In Defense of Prongs

September 11, 2018

When I read Snape's memory of James, I think I must've been as shocked as Harry was. Nobody had ever told us that his dad...his dad was a bully? Why did so many people love and support James? He wasn't any better than Draco!
In the wise words of Sir Sirius Black, "A lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it."

I don't know about you, but I can recall memories where I wasn't as nice to others as I could've been. Whether I was acting defensively or not is no excuse - and maybe you're more perfect than I am - but James was just a boy. Literally. He was 15 years old. I'd like to think that most of us have done something at 15 that we regretted. And I'd like to think that we wouldn't be held against it for our entire lives if we did do something stupid.

In defense of James Potter:

  • He eventually became Head Boy. I know what you're thinking: if Draco Malfoy could be a prefect and still cause trouble, how does that speak for James? I'd like to argue that such a position is far more competitive for Gryffindor, and to be Head Boy over the entire school - all prefects of all houses - says a lot about how he must've developed.
  • He - along with the other Marauders - learned how to transfigure themselves. A very difficult and impressive task for anyone, especially a child, but I find their reasoning more intriguing: the Marauders became animagi to make their werewolf friend feel less like an outsider. They too could turn into animals! He shouldn't be afraid or ashamed!
  • James was only 21 years old when he died. That is younger than me! At 21 years old, I was chasing boy bands and crying over my lack of dating life. James, on the other hand, was a father (and a good one at that). James was a pureblood, yet refused to join Voldemort when recruited.
  • He used his inheritance to support Remus, who found employment difficult due to his monthly changes. Rather than working a regular job himself, James joined the Order of the Phoenix because he knew that Voldemort's beliefs were inherently wrong, and he had to be part of the group to stop him.
  • When Sirius let a prank go too far, James protected Severus, thereby saving his life. A peer that he hated and distrusted, James still knew he couldn't let Snape just stumble upon Remus in full werewolf form.
  • James was a spoiled child. He was smart, talented, mischievous, and therefore arrogant, but he didn't stay that way. He had "deflated his head a bit" by his 7th year at Hogwarts, and became someone that Lily would want to date. And honestly, Dumbledore may trust Hagrid with his life, but I'd trust Lily with mine. If James was good in her eyes, he is good in mine.
It's so easy to look back at someone's life - whether fictional or not - and judge them based off of their mistakes. We do it all the time with literary characters, leaders of our countries, and ourselves. I'm not excusing James's bullying, arrogance, or trouble, but in this case, I think his good outweighed his bad. He chose to fight against Voldemort - and chose for the right reasons. Not because he wanted a girl's attention (although that seemed to be an added bonus), but because he knew that all people were equal. I may not forgive Snape's actions (which continued well into his adulthood), but I can forgive James for his.

Yours truly,

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