What's New

When were Snape, Lily and the Marauders born?

Explore
Characters Locations Magic Canon Events Things Creatures Essays
The Harry Potter Canon

By

Steve has just created an “explainer” page compiling all the information about how we calculate dates for Snape, Lily and the Marauders.

A few months ago you could still find Lexicon birthyears for James, etc. that said c.1960 or c.1961. These dates had implications for how many years he and the others had between finishing Hogwarts and Harry’s birth.

Let’s just say that I’ve removed all references to James and Lily marrying right out of Hogwarts. They may have, but with these new dates they would also have had a bit more time to establish careers and develop a reputation for defying Voldemort.

The bottom line is that the new official lexicon birthyear for Snape, Lily and the Marauders is c.1959 knowing that canon supports a date range from 1957-1959. Read Steve’s explanation page for the full details.

Oh, and give us a few weeks to finish updating all our various pages. Dealing with error reports about this shift will just slow us down for now. If you still find inconsistencies by the end of September feel free to e-mail us then.

Other than affecting when James and Lily could have married, what else changes as a result of this repositioning of Snape and the Marauders?

Commentary

Pensieve (Comments)

  • Reader2

    I don’t see why everyone is so certain that Snape and Bella had to be at Hogwarts together.

    The phrase “he was part of a gang of Slytherins” is hardly a proof.
    It does not say anywhere that they all were still at school at that point.

    Teenage gangs tend to have mentors who are well out of school, plus Bella had quite a few younger raltives, who could bring the gang right into her home.

    Also, I wouldn’t want to question the birth year of Bella.

    Granted, there are quite a few questionable dates in that tree, but moving Bella’s birth year would be most troublesome, considering that she is supposed to be now younger than Andromeda, and the time frame for andromeda’s birth year is seriously limited by Nymphadora’s birth year.

  • Mayra Munoz

    Just a thought I need help clarifying it.

    In HBP23, when Dumbledore and Harry are watching Slughorn’s memory, I noticed that an Avery and a Lestrange where in Howarts with Voldemort. Could these be the death eaters? and could Lestrange be Bella’s husband or his brother? If this is true, that means that they were born around the same time as Voldemort, give or take a few years. I am sure that when the memory took place, Voldemort was in his 6th year at Howarts.

  • Ginny Potter

    I read somewhere that JK Rowling said that when Sirius was taken to Azkaban, he was around 22. If he was taken in 1981, a little after Voldemort lost his powers, then his dob should be 1960-1961. I think I am right……. I will look for the transcript of the interview where I read this and post it here.

  • Lisa

    I’m having to break my replies up into several comments…

    Reader2, if you went to school with John Wayne Gacy, you’d remember that, right? The way that part of chapter 27 reads in general, they are talking about Snape at Hogwarts. I am pretty sure Jo’s intent was to focus on Snape’s school days. On the other hand, Steve and I agree with you that the fact that this is *Sirius’s* memory makes this the weakest of the “proofs.” This is the big reason why Steve went with 1959 (inline with the other proofs) instead of 1958 or 57 (inline with Sirius’s memory and the BFT).

  • Lisa

    Mayra, that flashback gave us headaches when we tried to match that Avery and Rosier with the ones currently serving as Death Eaters, and we concluded that they had to be different people. You can read more on our Death Eater page: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/wizards/death_eaters.html

  • Lisa

    Ginny Potter, Take a look at proof #2 on the explainer page (http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/exp-ages.html). It may help with calculations (or maybe not) =)

  • Neville

    I nonetheless agree with Reader. Fact is, that it is nowhere in the books specifically said, that Snape and Bellatrix went to school together. It may read like this, and I admit that I came to the conclusion as well. But it is nonetheless nowhere specifically stated. Sirius just said he hang out with a gang of people, who later became Death Eaters. It is very well possible, that Rowling made another mistake regarding the dates, but nonetheless it still can be explained away with the fact, that they did not go to school together.

  • kamion

    althrough I first thought Bella being the one in the middle of the three sister, sometime that was more or less contratdiced by canon, I now prefer Bellatrix as a consideral set of years older then Narcissa.
    I also leaves room to fantasize that Narcissa and Andromeda are actual twins, married both straight out of their NEWTS, with Andry a little bit of pregnant and eloping,
    1973 is a perfect year for a girl who was ready to exploire the world to get pregnant before being married and no longer gettting locked up in a convent with nuns. The younger Black sisters being twins provided for me an answer why Narcissa was so surprising strong enough to defy her older and iMHO very bossy instable sister in HBP. Bella shows that she thinks to be fully entiteld to be the first and most prominent among the DE. a character-twist likely she had already as a child. She therefor would have been the older sis from hell, her close access to Dark Magic, her tendency to hysteria would make the life of a younger sibling a living hell, unless that younger sibling was not alone and could act as two…. by having a twin.

    Trixo is as much an enigma as Snape, only not a person one would loath less once the dark secrests and drama are revealed.

  • kamion

    to Mayra Munoz

    it looks that the Avery and LaStrange mentiones in the SLughorn memory are a generation older the the Avery and LaStranges Sirius tags to Snape, probably fathers of the later ones,
    the same is laikely the case with Rosier, there is a Rosier mentione as the first of Voldemorts “friends” in Dumbledores memory and an Evan Rosier who died by the wand of Aurors but was presented as a yearmate of Snape.

    either this or 1st and 2nd generations or JKR is mucho sloppy with her names.

    I don’t think that the Rosier mention in HBP as one of the friends waiting in the Hogshead is actually Druella Rosier, mother of the Black sisters. but why should a woman not be among the first Death Eaters?

  • Marco

    Well, Bellatrix is actually the oldest of the three sisters. This is confirmed in HBP, CH.3.

    And there is other evidence, that Bellatrix was not together with Snape in Hogwarts and so Snape was not in a gang with her:

    As Bellatrix and Narcissa visited Snape in his house, Bellatrix adressed Snape pureley and simply with “Snape”, his surname. This is very uncommon among former gang members, unless someone wishes it explicitly like p.e. Hagrid or N.Tonks, but Snape didnĀ“t wish this. Narcissa on the other hand, who was surely together with Snape in Hogwarts, adressed him with Severus. Even Lupin, who is surely no friend of Snape, adressed him with Severus and not with “Snape”.

  • Jinx

    If Sirius was sent to Azkaban in November 1981 he would have been born between late November 1958 to early November 1959. He would have just turned 22 then sent to Azkaban or turned 23 right after he was sent to Azkaban. In The Order of the Phoenix, chap 28, when Harry is in Snape’s memory it says “Harry stopped in front of the desk and gazed down at his fifteen year old father.” If James was still fifteen when he took his OWLs and OWLs are given in the beginning of June, then James’ birthday must be at the end of June or in July or August of 1959. That would make him 22 when he dies. Also Snape would be born in January 1959 making him 35 at the beginnig of GOF and 36 at the end of it.

    However the phrase “around 22” could mean the Sirius was 21 or 23 at the time he was sent to Azkaban which would throw of this timeline plus or minus a year.

  • Grace has Victory

    Since Hogwarts is based on the school system in England (not Scotland) at the time JKR went to school, certain assumptions are reasonable. The net result is that the Maurauders were all born between 1 September 1958 and 31 August 1959.

    (1) If Snape is “35 or 36” in GoF (i.e. 1994-5), that strongly suggests a birthdate of 9 January 1959. He is then 35 at the beginning of the book, 36 at the end. JKR made this comment when GoF was newly published, so she knew that many fans had not yet read it. So both the beginning and the end of the book were the “present” time when she was speaking.

    (2) Sirius was “about 22” when he was taken to Azkaban on 1 November 1981. While this is vague, the most natural reading is that he was born in the 1958-9 school year.

    (3) Harry, watching Snape’s Worst Memory in March 1996, notes that it happened “more than twenty years ago”. That means, not later than June 1975. If the Marauders were born in 1958-9, they would have been sixteen in June 1975, except for those with summer birthdays, who were still fifteen. This is the age that OWL candidates always are – trust me, I sat my OWLs in the same month as JKR herself!

    JKR hasn’t contradicted herself on this date. Despite her “oh dear, maths” problem, she has made three mutually supporting statements on this matter, and none that contradict it.

    The information about the Black sisters is more difficult to harmonise, because you have to decide the point at which JKR made a mistake. However, the simplest way to fit it all together is PROBABLY that …

    (1) Bellatrix is the eldest, Andromeda is second, Narcissa is third. This is the order they appear on the family tree, and Kreacher clearly considers Bellatrix to be the rightful heiress.

    (2) Sirius says that Snape “ran around at school” with a gang of future Death Eaters, and he specifically mentions “the Lestranges … a married couple” as being members of this group. It isn’t really a problem that Bellatrix addresses Snape by his surname; Malfoy does the same to Crabbe and Goyle.

    (3) That means that Bellatrix is a maximum of six years older than Snape, i.e. was born no earlier than the 1952-3 school year.

    (4) Nymphadora Tonks must be born in the school-year 1972-3, because she states in August 1995 that she completed her Auror training “a year ago” and training takes three years. That means she left school in July 1991, and she would have been 18 (or nearly so) at that time.

    (5) That means Andromeda must have married Ted not later than November 1972, so she must have left school not later than July 1972. It’s possible that she hadn’t finished her NEWTs (in Scotland, it’s legal to marry at 16 without needing parents’ consent; however, wizards probably need to be 17). That means Andromeda’s latest possible birthdate is November 1956, but if she completed her NEWTs, the year 1953-4 is more likely.

    (6) The tapestry suggests earlier dates, but the tapestry contains at least three other mistakes. It’s easier to believe that the tapestry includes a fourth mistake than to believe that Sirius misremembers seeing his cousin at school.

    (7) Therefore my best estimate is that Bellatrix was born in late 1952 (six school-years ahead of the Marauders); Andromeda was born in mid-1954 (five school-years ahead); and Narcissa in late 1956 (three school-years ahead).

    Since Sirius specifically mentions Rodolphus Lestrange as a Hogwarts contemporary, this can’t be the same Lestrange as the one who was contemporary with Tom Riddle. Riddle’s peer would in fact be the right age to be Rodolphus’s father.

  • Reader2

    Changing the dates in the Tree is a dangerous step. You might end up editing the entire book before you know it.

  • Alma Wands

    Wasn’t Tonks in Gryffindor if McGonagall was the one who told her that she didn’t have the @necessary qualities@ to become a Prefect?

  • Jinx

    Alma Wands

    Tonks dosen’t say who her head of house was. In fact she doesn’t even mention the sex of her Head of House. Though that comment does sound something like McGonagall would say.

Sources