Lily Potter fullcoloured
Lily Potter (née Evans)
Biographical information

January 30, 1960


October 31, 1981 (aged 21)
Godric's Hollow

Blood status


Physical description




Hair colour

Dark red

Eye colour


Family information
Family members
Magical characteristics

Willow, 10¼", swishy





Lily: "Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead-"
Lord Voldemort: "This is my last warning-"
Lily: "Not Harry! Please ... have mercy ... Not Harry! Please – I’ll do anything..."
— Lily Potter stands between Voldemort and her son.[src]

Lily Potter (née Evans) (January 30, 1960 - October 31, 1981) was a Muggle-born witch, the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Evans, the younger sister of Petunia Dursley and the mother of Harry Potter. She learned that she was a witch as a child, after a boy who lived nearby, Severus Snape, told her of the existence of the magic. The two became close friends, eagerly discussing the wizarding world, while Lily grew apart from her older sister Petunia. She attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1971 to 1978 and was sorted into Gryffindor house. A talented student, Lily was a member of the Slug Club and Head Girl in her seventh year. Her friendship with Snape fell apart after he called her a "Mudblood"; while he would always love her, Lily went on to marry James Potter. She and James both joined the Order of the Phoenix after graduating, and fought in the First Wizarding War, defying Lord Voldemort himself three times. This made their only child the Dark Lord's target when a prophecy was made about the one with the power to defeat him, and Voldemort attacked the Potters on October 31, 1981. After murdering James, he offered Lily a chance to save herself, per Snape's request, if she stepped aside, but Lily refused and was killed for it. This loving sacrifice enabled her son to be the only known person to survive the Killing Curse.


Early lifeBearbeiten

Lily: "I’m not a freak. That’s a horrible thing to say."
Petunia: "That’s where you’re going. A special school for freaks. You and that Snape boy ... weirdos, that’s what you two are..."
Lily: "You didn’t think it was such a freak’s school when you wrote to the headmaster and begged him to take you."
— Lily and Petunia argue before Lily departs for Hogwarts.[src]
The Prince's Tale

Snape tells Lily that she is a witch, while Petunia looks on jealously

Lily was born to the Muggle Evans family; she has an older sister named Petunia. The family lived in a Muggle village called Spinner's End. At an early age, Lily became friends with Severus Snape, a boy who lived nearby and who fell in love with her. Snape told Lily that she was a witch and although she first took this as an insult, the two later discussed the wizarding world often, eagerly awaiting when they could attend Hogwarts together. Lily's parents were proud of her magical abilities, but her sister, jealous, considered her to be a freak.[1]

Her wand was 10¼" willow, "swishy", and good for Charms work.

Time at HogwartsBearbeiten

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, she attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where she was sorted into Gryffindor house. She became quite skilled at Potions and perhaps Charms, attracting the attention of Professor Slughorn who made her a member of his Slug Club. In her seventh year, she became Head Girl.


Harry seeing his mother during her youth by means of a Pensieve.

In her fifth year, Lily stood up for her then-best friend, Severus Snape, when he was being bullied by James Potter, whom she considered to be an arrogant bully. She had addressed James by his surname and attempted to stop his bullying, until Snape lashed out at her in his humiliation, calling her a "Mudblood".[2] This subsequently led to a falling out and parting of ways between Lily and Snape, as the former had already become dismayed by Snape's friendship with aspiring Death Eaters like Mulciber and Avery and his fascination with the Dark Arts. Harry would later witness this scene twice via a pensieve, as well as other scenes depicting his mother's long friendship with Snape.[1]

Also during their fifth year, James tried to ask her out, but she refused, considering him an "arrogant toerag". James's best friend, Sirius Black, later commented that James could not resist showing off and making a fool of himself whenever she was around. She did not, however, hate James; they had just got off on the wrong foot.[2]

Eventually, in their seventh year, Lily and James began dating.

First Wizarding WarBearbeiten

The potters hp

Lily and James with their infant son.

Severus Snape: "The – the prophecy ... the prediction ... Trelawney... He thinks it means Lily Evans!"
Albus Dumbledore: "The prophecy did not refer to a woman. It spoke of a boy born at the end of July –"
Severus Snape: "You know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down – kill them all –"
Severus Snape warns Dumbledore of the danger to the Potters[src]

Sometime after graduating from Hogwarts in 1978, Lily and James married. They also became members of the Order of the Phoenix, an organisation dedicated to fighting Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, along with their friends Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. During the war, they defied Voldemort on at least three different occasions. This made their son, Harry James Potter, born on July 31 in 1980, the possible subject of a prophecy made about the one with the power to defeat Voldemort.[2]


Lily protecting Harry.

Sybill Trelawney made the prophecy in front of Albus Dumbledore, but part of it was overheard by Lily's former friend, Snape, who had since become a Death Eater. He was horrified when Voldemort came to believe that Lily's son was the subject of the prophecy, and warned Dumbledore of the Dark Lord's plans, offering to do anything to keep the woman he still loved safe.

The Potter family went into hiding with their infant son and kept in touch with their friends with letters. In one letter to Sirius, who was named Harry's godfather, Lily mentioned that the family had a feline companion and relayed a story about Harry flying on a toy broomstick, which was a present from Sirius.[1] The Fidelius Charm was placed on their home in Godric's Hollow. However, their Secret-Keeper, Peter Pettigrew, one of James' best friends at Hogwarts, betrayed them by telling Voldemort of their whereabouts.[3]

"The Boy Who Lived. How lies have fed your legend, Harry. Shall I reveal what really happened that night 13 years ago? Shall I divulge how I truly lost my powers? Yes, shall I? It was love. You see, when dear sweet Lily Potter gave her life for her only son...she provided the ultimate protection. I could not touch him. It was old magic. Something I should have foreseen. But no matter, no matter. Things have changed. I can touch!"
Voldemort reflecting on his first defeat[src]
Lily eath

Lily's death at the hands of Voldemort on Halloween night.

On October 31 in 1981, Voldemort entered their home. James told Lily to take Harry and leave while he held him off. However, James was killed before Lily and Harry could escape the house. Trapping mother and son in Harry's nursery, Voldemort, honouring Snape's request, offered Lily a chance to step aside. She steadfastly refused to stop shielding her son, though, and Voldemort killed her. However, because of Lily's sacrifice, Harry was marked with the protection of her love, and Voldemort's Killing Curse rebounded off the toddler, destroying the Dark Lord's body and temporarily defeating him.[1]

After DeathBearbeiten

Lily: "You’ve been so brave."
James: "You are nearly there. Very close. We are . . . so proud of you."
— Lily and James Potter speak to their son through the Resurrection Stone[src]

However, that would not be the last Harry would see of his mother. During his first year at Hogwarts, he stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised and saw his parents beside him, and at the end of the year, Hagrid gave him a photo album filled with pictures of his family. In his third year, whenever he encountered a Dementor, he was forced to relive his parents' deaths.


Lily appearing to her son in Priori Incantatem.

In Harry's fourth year while dueling with Voldemort in the Little Hangleton Graveyard, they experienced Priori Incantatem and shades of his mother and father (as well as others Voldemort’s wand had killed) came out of Voldemort's wand to help Harry in his escape.

In Harry's fifth year, he 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. In 1998, he relived that same memory of Snape's, as well as many others containing his mother. Finally, during the final battle when Harry believed himself to be walking to his own death, he used the Resurrection Stone to bring back an image of Lily, as well as James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin. Lily's only granddaughter was named after her.[1]

Physical DescriptionBearbeiten


Lily with her son moments before her death.

Lily Evans was, according to Harry Potter, "very pretty". She had long, dark red hair and almond-shaped green eyes that her son and grandson Albus inherited.[1] Apparently, her bright green eyes were extremely distinctive, because every person who knew Lily would always see them in Harry, and would comment on them to Harry, to his eventual slight annoyance.

Personality and TraitsBearbeiten

Lily: "You think you're funny, but you're just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone."
James: "I will if you go out with me, Evans. Go on, go out with me and I will never lay a wand on old Snivelly again."
Lily: "I wouldn't go out with you if it were a choice between you and the giant squid!"
— Lily standing up for Severus Snape to James Potter in their fifth year[src]

Lily was known for being a very kind and gifted witch. She was an excellent student, becoming Head Girl in her final year at Hogwarts. She was a favourite of Professor Horace Slughorn, who noted that she was witty and charming.[4] She had a habit of seeing the best in others even when they could not see it themselves, often sticking up for those others criticized, such as Severus Snape. However, when Lily could no longer tolerate Snape's increasing involvement in the Dark Arts, she ended the friendship, sticking to her principles. She and her husband were also brave and self-sacrificing, defying Voldemort three times as members of the Order of the Phoenix and dying to protect their son.

Magical abilities and skills Bearbeiten

Control of underage magic:Before attending Hogwarts, Lily was able to control her magic a bit, a rare skill.

Potioneer: According to Horace Slughorn, Lily was a very skilled potioneer.

Charms: Her wand was said to have been good for Charms work.

Patronus: Lily could conjure a Patronus in the shape of a doe, which is the female counterpart to her husband's Patronus.

Duelling skill: Lily even escaped Lord Voldemort three times. On the fourth time, she was killed by him.




Petunia Dursley née Evans.

Lily: "Tuney, look at this. Watch what I can do."
Petunia: "Stop it!"
Lily: "It's not hurting you."
Petunia: "It's not right. How do you do it?"
— Lily and Petunia when the former performs magic[src]

Lily had a close relationship with her mother and father and, initially, with her older sister, Petunia. The two girls played together, and when Lily began demonstrating magical ability, Petunia was "torn between curiosity and disapproval". She strongly disapproved when Lily struck up a friendship with Severus Snape, a young wizard who lived nearby and who disdained Petunia because she was a Muggle, and took to spying on them. When Lily was invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Petunia wrote to the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, requesting that she be permitted the same. Although his refusal was kind, Petunia was jealous and bitter, and deemed her sister a "freak"[1]. Their relationship seems to have deteriorated greatly afterwards, and even as an adult, Petunia resented that her parents were proud of Lily's magical abilities and took out her enmity on Lily's son, Harry.

Severus SnapeBearbeiten


Severus Snape

Dumbledore: "After all this time, Severus?"
Snape: "Always."
Albus Dumbledore discussing Snape's continuing love for Lily[src]

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, and were best friends until their fifth year at Hogwarts. Lily became increasingly dismayed by Snape's friendships with people such as Avery and Mulciber, who practiced the Dark Arts and disdained Muggle-borns. When Snape accidentally called Lily a "Mudblood" when lashing out against James Potter and Sirius Black, it was the last straw for Lily, who rightly accused Snape of aspiring to become a Death Eater and severed all ties with him, in spite of his begging for forgiveness. Despite this, Snape continued to love Lily, and defected from Lord Voldemort immediately when the Dark Lord set his sights on the Potters during the First Wizarding War. He told Albus Dumbledore he would do anything to keep Lily safe, wished he were dead when she was killed, and committed himself to protecting her orphaned son, despite disliking him greatly.[1]

Snape held a deep, unrequited love for Lily for almost all of his life. Lily loved Snape as a friend, and, tragically for him, might have returned his romantic love if he had not been consumed by the Dark Arts.[5]

James PotterBearbeiten


James and Lily dancing in autumn.

Harry: "How come she married him? She hated him!"
Sirius: "Nah, she didn't."
Remus: "She started going out with him in seventh year."
Sirius Black and Remus Lupin telling Harry Potter about his parents[src]

Lily's relationship with James Potter was initially a volatile one. They first met on the train on their way for their first year at Hogwarts, where Lily was angered by James and Sirius Black's mockery of her close friend Severus Snape[1]. Although James was a popular student and Quidditch player, well-liked by most, Lily considered him an arrogant bully and treated him with contempt. This was likely motivated in part by James' hostile relationship with Snape. By his fifth year, James started to have romantic feelings for Lily, and would show off to try to impress her, without success.[2] She refused to accept his many invitations to go out with him until their seventh year, when James was Head Boy and Lily was Head Girl. It seems that, by that time, James had "deflated his head a bit" and stopped hexing people "for the fun of it"[2]. The two joined the Order of the Phoenix after graduating as well as married, and had one child, Harry James Potter.

Horace SlughornBearbeiten

During her time at Hogwarts, she was a somewhat brilliant student at Potions becoming one of Professor Slughorn's best students and was a member of his Slug Club. Slughorn considered her one of his favourite students though was surprised by her Muggle lineage. Harry Potter uses this to his advantage while under the effects of Felix Felicis to persuade Slughorn to give him the true memory of Tom Riddle's inquiry about Horcruxes by claiming it would undo whatever wrong Slughorn had originally done.


The given name Lily comes from the name of the flower, which is a symbol of purity.[6] Specifically, the lily is often associated with the 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, and the flowers continue to be representative of purity and love in Europe. In China, lily means "forever in love", and the flowers were thought to be capable of averting evil.[7]

Lily's maiden name was Evans. Evans is a Welsh or English surname derived from the given name Evan[8]. As a Welsh name, Evan means "young warrior"; it can also be considered a form of the name John, meaning "God is gracious"[9].

Lily's married surname is Potter. Potter is a very common surname of English origin.[10] It traditionally refers to the occupation of making pottery. Beatrix Potter was a well-known English children's author. Potter's Field is the name for a burial ground for the unknown or unclaimed dead, particularly soldiers and orphans; the Potter family had many members that fit that description. The Potter Box is a model for making ethical decisions developed at Harvard University. J.K. Rowling has also commented that she has liked the name since childhood.[11]

Behind the scenesBearbeiten

  • In the films, Geraldine Somerville plays Lily as an adult, and Susie Shinner plays her as a teenager. J.K. Rowling was asked to play Lily in the Mirror of Erised scene of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film), but she refused the part because she said that she was "not cut out to be an actress because she'd mess-up somehow."[12]
  • In the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film, 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. However, considering her high academic standing prior to her appointment as Head Girl, it seems likely that Lily and Remus would have served as Gryffindor prefects together.
  • Susie Shinner did not appear as Lily in the film version of Order of the Phoenix, although a promotional image showed her in costume.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film), Voldemort taunts Harry by calling Lily "your filthy Muggle mother" rather than "Mudblood", even though she's a Muggle-born witch. Note that in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film), the Tom Riddle coming out of his diary uses the term Mudblood.
  • In European folklore and the infamous treatise on witchcraft, Malleus Maleficarum, the combination of red hair and green eyes was considered the mark of a witch, thus it is notable that Lily Evans possesses this exact colouring.[13]
  • In the film version 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 October 31, 1981, the night Lily Potter died, Francis disappeared from his bowl, and Slughorn knew right then and there what had happened to Lily.


Notes and referencesBearbeiten