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How old were Harry Potter's parents when Voldemort killed them?

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James and Lily's headstone (see in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book) states that they were both 21 years of age when they died.

James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 31 October 1981

Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

And as seen in the HP and Deathly Hallows, Part II film

enter image description here


For the record, the actors that portrayed them in the films were born in 1967 (Geraldine Somerville) and 1958 (Adrian Rawlins), making them 34 and 43 at the time of filming Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, almost twice the supposed age of their characters. No explanation is given for their aged appearance.

enter image description here

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    @RichS - Hence the usual "the movies are nonsense" disclaimer. – ibid Aug 6 '17 at 8:23
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    Their appearance in the Mirror of Erised shows Harry's heart's desire, so their reflections' ages would have kept pace with his. – Gaultheria Aug 6 '17 at 11:49
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    True, though the screenshot shows the Mirror; maybe a still from one of the later films would work better here, although the framing is very good in this one. The actors may have been kept on after Philosopher's Stone to help the movies maintain a consistent look, even though this broke continuity on a deeper level. – Gaultheria Aug 6 '17 at 12:06
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    @tobiasvl That is what Gaul... wrote. We've finally come full circle! – Raditz_35 Aug 6 '17 at 19:34
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    @RichS, presumably the spirits brought back by the Stone appear as the age they would have been were they still alive. That's true of both Harry's parents and Sirius and Remus, and makes sense given the Stone's (nominal) backstory. – Harry Johnston Aug 7 '17 at 1:39

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