James and Lily Potter are two pivotal characters that Harry Potter fans don’t get enough of in the films. While the legend of their sacrifice for their son precedes them, only the invested book readers know the full details about the Potters. For instance, the fact that Lily and Harry’s eyes are green (not blue) is a tiny detail that fans still fret over. In the films, we also see James' terrible bullying of Snape and viewers barely get any information on how Lily came to love someone so hostile.
The Potters eventually went on to join the Order of the Phoenix and become legends in the wizarding world, but there’s a lot more to them than that. Here are ten facts about the Potters that they leave out of the movies.
10 Lily Didn’t Like James
While they were at Hogwarts, James held a reputation for being something of a class clown and bully. However, Lily didn’t buy into it at all. Snape was one of James’ favorite victims and Snape was a close friend of Lily’s.
As a result, she actually didn’t like James very much. She spent her first few years at the school defending Snape and looking down on James for being an “arrogant bullying toerag.” Eventually, James matured leading to him and Lily both becoming the Heads of Gryffindor house, which is when they started dating.
9 James Was Head Boy
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, audiences learn that Lily was apart of Professor Slughorn’s esteemed Slug Club. He only invited the brightest witches and wizards into this club, so it makes sense that Lily went on to be Head Girl.
Prior to this, Lily was also a prefect which is generally a prerequisite for being Head Girl or Boy. Surprisingly though, despite his antics and knack for breaking the rules, James also became Head Boy in his seventh year. Although he was never a prefect, earning this role seems to have been a turning point in the young wizard’s life.
The entire story behind the Whomping Willow was neglected in the films, which leaves out a ton of character details. The Whomping Willow was planted for Remus Lupin who turned into a werewolf once a month. The films also leave out the fact that James, Sirius, and Pettigrew all learn to become Animagus so that they can join their friend in the Shrieking Shack during this difficult time.
James turns into a stag, which earned him the nickname Prongs. The four were also the creators of the Marauders Map, giving meaning behind the line, “Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present the Mauraders Map.”
7 James Was a Chaser
That’s right. In the film’s Harry is told that his father was also on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Hermione even goes as far to show him the medal on display showing James Potter was a Seeker. However, in the books, James was a Chaser.
The Chasers are the ones on the team who handle the Quaffle in order to score points against their opposing team. Surely, renaming James as a Seeker for the films just worked out better for timing sake.
6 Lily and Petunia
We briefly see Lily and her sister Petunia’s relationship when they were small children. It was around this time when Lily is told by Snape that she is a witch, that Lily and Petunia’s relationship falls apart. Before this, the two sisters were actually quite close. The glaring difference in their worlds (Lily being a witch and Petunia being a Muggle) caused jealously and strain for the remainder of their relationship.
As adults, the two tried to get along, but when Lily introduced James to Vernon Dursley, James bragged about his wealth, causing Vernon to hate James. This caused even more friction between Lily and Petunia; so much so, Petunia and Vernon did not attend the Potter’s wedding.
5 James and Lily Married at 18
As mentioned, Lily did not care much for the rebellious James, even though James had feelings for Lily since their fifth year. He would continuously ask her out, much to her annoyance. Lily and James started dating at Hogwarts during their seventh year once James had “stopped hexing people for the fun of it.”
They got married right after leaving Hogwarts in a quiet ceremony that only a few of their closest friends attended. They were only married for three years before they were killed by Voldemort at the ages of 21.
4 Voldemort Tried To Recruit Them
In the first book, Hagrid surmises to Harry that the reason Voldemort killed his parents could be due to the fact that he tried (and failed) to recruit them. This was long before either of them knew anything about the prophecy.
This is further confirmed in the full text of the prophecy in The Order of the Phoenix, which says that the one to defeat the Dark Lord was, “born to those who have thrice defied him.” J.K. Rowling confirmed this several times in interviews, but there are few specifics as to how or when Voldemort tried to get the Potters to join his legion of Death Eaters.
3 The Invisibility Cloak
The Invisibility Cloak had been in the Potter family for decades. Audiences know that the Peverell brothers (from the Tale of the Three Brothers) originally possessed the cloak. Iolanthe Peverell, the granddaughter of Ignotus Peverell, married Hardwin Potter which is how the cloak came into the Potter family.
It was then passed on to the male heirs, eventually making its way to Harry Potter himself. When it comes to family heirlooms, an Invisibility Cloak is not half bad.
2 They Weren’t Pureblood
It’s a well-known fact that Lily’s parents were muggles. James came from a long history of witches and wizards, which is why it’s easy to make the assumption that the Potters are a pure-blood wizarding family. However, according to the Pure-Blood Directory, the Potters do not qualify to be part of the Sacred Twenty Eight. This coveted group comprises of 28 wizarding families that have been pureblood since the 1930s.
The Potters technically should fall under this list (until James marries Lily, a Muggle-born), but they were excluded from the list because Potter is a common Muggle surname. Henry Potter was also outspoken about his support for Muggles, which also contributed to the Potter’s not being officially declared as pureblood wizards.
1 The Family Fortune
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry is shown his family fortune in Gringotts Bank; a massive vault filled to the brim with Knuts, Sickles, and Galleons. The Potters had a long-standing family fortune dating back to the 12th century when Linfred of Stinchcombe invented Skele-Gro and Pepperup Potion.
Much later on, his descendant, Fleamont Potter, quadrupled the family fortune by inventing Sleekeazy's Hair Potion. Fleamont was James' father, who was subsequently spoiled by the family's earning, a fact that probably explains why his arrogant demeanor during his first few years at Hogwarts.