Lavender Brown was a pure-blood witch who grew up in the Lewisham borough of South London to two magical parents. Though a significant portion of her family was magical, Lavender grew up in a highly populated section of London and was very knowledgeable of Muggle culture.
It was important to her parents that they lived in a diverse neighborhood as being a Black Brit was not easy, and was made more difficult by their being magical. Lavender showed signs of magic early on and proved quite a challenge to her parents as she loved to be the center of attention and found nothing brought more attention than when she would magically move objects for show. Because she was so apt to show off without regard to the Statute of Secrecy, Lavender was homeschooled by her aunt with a few cousins. She got into trouble more than a few times for egregious violations of the Statute.
When she was 11 she received her acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This caused a bit of tension within her family, as most of her cousins would continue to be educated at home and her parents worried about the distance from her family and the lack of diversity within the wizarding community. Lavender’s father later admitted that they were worried that Lavender, already quite preoccupied with Muggle boyband, Westlife, would be ostracized by her love of Muggle things.
Lavender, always a pretty and popular child, was the first student of her class sorted into Gryffindor, and quickly became integrated into Hogwarts. Though Lavender had many friends, she quickly became inseparable with fellow Gryffindor Parvati Patil. While never particularly close to her roommate Hermione Granger, they did not become adversaries until much later in their school career.
Her first two years of school were fairly uneventful. She remained popular and received good marks, though never at the top of the class. However, in her third year, Lavender really began to find her place at Hogwarts. She discovered her favorite subject, Divination, and teacher Professor Trelawney. Along with her best friend Parvati, they establish a Divination club for which they were the only members until interest skyrocketed their fifth year when Professor Trelawney was replaced with the handsome and mysterious centaurian professor, Firenze. Lavender was also active in Hogwarts BSU, even acting as social secretary for the majority of her time at Hogwarts. She put together inter-house celebrations and mentored first-year Black students on how to succeed and thrive at the school. Lavender attended the Yule Ball with Seamus Finnigan but was excited to hear that Ron Weasley was also interested. This, plus her less than enjoyable evening with Seamus would spark a crush on Ron Weasley that would continue throughout her time at Hogwarts.
In her fifth year, Lavender joined most of the other fifth year Gryffindors in Dumbledore’s Army and while she improved her skills, she and Parvati never became close allies to the trio and did not accompany them to the Ministry of Magic.
During her sixth year, she began to date Ron Weasley, though Ron’s friends Hermione and Harry thought of her as a silly distraction for Ron. Lavender’s relationship with Ron created tension between him and Hermione, and Parvati has since explained that Ron pursued Lavender and that she was unaware that Ron used their relationship to make Hermione jealous. Parvati admitted that Lavender was aware that Hermione had a crush on Ron but did not know the extent of Ron’s feelings toward Hermione. “I mean Lav and Hermione lived together for six years, what kind of bitch would do that to their roommate?” Parvati told The Quibbler in the 10th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts edition.
When Hermione Granger and Dean Thomas failed to return to Hogwarts for their seventh and final year, Lavender and Blaise Zabini took over as President and Vice President, respectively, of the BSU. While her skills as social secretary were no longer needed, as social activities were severely restricted under the Carrows, Blaise and Lavender found more covert ways to ensure the safety and solidarity of the ever-shrinking Black student population. Lavender’s strong interest in Divination remained and she became quite skilled in finding covert meeting times. Blaise attributes this in not being able to see the future, but in being a gossip and remembering the teachers’ schedules. Though from rival houses, Blaise increasingly isolated himself from his Slytherin housemates and became quite close to Lavender and Parvati, who had gained a level of maturity born out of the dire situation. In turn, Lavender and Parvati allowed Blaise to let down his serious demeanor. By the end of the school year, they had become quite close, if not public in their friendship.
In Lavender’s seventh and final year at Hogwarts, she decided to continue her work with Dumbledore’s Army and took over as President of the Hogwarts BSU, which had taken on a much more overtly political stance since 1995 when Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge disbanded all clubs and refused to reinstate the Black Student Union. When Lavender and Parvati made the decision to join in the Battle of Hogwarts, they were shocked to learn that Blaise would fight alongside them when he snuck away from the Slytherins as they were being escorted to the dungeons. Together Lavender, Parvati, and Blaise fought side by side while working to protect the younger students of color and get them to safety, knowing that they would be quick and easy targets for the Death Eaters whose pure-blood mania had always been tinged with racial resentment. At some point in the Battle, Lavender was separated from the group as she went to help a small first year being pursued by Fenrir Greyback. Greyback was not only a Death Eater but a feral werewolf who delighted in attacking young victims. Lavender attempted to stun Greyback but only managed to turn his attention to her. He caught Lavender, though she fought fiercely against the larger and more vicious Greyback. In the end, her roommate Hermione Granger was able to repel the mostly werewolf Greyback from Lavender, but it was too late and she died from her injuries.
After the Battle of Hogwarts, Blaise and Parvati set up a foundation in Lavender’s name to keep her memory alive and to ensure that all students of color entering Hogwarts were assigned a mentor, if they’d wanted, who would help them ease into life at Hogwarts and have social support. The Black and Asian Student Unions began hosting an annual Lavender Brown Welcome Mixer the first week of term that continues to this day.
After the Harry Potter biography became popular in Muggle society, though marketed as fiction, Blaise and Parvati began to push back against Lavender’s portrayal in the book. Once the books were made into highly ahistorical reenactments and a white actress was cast as Lavender, those closest to her, including her parents, appeared on the highly popular Lee Jordan Hour radio show to push back against the choice and the controversial magical historian, JK Rowling for allowing such an inaccurate portrayal and whitewashing of Lavender’s legacy. This incident started a long overdue conversation within the Wizarding World and the dismantling of the belief in the Wizarding World’s policy of “Mutual Respect and Kinship” in favor of social justice and equity.