|Portrayed By||Vincent Cassel|
|Place of Birth||Yealand Redmayne, Lancashire|
|Date of Birth||7 July 1955|
|Mother||Laurel Janey Horne|
|Father||Cameron Ely Lancaster|
|Siblings||Tabitha Malandra (Pritchard) (+10)|
|Marital Status||Divorced from Valentina|
|First Appearance||Knight To H7|
When Tabitha Lancaster was ten years old, she was supremely disinterested to learn that she was going to have a younger brother, instead of the younger sister she'd ordered. Despite her mother's apologies, and attempted explanations that that wasn't actually how getting a younger sibling worked, it wasn't until Tabitha had graduated from Hogwarts as a Slytherin former Prefect that she decided her younger brother, now eight years old, was even slightly remotely interesting. Unfortunately for young James (usually called Jas, instead, as was the family's centuries-old tradition), who was completely in awe of his glamorous older sister, Tabitha's attention took the form of testing her little brother to see how many pranks she could play on him before their parents noticed.
Other than Tabitha's sporadic attentions, little Jas had spent his formative years learning How To Be A Member of the Wizarding World, as was only right and proper. A series of governesses served to teach him how to read and write, and whatever other subjects they themselves found interesting, which led to a very spotty sense of history and a surprisingly encyclopaedic knowledge of minor hexes for a child who'd never gotten a chance to pick up his own wand. Soon after Tabitha returned from Hogwarts, she was gone again, and poor Jas would have to wait several years more to actually form any sort of solid relationship with his sister — she'd gone off to marry Greg Pritchard, a recent re-import from America, whose family had crossed the pond sometime in the eighteenth century, and off the two of them moved to London.
It was back to schooling for Jas, but soon enough it was also off to proper school; his letter from Hogwarts arrived, his parents took him to Diagon Alley, where he got a very splotchy calico cat named Dweezle as a pet and familiar, along with all the rest of his supplies, and only a little bit more waiting was necessary before he, and everyone else for the year, made it to London, to the Hogwarts Express, and then into a tiny little boat across a very big lake. Soon enough, "James Lancaster!" was called, and he hopped onto the stool, had his head roundly enveloped in a giant hat, and didn't once remember the hat talking to him, poking around in his memories, or trying to figure out the best fit for him at all — no, it was shouting out "Hufflepuff!" almost as soon as it had settled into place.
Life in Hufflepuff suited Jas, though. Nobody seemed to settle any particular expectations on him; he wasn't expected to be clever, or brave, or cunning, but simply honest and forthright, and those skills came quite naturally to him. In fact, he was so good at being honest and forthright that he became one of the greatest sneaks and pranksters of his year, being as how nobody ever believed that he was up to any mischief at all. Besides, by his fourth year, there was a truly troublesome pack of first-years on hand, and so any mischief he got up to that he didn't have a ready-made alibi for, he found, was readily attributed to them, instead, the pack of mischievous Gryffindors that called themselves the Marauders. Never mind at all that a fourth-year knew his way around the castle far better than a pack of first-years might; never mind that plenty of his mischief took places they couldn't possibly have gotten to, no — he was sweet and innocent, was that Jas Lancaster, such a good boy — and a good student, too! — so clearly, no matter how impossible it might have been, someone else was the troublemaker, here.
This, of course, suited Jas very well, once he decided he didn't actually feel the need to claim the chaos surrounding him as his own work. Better, he thought, that he be seen as innocent and pure, free to work whatever mischief he desired, rather than be viewed with constant suspicion and limited in his range as a result, like so many of the Slytherins were. His sister's stories were filtering down to him, by then, of the contempt the Slytherins faced from so much of the rest of the school, and were validated by his own eyes and experiences. The Slytherins, after all, were cunning, and even considered to be evil, in some cases, as the 1970s progressed and Lord Voldemort's power and charisma grew.
But nobody suspected a Hufflepuff, not even one of one of the finest and noblest Pureblood families, whose older sister was a Slytherin. Nobody suspected a Hufflepuff, when both their parents were Ravenclaws — oh, perhaps if Cameron and Laurel had themselves been Slytherins as well, Jas would have been eyed with more suspicion, and mutters about how "such things run in families, you know" — but they were too busy with their research, heads buried in books in their great library in Lancashire, to even see the cogs turning in their teenage son's head.
Jas, after all, was a terribly clever boy, too — perhaps not bookish, the way his parents or most Ravenclaws might be, but he was smart enough to observe the world around him and see the way it worked, and the way the Hogwarts House divisions caused wizards and witches to mindlessly trust or mistrust those around them, all throughout Great Britain. And he was brave enough, if not recklessly bold like a Gryffindor. To be fair, his ambitions fell far short of those that would be needed to land him in Slytherin, and so he didn't doubt, based on those qualities, that the Sorting Hat hadn't doubted once in landing him in Hufflepuff, the Left-over House, as he'd heard it called so many times.
But the Hufflepuffs were sweet, innocent, a bit dull, perfectly good witches and wizards who could be trusted in sensitive positions, for they weren't ever turned to the Dark. That, that was what Everyone Knew About Hufflepuffs.
So when he graduated, without ever being made a prefect, without ever being made Head Boy, simply skimming past under the radar, keeping his head down and getting an outrageously high score on his Charms and Transfiguration NEWTs, plus pretty darn good scores in Defense Against the Dark Arts and, of course, Herbology (Everyone knows that Hufflepuffs are so good at Herbology, after all) — well, aside from impressing Professors Flitwick and McGonagall, he simply hadn't ever made waves at Hogwarts. He was, in fact, awfully … forgettable.
This was, in fact, very much how Jas wanted it. Tabitha, too, was remarkably impressed, when he showed up on her doorstep and caught her up on what he'd discovered during his time at school — she was delighted to learn that her "stupid, boring little bother of a brother" actually did have a brain and some craftiness, under all that hair, and downright loved hearing the gossip he could provide.
Especially the bits of gossip about how so many students, and professors too, were outright terrified of Lord Voldemort.
Because Tabitha and Greg Pritchard weren't Death Eaters only because Tabitha had accidentally ended up pregnant, shortly before they'd decided to pledge themselves to the Dark Lord, and they knew that they wouldn't be able to properly serve Him and raise a child at the same time. Instead, they reasoned, they would be sympathizers — they would help connect other, sympathetic wizards and witches with the avenue necessary to become Death Eaters, and they would serve Him any way they could, just short of taking the Dark Mark.
Jas, however, wasn't content with "nearly". He'd had too much "nearly", all throughout his time at school. He was, in fact, quite proud to take the Dark Mark, precisely two weeks after he joined the Ministry of Magic and was funneled into the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and if he was one of a few wizards who was never literal about rolling up his sleeves to get work done, well — he was a Pureblood, and generally to be found in fine robes, not simply in shirts. And besides, he was so terribly skinny, it was always a wonder he didn't just get caught up and blown away on a gust of wind — he must always be dreadfully cold, no wonder he always wore those long-sleeved shirts under his robes, even in the warmest of summers. And besides, his coworkers told themselves and each other, he's a Hufflepuff; they don't turn Dark.
But Dark he was, and Dark he stayed, hardly even minding when Nagini ate Dweezle — and, within a few months of joining the DMLE, he was also an Obliviator, a position he relished and that particularly suited him. He, himself, was so tremendously forgettable that casting Obliviate was really just icing on the cake; he learned to speak in a fairly hypnotic voice, when necessary, to offer up subconsciously-acceptable ideas of what ought to fill in for the gaps in memory. Still, though, in such trying and dark times, there were always a few who did doubt, who did suspect, anyone and everyone they came across — and four times, between when he joined the DMLE and July 31st, 1981, a witch or wizard spotted the Dark Mark on Jas' arm.
Four times, he cast Obliviate on a fellow Ministry worker, and continued on, forgotten and unnoticed.
And then Voldemort fell, and all His Death Eaters reacted in different ways. Some, like Bellatrix Lestrange, went a little bit mad and fought tooth-and-nail to find out what happened to Him. Some, like Bellatrix Lestrange, were arrested, tried, and sentenced to Azkaban for their crimes — not just for being a Death Eater, but for her torture of the Longbottoms, a well-known and respected Pureblood family.
Frank Longbottom had been one of Jas' friends, at Hogwarts. That wouldn't have been enough to save him from Jas' wand, but it was enough that he grieved, too, when he found out what Bellatrix had done, and vowed to himself that he wouldn't do anything so bloody stupid or wasteful as what she did, in trying to find out what happened to his Lord.
Instead, he took a leave of absence — a "well-earned vacation, after the war," so far as anyone else was concerned — and traveled throughout eastern Europe, looking for hints and signs of what possibly might have happened. After all, he knew, the Dark Lord had long been interested in some of the indigenous magics of eastern Europe; surely, if anything, it made sense to think there would be a sign of Him there.
There wasn't, though, any sign of Him at all — but in Russia, there was a beautiful young woman, fresh from Durmstrang herself, who was just as charmed and taken by him as he was by her. A whirlwind May-December romance indeed; they were married less than three months after they'd met, and returned to England, where she continued her love of caring for magical creatures, and he continued his work with the Obliviators. Lancaster money helped support her Magical Creature Rehabilitation Center, and in turn she gave him a new pet, to replace his long-lost Dweezle — a silenced Fwooper, who he named Ophelia, for her madness. Life was as good as it could get, in the vacuum of knowledge regarding the Dark Lord.
Unfortunately, nothing good could last, as he was discovering. Despite having a beautiful daughter of his own, despite having a job that allowed him to get by without anyone ever having noticed in the first place his true allegiances, despite Valentina never being truly aware of his Dark Mark and loving him truly, there was still something missing, something off — and his attempt at having an affair with one of his coworkers was not the answer.
Instead, it put him in a kettle of trouble with Valentina — trouble that he found himself unable to get out of, and so before he knew it, she was divorcing him, and taking Clemency with her. His money would keep supporting their daughter, yes, but so far as Valentina was concerned, he was scum, and Clemency was well rid of him.
Considering just how Dark he was, he supposed he was getting off easy when it came to her reasoning. Still, he missed Valentina, and missed Clemency, and felt as if his life was suffering more and more —
And then, of course, there were hints, and then whispers, and then quiet meetings with various other Death Eaters —
And then, Voldemort was back — pleased Jas had never renounced Him, although not terribly pleased that he'd never publicly proclaimed his allegiance either. Still, it was, shall we say, useful to Him to know that one of His Death Eaters was a well-thought-of, unimpeachable, highly-respected member of the Ministry of Magic.
Nobody ever doubted the loyalty of a Hufflepuff.