James Vs. Severus

Not mine, but it proves a good point....

Chapter 1

Potter or Snape?

First off, let’s talk about the Severus-James conflict.

I think we might want to keep in mind that conflict is a two way street, and because James has been, well, dead for the entire series, we’ve only seen the Severus-James conflict from one way— namely, Severus’s most likely biased perspective. I think it’s fair to say that if Severus had been a perfectly peachy little ball of sunshine, this conflict probably wouldn’t have existed. Severus was understandably embittered by James’s seemingly perfect life. To him, James seemed to be the epitome of everything he was decidedly not— rich, popular, well-liked and admired by all, appreciated by teachers, swooned over by girls, a Quidditch hero, loved by his father and mother, the classic “golden boy”. At any rate, he wasn’t going to be looking at anything James did through rose-colored glasses, and he probably made that quite explicit to James. As Remus said, “he never lost an opportunity to curse James”. Obviously, though, he wouldn’t gladly show Harry what he had done to James.

On the other hand, James thought Severus had the one thing he couldn’t have— a friendship with Lily Evans. He, too, was understandably jealous, and he definitely didn’t make Severus’s life easy.

Mix all that together with a bit of James’s pride (his inability to let Snape’s curses slide) and his friends’ influence, and I think that makes a satisfactory amount of conflict.

My point is that both of them had their reasons to be bitter and hate each other, and that we should take Severus’s memories with a grain of salt— Severus is, I think we can agree, based on his track record, definitely not a completely emotionless and impartial judge of people.

In the rest of this post that will most likely end up as an impossibly long essay, I’d like to try to show that James Potter is, as [most] people are, a three-dimensional human being and character, complete with flaws and virtues. This was not meant to be— and I’m going to do my best to abstain from making it— a comparison between James and Severus Snape, a battle to see who deserved Lily Evans more, because I think only Lily would be able to provide an answer to that question.

Anyway, hopefully, at the end of this (if you ever reach the end…), you’ll be able to understand why we James Potter fangirls love him so bloody much.
I love James Potter because he’s ridiculously attractive and impossibly drool-worthy and a Quidditch god. However, this just makes me look incredibly vain and shallow, so we’re just going to skip over this one…

I love James Potter because of all his virtues. We can list a few; for example, his sense of humor, his talent for magic, his knack for mischief, his responsibility (after all, Head Boy isn’t chosen arbitrarily), etc.

I love James Potter because he was intensely loyal to his friends. JK Rowling once said, if I remember correctly, that James, although he himself was unemployed as a full-time member of the Order of the Phoenix, used some of the money he inherited from his parents to support Remus, who was also unemployed because he was a werewolf. Also, when James was asked whom he wanted their Secret Keeper to be, even though Dumbledore was an option, James first insisted upon using Sirius, his best friend, and later agreed upon using Peter Pettigrew instead. From this, we can see James’s wholehearted and unreserved (although perhaps mistaken) trust in his friends. As Remus Lupin once said, James “would have regarded it as the height of dishonor to mistrust his friends”.

I love James Potter because of his sense of right and wrong. James, although he was pureblood, was disgusted with prejudice toward Muggle-borns and werewolves. In the scene in which Severus called Lily a Mud-blood, James’s appalled reply to Lily’s accusation that he was no better than Severus was that he would never call Lily a Mud-blood. Also, James, even though he might not want to at times, usually ends up doing the right thing. Take, for example, that time when Sirius played a prank on Severus to get him to come to the Shrieking Shack when Remus was transforming; James was the one who pulled Snape back, at risk to his own life. Through this action, James makes it clear that, despite his rather obvious hatred of Severus, he will not stand by and allow Severus to die.

I love James Potter in spite of— actually, because of— his flaws. As we’ve all been told millions of times, no one is perfect, and I think you’d all agree with me when I say that James Potter is not perfect. James Potter’s really nowhere near perfect, but he’s real. I don’t mean to justify James’s actions, because many of them were unjustifiable, but, looking from his perspective, James was born to wealthy, old, pureblood, presumably well-respected parents. He was their only child, and he was adored, cherished, pampered, and yes, spoiled and arrogant. Yes, he was very, very unkind to Severus at school; yes, he made Severus’s life miserable in as many ways as he could; yes, as we saw, he bullied Severus for amusement occasionally. Honestly, though, who has ever met a person who has truthfully never been a jerk to anyone at any point in his/ her life? I will confess that I have cruelly mocked people behind their backs and that I have been incredibly rude to people more than once. If making fun of someone marks one a bad person and a despicable human being for life, then I’m definitely— excuse my language— more than damned. So, through my eyes, the eyes of a flawed human being, I think James’s flaws and his history makes him all the more real and even endearing.

I love James Potter because he loved Lily Evans, and he was willing to change for her. Let’s look at this quote from the Mud-blood scene: “‘What is it with her?’ James asked, trying and failing to look as though this was a throwaway question of no importance to him.” After Sirius remarks that she probably thinks he’s conceited, James looks furious. James truly cares what Lily thinks of him, and, given that Remus once said that he deflated his head in 7th year and stopped hexing people for the heck of it, he seems to have changed for her. I also think it’s undeniable that James and Lily loved each other deeply; look at how happy they were together. During the First Wizarding War, Lily claims that James tried not to show his growing worry out of genuine concern for her happiness and well-being. And if you need more proof, he, after all, died for her, making the ultimate courageous sacrifice. His last words were “Lily, take Harry and go! Run! I’ll hold him off.” James was completely willing to exchange his life for hers.

I love James Potter because Lily Evans loved him. I don’t think a single one of you would ever marry a man you hate, a guy whom you consider to be the most arrogant and horrible and absolutely loathsome of all mankind. And if you wouldn’t do that, I really don’t think Lily Evans, who seems to be a very intelligent young woman, would either. So James must have changed, and he must have changed enough to be satisfactory— actually, more than satisfactory, seeing as she probably had quite a bit of choice in boys to date— to her tastes. Therefore, I don’t believe for a second that he was undeserving of her love. Lily’s a smart girl, she can and did make her choice, and personally, I think it was a darn good choice, too. And besides, I doubt she would’ve named her son after him if he was really that terrible….

Lastly, I love James Potter because he is Harry’s father. Now, this probably seems either obvious or random to you, but I recently read a post about James Potter being undeserving to be in the forest with Sirius, Remus, and Lily because he was only a “sperm donor” to Harry, only giving him a cloak and bad eyesight. If we ignore my initial outrage to this post, I think this was really a rather interesting take on the usual James-Potter-is-an-arrogant-loser-and-deserved-to-die-a-painful-death argument. But my response to this is that James didn’t just give Harry a Y chromosome. He told Lily to take Harry and run. He died for Lily, hoping that she would be able to run away and protect Harry. James died for Harry too. The reason that Lily’s protection is mentioned more is that Voldemort didn’t give James a chance to live, as he did with Lily— he just killed him. But that doesn’t change the fact that James’s intentions still stand; and with his dying breath, he intended to give up his life in order for Lily and Harry to live.

If you’re to take nothing away from this whole essay, which is very likely, given how long it was, I just wanted to say that I love James Potter because he was a jerk when he was a teenager, just like many people were. I love James Potter because he changed, which is something that doesn’t apply to quite as many people. And I love James Potter because he became a much better, almost ideal man and husband and father, which is something rather few can say.


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