Why Did Lily Potter Let Herself Die? — Her Death from Her Point of View

In this new series from MuggleNet, we are exploring a variety of scenes from the Harry Potter series retold from different points of view. For our first post, I’ll be exploring Lily Potter’s death as Harry witnesses it in Voldemort’s memory in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Thus far, we know that Lily sacrificed herself to save her son in a calculated move to protect him from Voldemort. She was a gifted, intelligent Muggle-born with a big enough heart to care about a guy like Snape for far longer than she should have. We know Voldemort gave her a way to save herself, but she chose not to take it. The reason I want to rewrite this scene from her perspective is because Lily is arguably the Muggle-born witch who brought Voldemort down the first time. I don’t think we see that in Voldemort’s point of view. He sees Harry as the result of his demise, but it wasn’t baby Harry who cast the most powerful of spells that ripped him of his power—it was the Muggle-born girl he’d underestimated.

Here we go! (The original scene can be found on pp. 343 – 344 of Deathly Hallows.)

 

 

James lay on the floor sending puffs of smoke into the air for Harry to pop. His little hand stretched up. Had the smoke been solid, he would have caught it. Still, he squealed with delight as his soft skin passed through the magic clouds.

Lily would never tell James, but a small part of her relished this time they shared in hiding. Life had been so uncertain since before they’d married. Each moment they got together was a dream. But soon, very soon they would have to find a way to help the Order. Harry needed a safe place to grow up, and the only world in which that would be possible was a Voldemort-free one. With the Order’s death toll rising, she and James may very well be the only ones left to do the job. But we’re not going to wait that long.

Lily pushed through the door she was peeking through into the front room. “Time for bed.”

“Ah, not yet Mum.” James eyed her mischievously, but then he scooped Harry up and handed him to her. “Don’t be long, okay? We’ve got a lot to talk about.”

Lily carried Harry upstairs to his bedroom, which she’d had far too much time to decorate and fuss over. Harry yawned as she rocked him on her hip. “Too much fun, I see.” She kissed his head. “Never, my love. There is never too much fun to have. Remember that always.”

Harry pressed his cheek to her shoulder as his eyes fluttered closed. She rocked him for a bit longer. James was anxious to discuss their plans, but that meant tonight could be one of the last peaceful nights they had to be a semi-normal family.

There was a bang downstairs. It sounded like someone had blasted the door in. Lily carried a still sleepy but stirring Harry into the hall as James screamed, “Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”

Before she could call back, the snake hissed, “Avada Kedavra!”

There was a loud thump, and Lily let out a scream that issued from the depths of her soul. But she couldn’t lose it now, she had to keep her head.

The green light had glowed up the staircase. James had said to run, but run where? Her wand was downstairs in the kitchen. She couldn’t just let Voldemort come in and kill their son. Not Harry. She wouldn’t allow it.

Darting back into Harry’s room, she flicked the lock and slid a pile of boxes in front of the door to buy time for someone to hear her calls for help. Was Bathilda home or out on Order business? Even if she was, there wasn’t enough time for both Harry and Lily to live.

Lily kissed Harry’s forehead. He was awake now, but groggy. “Be brave, Harry. Mama loves you. Dada loves you. Always be brave,” she repeated before the bedroom door was blown aside. Lily dropped Harry into the crib behind her and threw her arms out.

She didn’t have a wand, but that didn’t make her helpless. Voldemort must not anticipate her next move—for Harry’s sake.

“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!” She let herself cry. It was easy given her heart had broken with her husband’s death.

“Stand aside, you silly girl…stand aside, now.”

Lily was nearly tempted to smile. Voldemort truly was the fool that Dumbledore had always warned them about. And now the prophecy would come true and Harry would live. “Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead—”

“This is my last warning—”

“Not Harry!” She screamed with all her might. “Please…have mercy… have mercy…. Not Harry! Not Harry! Please—I’ll do anything—”

“Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!”

Just kill me, Lily thought. Why the wait? Why let me live when he’s killed so many others?

And then his wand raised and Lily had one fleeting moment of satisfied victory before the words that killed James spewed out and the room lit up with the deathly green light that meant Harry’s salvation.

 

 

I’m not saying that my rendition of the scene is what Lily was actually thinking in the moment. Only Jo knows that. But to me, Lily has always been that ultra-strong mother figure that paved the way for the likes of Mrs. Weasley and even Ginny. I like to think that Lily didn’t accidentally cast the most powerful spell, the one that didn’t require a wand or even magical ability. I like to think Lily, with her intense ability to love, outsmarted Voldemort and therefore led him to his first “death.”

What do you believe Lily Potter was thinking in the last moments of her life?

  • Noah Owen

    While I do think it is possible for Dumbledore to predict that Lily’s love would protect Harry, I doubt he had pondered the situation to much because the attack on the potters was unexpected. I also have a hard time believing that Dumbledore would tell James and Lily about the prophecy. This made it seemed like Lily’s sacrifice wasn’t out of love, I doubt that Lily in her last moments was thinking these things. I don’t see it as a genuine sacrifice if Dumbledore had told her what to do and if it was planned. It was stll well written and i found it enjoyable. I hope to see more things like this.

    • Ronnie Meadows

      I agree with you just said.

    • Nicole L Rivera

      Thank you! We hope to have more put soon. 🙂

  • PROBLEM?

    My guess is Lily/Dumbledore know of some spell so powerful that it can cast a powerful protection towards someone. However in order to achieve such, a huge sacrifice must done as condition to use such enchantment.
    My guess also is that they ALREADY performed the necessary requirements in order to ACTIVATE the spell but LEFT OUT the final sacrifice to complete the activation of the spell.

    My other guess is that Lily & Dumbledore thought that this spell must be activate ONLY as a LAST RESORT in case that Voldemort reached their hiding place.

    Please note, it’s not necessarily a spell cast immediately. There must be preparations made to achieve it.

    • Noah Owen

      It’s been a while since I’ve read the books… so correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t remember it every being said that there were preparations in place. Also when Harry sacrifices himself in the forbidden forest there were no preparations mentioned leading up to that.

      • Ronnie Meadows

        Unless you count the Snitch… “I open at the close.”

      • ALameHippogriff

        I also don’t remember anything about preparations needing to be made ahead of time for the love protection spell. My interpretation was that there was no intention or knowledge on Lily’s part that her sacrifice would be protecting Harry. I read it as a desperate, loving mother simply reacting the way any parent would–giving one last stand for her child. The fact that this simple motherly instinct gave rise to an incredibly powerful protection spell makes it all the more beautiful to me.

      • Nicole L Rivera

        Nothing was said. I believe Dumbledore did plan Harry’s sacrifice. Harry just didn’t know of the plans until the end.

      • PROBLEM?

        I said “my guess,” so it is just my hypothesis.

  • Fredster

    I get what you’re saying, but it makes me uncomfortable that Lilly essentially ‘puts on a show’ during final moments of her life. I get that knowing the consequences of her actions is supposed to be more powerful, but to me the opposite is true – that she knew it was useless but begged and pleaded all the same out of desperation, and in out of pure love cast the most powerful spell known to man

  • Cora Shinigami

    How about lily let herself get killed because the thought of her husband dead and her only child killed would leave her without family? Begging for Harrys life was all she could do, but she didn’t want to live without her husband and son

  • Elizabeth Crosman

    Most mothers would try to protect their children in any way possible, even if it’s just begging for their lives. Your theory is interesting, but not even necessary. I also think Dumbledore was a little surprised when Quirrelmort couldn’t touch Harry.