Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Godric's Hollow

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to: navigation, search
Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place
Godric's Hollow
Location Unknown
Permanent Residents Bathilda Bagshot, James Potter, Lily Potter
First Appearance Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (mentioned),
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

General Overview[edit]

Godric's Hollow is where Harry's parents lived when he was a baby. This is also where they were killed and Voldemort met his first downfall.

Harry did not actually visit the place until Christmas of the seventh year of our story. It is notorious, however, as the place where Harry Potter became known as "the Boy Who Lived".

Extended Description[edit]

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

It is not said where Godric's Hollow is physically located. However we have some indication from Hagrid. At the start of the story, Hagrid brings back the one year old Harry Potter from Godric's Hollow to Privet Drive in Surrey on a flying motorbike. He says to Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall that Harry "fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."

If we assume that Hagrid flew an approximately straight line, there are only two places where Godric's Hollow can be: Southern Wales or Southern Ireland. Apparently, the author has indicated that Godric's Hollow is located in Cottonbridge, England, though a map search for that name does not seem to return any useful results.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we are told that, in A History of Magic, Bathilda Bagshot writes that Godric's Hollow, a "West Country village," is one of a number of villages where wizards settled in relatively large numbers after the ratification of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1689.

It appears that the Dumbledore family moved to Godric's Hollow when Albus Dumbledore's father Percival was imprisoned. Albus and his mother Kendra, sister Ariana, and brother Aberforth lived here, until Kendra's and Ariana's deaths. At the time, Bathilda Bagshot was their neighbour. Godric's Hollow is famed as the birthplace of Godric Gryffindor, and also as the final resting place of at least one of the Peverell family.

There is some connection between Godric's Hollow and the Peverell family, who we first hear about in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and we know that Harry lived there for a while, though we believe he was not born there.

Analysis[edit]

Bathilda Bagshot's note that Godric's Hollow is the home of a relatively large number of wizards does not indicate that it is a purely Wizarding village; in fact, Hogsmeade village, according to what we are told, is the only purely Wizarding village in Britain. As such, wizard residents of Godric's Hollow must still avoid open use of magic to avoid disturbing the Muggle residents of the village. This is why the monuments to the Potter family must be hidden: the sculpture of the family appears to be an ordinary cenotaph except at certain angles, and presumably only wizards can see it at all; and the Potter house on the edge of the village is charmed to be invisible to Muggles. One must assume that a charm similar to the one that hides Number 12, Grimmauld Place must be in use at the latter site, to prevent Muggles from trying to build on the apparently empty lot as the village grows.

Given the Dumbledore family experience with Muggles, it is a little surprising that the family chose to settle at Godric's Hollow rather than Hogsmeade. However, it is possible that there was some family history that connected the family to this village; and it seems likely that the Dumbledore family chose to live in a part of the village that was primarily wizard-occupied.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

  1. Why was it that the Potter house in Godric's Hollow is almost destroyed on the day when Voldemort tried to kill Harry?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

It should be noted that Ignotus Peverell, one of the three brothers who, according to the myth, received the three Deathly Hallows from Death himself, is buried in the church yard at Godric's Hollow; Hermione discovers his tombstone there. It is possible that Ignotus was the brother who owned the Invisibility Cloak, and that it had passed down through the generations until Harry inherited it from his own father, James Potter.

Prior to the release of the seventh book, there was a great deal of discussion on various fan sites about the "missing day"; Voldemort had been dead for a full day before Hagrid appeared at Privet Drive with Harry. It was believed by many fans that the occurrences during that day would be important, possibly even pivotal, to events in the seventh book. It is entirely possible that, because of the Fidelius charm still being active, Hagrid would have been unable to find the place until one of the parties to the secret was there. We can safely assume that Sirius Black, as one of the Marauders, would have been aware of the Potters' location; in fact, he does say, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that he had seen "the bodies and the destruction" of the house, so he must have known the secret, either before the Fidelius charm was performed, or by Peter Pettigrew informing him of it later. It is entirely possible that Hagrid was unable to enter the remains of the house to recover Harry until Sirius appeared on the scene; and it would have been Sirius who actually removed Harry from the wreckage and passed him to Hagrid to carry back to Little Whinging. However, against this we have Hagrid's word; he says that he had entered the house himself. So we can safely assume that either the Fidelius charm had ceased operation with the death of the Potters, or that Hagrid had been made privy to the secret.

That does, however, leave the entire day unaccounted for; in Voldemort's memory of the night the Potters died, it appears that the events occur early in the evening, and Harry is left at the Dursleys late the following night. The only explanation we can find is one of distance: it is four hundred miles, approximately, from where we believe Hogwarts is, to where Godric's Hollow seems to be, and two hundred fifty miles from Godric's Hollow to Surrey. We don't know how Hagrid gets to Godric's Hollow, as he doesn't meet Sirius until he gets there, and so doesn't have the flying motorcycle until then. We do know that Hagrid apparently travels by flying, as that is how he claims to have reached the shack on the rock in the first book. If we assume a speed of perhaps 60 miles an hour for whatever Hagrid was using to fly on (probably a thestral), it would take at least seven hours for Hagrid to reach Godric's Hollow, probably getting to the house early in the morning. Then, with Sirius' flying motorcycle, it would take another four hours to reach the Dursley home. We don't know what he was doing during the ten or so daylight hours; we can only guess that he was entertaining Harry, it being then unsafe for him to fly – even if Hagrid weren't so very large, a flying motorcycle in broad daylight would be bound to excite comment.

The mention of the "wreckage" of the house is also interesting; the Killing Curse does not destroy things, it only kills people, so it is unlikely that the house would have been destroyed by the reflected curse that killed Voldemort. In two cases later, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort casts the Killing Curse at Harry and has it rebound upon him, and both times there is no damage except to Voldemort. So how did the house get destroyed? There was speculation that in fact it was Peter Pettigrew who destroyed the house, in a fit of madness at seeing his master, "the most powerful wizard of all time" (or so the Death Eaters think), killed by an infant. Peter would not have tried to harm Harry, out of fear at possibly meeting Voldemort's fate. Also, Peter, recovering Voldemort's body, could have chosen to blast his way out of the house rather than maneuver Voldemort's body down from the upstairs bedroom. When we visit Godric's Hollow at Christmas in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we see that the damage seems to be confined to that one room, which would seem to lend weight to this line of reasoning. This also means that Hagrid and, possibly, Sirius are guilty of exaggeration, when they talk about the damage done.

At the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry expresses a determination to go back to Godric's Hollow. There were suggestions that the death of one or both of Harry's parents might have been used to create additional Horcruxes, and there was a wide-spread belief that Harry's own death was intended to create another Horcrux; there was some suspicion that Harry might find either Horcruxes, or valuable artifacts meant to become Horcruxes, in Godric's Hollow when we get there in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As it turns out, Harry never enters the house where his parents died; if there were such artifacts there, they did not enter the story.

One other point has been brought up that might be worth mention. There is mention that it was Albus Dumbledore who arranged the place where the Potters stayed, which leads us to believe also that this is Dumbledore's home turf. In fact, both the Potters and the Dumbledores apparently were neighbours to Bathilda Bagshot, making it possible that the Potters were living in Dumbledore's ancestral home at the time they died. It might have still belonged to the Dumbledore family, in fact; in interviews following publication of the final book, the author has said the the Potters did not own that house, but did not suggest who did. If that is the case, what is the relationship between Dumbledore and Godric Gryffindor? Could Albus Dumbledore be a lineal descendant? Given that the Dumbledore family reportedly moved there after Percival's imprisonment, we cannot be certain, but the possibility remains.