Which Wizard: Who's Who in the Wizarding World. This page has been updated for Book 7.

James Potter (1960-1981)

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Born: 27 March 1960 (DH16).
Died: 31 October 1981 at the age of 21; murdered by Lord Voldemort at Godric's Hollow.
Why didn't James' death didn't protect Lily and Harry? "Because [Lily] could have lived and chose to die. James was going to be killed anyway." James "wasn't given a choice [whereas Lily] could have saved herself." (TLC).

Eye color: Hazel; wore glasses (OP28).
Hair color: Black, untidy, sticks up in the back; at 15, he had a habit of deliberately messing it up even further to make it look windswept, as though he'd just gotten off his broom (OP28).
In the Mirror of Erised: "the tall, thin, black-haired man standing next to her put his arm around her. He wore glasses, and his hair was very untidy. It stuck up in the back, just as Harry's did." (PS12).
Manner: bold, confident; at age 15, he was arrogant and somewhat cruel (OP28).

Young James Potter, a drawing by Lisa M. Rourke. FAMILY & FRIENDS
Ancestry: Both his mother and father were wizards. Either his mother or father were fairly direct descendents of Ignotus Peverell, the original owner of the Invisibility Cloak Deathly Hallow; other than that, JKR has said that James's parents are not terribly important to the story (TLC).
Mother: Died between 1978 and 1981. She was elderly, even by wizarding standards, and died from a wizarding illness. There is “nothing sinister” about her death (TLC).
Father: Died between 1978 and 1981. He was elderly, even by wizarding standards, and died from a wizarding illness. There is “nothing sinister” about his death (TLC).
Wife: Lily (Evans) Potter; killed 31 Oct 1981 by Lord Voldemort at Godric's Hollow. Lily and James were married very quietly sometime between summer of 1978 and fall of 1979. Sirius Black was their best man.
Siblings: None, though Sirius Black ran away from home and moved in with the Potters after his sixth year at Hogwarts (OP6) .
Childhood: According to JKR, James was "very pampered." His elderly parents "had-him-late-in-life-so-he's-an-extra-treasure, as often happens, I think." (TLC)
Family circumstances: The Potters were extremely wealthy; James did not need to have a well-paying job (AOL).

Years: 1971 - 1978.
House: Gryffindor.
School awards, etc.: Head Boy, 7th year at Hogwarts. If Molly is correct (OP9) and all Head Boys were Prefects in their 6th year, this would apply to James as well.
School penalties: Reputation for being a troublemaker, rule breaker.
Devices: Created Marauder’s Map with Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew.
Quidditch: Gryffindor Chaser (Sch2), Quidditch Cup winner (PA14).
NOTE: In the first film, James was said to be a Seeker (PS/f), but JKR stated that he was a Chaser in the second Scholastic interview. Yes, the editors are aware that on a summer's day when he was 15 he was fooling around with a Golden Snitch - much more effective to impress girls than a Quaffle, of course, and something that proves nothing about which position he actually played. JKR said in Sch2 that James was a Chaser, so until she explicitly says otherwise, her word goes. Please note that this is an FAQ. -- MLW.

Wand: Mahogany, 11 inches, pliable (excellent for transfiguration) (PS5).
Other devices: Invisibility cloak; Marauder's Map, created in last 2 years at Hogwarts (PA18).
Organizations & affiliations: Order of the Phoenix; Gryffindor Quidditch team Chaser (JKR).
Career: According to JKR, "James inherited plenty of money, so he didn't need a well-paid profession." (AOL). Both he and Lily defied Voldemort (he wanted them to be Death Eaters - PC/JKR1) and became fulltime members of the Order of the Phoenix after they finished school (OBT/CH).
Field: Transfiguration (PS5, PA22).
Animagus: Stag (unregistered Animagus) since his fifth year at Hogwarts (PA18, PA22).
Gringotts' Vault: 687 (PS/f).

Wedding of James Potter and Lily Evans by Laura Freeman. PROFILE
The father of Harry Potter, and nearly identical to him in appearance except with hazel eyes (OP28). He was a descendant of Ignotus Peverell and the only child of wealthy, elderly parents, who were very kind and who both died shortly after he left Hogwarts (OP6, TLC, AOL). James was a “pampered” child (TLC), and could be cocky and somewhat cruel in his childhood (OP28). He “deflated his head a bit” his seventh year, was named Head Boy, and started dating Lily Evans, who he later married (PS4, OP9, OP30). He was twenty when his son, Harry, was born on July 31, 1980.

At Hogwarts, James was very popular; he was a Quidditch chaser (Sch2) and rather liked to show off (OP28). He was best friends with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew; they were known for mischief (PA10) and dubbed themselves the “Marauders” (PA17). When they learned that Lupin was a werewolf, James, Sirius, and Peter set out to become Animagi so they could join him; they succeeded in their fifth year (PA18); James earned the nickname “Prongs” because his Animagus form was a stag (PA22).

As popular as he was, James also had a bitter enemy at Hogwarts: Severus Snape. Sirius and Lupin attributed Snape’s attitude toward James to jealousy (OP29), though it was true that James started bullying Snape from the moment they met, mocking him and calling him “Snivellus” (DH33). However, when Sirius played a joke on Snape and sent him toward Lupin in his werewolf form, James stepped up and saved his life (PA19). Snape’s resulting life debt to James only made him hate James all the more (PA17), and when James ended up dating and marrying Lily – who Snape had loved his entire life – it sealed Snape’s hatred for good (DH33).

A lifelong despiser of the Dark Arts, James was extremely loyal to Dumbledore and fought fulltime for the Order of the Phoenix against Voldemort (OP9, OP30). Together he and Lily defied Voldemort three times, but a prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney marked Harry for death, and Voldemort came after the Potters (OP37). They were tipped off and used the Fidelius Charm to hide themselves, but James put his faith in the wrong person – his old friend Peter Pettigrew – and was betrayed (PA19). Voldemort killed him and Lily on October 31, 1981, in their borrowed cottage at Godric's Hollow (DH17).

Adrian Rawlins in the role of James Potter. James on Film
In the films the role of James Potter at the time of his death is played by Adrian Rawlins. Younger James Potter is played by Robbie Jarvis (IMDb).

Primary editor: Lisa Waite Bunker. Previous editor(s): Steve Vander Ark, Michele Worley.
Original artwork "The Marauders: James Potter, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black," ©2004 Lisa M. Rourke, used with permission.
Original artwork of James Potter ©2001 Lisa M. Rourke, used with permission.
Original artwork of the wedding of James Potter and Lily Evans ©2004 Laura Freeman, used with permission.
Original page date 18 March, 2001; Last page update 8 January, 2008.