Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/House of Gaunt
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|House of Gaunt|
|Location||Near Little Hangleton|
|Permanent Residents||Marvolo Gaunt, Morfin Gaunt, and Merope Gaunt|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince|
The House of Gaunt is the residence of the remaining members of the House of Gaunt. Located near the fictional town of Little Hangleton, it is empty by the time Harry's story begins, and has likely fallen into ruins.
The so-called "House of Gaunt" is, when we first see it, a run-down shack with a dead snake nailed to the door. Using Albus Dumbledore's Pensieve, via the memories of Bob Ogden, we find that the residence of this once-proud family is now a single-room shack, in which the three remaining members of the family reside. The building is apparently a free-hold, built on a spot of land that belongs to the Gaunt family, though the rest of the valley apparently is owned, or at least overseen, by one Tom Riddle.
Tom Marvolo Riddle visits the house at one point, apparently on a mission to find something out about his ancestry. The house has not fared well, as Merope had run away some sixteen years before, and then died, and the house had sat vacant for three years while Morfin had been in prison. In the course of that visit, Tom Marvolo Riddle murders his own father, Tom Riddle, and Riddle's parents, framing the one surviving Gaunt family member, Morfin, for the murder.
With Morfin's arrest and subsequent death in Azkaban, the house remains empty and presumably falls into ruin. Tom Marvolo Riddle, in his later guise as Lord Voldemort, does revisit the shack to hide a Horcrux there. Albus Dumbledore visits to retrieve the Horcrux, and Voldemort returns to check on the Horcrux and is enraged to find it gone.
There is very little to say about the shack where the Gaunt family lives; it is, on its own, merely a poor excuse for a house. What makes this house exceptional is the overweening pride of the occupants, a pride in their ancestry that allows them, apparently, to deny the baseness of their domicile. Because this contrast is more a property of the people, than of the place, discussion of this should be in the article on the Gaunt family.
The Horcrux placed in this location was, of course, the Peverell ring that Tom Marvolo Riddle had stolen from Morfin Gaunt. Not having heard the story of the Deathly Hallows, it had never occurred to Voldemort that this might be the Resurrection Stone. Riddle was as infatuated with ancestry as were the Gaunts before him, and so chose to make Horcruxes out of things that would be proof of the antiquity of his line. As the ring was supposedly the signet of the Peverells, one of the most ancient Wizarding families known, his possession and use of the ring acted as proof that he was of an ancient tradition.
It may be interesting to take note of the differing condition of the house throughout the series. In its first appearance, although it is dirty and untidy on the outside, there is some vague semblance of cleanliness and order inside, probably due to the ministrations of Merope (as an unofficial domestic and probably only cook and cleaner). Following her abscondance, it would have been likely that neither Marvolo nor Morfin would have paid much attention to keeping the house in a good state. When Tom Riddle visits Morfin, it is filthy; when visited by Dumbledore, and later Voldemort, although still standing, it is beginning to fall into ruin.