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James Potter: Character Analysis v.4



View Poll Results: Can James in any way be blamed for what happened in 1981?
Yes, he should have chosen Dumbledore as Secret Keeper. 40 12.31%
Partly. He and Lily should not have agreed to switch to Peter. 26 8.00%
No, he could not have anticipated such a betrayal. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. 110 33.85%
No, he trusted his friends, something that paid off for Harry in DH, despite Remus' warning. 89 27.38%
The only one to blame is Voldemort. 43 13.23%
Oh dear, I never like Moriath's options. 8 2.46%
Something else entirely that hopefully doesn't include Snape. 9 2.77%
Voters: 325. You may not vote on this poll

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  #901  
Old January 31st, 2014, 1:44 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

I think she wrote more, but it didn't make the final cut.


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  #902  
Old January 31st, 2014, 1:50 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by MerryLore View Post
I don't think JKR saw James as a really important and pivotal character, and that's why she didn't spend much time on developing him.
You know, I actually think you're somewhat right, when it comes down to it. I do believe James was important because he was Harry's hero when Harry had no one else to look up to and no one else to talk to (when he was at the Dursley's before attending Hogwarts), and he gave Harry some amount of solace. But I have to agree he wasn't "pivotal" to the present story of defeating Voldemort. Harry's vision of him was important, but James himself never really impacted the story going forward, if that makes sense.


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  #903  
Old April 28th, 2014, 3:44 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by RemusLupinFan View Post
You know, I actually think you're somewhat right, when it comes down to it. I do believe James was important because he was Harry's hero when Harry had no one else to look up to and no one else to talk to (when he was at the Dursley's before attending Hogwarts), and he gave Harry some amount of solace. But I have to agree he wasn't "pivotal" to the present story of defeating Voldemort. Harry's vision of him was important, but James himself never really impacted the story going forward, if that makes sense.
I vehemently disagree with that statement! James was very pivotal! Snape's whole issue with Harry was directly tied to James. Also a lot of Harry's attitude and suspicions of Snape were based off his father and teacher's rivalry. Sirius's whole story came about directly from his friendship with James. James did have a lot of character development, but it was all second hand and implied. Much of it biased from Snape's point of view. Yet everyone else had fond memories of a loyal friend, great father, brave fighter of the dark arts, talented at Quidditch, handsome, reckless. Of Harry's two parents James actually gets the most airtime and development. And he's dead!


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Old May 4th, 2014, 7:37 am
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
In fairness, that is not necessarily an indicator of character - Voldemort was also Head Boy. I do concede, though, that Dumbledore was a much better judge of character than Armando Dippet and that he is unlikely to have put James in the role if he hadn't proved himself worthy of the title.
Well I think the fact that he made head boy. that Lily married him and that he was Harry's father were meant to be clear and obvious evidence that he was a white hat and of stellar character. The only person in the book to indicate otherwise was Snape, who we were taught to distrust due to his unfair treatment of the children and later, his poor treatment of his friend Lily, imo. So I believe JRK wanted it to be clear that James and Lily were white hat characters in so far as that was possible in the JKR universe - all the world is grey afterall.

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I vehemently disagree with that statement! James was very pivotal! Snape's whole issue with Harry was directly tied to James. Also a lot of Harry's attitude and suspicions of Snape were based off his father and teacher's rivalry. Sirius's whole story came about directly from his friendship with James. James did have a lot of character development, but it was all second hand and implied. Much of it biased from Snape's point of view. Yet everyone else had fond memories of a loyal friend, great father, brave fighter of the dark arts, talented at Quidditch, handsome, reckless. Of Harry's two parents James actually gets the most airtime and development. And he's dead!
I agree that James was pivotal in the ways mentioned above - but also to the point I think JKR wanted to stress about good parents doing anything for their children (both Harry's parents gave their lives for him) and his telling his wife to get the baby and run while he made himself a doomed roadblock for the dark lord.


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Old September 19th, 2014, 9:08 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

I was just thinking about how Voldemort chose to personally deal with the Potters. We know that he sent Bellatrix et al after the Longbottoms who were trained aurors. Why, other than plot contrivance, did Voldemort go after the Potters himself? Was it because Lily was uber powerful, or it it more likely that it was James's pureblood status?


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Old September 20th, 2014, 2:18 am
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I was just thinking about how Voldemort chose to personally deal with the Potters. We know that he sent Bellatrix et al after the Longbottoms who were trained aurors. Why, other than plot contrivance, did Voldemort go after the Potters himself? Was it because Lily was uber powerful, or it it more likely that it was James's pureblood status?
My personal opinion is that Voldemort planned to go after the Longbottoms after taking care of the Potters. He intended to go after both personally, and likely told his inner circle such (though I don't believe he told them that Harry and Neville were the actual targets). When he disappeared, Bellatrix, knowing James and Lily had died (and thus were not responsible), but unwilling to believe that a baby had toppled the Dark Lord, deduced that the next names on his hit list (Frank and Alice) were somehow responsible.


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  #907  
Old September 20th, 2014, 3:06 am
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

There was that moment in Chamber of Secrets where Diary Tom noted to Harry that he and Harry even looked somewhat alike-- and Harry looks like James. This means that James would have also looked similar to young Tom Riddle. I think that was one factor in Voldemort fixating on Harry, whether he did so with awareness or subconsciously. Voldemort knew that he himself looked like his own father; a wizard who was their likeness having a son who could be the Prophecy Baby was probably to much of a lure for a guy who believed in destiny.

But I agree with cardinalguy that Voldemort would have likely tried to get both Harry and Neville, given the opportunity.


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  #908  
Old September 20th, 2014, 9:02 am
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I was just thinking about how Voldemort chose to personally deal with the Potters. We know that he sent Bellatrix et al after the Longbottoms who were trained aurors. Why, other than plot contrivance, did Voldemort go after the Potters himself? Was it because Lily was uber powerful, or it it more likely that it was James's pureblood status?
I think Voldemort came personally to Harry's home and killed the Potters, because he had chosen Harry as the child of the prophecy. So he wanted to kill Harry himself. He had to deal with Harry's parents, because Harry was only a baby then. What he never expected was his AK to backfire as it did.


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  #909  
Old October 7th, 2014, 7:56 am
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I was just thinking about how Voldemort chose to personally deal with the Potters. We know that he sent Bellatrix et al after the Longbottoms who were trained aurors. Why, other than plot contrivance, did Voldemort go after the Potters himself? Was it because Lily was uber powerful, or it it more likely that it was James's pureblood status?
I've always thought it was because he knew Harry was a Half-Blood and therefore more like himself. Neville was completely a Pureblood, after all, but Voldemort didn't choose him, so the blood-status of James must not have been important either.

I don't think it had anything to do with Lily or James, although he did try to get them to join him and they refused. I don't think it was revenge for that either, but because of the Prophecy alone.

JKR was very roundabout when she talked about it, but the main point is whether Neville's parents would have sacrificed themselves for Neville as Lily did for Harry, giving him the magical blood protection.

The original link to JKR's website isn't working, but here's the quote from JKR:

http://www.harrypotterspage.com/foru...showtopic=3959

Quote:
In effect, the prophecy gave Voldemort the choice of two candidates for his possible nemesis. In choosing which boy to murder, he was also (without realising it) choosing which boy to anoint as the Chosen One – to give him tools no other wizard possessed – the scar and the ability it conferred, a magical window into Voldemort's mind.

So what would have happened if Voldemort had decided that the pure-blood, not the half-blood, was the bigger threat? What would have happened if he had attacked Neville instead? Harry wonders this during the course of 'Half-Blood Prince' and concludes, rightly, that the answer hinges on whether or not one of Neville's parents would have been able, or prepared, to die for their son in the way that Lily died for Harry. If they hadn't, Neville would have been killed outright. Had Frank or Alice thrown themselves in front of Neville, however, the killing curse would have rebounded just as it did in Harry's case, and Neville would have been the one who survived with the lightning scar. What would this have meant? Would a Neville bearing the lightning scar have been as successful at evading Voldemort as Harry has been? Would Neville have had the qualities that have enabled Harry to remain strong and sane throughout all of his many ordeals? Although Dumbledore does not say as much, he does not believe so: he believes Voldemort did indeed choose the boy most likely to be able to topple him, for Harry's survival has not depended wholly or even mainly upon his scar.

So where does this leave Neville, the boy who was so nearly King? Well, it does not give him either hidden powers or a mysterious destiny. He remains a 'normal' wizarding boy, albeit one with a past, in its way, as tragic as Harry's. As you saw in 'Order of the Phoenix,' however, Neville is not without his own latent strengths. It remains to be seen how he will feel if he ever finds out how close he came to being the Chosen One.

Some of you, who have been convinced that the prophecy marked Neville, in some mystical fashion, for a fate intertwined with Harry's, may find this answer rather dull. Yet I was making what I felt was a significant point about Harry and Voldemort, and about prophecies themselves, in showing Neville as the also-ran. If neither boy was 'pre-ordained' before Voldemort's attack to become his possible vanquisher, then the prophecy (like the one the witches make to Macbeth, if anyone has read the play of the same name) becomes the catalyst for a situation that would never have occurred if it had not been made. Harry is propelled into a terrifying position he might never have sought, while Neville remains the tantalising 'might-have-been'. Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.

Of course, none of this should be taken to mean that Neville does not have a significant part to play in the last two novels, or the fight against Voldemort. As for the prophecy itself, it remains ambiguous, not only to readers, but to my characters. Prophecies (think of Nostradamus!) are usually open to many different interpretations. That is both their strength and their weakness.


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  #910  
Old October 17th, 2014, 5:15 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

I thought Voldemort sent Bella after the Longbottoms to torture them for information rather than having anything to do with their potentially being associated with the prophecy.

If I recall correctly, when Snape went crying to Dumbledore for help, he said 'he thinks it's her' or something along those lines - meaning that Voldemort had decided on the Potters. As a plot point, Snape should have just taken a posse and killed Harry and James himself, since he didn't give two twigs about them at the time. Then Voldy would have no reason to chase down Lily and Snape could have stayed in his master's good graces.

But that point aside, I think Snape made it clear that the only interest Voldy had was in the Potters and that is why he went after them himself.


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  #911  
Old October 17th, 2014, 6:31 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I thought Voldemort sent Bella after the Longbottoms to torture them for information rather than having anything to do with their potentially being associated with the prophecy.
I think Bellatrix and co. went after the Longbottoms because they thought Frank and Alice had information on what had happened to Voldemort. Wasn't that what was said at their trial? Bellatrix herself boasted a couple of times about trying to find him - which seems to tally with that - she tried to find Voldemort by torturing the Longbottoms for information about his whereabouts.

Quote:
If I recall correctly, when Snape went crying to Dumbledore for help, he said 'he thinks it's her' or something along those lines - meaning that Voldemort had decided on the Potters. As a plot point, Snape should have just taken a posse and killed Harry and James himself, since he didn't give two twigs about them at the time. Then Voldy would have no reason to chase down Lily and Snape could have stayed in his master's good graces.
If Voldemort intended to kill the prophesied threat himself, then Snape wouldn't have stayed in his master's good graces by killing Harry. And how could he be sure his posse of murderers wouldn't kill Lily, too, especially as she would have stood and fought against them?

Quote:
But that point aside, I think Snape made it clear that the only interest Voldy had was in the Potters and that is why he went after them himself.
I tend to think Voldemort prioritised the Potters. He knew that as soon as he went for one family, Dumbledore would have the other family under twenty four hour guard, or even out of the country. I think he would have killed the other child as soon as he got the opportunity. Why leave it to a fifty-fifty chance that he had the right child, when both of them met the criteria for the prophecy? The Potters were Voldemort's immediate concern and the Longbottoms weren't much more than slugs to Snape. Voldemort thought that Harry was the more likely choice, but I think he would also have killed Neville, just in case.


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  #912  
Old October 19th, 2014, 9:05 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

Voldemort probably went after Harry first because Harry was a Half-Blood like Voldemort was. Maybe he figured "Well, being a Half-Blood kept me from being an inbred idiot like the rest of my Maternal family so maybe being a Half-Blood will make him strong too. Better go for him first."

It was pure random chance that things worked out as well as they did for Harry to survive though and the love protection.


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  #913  
Old October 21st, 2014, 9:31 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

I wonder if it simply came down to the fact that the Longbottoms were Aurors and the Potters were not. They both defied him three times but the potters did it out of loyalty to Dumbledore and the Longbottoms did because that was their jobs. James and Lily wanted to prevent Voldemort from winning the war and were willing to risk their lives to do so. The Longbottoms fought him because it was their duty as Aurors. Maybe to Voldemort that made the Potters more of a threat and their son more likely to be the chosen one.

James must have tried wandless magic to defend his family but I feel that for James like for most wizards wandless magic is not as easily controlled and he simply did his best for his family and died trying.


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Old November 25th, 2014, 2:06 am
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I vehemently disagree with that statement! James was very pivotal! Snape's whole issue with Harry was directly tied to James. Also a lot of Harry's attitude and suspicions of Snape were based off his father and teacher's rivalry. Sirius's whole story came about directly from his friendship with James. James did have a lot of character development, but it was all second hand and implied. Much of it biased from Snape's point of view. Yet everyone else had fond memories of a loyal friend, great father, brave fighter of the dark arts, talented at Quidditch, handsome, reckless. Of Harry's two parents James actually gets the most airtime and development. And he's dead!
I agree. It's hard because the only times we see James, real James not ghost James; is through Snape's memory.

Imagine if we met Harry through Draco's memories? Or Ron through Draco's memories. Better yet imagine if we met Ron through Mclaggen's memories.

I think James was a very import character, and if we'd seen any of the Marauders memories I think we would have seen a more complete picture of James.

I do think a lot of Snape's hatred of James is displaced anger at Lily. I think Snape completely blames James (and himself) for his loss of Lily. I don't think Snape really ever emotionally processed that Lily really did love James.


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Old November 30th, 2014, 6:33 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
Also a lot of Harry's attitude and suspicions of Snape were based off his father and teacher's rivalry.
Perhaps later, but at first (e.g. SS) Harry had no bias against Snape for his rivalry with James because he didn't know about it. I think Harry's attitude and suspicions of Snape are based on initial, instant animosity towards Harry from Snape (from Harry's perspective, unprovoked). Though we know that Snape's apparent dislike of Harry is steeped in dislike of James, Harry does not know of this relationship until after he develops his own, independent hatred of Snape.
Quote:
Originally Posted by flimseycauldron
James did have a lot of character development, but it was all second hand and implied. Much of it biased from Snape's point of view. Yet everyone else had fond memories of a loyal friend, great father, brave fighter of the dark arts, talented at Quidditch, handsome, reckless. Of Harry's two parents James actually gets the most airtime and development. And he's dead!
I would say that James's character development is biased from Snape's (negatively) and his friends' (positively). Sirius and Lupin tend to glorify James as much as Snape condemns him. Neither is impartial. As Blackcatsmeow says, the only unbiased James we see is in Snape's Worst Memory and, arguably, his 'shadows' from Priori Incantatem and the Resurrection Stone - none of which are, I believe, complete representations of his character that we can fairly use to paint a full picture. I feel that James is often unfairly categorized by the 15 year-old we see in Snape's Worst Memory, for while this is clearly one side of James it does not explain his growth over the preceding years. I think his 'shadows' imply growth of character and maturity, but how much of that is a result of death, magic, and associated wisdom? As such, I tend to strike a balance between the extremes of memory vs. shadows and Snape's perception vs. friends/acquaintances. It is not perfect, but this interpretation, for me, accounts for the many unknowns we have about James and a rather "innocent until proven guilty" mindset.
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Imagine if we met Harry through Draco's memories? Or Ron through Draco's memories. Better yet imagine if we met Ron through Mclaggen's memories.
But, importantly, not just from Draco's, but Ron's, Hermione's, Hagrid's, Tonks's. That balanced but doubly biased picture of Harry would be akin to what we have for James.


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Old April 4th, 2015, 10:51 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

The opinions we got were biased. But the important factswere also available to us and those were also supposed to tell a lot about his character. For example, the fact that his patronus was the same as Harry's - and all that means for Harry and how it would relate to James is a fact set out by Rowling. So we knew a lot from James through the facts we learned - the 'what'.

On the whole, he was the greatest character never to live in the books, in my view anyway.


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