On a fateful Halloween night 36 years ago, a horrible, dark wizard that called himself Voldemort broke past the Potters’ Fidelius Charm in order to guarantee himself a long life by murdering the Chosen One, the wizard destined to defeat him. Although he didn’t achieve his goal, he committed two appalling assassinations: Lily and James Potter.
The married couple was a match made in heaven. They met at Hogwarts in 1971, and having both been sorted into Gryffindor, the two became close friends over the years. In their seventh year, they started dating. James was close friends with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew (the man who would ultimately lead to their tragic demise). Lily grew close with Marlene McKinnon, Mary MacDonald, and Severus Snape, who was in love with Lily and begged Voldemort to spare her life. Neither the love of their friends nor their desperate pleas would stop Voldemort from breaking into the Potter family’s home in Godric’s Hollow. Peter Pettigrew, the Secret-Keeper for the Potters’ Fidelius Charm, gave away their location to the Dark Lord.
James Potter was the first of the two to perish. As soon as he realized that Voldemort had penetrated their charm, he yelled for Lily to take Harry and run to a safe place. He did not have his wand with him at the time, but that was not going to stop him from attempting to protect his loved ones. James Potter died believing that his wife and son would escape. Tragically, he was wrong. Lily joined him shortly after.
Voldemort went to the upstairs of the Potter home to find Lily trying to barricade Harry and herself into her son’s nursery. Upon realizing that the beast—hardly a human anymore—was in the room, Lily placed Harry into the crib behind her and attempted to protect him. She begged for his life, pleading that Voldemort spare her son, whom she loved more than anything else. Lily Potter was murdered after three warnings to stand aside. However, her efforts were not in vain. We all know the story of the Chosen One. Lily’s loving sacrifice is what truly allowed Harry Potter to live. Her sacrifices made Voldemort’s curse backfire, sending him into hiding for sixteen years. The house in which these heroic and historical events took place still lies in Godric’s Hollow and can be visited by the public.
Although they may be gone, their bravery and sacrifice left a dramatic imprint on our world. Their contributions ultimately enabled Harry Potter, their beloved son, to end the reign of Voldemort when their little baby boy grew into a young adult. Though we should enjoy the Halloween festivities, let us not forget Lily and James Potter. May we keep them in our hearts and let their legacy live on, and always remember that love will conquer all. Here’s to the Man Who Cared and the Woman Who Protected.