The relationship between James and Lily Potter is one that isn’t explored deeply in the Harry Potter series, because of the fact that their lives were tragically cut short. However, their relationship is captured in some flashbacks and through stories people tell Harry about his parents. While in fandom their relationship is often seen as a positive thing, there are also some aspects of their relationship that seem somewhat toxic.
Here are the five ways that Lily and James Potter had a good relationship as well as the five reasons why it was toxic.
10 GOOD: THEY BOTH LOVED HARRY A LOT
One of the most romantic things about Lily and James is the fact that they were both devoted parents. Even though they were both pretty badass people as members of the Order of the Phoenix, they were also loyal to their family. It’s clear that they both loved Harry and were willing to do whatever it took to keep him safe. The fact that they didn’t get the chance to raise him and take care of him is really such a tragedy.
9 TOXIC: THE DYNAMICS WITH SNAPE
The entire love triangle set up in the books between Lily, Snape, and James is rather toxic. Both Snape and James act in rather problematic ways because of their love for Lily. Snape especially is rather creepy about being unable to let go of her. But this triangle also brought out some of the worst traits in James. He was quite mean to Snape, and Snape was quite mean to him, despite Lily’s feelings about both of them. This entire dynamic is cringeworthy, to say the least.
8 GOOD: BOTH OF THEM WERE EXTREMELY LOYAL
For a couple to be good and healthy together, it’s important for them both to have the same goals and priorities in life. In this way, Lily and James are a good pair, as they value the same kinds of qualities. For one thing, they were both sorted into Gryffindor, and they both demonstrated many times their loyalty to their friends, as well as taking up the cause of fighting against Voldemort. Plus, they were both super loyal to their son.
7 TOXIC: JAMES WAS REALLY SELF-OBSESSED
In Harry Potter, James as a character had a lot of flaws. He was an only child to parents who were well-off, and he was also handsome and talented. Because of all of this, he could be really full of himself. During his time at Hogwarts, he was known for being self-obsessed, vain, and arrogant. Overall, these aren’t really positive qualities, and, while it’s suggested that he grows out of these things, we don’t really ever get to see that in the books.
6 GOOD: THEY HAD A LOT IN COMMON
Another thing that makes for a good relationship is having some things in common. While we don’t know a ton about James and Lily and their hobbies, the things that we do know show that these two would get along well. They both were committed to the cause of good, for one thing. Plus, they were sorted into the same house, and they were both intelligent students and rather popular. While we don’t get to know exactly what they looked like together as a couple and how they interacted, it’s safe to say they would have things in common to talk about.
5 TOXIC: LILY DIDN’T EVEN LIKE JAMES FOR A LONG TIME
One of the most perplexing things about the relationship between James and Lily is that Lily didn’t even like James or want to date him for a long time. While it’s said by others that this obviously changed, it must have happened rather quickly because they got married quite young. So, up until they were well into their teenage years, Lily found James arrogant and annoying and didn’t want anything to do with him. This sudden change of heart just has to be taken at face value because it’s never fleshed out in the books.
4 GOOD: THEY WERE BOTH COMMITTED MEMBERS OF THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
Both Lily and James were extremely committed to fighting for the right thing and against Voldemort. They both became members of the Order of the Phoenix basically right out of Hogwarts, even though they were starting their family. They were both willing make sacrifices to help others and protect people from Voldemort and his followers. This really says a lot about the kind of people they were, and this likely would have bonded them.
3 TOXIC: JAMES DIDN’T RESPECT LILY ENOUGH
James is someone who likely had most things in life handed to him. He had money, he was good at Quidditch, smart, good-looking, and likable. So, he was pretty much used to getting what he wanted. When Lily didn’t want to date him right away, he didn’t necessarily take this in stride. It came across that James didn’t really respect Lily, and he was only thinking about what he wanted.
2 GOOD: LILY DIDN’T PUT UP WITH JAMES AND HIS BAD BEHAVIOR
While James definitely had his flaws, one positive thing is that Lily didn’t put up with any of his bad tendencies. She called him out for his arrogance and bad behavior, and she wasn’t fazed by his popularity. This goes to show that she had a strong backbone and personality, and she wouldn’t have just started dating James without good reason.
1 TOXIC: JAMES KEPT TRYING TO ASK LILY OUT EVEN WHEN SHE SAID NO
Because of the fact that Snape is much creepier, some of James’ more problematic behavior related to Lily is left unnoticed. However, it’s the case that James kept trying to ask Lily out during their time at Hogwarts even when she had already turned him down. This attitude of continually asking someone out until you wear them down isn’t a positive or healthy thing.