What job would they have had if they hadn't been fighting for the Order? (and after the war)

I am not asking about their money (which was already addressed here: Where did Harry's parents get all of their money from?), and I know they were “Full Time Fighters” for the Order. I am focused on the jobs they would have had after the war.

I can’t remember if it is addressed anywhere and I’d be really interested in finding out.

Lily being one of “the brightest” witch he ever taught according to Slughorn I would find it hard to believe that she didn’t envision her future after the war and didn’t plan for her career. After all, Hermione did and she was even more of a “Full Time Fighter” since she even left school before her last year.

“Hmpf. Yes, well. You shouldn’t have favorites as a teacher, of course, but she was one of mine. Your mother,” Slughorn added, in answer to Harry’s questioning look. “Lily Evans. One of the brightest I ever taught. Vivacious, you know. Charming girl. I used to tell her she ought to have been in my House. Very cheeky answers I used to get back too.”


Slughorn looked down at him in surprise. “You mustn’t think I’m prejudiced!” he said. “No, no, no! Haven’t I just said your mother was one of my all-time favorite students? And there was Dirk Cresswell in the year after her too—now Head of the Goblin Liaison Office, of course—another Muggle-born, a very gifted student, and still gives me excellent inside information on the goings-on at Gringotts!”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn)

Being in the SlugClub (and one of Slughorn favorites) I imagine Slughorn would have encouraged her to at least think about a possible career.

James wasn’t too dumb either, even if he was a bit too full of himself for a while.

“Well, I thought that paper was a piece of cake,” he heard Sirius say. “I’ll be surprised if I don’t get Outstanding on it at least.”
“Me too,” said James. He put his hand in his pocket and took out a struggling Golden Snitch.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)

Granted he’s the one saying he’s good so that could only be his ego talking, but no one contradicts him which implies they think so too. Plus, becoming an animagus on his own before even taking his OWLs also points to some serious skills. Also, he started becoming more responsible in seventh year, and could have started thinking about it:

“She started going out with him in seventh year,” said Lupin.
“Once James had deflated his head a bit,” said Sirius.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)

Additionally, all students apparently have to attend some kind of “career counselling” during their fifth year so they would have had to at least think about it.

All fifth years will be required to attend a short meeting with their Head of House during the first week of the Summer term, in which they will be given the opportunity to discuss their future careers. Times of individual appointments are listed below.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)

So, being skilled wizards (and career orientation being important in Potterverse), are their career choices mentioned anywhere?

NOTE: This question has also been asked (What did James and Lily Potter do for a living?) but was closed as a duplicate of the first question I cited. Apparently the OP was indeed focused on their revenue income. I am focused on the career choices.

  • 3
    This seems very opinion-based. As far as I'm aware the details of their career meeting have never been described.
    – Valorum
    Dec 8, 2016 at 12:56
  • 3
    @Valorum Well that's what I wanted to know: have these details been described anywhere ? I might have insisted a bit too much on why I thought they ought to have had career choices, I was trying to explain why I asked myself the question...
    – Cartolin
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:22
  • 5
    Is "trust-fund kid" a career choice?
    – Skooba
    Dec 8, 2016 at 18:01
  • 3
    Professional Quidditch would be a fair guess for James. Although it is just a guess. Dec 8, 2016 at 21:45
  • I seem to recall it being mentioned one time in the books that they were aurors (or at least that James was), but if this question is about what they would have done had they not died the night Voldemort did (and assuming Voldemort still 'died'), then IMO it's purely speculative and any answer will be opinion-based.
    – TylerH
    Dec 13, 2016 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


There is no canon evidence which answers this question that I know of. They are both spoken of as highly skilled and we know that James certainly had a good supply of cash, but their actual career foci don't seem to ever be clarified.

Likely possibilities include:

Aurors: Maybe they didn't plan for it, but if they had survived the war they'd have been well-prepared for this as a couple who "thrice defied" Lord Voldemort similarly to Frank and Alice Longbottom who were indeed employed as such. James, as an Animagus, could have had an edge in this in particular, similar to Tonks (exactly how useful becoming a stag could be I'm not sure, but it does speak of great skill).

Professional Quidditch would (as The Dark Lord suggested) be a suggestion for James.

Following in the footsteps of James's ancestors might include potion making or being a member of the Wizengamot (perhaps after a career as Aurors).

Based on information on Lily (her general magical skills, her good relationship with Slughorn her Potions teacher and her "unfailing" kindness) make me think Healer, but I'm definitely straying too far into opinion now.

Both were Head Boy and Girl at Hogwarts, so leadership skills were clearly recognised in them also.

  • 1
    Since there doesn't seem to be any canon indications, educated guesses will do, thanks! And I really like your idea of Lily as a healer !
    – Cartolin
    Dec 13, 2016 at 12:34
  • I think we can be fairly sure they were not Aurors. There are several references by characters to Neville's parents being so. It would be very unusual if during these conversations no-one said "They were Aurors like your parents Harry".
    – josh
    Mar 14, 2017 at 8:59
  • In addition, I think it is in another real flaw in JK's writing that she didn't give more details on his parent AND grandparents. If I was Harry I'd be asking anyone who knew my deceased parents what they were like, what they did etc etc etc...
    – josh
    Mar 14, 2017 at 9:01

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