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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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  #1  
Old January 8th, 2010, 8:21 am
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James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

Welcome, welcome to the fourth instalment of this thread!


For reference:
version one
version two
version three

As Harry’s father James Potter has a big influence on the books, especially because Harry looks exactly like him – except for his eyes. The HPL describes him as “bold, even a bit cocky; at age 15, he was arrogant and somewhat cruel”. James Potter was the only child of an extremely wealthy pure-blood family. Since he had a brilliant mind and was an excellent Quidditch player it doesn’t come as a surprise that he had a remarkable ego as well. His feud with Severus Snape went on after his death and Harry sees his less amiable side in Snape's Worst Memory. He was one of the Map makers and was hardly ever seen without his best friend Sirius Black. They spent a lot of time in detention and yet, James became Head Boy without being a Prefect before, and after deflating his head a bit, Lily Evans dated and eventually married him. But James had an admirable side as well. He and his friends went through a time-consuming and dangerous magical process in order to help Remus Lupin at the time of the full moon. James became an Animagus at fifteen, an extraordinary accomplishment. He was brave, joined the Order of the Phoenix right after school and died protecting his family. Over a decade after he died, he still influences the lives of his son and his arch-enemy Severus Snape.

Old and new study questions
  1. What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?
  2. Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?
  3. Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?
  4. What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?
  5. James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?
  6. Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?
  7. James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?
  8. We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?
  9. What was James’ relationship to Lily Evans/Sirius Black/Peter Pettigrew/Remus Lupin/Albus Dumbledore/Minerva McGonagall/Frank and Alice Longbottom?
  10. How did DH change your view on James Potter?
  11. How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?
  12. James supported his friend Remus Lupin financially after school. How do you interpret this piece of information?
  13. James and Lily were full-time Order members. How long do you think they kept fighting before they went into hiding? What does this say about James' character?


AS THIS IS STILL A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL AND SENSITIVE TOPIC WE WOULD LIKE TO ASK EVERYONE TO PLEASE BE SENSITIVE TO OTHERS' OPINIONS. THIS MEANS NO GLOATING AS WELL AS NO BASHING. CONSEQUENCES WILL BE SEVERE AND POSTERS OF THIS THREAD ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO READ THE FOLLOWING THREADS CAREFULLY:

How to have a pleasant conversation on any topic and REVISED: Character Bashing/Worship: aka Shades of Gray

IF YOU CANNOT ABIDE BY THE RULES AND IGNORE IN-THREAD WARNINGS BY STAFF YOU MAY BE REMOVED FOR UP TO 90 DAYS FROM LEGILIMENCY STUDIES!


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  #2  
Old January 8th, 2010, 12:06 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

[*]What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?

Strengths - His loyalty to Sirius.

Weakness - Prejudice, narrow mindedness, a slight tendency to be cruel and his insensitivity to people; his inability to assess people correctly; to see them for what they are.

[*]Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?

Let me put it this way. I think James had an ulterior motive to save Snape at that time. At that time the people involved who would be punished and very severely were his closest friends. So, in this incident, I think James had an ulterior motive.

[*]Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?

I think Dumbledore chose James so that he may develop some responsibility and stop hexing people and doing what he liked for the heck of it. I don't think Dumbledore succeeded anymore than he did by making Remus Prefect.

[*]What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?

Both foolish and brave. Foolish because knowing the wards were breeched, James should have summoned his wand first. Brave because he rushed at Voldemort knowing he would be killed and still doing that to give Lily some time to escape with Harry.

[*]James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?

Not a good role model at all IMO. Last time I answered he would be a good father, but now I wonder if he would accept Harry's choices had Harry been friends with a Slytherin for example. I wonder if James was a controlling type of person; he and Sirius for example seem to have fixed views on most things and I don't know if he would allow Harry the freedom to do what he wished. I think he influenced Harry pretty positively for all that until the SWM. Until the SWM, in Harry's eyes James was this Hero who was the best in everything; as a person, as a father, as a friend and as a husband. Someone to be proud of, someone to look up to.

After the SWM, I think that image slipped a lot; while I do think Harry loved his father, after the SWM it was despite his faults and not because he thought James was faultless.

[*]Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?

I think this was James' big mistake. He chose Sirius to show the world he trusted Sirius and that Sirius would never let him down. He was never so wrong. None of the Marauder's (except maybe Remus) including James and Lily were good judges of people IMO. I think he trusted Dumbledore; but wanted Dumbledore to know that he could trust Sirius in the same manner as well.

[*]James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?

I answered yes to this last time. I still think it was a good decision, for Sirius would protect Harry with his life; but he could also place Harry's life in jeopardy by his recklessness. So fifty/fifty this time IMO.

[*]We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?

No. I don't think so. I think the James we saw in the SWM was the James who died at Voldemort's hands.

[*]What was James’ relationship to Lily Evans/Sirius Black/Peter Pettigrew/Remus Lupin/Albus Dumbledore/Minerva McGonagall/Frank and Alice Longbottom?

Lily Evans - Husband

Sirius Black - Friend, brother and family

Peter - Friend at his command

Remus Lupin - Friend at his command

Albus Dumbledore - Headmaster and leader of the Order

McGonagall - Professor

Frank and Alice Longbottoms - Order members? Friends?

[*]How did DH change your view on James Potter?

It did not really.

[*]How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?

It made him jealous, angry and frustrated. I think he wanted to break up the friendship, which he succeeded in doing in the SWM.

[*]James supported his friend Remus Lupin financially after school. How do you interpret this piece of information?

I think it was Sirius he supported IIRC. Not Remus.

[*]James and Lily were full-time Order members. How long do you think they kept fighting before they went into hiding? What does this say about James' character?

From the time they left School until Lily became pregnant? They left School in 1978 and Lily must have become pregnant sometime in 79, which means they were fighting DEs and Voldemort for a period of one year IMO.


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  #3  
Old January 8th, 2010, 12:27 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

I voted for "Voldemort was the only one to blame", although I agree with some of the other options too - but this one seems the most inclusive.

1. What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?

From the little we see of him, I'd say his strengths include confidence and persistence (if he'd been discouraged by Lily's attitude, their romance might never have happened), and loyalty. His weaknesses appear to be arrogance, slipping into over-confidence at times, and perhaps too much pride at the expense of a more balanced/cooler attitude (evident, in my opinion, in the way he made the Secret Keeper decision).

2. Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?

I tend to think there is something of both motivations - as much as he hated Snape and openly bullied him, I don't think he knowingly just let him (or anyone) die - but I think he was also aware that he was helping Sirius as much as Severus.

3. Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?

I've no idea. We don't get to see the "improved" James in Hogwarts.

4. What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?

Desperate, I guess. He had no other choice, being wandless.

5. James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?

From what Harry saw of him? No. He was a nasty, arrogant bully in the only scene of his life Harry gets to see pre-DH. And as for what Harry hears about him, I don't think someone could be a role model, good or bad, merely through the stories told about them. If he'd survived and brought Harry up, I suppose he would have been an excellent father and role-model though.

6. Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?

We have a kind of an explanation for his choice - according to Lupin, James considered it a dishonesty not to trust his friends - so I'm deducing he did it on a principle.

7. James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?

I think it was.

8. We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?

We only see two scenes of his life - in one of them he is a bully (and despicable, in my opinion), in the other, he's a loving father who sacrifices his life for his wife and child - there must be some character growth there, but we never get to see it.

10. How did DH change your view on James Potter?

For the better.

11. How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?

I assume some jealousy played a part in his very gleeful "pranking" of Snape.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 1:35 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

[*]What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?

I think friendship and the bravery were his greatest strengths. I think loyalty to his old friend Peter blinded him from seeing Peter's true personality (of course, Lily, Sirius, and Lupin didn't see it either, so Peter must have been good at trickery).

[*]Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?

Both, but I think James would have saved Severus even if his friends had not been involved.

[*]Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?

Unfortunately we never find out. I suspect that it had something to do with James's leadership qualities at the height of the First Wizarding War, but to my disappointment we never learn anything about this. Dumbledore must have had a good reason to pass over all the Prefects for James.

[*]What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?

Brave. He was willing to sacrifice his life in the hope it would buy a few precious seconds for his family to escape. I was surprised both he and Lily were wandless, but I think Rowling wanted to emphasize their sacrifices as human beings instead of as magic-slinging wizards.

[*]James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?

I think he was a good role model. He fought against Voldemort and the Death Eaters, he was very loyal and supportive of his friends, he would risk his life to save even an enemy, he would die to protect his family. He was by no means perfect when he was young, but even that could be a life lesson for Harry.

[*]Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?

Mostly I think that James trusted Sirius with his life (and was quite right to), so why pick Dumbledore over Sirius? but I do think that there could be something about assessing Dumbledore as not necesssarily putting their lives as his highest priority. Dumbledore was operating on a Grand Scheme level, and wasn't necessarily looking for what was best for the Potters. Sirius could be trusted to look out for them, and was probably far more accessible to them in an emergency than Dumbledore.

[*]James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?

Yes, I think Sirius proved he would move heaven and earth to be there for Harry. He broke out of Azkaban for Harry. He died helping to save Harry.

[*]We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?

Yes, I think so. I wish we had seen far more. The tale of James is pretty thin. I liked the very little we got to see of adult James, but it was very little.

[*]What was James’ relationship to Lily Evans/Sirius Black/Peter Pettigrew/Remus Lupin/Albus Dumbledore/Minerva McGonagall/Frank and Alice Longbottom?

[*]How did DH change your view on James Potter?

It helped shed any doubts I might have had about adult James. It also created a mystery by bursting one of my assumptions about teen James: I had assumed due to SWM in OotP, wrongly it turned out, that James had gone around bullying Severus at school until the Prank happened, which was an eye opener for James who then straightened up and became a better person. DH revealed to me that actually the Prank happened first, and SWM was a reaction to it. So DH really changed my perspective on James at school; I like him a whole lot better after DH. But-- now I don't have any idea what made James straighten up so much he eventually became Head Boy. I wish Rowling had covered this.

[*]How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?

Poorly, IMO. I felt sorry for Lily, inflicted with Severus's and James's "attentions". but I think Sirius was right, people can be idiots at 15, and fortunately have the capacity to grow past that if they so choose.

[*]James supported his friend Remus Lupin financially after school. How do you interpret this piece of information?

I don't remember this from the book. But it doesn't surprise me. He took Sirius home with him when they were 16, so he seems to have been taught to look out for his friends when they need help.

[*]James and Lily were full-time Order members. How long do you think they kept fighting before they went into hiding? What does this say about James' character?

I think they stayed active until they went into hiding, which seems to have been when Lily was pregnant and Dumbledore learned about the Prophecy. It's pretty much what I would expect out of James-- or any Order member for that matter, as that's what they signed on to do-- fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 2:24 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

1. What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?

Strengths: Anti-pureblood bigotry, brave, loving husband and father ... and kind of a fun guy to be around
Weaknesses: Rather spoilt and definitely arrogant. I think the arrogance would have mellowed in him over time -- I like to think that marrying Lily and the responsibilities of fatherhood mellowed James.

2. Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?

Clearly he didn't want Remus and Sirius to get into trouble but I don't believe he would have wanted Severus to die.

3. Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?

No idea, since we aren't shown anything in the text about this.

4. What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?

Brave, absolutely. But it also seems to show him as terribly young and inexperienced rather than an experienced Order member. I do take Old Mother Crow's point that Rowling wanted to portray the humanity and vulnerability of James and Lily when they died, but I also think that wandless James is a plot inconsistency because in GoF Voldemort tells Harry that his father "died fighting bravely."

5. James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?

I think James would have been a good father. He comes over as tremendously protective, generous and loving towards his family and friends.

In Harry, the arrogance of James is tempered by other qualities, and I think that would have been the case even if Harry had not been abused by the Dursleys. So I think James would have learned something from his son, and vice versa.

6. Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?

Clearly not.

7. James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?

Yes.

8. We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?

I believe so, yes ... based on the very little that we have to go on. I don't take the view that James is forever frozen emotionally at the age of 15. If we took that view to its logical conclusions, everybody else in the Potterverse has never grown up beyond 15 either.

Frankly, though, we have to assume character growth ... but I am happy to make that assumption because I like Harry, and don't particularly want to dislike his father.

And if James was such a waste of space, I hardly think that Rowling would have included him in The Forest Again scene -- that very moving moment in which Harry is reunited with his dead parents and Remus and Sirius.

9. What was James’ relationship to Lily Evans/Sirius Black/Peter Pettigrew/Remus Lupin/Albus Dumbledore/Minerva McGonagall/Frank and Alice Longbottom?

Erm ... friends with all of them, tragically mistaken in Peter, a little doubtful of Dumbledore, it seems (not sure why).

10. How did DH change your view on James Potter?

I like him just a smidgeon more after the debacle of OotP. That SWM took place after the Prank does not reflect well on James, IMO ... however, the glimpses of him as Harry's dad, and in The Forest Again, mean that my originally negative opinion of James is not something set in stone.

11. How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?

Not well. But Severus was not blameless either.

12. James supported his friend Remus Lupin financially after school. How do you interpret this piece of information?

This is not in the books but apparently something Rowling said in an interview. I think well of James if that's the case.

13. James and Lily were full-time Order members. How long do you think they kept fighting before they went into hiding? What does this say about James' character?

Can't answer because there is not enough canon for me to frame an opinion on this.

Oh, and the poll:
I voted 'partly'. I would wish to qualify this because I would not this to be construed as me actually blaming James and Lily for their own deaths: blaming the victim is morally repugnant to me. But the poll says 'Can James be blamed in any way for what happened in 1981' not 'Can James be blamed for his own death'. Which is quite an important distinction in wording. James genuinely thought he was doing the right thing when he made the switch in SK. I don't think that makes him morally responsible or complicit in his own death, but it was a catastrophic failure in judgement. To be fair to James, nobody else had picked up on how devious Peter really was either. Not even Dumbledore.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 2:29 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

[*]What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?
James strength is probably his braveness, his pride and the undying trust in those he loves.
His weakness would be again, his pride and his anger
His impulsiveness can be put under both too[*]Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?
Again his impulsiveness. Whatever he had against Snape, James would never let Snape die just because he didnt like him. This is what Harry did for Draco with the Fiendfire.[*]Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?
The trust, the honesty , the braveness and that despite all the mischief he comes up with, he wouldnt actually hurt anyone.[*]What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?
I answered this in the poll but again, i think he was brave. He didnt care what happened to him so long as his wife and son were safe. I think he realised he wouldnt stand a chance, he was just buying them time.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 2:42 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

I voted for the first one.

Yes, he should have chosen Dumbledore as Secret Keeper.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 3:13 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

1. What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?

Strengths: He's loyal and determined to fight against the Dark Arts.
Weknesses: In this battle against the Dark Arts he's too fast with his judgement (eg putting all Slytherins in one pot instantly).

2. Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?

I think he was doing the right thing on instinct. All descriptions by his friends and teachers give me the same impression, that he was a genuinely good people. (I didn't miss the part when he was an arrogant boy at fifteen, but to me that isn't very important when I check back with real life people who mostly where too, but never could really hide that they're good persons either).

3. Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?

He recognized that James could bear great responsibility. Otherwise I don't think this nomination could have been possible.

4. What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?

Neither. I think it's kind of the only option a father has when his family is in danger. He couldn't have run, he couldn't have reached his wand in time.

5. James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?

I think he had become a good father. I like that the author included that Harry detected as teenager that his dad was far from perfect, just as every other teenager detects too around that age, when his dad is still alive. In DH we see how much Harry appreciated his father still and so, I think, recognized the difference between struggling through teenage times and being a bad person. He realized that parents have flaws, but still can be he good people he always thought they have been.

6. Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?

I don't think he didn't trust Dumbledore or did trust Sirius more - Sirius simply was his friend. If I could chose between a mentor and a friend to take care for my life, I likely choose the friend, too. That's one of the parts of JK's story very plausible to me.

7. James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?

Since he couldn't know that Sirius would spend most of his adult life in prison, it's imo a very reasonable decision. Also Sirius was growing out of his greater pranks the time he became Harry's godfather. Sirius was his best friend while James' family didn't live anymore. Whom to trust else?

8. We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?

We don't get that very clear on page, but to me JK indicates that showing James as arrogant bully in OotP was a way to make Harry realize how imperfect humans and even his dad are. I never got the impression we're supposed to believe that James was a bad person in his adult life and still struggle a lot with the fact that so many fans believe he was. I just really don't see that in the series.


[Left two questions out which are already answered above.]

9. How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?

I don't think we see enough to be very sure about it, but I think it's likely that his hate against the Slytherin boy Snape got a lot of addition once he figured that Lily and Snape genuine cared for each other. Jealousy could have played a part in him beating Snape even harder. That's said I believe many reasons played a role that these two never got over their mutual hate for each other.

10. James supported his friend Remus Lupin financially after school. How do you interpret this piece of information?

James is loyal to his friends. Looks very much in character to me and very plausible too (as also some suspected weeks or months in which Remus declined financial help from him).

11. James and Lily were full-time Order members. How long do you think they kept fighting before they went into hiding? What does this say about James' character?

Besides his family, fighting against the Dark Arts seemed to be what James lived for. From all we know James and Lily seem to have been far from the obsession we saw in Barty Crouch sen., but as said above for particular James seemed to have met the Dark Arts with, perhaps, a too fast suspicion when he jumps on a boy instantly who likes to be in Slytherin. (He wasn't very wrong about that boy, but he couldn't have known at first sight).


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Old January 8th, 2010, 3:38 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

Quote:
What are James' greatest strengths? What his greatest weaknesses?
He had no weaknesses. His strengths were compassion, friendliness, humor and familial responsibility.

Quote:
Do you think James had ulterior motives for saving Snape in the Shack incident or was he doing the right thing on instinct?
Doing the right thing on instinct.

Quote:
Which qualities do you think made Dumbledore choose James as Head Boy?
Leadership, maturity, likeability, good humor.

Quote:
What do you think about James throwing himself in Voldemort's way and dying wandless? Foolish or very brave or both?
It is what brave heroes do in the circumstances. He didn't need a wand to die. But he needed his body to create a temporary roadblock.

Quote:
James is Harry’s father but he died before Harry had the chance to get to know him. Is he a good role model? Would he have become a good father? How has he influenced Harry’s present life?
He was a good role model, he had become a good father and would carry on being one and he influenced Harry greatly in many ways. Harry picked up traits from his dad, but he also appreciated him for the man he was which gave him something to model himself upon.

Quote:
Why did James choose Sirius over Dumbledore as Secret Keeper? Didn’t he trust Dumbledore with his life?
He didn't. He chose Peter over Dumbledore. I doubt he trusted Dumbledore with his life or the lives of his family. Dumbledore was rumored to be a shady guy - making friendly with evildoers (Grindelwald) and the Potters knew this.

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James made Sirius Harry’s godfather. Was this a good decision?
Yes.

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We got bits and pieces of James’ life. Has he matured over the years and become a better person?
He matured like everyone else. I don't think he was a bad person, so there was no need to get better. He just grew up.

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How did DH change your view on James Potter?
It didn't. It enlarged on one thing - his showing up in the clothes he'd worn back in 1981 when he died showed him to be the: Best. Dad. Ever.

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How did Lily's friendship with Snape influence James' behaviour?
As between kids, it appeared to cause the expected friction - mainly because of who Snape was at the time in James' mind. He didn't seem to have friction with anyone else in particular, which based on my view of the canon was because Snape had dark interests and Lily's other friends did not. He likely worried that Lily would be negatively influenced. He didn't like a person like that having a crush on Lily or being friends with her. He had no right to dictate, but he had a right to his opinion which I fully agree with, so to me, it was all good.

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James supported his friend Remus Lupin financially after school. How do you interpret this piece of information?
That was nice of him.

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James and Lily were full-time Order members. How long do you think they kept fighting before they went into hiding? What does this say about James' character?
They fought until she became pregnant at which time they did the responsible thing and retired from the war. I think they went into actual 'hiding' when they found out Voldemort was going to try to attack them. To me it says that James was a mature and responsible person - with a good head on his shoulders. He had his priorities straight.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 5:44 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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He had no weaknesses.
Seriously, Wick?

Since practically every other character in the Potterverse is portrayed as a realistic mixture of good points and flaws, I wonder what makes James the exception.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 5:57 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Seriously, Wick?

Since practically every other character in the Potterverse is portrayed as a realistic mixture of good points and flaws, I wonder what makes James the exception.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.
I was also thinking that, but I didn't want to derail the thread. If James has no weaknesses, when literally every other character in the books -- Dumbledore included -- does, then he's the glaring Gary Stu of Harry Potter and Jo should be ashamed of herself for creating such an unrealistic character. James would have to be a saint descended from the Heavens Above if he doesn't have one single character flaw.

IMO, I definitely think that two flaws of James as a teenager would have to be presumptuousness and arrogance. He was a bit overconfident as a student at Hogwarts (perhaps due to the fact that he came from a rich, well-respected family). We also know that his arrogance led to needlessly humiliating others simply to show how "cool" he was. We don't have a clear picture of James as an adult beyond his actions before Voldemort killed him, but even some of the most admirable people in the world have flaws. For all we know, James could have still been a bit presumptuous, particularly by associating all Slytherins with the Dark Arts.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 6:06 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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I was also thinking that, but I didn't want to derail the thread.
I don't want to derail it either. And I agree with your post.

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IMO, I definitely think that two flaws of James as a teenager would have to be presumptuousness and arrogance. He was a bit overconfident as a student at Hogwarts (perhaps due to the fact that he came from a rich, well-respected family).
I don't see any indication that James thought highly of himself because he was rich. (Not an awful lot is made of the Potters' wealth in the text). I do think he was tremendously proud of his Gryffindor lineage. Which is all fine and dandy, of course. But I think it's plain in the text that certain kids from certain Houses thought their House was the best -- a perfectly natural feeling -- but which also led them to look down on other Houses -- which was unfortunate.

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We also know that his arrogance led to needlessly humiliating others simply to show how "cool" he was. We don't have a clear picture of James as an adult beyond his actions before Voldemort killed him, but even some of the most admirable people in the world have flaws. For all we know, James could have still been a bit presumptuous, particularly by associating all Slytherins with the Dark Arts.
I agree.

One thing that intrigues me is when James's parents died (same with Lily). I wonder how this affected him. Surely the experience of being bereaved would have made him grow up very fast ... especially when combined with the gathering clouds of the First War. His final years must have been pretty dark and tense at times, or at least had dark and tense moments.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 6:24 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

Well, I think that James' wealth could have been a contributor to this cocky attitude when he was young (which he most likely outgrew as an adult), because being in an environment in which everything is provided to you must negatively impact the ego of a child who doesn't also learn to temper pride with humbleness. Beyond simply being in a good House, we know that James also seemed to love flaunting his skills, from the "Quidditch hair" to how he would needlessly hex other students, which appears to be behavior that comes from a child who has never been grounded by much hardship for some perspective, a child who knows that he can't face any retribution.

I believe that, initially, James was very much like the Draco Malfoy of his son's generation: he let a variety of advantages, including the economic ones, inflate his sense of pride. Unlike Malfoy, he was able to overcome this -- possibly by courting Lilly, who taught him that not everyone is impressed by the rich, popular kids. Maybe Harry never made much of a fuss over the Potter fortune, but James and Harry must have had some differences. Furthermore, Harry's upbringing with the Dursleys, a family that wasn't nearly as well-to-do as the Potters, made him appreciate the smaller, less material things. This lesson didn't come so soon for his father.



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Old January 8th, 2010, 7:06 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

JKR suggested that James parents treated him as an "extra treasure." This would probably have contributed to his attitude along with his wealth and lineage.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 7:13 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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JKR suggested that James parents treated him as an "extra treasure." This would probably have contributed to his attitude along with his wealth and lineage.
Constant pampering and the comfort of easy money isn't exactly the best thing for an ego, especially if that ego belongs to a young kid. We do know that James had some pride issues at Hogwarts, which led to actions that have already been discussed: assuming that Lilly would automatically fancy him due to his background, needlessly hexing students in the hallways, etc. Of course, he had some admirable qualities, but he never seemed to have the right balance as a teenager.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 7:13 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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For all we know, James could have still been a bit presumptuous, particularly by associating all Slytherins with the Dark Arts.
I'm not sure James ever did that, even when young. He did seem to disdain Slytherin on the train when he was eleven, but doesn't give any reason, even "all Slytherin's are into Dark Arts". Teen James lived in a world that was increasingly Death Eater vs. The Wizarding World, not Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. There is nothing to suggest that James adult life was taken up by old school rivalries or prejudices, given all the current real world darkness he had to contend with.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 7:28 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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I'm not sure James ever did that, even when young. He did seem to disdain Slytherin on the train when he was eleven, but doesn't give any reason, even "all Slytherin's are into Dark Arts". Teen James lived in a world that was increasingly Death Eater vs. The Wizarding World, not Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. There is nothing to suggest that James adult life was taken up by old school rivalries or prejudices, given all the current real world darkness he had to contend with.
Well, I did say could. because I highly doubt that Adult James had no flaws whatsoever. Perhaps I'm incorrect, but I recall reading a passage in which James seemed to generalize Slytherins as an older Hogwarts student. No, there is nothing to suggest that James took a few old prejudices with him (it's likely, given that Sirius was still prejudiced against Snape as an adult, even calling him by his school name), which is why it was simply a character flaw suggestion.

EDIT: IMO, there appears to be a generalization against Slytherins at Hogwarts (didn't Ron say something about Dark Wizards coming out of Slytherin House during one of the earlier books?), which is why I found their association with the Dark Arts a plausible reason for James disliking Snape so strongly. Yes, it seemed to be something that many students did, but I would still consider it a flaw individually.



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Old January 8th, 2010, 9:10 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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He had no weaknesses. His strengths were compassion, friendliness, humor and familial responsibility.
Exactly. He was very friendly, even to Wormtail, who finally betrayed him. And at school, he did a lot of wonderfully funny things. And finally, although he forgot his wand, he died as a true hero.


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Old January 8th, 2010, 9:17 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Exactly. He was very friendly, even to Wormtail, who finally betrayed him. And at school, he did a lot of wonderfully funny things. And finally, although he forgot his wand, he died as a true hero.
Are you agreeing that the character has no weaknesses/flaws, though? Even Dumbledore had flaws, despite his friendliness, bravery, etc. That's pretty much what a Mary Stu/Gary Stu is in literature, isn't it? I always wondered if Wormtail practically worshiping James due to his slippery nature as a companion had to do with him being a member of their group.

However, would one of those "wonderfully funny things" be hexing students for no reason? 'Cause that seems more like abuse than something that I would find hilarious. I suppose everything that Malfoy did to Harry was pretty hilarious, as well. lol


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Old January 8th, 2010, 9:20 pm
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Re: James Potter: Character Analysis v.4

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Are you agreeing that the character has no weaknesses/flaws, though? Even Dumbledore had flaws, despite his friendliness, bravery, etc. That's pretty much what a Mary Stu/Gary Stu is in literature, isn't it? I always wondered if Wormtail practically worshiping James due to his slippery nature as a companion had to do with him being a member of their group.

However, would one of those "wonderfully funny things" be hexing students for no reason? 'Cause that seems more like abuse than something that I would find hilarious. I suppose everything that Malfoy did to Harry was pretty hilarious, as well. lol
Precisely. That was the point of UselessCharmMaster's post: to point out how ridiculous is the assertion that James has no flaws.


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