Harry was marked as the "Boy Who Lived". The cottage still stands as a reminder of what happened that Hallowe'en night in 1981.
- Cat: This was a pet of the Potter family. What happened to it after the attack is unknown.
- "How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that — that school — and came home every holiday with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was — a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"
- — Petunia's childhood resentment towards Lily for being a witch[src]
Lily had a happy home life and a close relationship with her parents. They were very proud to learn that Lily was a witch and apparently favoured her over her older sister Petunia.
Lily initially had a close relationship with Petunia, whom she often played with. When Lily began demonstrating magical ability, Petunia was "torn between curiosity and disapproval". Her sister was disdainful of the friendship Lily struck up with Severus Snape, the poor wizard who had taken to spying on Lily and informed her that she was a witch. In turn, Snape was quite insulting to Petunia for being a Muggle. When Lily was invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Petunia wrote to the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, requesting that she be permitted to do the same. Although his refusal was kind, Petunia became very bitter and jealously deemed her sister a "freak", even saying that their separation would be better for her safety.
Their relationship seems to have deteriorated greatly and become distant afterward, especially after they dated and eventually married very different men. Despite the bitterness on Petunia's end, the two sisters appeared to still be in contact when Harry was an infant, was said to have "smashed a horrible vase Petunia sent [Lily] for Christmas". Petunia also grudgingly took her sister's son, Harry in, at Dumbledore's request, after Lily's death. However, even as an adult, Petunia resented that her parents were proud of Lily's magical abilities and took out her enmity on Harry.
Lily's relationship with James Potter was initially a volatile one. They first met on the Hogwarts Express just before the start of their first year at Hogwarts, at which time Lily was angered by James' and Sirius Black's mockery of her best friend, Severus. Although James was a talented Quidditch player and well-liked by most, Lily considered him an "arrogant bully toerag" and treated him with contempt, mostly for his bad habit of hexing innocent students for fun and his hostile relationship with Snape. However, she didn't hate James, admiring how he stood up for his friends and other people who were cruelly treated by aspiring-Death Eaters.
By his fifth year, James started to have romantic feelings for Lily and would show off to try to impress her, without success. It is not known whether he asked her out more than once. It seems that, by that time, James had "deflated his head a bit" and "stopped hexing people for the fun of it". However, it is implied that James still had the desire to bully Snape, but was willing to stop actually doing it for Lily's sake.
By her seventh year, Lily eventually began going out with James and grew to fall in love with him as well. The two had similar positions in Hogwarts as Head Girl and Head Boy. Shortly after their graduation, Lily got married and joined Order of the Phoenix with their friends, fighting at his side several times. They eventually had a child, Harry James Potter. Her Patronus took the shape of a doe, while her husband's was a stag.
On 31 July, 1980, Lily and James' first and only child, Harry, was born. They loved their son more than anything, hiding for months so he could survive from the prophecy concerning his fate with Lord Voldemort. On Hallowe'en in 1981 they sacrificed themselves at 21 years old in order to save him from when he was just an infant. Albus Dumbledore always maintained that the love his parents had for him (and in return Harry's love for them) was his greatest power. Harry grew to resemble both of his parents greatly, his personality being more similar to Lily's. He also endured mistreatment from Petunia, though much harsher.
Harry barely knew them, but nevertheless regarded them with great reverence and fiercely defended their memory if anyone spoke ill of them. In 1995, he punched Draco Malfoy for insulting his mother, and he was frequently at odds with Professor Snape, who taunted Harry that James was not the great man others made him out to be. An incident that Snape would have delightfully used as an example was witnessed by Harry in the spring of 1996, when Harry accidentally watched James bullying Snape with no provocation (other than the already-existing animosity between them) in one of Snape's own memories, during his Occlumency lessons. Harry began to question how his mother even came to marry James when she clearly despised him for acting in such a way, though Remus and Sirius later assured Harry that his father had changed his ways, having matured enough to become Head Boy and eventually win Lily over.
The few times Harry ever saw his parents were in pictures given to him by Rubeus Hagrid, through a vision within the Mirror of Erised, as spectral forms which came out of Voldemort's wand during Priori Incantatem, as stored memories within the Pensieve, and again as spectral forms when he "recalled" them during the Battle of Hogwarts, by using the Resurrection Stone. Lily's spirit was described as looking at Harry as if she couldn't do so enough, and Harry asked his mother to stay close to him as he approached the Death Eaters' camp and certain doom. Both James and Lily told Harry that they were tremendously proud of him for being so brave and strong despite all the pain and suffering he had endured, and gave him the support he needed to sacrifice himself to Voldemort. Harry later avenged his mother when he killed Voldemort at the end of the Battle of Hogwarts.
Harry eventually named two of his children after his late parents and godfather, James Sirius and Lily Luna Potter, whom was named in memory of her. When her youngest grandson, Albus, time-traveled to the day before her death he noticed the love in which she placed the blanket over her son and that she clearly treasured and loved her son deeply.
Severus Snape lived near the Evans family when he was a child and soon began spying on Lily after he noticed that she was a witch. The two became friends when he started telling her about the wizarding world, being excited of attending Hogwarts together. They were best friends until their fifth year at Hogwarts, despite being sorted into different houses. Similarly, both Lily and Severus had a great talent in Potions.
However, Lily became increasingly dismayed by Snape's friendships with people such as Avery and Mulciber, who disdained Muggle-borns and who practised the Dark Arts. When Snape called Lily a "filthy Mudblood" in a fit of anger and humiliation when she defended him from his bullies (including James and Sirius), it was the last straw for Lily. When she later asked him if he still intended to become a Death Eater and he did not deny it, she severed all ties with him. There is no evidence to suggest that Lily reciprocated the romantic feelings felt by Snape, but she was best friends with him. If Severus wasn't so involved in the Dark Arts and didn't start to display a very prejudiced attitude toward non pure-bloods, Lily might have considered dating Snape, rather than just being friends.
Despite the ending of their friendship, Snape still loved Lily. When he realised that it was Harry who Voldemort had fixated on as his enemy mentioned in the Prophecy, Snape begged him to spare Lily's life. However, he showed no concern for the life of her son or husband. Voldemort agreed to this request and offered Lily several chances to step aside. Her refusal to do so even though she had a choice is what created the magic that protected Harry.
The deep, unrequited love Snape held for Lily for almost all of his life also influenced his Patronus, which took the form of a silver doe - the same as hers, caused him to spy on Voldemort for Albus Dumbledore. He also protected her son until his own death, where he told Harry "Look at me", wishing to see Lily’s eyes once more before he died as it was the only part of Harry that resembled his mother, the rest looking very much like his father. Lily's second grandson, Albus Severus, has both Lily and Harry's eyes and was named in honour of Snape.
- Lily Evans: "Leave him ALONE!"
- James Potter: "All right, Evans?"
- Lily Evans: "Leave him alone. What’s he done to you?"
- James Potter: "Well, it’s more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean...."
- Lily Evans: "You think you’re funny. But you’re just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone."
- — Lily arguing with James Potter over his bullying of Severus Snape[src]
Lily met Sirius Black on the Hogwarts Express at the same time she met James. She disliked them both, as they quickly began teasing Severus, Lily's best friend at the time, though it was Snape who had initiated the argument by mocking the other boys' preference of House. When Lily and Sirius were both sorted into Gryffindor House she remembered him from the train and turned her back on him when he made room for her at the Gryffindor table.
However, during their later school years, they might have become good friends. Lily eventually married Sirius's best friend. She, Sirius, and the Marauders became members of the Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War and fought in several battles against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. When Dumbledore casted a Fidelius Charm to hide the Potter family from Voldemort, the couple originally wanted to make Sirius their Secret Keeper, knowing he could be completely and utterly trustworthy. Lily sent him at least one letter written in a cheerfully tone and a photograph of her family during her time in hiding. However, Sirius had proposed that Peter Pettigrew be made Secret Keeper instead, thinking that Voldemort would not expect a "weak, talentless thing" like Peter to be given a such crucial role. This turned out to be a fatal mistake, as Peter had turned traitor and become a spy for the Death Eaters. Barely a week after the Fidelius Charm was performed, Peter betrayed James and Lily to Voldemort, leading to them being tragically murdered.
Sirius was deeply devastated for his friends' death; attacking Peter and attempted to kill him. He was godfather to Lily's son, Harry Potter. They shared an intimate relationship; Harry regarded Sirius as a mixture of friend and older brother, and Sirius viewed Harry as an exceptionally brave and matured adult with rights to knowing difficult truths, fully capable of shouldering burdens that many wizards much older and wiser than he could not.
Lily's relationship with Remus Lupin is not known in the books, although they are portrayed as friends in movies. When Snape insisted there was something strange about Remus, Lily answered that she didn't care about what the Marauders did. Most likely, she had also realised that Remus was a werewolf, but didn't care. After graduating from Hogwarts, Remus helped James and Lily hide, and would have willingly died for his friends rather than betray them to save his own skin. When James and Lily died, Remus was devastated and initially believed, along the rest of the wizarding world, that Sirius had been a traitor.
Later on, Remus grew close to Lily's son, Harry Potter. He taught Harry the Patronus Charm and protected him throughout the Second Wizarding War, while Harry ended up becoming godfather to Remus's son, Teddy.
Despite Peter Pettigrew's cowardly nature, Lily became more friendly with him as she warmed to James, even affectionately referring to Peter as "Wormy," from his nickname "Wormtail." When James and Lily went into hiding from Lord Voldemort, the couple trusted Peter enough to make him their Secret Keeper, though only at Sirius' suggestion to use someone less obvious than himself for the role. By then, however, Peter had already become a spy for Voldemort and betrayed his dearest friends out of fear for his own life. One time Peter saw Lily and James while they were in hiding, Lily noted that he "seemed down."
After Voldemort murdered Lily and James, it is possible that Pettigrew felt some regret for his treacherous, heartless betrayal. In 1998, Pettigrew unintentionally saved Harry from Lord Voldemort, who was trying to kill the boy through Pettigrew's silver hand, by briefly hesitating when Harry reminded him of his life debt. This one, tiny impulse of mercy, however, led to Pettigrew being killed by the same hand.
- "Yes, well. You shouldn’t have favourites as a teacher, of course, but she was one of mine. Your mother. Lily Evans. One of the brightest I ever taught. Vivacious, you know. Charming girl. I used to tell her she ought to have been in my House. Very cheeky answers I used to get back too."
- — Horace Slughorn discussing his affection for Lily to Harry Potter[src]
During her time at Hogwarts, Lily demonstrated extraordinary talent in potions, becoming one of Potions Master Horace Slughorn's "all-time favourites" and a member of his Slug Club. He considered her to be one of the brightest students he had ever taught (while being known to also teach students like Tom Riddle) and knew her to be a vivacious, charming, talented, if sometimes cheeky girl. Slughorn even stated, "I don't imagine anyone who met her wouldn't have liked her...very brave...very funny...", though he was surprised by her Muggle lineage.
In the films, Lily gave Slughorn a present, probably as a token of her respect and love for him as her teacher: a bowl of water, on which a petal from a lily floated, and as the petal sank, it transformed into a fish, just before it reached the bottom. He named the fish Francis. When Francis suddenly disappeared one day, Slughorn realised that Lily had died. Her death haunted him for many years. Her son Harry used Slughorn's sympathy and grief for his mother's death to his advantage while under the effects of Felix Felicis, persuading Slughorn to give him the true memory of Tom Riddle's inquiry about Horcruxes, by encouraging him to be as brave as his mother was and claimed that it would undo whatever great wrong he had done.
Lily was on close terms with her neighbour and fellow witch Bathilda, by the time the latter was in her older years and herself in hide with her family. Bathilda was the only one to join the Potters during Harry's birthday tea when he turned one year old, doting her son. Bathilda even spoke to the younger woman on the closeness between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, though Lily remained somewhat sceptical given the strange statement and Bathilda's possible senility.
- "I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you. She gave you a lingering protection he never expected, a protection that flows in your veins to this day. I put my trust, therefore, in your mother’s blood. I delivered you to her sister, her only remaining relative."
- — Dumbledore explaining to Harry how he sought to uphold Lily's sacrifice[src]
Albus Dumbledore was Lily's Headmaster when she was a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When Dumbledore invited Lily to attend Hogwarts, her sister Petunia became jealous and sent a letter to Dumbledore requesting to be enrolled in Hogwarts as well. He answered Petunia that she could not, though in a way Lily found to be "very kind". During Lily's years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore became very fond of her, seeing her as a talented witch with a pure, kind heart, and eventually appointing her Head Girl.
After Lily and her friends graduated from Hogwarts, they became members of the Order of the Phoenix, an organisation Dumbledore founded and led. When James and Lily became targets of Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore offered to be their Secret Keeper in an attempt to protect them, but the role went to Peter Pettigrew instead, at Sirius' suggestion. This turned out to be the couple's death sentence, as Peter betrayed them to Voldemort, who found them and killed them.
Dumbledore was deeply upset by their deaths and dedicated the rest of his life to keeping their son safe, though he knew what might be necessary to fulfil the Prophecy. He eventually became Harry's mentor, often telling Harry of the love and goodness of his parents and continually insisting that Harry's love for his parents was his greatest strength and a source of incredible power — "the power the Dark Lord knows not".
Minerva McGonagall was the Transfiguration Professor and also the Head of Gryffindor House while Lily attended Hogwarts. She would have been unable to become Head Girl if she wasn't approved by her Head of House, which implies that McGonagall trusted her. After Lily left Hogwarts, both she and McGonagall became allies of the first Order of the Phoenix and fought against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
After Voldemort found and killed the Potters, McGonagall was devastated to learn of Lily and James' death, to which she actually broke down into tears. Professor McGonagall was fond of Lily's son and protected him as best as she could throughout his time at Hogwarts.
Order of the Phoenix
During the First Wizarding War, Lily was a member of the Order of the Phoenix and fought alongside many of its members during the First Wizarding War. She appeared to be friendly with some members, such as Rubeus Hagrid, Elphias Doge, and Marlene McKinnon. She appeared to be very upset when she learned about the McKinnons' death, crying all night.
The given name Lily comes from the name of the flower, which is a symbol of purity. The flowers continue to be representative of purity and love in Europe. Specifically, the lily is often associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary; one type of the flower is known as the Madonna lily. Greek mythology also links lilies to the Muses and to the goddess Hera. In China, lily means "forever in love" and were thought to be capable of averting evil.
Lily's maiden name was Evans. "Evans" is a Welsh or English surname derived from the given name "Evan". As a Welsh name, Evan means "young warrior". Interestingly, this could have been foreshadowing the birth of her son, Harry, who was described as a "young warrior". Lily herself was also a young warrior, having fought in the First Wizarding War at age 21. "Evan" can also be considered a form of the name John, (named after the apostle John), meaning "God is gracious and merciful". Her surname was inspired by a famous writer Mary Ann Evans, who wrote under pseudonym George Eliot.
Lily's married surname is Potter. It traditionally refers to the occupation of making pottery. Potter is a very common surname of English origin. J.K Rowling has also commented that she has liked this name since childhood, due to a relationship with two friends who were named Ian and Vikki Potter. Beatrix Potter was a well-known English children's author, which might be a reference to Rowling. Potter's Field is the name for a burial ground for the unknown or unclaimed dead, particularly soldiers and orphans." It is first mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, the Potter family had many members that fit that description. The Potter Box is a model for making ethical decisions developed at Harvard University.
Behind the scenes
- In the films, Geraldine Somerville plays Lily as an adult, Susie Shinner plays her as a teenager, and Ellie Darcey-Alden plays an even younger Lily in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and so is one of the 14 characters to appear in all 8 film adaptions. J.K. Rowling was asked to play Lily in the Mirror of Erised scene in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but she refused the part because she said that she was "not cut out to be an actress because she'd mess-up somehow."
- Technically, Geraldine Somerville is one of just over a dozen actors and actresses to have appeared in all eight Harry Potter films and played the same character, one of only three adult actors to do so (the others being Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman). However, several films do not feature new footage of her and are simply short clips from other films.
- Ellie Darcey-Alden who plays young Lily Potter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, actually has brown eyes, unlike how Lily's eyes are described, Daniel Radcliffe's eyes or Geraldine Somerville's eyes.
- Lily is portrayed by British actress Annabel Baldwin (alternating the role of Moaning Myrtle as well) in the original West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play).
- Susie Shinner did not appear as Lily in the "Snape's Worst Memory" segment of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, although a promotional image showed her in costume.
- In the Harry Potter novels, Lily is mentioned to have died aged twenty-one, yet in the films she appears much older. This could be that she is seen with Harry in the mirror at the age she would be at the time, had she been alive (31), though this doesn't make sense as she still appears to be older than 21 in memory-flashbacks, photographs and during the Priori Incantatem scene. So it's most likely that just like Severus Snape in the films (the character is in his 30s, Alan Rickman is in his 50s-60s) the character herself is still in her 20s. However she merely looks like she is in her early 30s.
- In the novels it is often mentioned that Lily had bright green eyes and that Harry had the same eyes. In the films it is often remarked that Harry has his mother's eyes, but it is never stated what colour they are. Also in the films, Harry has blue eyes and young Lily has brown eyes.
- Lily's initially negative opinion of James is not shown in the films, and the purely strong and close romantic attraction between them seemed to develop much sooner.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin mentions that Lily had been there for him at a time when no one else was. This statement may or may not be canon, as the books never imply that Lily knew Lupin well until after she started dating James.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort taunts Harry by calling Lily "your filthy Muggle mother" rather than "Mudblood", even though she's a Muggle-born witch. Note that in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Tom Riddle coming out of his diary uses the term Mudblood. Although, it should be noted that Voldemort, believing in total blood purity, wouldn't care for technicalities and likely considered Muggle-borns as "bad" as Muggles themselves.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there is an additional sequence after Aragog's funeral where Horace Slughorn describes a gift given to him by Harry's mother, Lily. One day, he'd found a bowl in his office with a small amount of water in it, upon which floated a single petal from a lily. As he watched, the petal sank into the water, and just before it reached the bottom, it transformed into a fish. Slughorn was delighted by what he considered a beautiful piece of magic, and kept the fish for many years, naming it Francis. On the night of 31 October, 1981, the night Lily Potter died, Francis disappeared from his bowl, and Slughorn knew right then and there what had happened to Lily.
- In the films, particularly the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Lily has a habit of calling Harry "sweetheart".
- In European folklore and in the infamous treatise on witchcraft, Malleus Maleficarum, the combination of dark red hair and bright green eyes was considered the mark of a witch, thus it is notable that Lily Evans possesses this exact colouring.
- Lily's name continues a pattern of flower names in the series. For instance, in the generation during the First Wizarding War, there was her and Petunia Evans. A lily and a petunia are both flowers. In the generation of the Second Wizarding War there was Narcissa Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, Fleur Delacour, Poppy Pomfrey and Lavender Brown. In the generation after the war there was Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger's daughter, Rose Granger-Weasley. There was also Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley's daughter, Lily Luna Potter.
- Lily Evans' life bears some resemblances to that of the character Lilias Craven in Marsha Norman's stage musical adaptation of Francis Hodgson Burnett's novel The Secret Garden, having died prematurely, been part of an unrequited love triangle, and having passed her eyes on to a young relative.
- Other than Minerva McGonagall, Lily is the only known Head Girl. It can however be assumed that, like prefects, one head girl is chosen out of the 7th years every year by the headmaster.
- Rubeus Hagrid revealed that Lord Voldemort tried to recruit James Potter and Lily Evans before they left Hogwarts. While this is understandable for James, it was revealed by Rowling that Muggle-borns such as Lily can be permitted to join the Death Eaters, but only in extremely rare circumstances.
- When asked if Lily knew the effect she would have standing in front of Harry, J. K. Rowling stated in an interview; "No - because as I've tried to make clear in the series, it never happened before. No one ever survived before. And no one, therefore, knew that could happen." Additionally, when asked if Voldemort or anyone else using the Killing Curse ever gave someone a choice, and they took the option to die, she said "They may have been given a choice, but not in that particular way."
- Though Harry bears a great resemblance to his father, it is often noted that he has Lily's bright green eyes. In a 1999 interview, Rowling stated, "Harry has his father's and mother's good looks. But he has his mother's eyes and that's very important in a future book". That future book was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In Snape's death scene in that novel, after having passed on his memories to Harry, he whispers to Harry: "Look... at... me..." In one of Snape's memories, it is revealed that Dumbledore persuades Snape to protect Harry after Lily's death by mentioning the fact that he has "precisely" the same eyes as his mother. His last words to Harry were simply a desire to see Lily's eyes before he died.
- Lily and Order of the Phoenix member, Nymphadora Tonks, are very similar. They both are related to Muggles (Lily's parents and Nymphadora's paternal grandparents), They both married a Marauder (Lily married James, and Nymphadora married Remus Lupin) and have one son (Harry Potter and Teddy Lupin) who was only a baby when his parents died fighting Dark forces. Both sons have inherited something from their mothers: Harry his mother's eyes, Teddy his mother's Metamorphmagus abilities.
- Lily and her daughter-in-law Ginny also are very very similar to each other. They both have red hair, they both were popular in school, both weren't afraid to stand up for their friends (Lily when the Marauders harassed Severus Snape, and Ginny when people ridiculed Luna Lovegood by calling her Loony Lovegood) and they both married a Potter: Lily married James; Ginny married Harry.
- Lily and her grandson Albus Severus Potter are also very similar. They are both the second born child of their families. Albus inherit her bright green eyes through her son Harry who also has her green eyes. Both have been antagonised by their older sibling, Petunia was jealous of her magical abilities and called her a freak, Albus is picked on by his brother James.
- So far, Lily is the only named muggle-born in canon who was offered to join the Death Eaters, which is known to be rare.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance) (Appears in vision(s)) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Appears in flashback(s)) (Appears in vision(s)) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears in vision(s))
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Mentioned in GBC version)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Appears in flashback(s)) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Appears in flashback(s)) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Appears in flashback(s)) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s)) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 16 (Godric's Hollow)
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Cokeworth" at Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34 (The Forest Again)
- In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone it's stated that Lily's hair is red and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows it's described as dark. Dark red hair is refereed to as 'auburn'.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley) "Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm work."
- 30 July 2007 Bloomsbury Live Chat with J.K. Rowling
- Production note reproduced on page 74 of Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault listing names to be featured on prop trophies in the films (see this image).
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Vernon and Petunia Dursley" at Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
- 19 October 2007 J.K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall
- J. K. Rowling interview on PotterCast #130
- The timeframe of the prophecy can be determined as late 1979 from J. K. Rowling's statement during her 2007 Carnegie Hall appearance that the Potters went into hiding when Lily was pregnant, and the scene in Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 where Snape goes to ask Dumbledore to protect Lily, which must have taken place in autumn given the description of the setting ("...the sound of the wind in the branches" and "Though leaves and branches still flew through the night air around them...").
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard)
- J.K. Rowling at the 2004 Edinburgh Book Festival
- "The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three"
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map) - "“He did,” said Fudge heavily. “And then, barely a week after the Fidelius Charm had been performed - “Black betrayed them?” breathed Madam Rosmerta. "He did indeed."
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 34 (Priori Incantatem)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Epilogue (Nineteen Years Later)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- J K Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
- It is stated on Pottermore that Petunia is free from houses with teapots that sang when you walked past, and as Lily was the only witch in the family it makes sense she would have been the one to cast the spell.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Behind the Name: Lily
- Flower Facts: Lily
- Behind the Name: Evans
- Behind the Name: Evan
- A Conversation with J.K.Rowling & Daniel Radcliffe 25:00
- Behind the Name: Rankings for 'Potter'
- MuggleNet: Name Origins
- J.K.Rowling Official Site: Rumours
- Rowling, J.K., Tiffany, John and Thorne, Jack. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two. Broadway, New York, NY: Arhur A. Levine Books, 2016. Print. pp. 313-15.
- Red hair on Wikipedia
- J.K.Rowling Official Site: News
- "The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part One"