One of these movie mistakes, regarding the ages of the marauders and their generation, has been on my mind recently. I see it as more of a missed opportunity than a mistake.
Just to recap, Lilly, James, Sirius, Remus, Peter and Snape were all about 20 years old when Harry was born. That puts Lily and James at about 21 when they were killed. In Prisoner of Azkhaban, Harry meets Sirius, Remus and Peter when they’re 33 years old. Also, Snape is around 31/32 when Harry first meets him in Philosopher’s Stone. Now think about their portrayal in the movies… Do any of them look about the right age?
I mean, in the photo of baby Harry with his parents, Lily and James look like they’re in their forties?! Now maybe this was a conscious decision made by the filmmakers to give the adults in the story more maturity and make them seem more parental, stable and respectable. Maybe it was just because the perfect Snape (I mean it… Alan Rickman is surreal) was already cast and everyone else in his generation needed to match his age. I don’t know the reasoning, but I think it completely disregards one of the major themes in the book:
The story of Harry Potter begins and ends with Civil War.
In both wars, young, talented and brave witches and wizards took a stand to defeat Voldemort and many of them lost their lives. It’s one of the darker, more serious themes in Harry Potter, but to me, it’s the most real. Considering the number of people in the world currently affected by war and how many young people are faced with standing up to evils of all forms, I think that making the fight against Voldermort something that the 40-year-olds do and teenagers accidentally get involved in is quite alienating. It’s also the 20-somethings that are bold and brave and willing to fight for what they believe in. It’s the young parents who give their lives for their country who leave behind orphans who are too young to remember their parents. Exploring this theme in Harry Potter made a magical world seem more human and that is the reason why this story, out of thousands of stories, is the one with legions of fans. The Harry Potter world may be filled with boggarts and curses and patronus charms and sports on broomsticks but challenges faced by the characters are human challenges… problems that each of us can relate to… no matter how it may be gift wrapped in the story.
The movie moment that tried to demonstrate this theme of young soldiers and failed miserably is the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix. Now this photo was supposed to show a bunch of twenty-somethings and instead we got this:
The best part about this photo is Remus’ fabulous hair. Source: harrypotterwikia.com