James Potter

The father of Harry Potter, and nearly identical to him in appearance except with hazel eyes. He was a descendant of Ignotus Peverell and the only child of wealthy, elderly parents, who were very kind and who both died shortly after he left Hogwarts. James was a “pampered” child, and could be cocky and somewhat cruel in his childhood. He “deflated his head a bit” his seventh year, was named Head Boy, and started dating Lily Evans, who he later married. He was twenty when his son, Harry, was born on July 31, 1980.

At Hogwarts, James was very popular; he was a Quidditch chaser and rather liked to show off. He was best friends with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew; they were known for mischief and dubbed themselves the “Marauders”. When they learned that Lupin was a werewolf, James, Sirius, and Peter set out to become Animagi so they could join him; they succeeded in their fifth year; James earned the nickname “Prongs” because his Animagus form was a stag.

As popular as he was, James also had a bitter enemy at Hogwarts: Severus Snape. Sirius and Lupin attributed Snape’s attitude toward James to jealousy, though it was true that James started bullying Snape from the moment they met, mocking him and calling him “Snivellus”. However, when Sirius played a joke on Snape and sent him toward Lupin in his werewolf form, James stepped up and saved his life. Snape’s resulting life debt to James only made him hate James all the more, and when James ended up dating and marrying Lily – who Snape had loved his entire life – it sealed Snape’s hatred for good.

A lifelong despiser of the Dark Arts, James was extremely loyal to Dumbledore and fought fulltime for the Order of the Phoenix against Voldemort. Together he and Lily defied Voldemort three times, but a prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney marked Harry for death, and Voldemort came after the Potters. They were tipped off and used the Fidelius Charm to hide themselves, but James put his faith in the wrong person – his old friend Peter Pettigrew – and was betrayed. Voldemort killed him and Lily on October 31, 1981, in their borrowed cottage at Godric's Hollow.

Sirius Black

James Potter’s closest friend, Harry Potter’s godfather and an Animagus, Sirius Black was falsely accused of betrayal and murder and imprisoned in Azkaban.

Sirius Black was the elder of two boys born to an aristocratic family that was fiercely proud of its pureblood status and vehemently anti-Muggle. Unlike his younger brother Regulus and just about all of his ancestors, Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor and rejected his family’s belief in pure-blood supremacy. By the time he was sixteen, he had completely severed ties with his family and was literally blasted off of the Black family tree. Ironically, two members of the family he so reviled proved to be far braver than he thought.

At Hogwarts, Sirius became close friends with fellow Gryffindors James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus J. Lupin, a werewolf. To keep Remus company in his werewolf state, the three other boys secretly became Animagi during their fifth year. Given his name, it was probably no surprise that Sirius’s Animagus form was a large black dog. At each full moon, the Marauders: Padfoot (Sirius), Prongs (James), Moony (Lupin) and Wormtail (Pettigrew) explored the school, its grounds, and even the Forbidden Forest and recorded what they learned in a magical map they called the Marauder's Map.

After finishing Hogwarts, Sirius and the other three Marauders joined Dumbledore’s Order of the Phoenix, a small group of wizards and witches fighting to stop Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters’ reign of terror. During these desperate times, James Potter and Lily Evans married and started their family, unaware that a prophecy would cut their lives short. Soon after the death of James and Lily Potter, Sirius was framed by his old friend Peter Pettigrew for their betrayal and the murder of twelve Muggles during his attempt to escape Ministry law enforcement.

Twelve years later, Sirius escaped from Azkaban and convinced Harry and the Order of the Phoenix of his innocence; however, he was forced to remain a fugitive because there was no viable proof. This second captivity seems to have been more corrosive than Azkaban. Sirius chafed at his forced inaction. Harry longed for Sirius to be the father figure he craved, but Sirius seemed often more interested in regaining the camaraderie and urgency of his glory days.

Sirius was killed by his cousin Bellatrix in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries; his body fell through a mysterious veiled arch and could not be recovered.

In his youth, Sirius was good-looking in an elegant, casual way with dark hair and gray eyes; after his imprisonment he is often described as looking gaunt and unkempt.