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While reading the Harry Potter books, I noticed that J. K. Rowling repeatedly commented on Lily Potter's red hair. And, of course, every known member of the Weasley family has red hair, too. She did this so often that, while reading this series for the first time and waiting for the books to come out, it made me start to wonder if she was building up a case for Lily to be related to the Weasleys in one way or another.

I know that Lily's parents were both muggles and I don't remember hearing about muggle relatives of the Weasleys, but I still keep wondering about this.

Was there any connection between the Evans and Weasley families? Was there any indication or any comments from JKR that she was thinking of tying the families together by some distant relationships? If there is no connection, is there some reason JRK emphasized, over and over, Lily's red hair?

(And, please, no comments about Harry and Ginny. With what we know, they couldn't be more than, say second cousins, so let's not go there, okay?)

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    But, Ron does say in the first book that he thinks his mom has a second cousin who was an accountant, but they don't talk about him much. So, squib, out in the Muggle world. Just sayin. – user68896 Jul 16 '16 at 3:29
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Another JKR proof that Lily wasn't related to Weasleys:

From March 4 2004 World Book Day online chat:

Narcissa is not related to Lily (Evans) Potter. Her name doesn't fit the naming pattern for the Black family (constellations); JKR just thought the name fit her.

As we know from OoP, Sirius Black indicated that he (and therefore his cousin Narcissa) are related to Molly Weasley (nee Prewett) as well as Arthur Weasley (his second cousin, once removed). Therefore Lily Evans was NOT related to Weasleys, otherwise she'd be related to the Blacks - and Sirius would have surely mentioned it.

On the other hand, via Dorothea Black, Sirius (and thus the Weasleys) were related to James Potter.

A regular Habsburg's, that's what they all are :)

  • Man...Now I have to change the answer. You sure make a lot of work for me! – Tango Jan 30 '12 at 18:26
  • @TangoOversway - I do try, indeedy. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 30 '12 at 18:27
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JK Rowling has stated that Ginny Weasley is the first girl to be born into the Weasley clan in "several generations." This would presumably exclude Lily Evans as a Weasley. SOURCE: JK Rowling's Website

  • Oh my, how do you manage to store all those details in your head? Anyway, a heartfelt +1 from me for this short and precise answer. :) – sbi Jan 31 '12 at 10:26
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UPDATE: I have discovered an actual canon answer - posted as a separate answer since this is getting too long.


Original answer:

I mostly agree with Joshua's answer, but in addition, couple of extra points:

  • As per earlier discussion on this site, most muggle-born wizards are a result of a long lineage eventually showing a magic user somewhere down the family tree.

  • Weasleys are a big family with lots of relatives (too many Weasley cousins to keep track of, from "DH")

  • Most of wizarding world is somehow related to each other if you go down the line far enough.

So, there's a non-trivial chance - way down the line - that Lily did have a remote wizard ancestor from a Weasley tree. But this is pure statistics, NOT based on canon.


As an aside, JKR is generally in the habit of frequently mentioning characters' hair. Early, and often - like Al Capone's voting.

Hair is mentioned (and this is JUST the first couple of chapters of HP1, until we meet Hermione on a train for the first time) - usually in the very first paragraph or even sentence introducing a character:

  • Initial description of Dumbledore on Privet drive

    He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt.

  • Professor McGonagall, same place

    She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun.

  • Hagrid, same place

    He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face

  • Harry's infamously uncombable hair, again described right from the beginning of Ch2.

    Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes

    ...

    “Comb your hair!” he barked, by way of a morning greeting. About once a week, Uncle Vernon looked over the top of his newspaper and shouted that Harry needed a haircut. Harry must have had more haircuts than the rest of the boys in his class put together, but it made no difference, his hair simply grew that way — all over the place.

  • Dudley

    Dudley looked a lot like Uncle Vernon. He had a large pink face, not much neck, small, watery blue eyes, and thick blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head.

  • First appearance of Hagrid when he visits Harry:

    A giant of a man was standing in the doorway. His face was almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard

  • Dumbledore on a Chocolate Frog card

    He wore half-moon glasses, had a long, crooked nose, and flowing silver hair, beard, and mustache.

  • Hermione's famous "bushy brown hair" - which are mentioned right at her introduction

    She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.

As you can see, it's not just Lily Evans' hair that gets a lot of hairtime.

  • Is "Hairtime" a technical term? – Tango Jan 25 '12 at 20:16
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    @Tango - Yes. copyrighted by me :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 30 '12 at 17:46
  • Perhaps the hairtime™ is used as a way for J.K. Rowling to show a bit of each character's attributes. – AccioBooks Jul 16 '16 at 16:01
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Lily Evans, as you mentioned, comes from a Muggle family. The Weasleys are a pure blood line, they are considered "blood traitors" because of the father's love for Muggles, etc. Their pure blood line stopped at Bill (married Fleur who was part Veela) Don't really know the technicality of it.

As for Lily Evans, just by the fact that she had red hair, does not mean that she is linked to the Weasleys. Because if she had relations with the Weasleys, it is too important a link to have been left out. Secondly, if she was related to a wizarding family (common descendants, etc.) one would think that the anomaly in the line would be a squib. But since Lily is the anomaly in her line (as a Wizard) it is safe to assume that the two families are not related (as you mentioned excluding Harry and Ginny)

Lastly, going into the section of genetics, probably all red-haired people are linked somewhere down the line. But it is so far down the line that it doesn't matter. Same way as how 0.5% of the world's men share the same genetic trait of Genghis Khan.

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    "it would continue with Ron" - I don't want to spoil the books for you, but this is wrong. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '12 at 2:54
  • Oh yeah silly me, didnt realise it. – Joshua1729 Jan 25 '12 at 4:27
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    Just one tiny correction: it's believed that red hair (unlike blue eyes) is not a one-time mutation. More information here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair#Evolution – Plutor Jan 25 '12 at 12:52
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If Lily was related to the Weasleys, that would make the Dursleys related to them as well! That is preposterous and JKR would surely never have included something like that. As she has mentioned, she loathes the Dursleys..

There was some talk many years back of a possible connection between Lily Potter and Godric Gryffindor (Who is described as having had red hair), evidence being that when Harry tested the Holly and phoenix feather wand, it shot out Red and Golden sparks.. Colours traditionally associated with the House of Gryffindor. But I personally believe that Dumbledore was a descendant of Godric Gryffindor.. For reasons unknown even to me.. But I've always had this intuition, though JKR hasn't ever mentioned anything of the sort.

Also, I believe the hue of Lily's hair and that of the Weasleys has been described as different. The Weasleys (Especially Ginny) is described as having 'flaming' red hair, a particularly bright shade of Orange whereas Lily's Hair isn't described as such.. The best guess would be that Lily has a distant Magical ancestor, possibly from an unmentioned wizarding family, that married into Lily's ancestral family back when it was still acceptable for Wizards and Muggles to marry and have children, and that the wizarding gene became a recessive one until the time of Lily.

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