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Attack at Godric's Hollow (1997)

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NaginiDH
Attack at Godric's Hollow
Part of The Second Wizarding War
Date

24 December, 1997

Location

Godric's Hollow, England

Result

Narrow escape from Lord Voldemort

Combatants
"Bathilda must’ve been dead a while. The snake was...was inside her. You-Know-Who put it there in Godric’s Hollow, to wait. You were right. He knew I’d go back."
Harry Potter to Hermione Granger[src]

The attack at Godric's Hollow on Christmas Eve of 1997 was an ambush by Lord Voldemort's snake Nagini on Harry Potter that occurred during the height of the Second Wizarding War. The snake was planted in the animated corpse of Bathilda Bagshot to wait to see if Harry would come to see the graves of his parents in Godric's Hollow, and then to hold him there until Voldemort arrived to kill him. Harry eventually came with his friend Hermione Granger, and the two narrowly escaped death at Voldemort's hands.

Background

By late 1997, Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were searching for the Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort in an attempt to defeat him once and for all. They had obtained Salazar Slytherin's Locket in September by infiltrating the Ministry of Magic, but the negative energy within the locket caused Ron to part company with his friends when they had difficulty deciding what their next move should be. Hermione remained with Harry.[1]

Eventually, Hermione brought up the fact that her copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which Albus Dumbledore left to her in his will, contained a symbol that she recalled Xenophilius Lovegood wearing to the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour that summer. Viktor Krum had seen it and claimed it was a mark of the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Unsure what that meant, Harry and Hermione turned their focus to going to Godric's Hollow. Harry wanted to see his parents’ graves; Hermione had previously argued that they should not go because Voldemort would expect it and probably set a trap. She changed her mind because she suspected that Godric Gryffindor's Sword – one of the only known items able to destroy a Horcrux – might be there.[2]

Hermione: "You want to go to Godric’s Hollow. I agree. I think we should. I mean, I can’t think of anywhere else it could be either. It’ll be dangerous, but the more I think about it, the more likely it seems it’s there."
Harry: "Er – what’s there?"
Hermione: "Well, the sword, Harry! Dumbledore must have known you’d want to go back there, and I mean, Godric’s Hollow is Godric Gryffindor’s birthplace…"
— Harry and Hermione discussing the Sword’s location[src]

The two also knew that Bathilda Bagshot, an elderly historian who wrote about the history of the village, still lived there and had known James and Lily Potter as well as the Dumbledore family. Thus, the two believed that Dumbledore may have given the Sword to Bathilda to give to Harry,[2] as they previously overheard goblins Griphook and Gornuk discussing how the sword Severus Snape sent to Gringotts from Hogwarts was a fake.[1]

Ambush

The Potters’ Graves

Harryhermionegodrics

Harry and Hermione in the snow.

Hermione, still suspicious that Voldemort had set a trap for Harry where his parents died, held off going for a week in order to plan. They practised Apparating and Disapparating while under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak together and surreptitiously obtained hairs from Muggles who were Christmas shopping in order to make Polyjuice Potion. After Apparating to the village, they disguised themselves and made their way through the settlement under the Cloak.

Harry and Hermione passed the war memorial to his parents, which depicted the Potters with their infant son, and walked through the graveyard. There, they spotted the graves of Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore as well as that of Ignotus Peverell, which caught Hermione’s attention, as it bore the same symbol that was on her book and worn by Xenophilius Lovegood.

"Hermione had taken his hand again and was gripping it tightly. He could not look at her, but returned the pressure, now taking deep, sharp gulps of the night air, trying to steady himself, trying to regain control. He should have brought something to give them... But Hermione raised her wand, moved it in a circle through the air, and a wreath of Christmas roses blossomed before them. Harry caught it and laid it on his parents’ grave... He put his arm around Hermione’s shoulders, and she put hers around his waist, and they turned in silence and walked away through the snow, past Dumbledore’s mother and sister, back toward the dark church and the out-of-sight kissing gate."
Harry and Hermione at his parents' graves[src]
HP7A-TR2-025 458335s

Harry and Hermione visiting the grave

At last, they found the graves of James and Lily Potter, and Hermione conjured flowers for Harry to place on their graves. They also found a sign near the ruins of the Potters’ home to commemorate what occurred there, with magical graffiti on it with supportive messages for Harry.[2]

Bathilda Bagshot

Hermione in Bathildas home

Hermione in Bathilda's living room.

Harry and Hermione then realized that they were being stared at by a very old woman, who was able to see them despite their being under the Invisibility Cloak . She beckoned for them to follow her, and nodded when Harry asked her if she was Bathilda Bagshot. They followed her into a dark, dirty house that smelled like rotting meat. Harry also spotted a photograph of a “golden-haired, merry-faced” young man he recognized as having been the thief of Gregorovitch’s wand and an old friend of Dumbledore’s, pictured in Rita Skeeter's The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. He would later learn this was Gellert Grindelwald, Bathilda’s great-nephew.

Despite persistent questioning, Bathilda did not say anything to Harry or Hermione, instead beckoning for Harry to follow her upstairs. Hermione reluctantly remained behind as Harry followed the old witch upstairs. Once there, she asked him if he was “Potter”, and when he confirmed that he was, he felt the locket Horcrux around his neck start to pulse faster. It was not until later that Harry would realize she was speaking to him in Parseltongue which, according to Harry, was why she didn't want to talk in front of Hermione.

Dhnagini

Nagini.

He then felt his scar prickle and a cold voice say “hold him”. Bathilda then led Harry over to a cluttered table and, after distracting him by pointing at the mass of dirty laundry piled on said table (which Harry scanned for a sign of Griffindor's Sword), revealed herself to be Voldemort’s snake Nagini in disguise. Nagini then came out of the old woman’s body and, before Harry could use any spell, she bit his forearm, sending his wand flying. She then knocked him to the floor and began to coil herself around him and hold Harry in place. However, Hermione heard noises from below and ran upstairs, forcing the snake away from Harry.[3]

Escape

Harry Hermione ap from bath

Harry and Hermione Apparate from Bathilda's home

"He’s coming! Hermione, he’s coming!"
—Harry shouting a warning of Voldemort’s imminent arrival[src]

Hermione managed to keep the snake at bay with several curses, and Nagini smashed much of the furniture in the room. Harry pulled Hermione across the bed away from the snake, and Hermione used a Blasting Curse against Nagini as Harry pulled them both out of the broken window. They Disapparated in the air just as Voldemort arrived.[3]

Aftermath

Hermione: "He changed, Harry, he changed! It’s as simple as that!... Harry, I’m sorry, but I think the real reason you’re so angry is that Dumbledore never told you any of this himself."
Harry: "Maybe I am! Look what he asked from me, Hermione! Risk your life, Harry! And again! And again! And don’t expect me to explain everything, just trust me blindly, trust that I know what I’m doing, trust me even though I don’t trust you! Never the whole truth! Never!"
Hermione: "He loved you. I know he loved you."
— Harry and Hermione as they begin to discover the full truth about Dumbledore[src]
Forst of dean

The spot in the Forest of Dean where Hermione Apparated.

Hermione took them to the Forest of Dean, while Harry was overcome with pain and visions of Voldemort’s attack on his parents and himself in 1981. She used a Severing Charm to remove the locket from Harry and began to heal the snake bite with Dittany. Harry’s wand was also revealed to be broken beyond repair, probably as a result of Hermione’s ricocheting Blasting Curse. He would share the use of Hermione’s wand until Ron returned to them with spare wands taken from Snatchers.[3]

Soon after, Hermione showed Harry Rita Skeeter’s book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, and they realized that the wizard in the picture was Gellert Grindelwald, and that he had been friends with Dumbledore when the two men were teenagers.[4] This was the beginning of Harry and his friends’ discovery of Dumbledore’s past and of the existence of the Deathly Hallows.

Behind the scenes

  • When Harry and Hermione are on the first floor of Bathilda's house, Nagini (inside the corpse of Bathilda) tells Harry to "Come!" from the next room in Parseltongue. In reaction, Hermione jumps and clutches Harry's arm, and the two of them obey the command.[3] This would suggest that Hermione heard a hissing sound and followed Harry's lead.
  • When Nagini bit Arthur Weasley in late 1995, he had to be taken to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where the healers had a difficult time keeping the wound closed, because the snake's venom dissolved stitches and was immune to magical forms of healing.[5] Yet, Hermione was able to heal the bite Nagini gave Harry with only Dittany.[3] It is possible that Nagini intentionally did not give Harry as severe a bite, as Voldemort ordered her to hold him, not to kill him. There might be some "fellow feeling", given that they are both Horcruxes, or even from Harry's being a Parselmouth.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry and Hermione arrive as themselves, since Harry didn't want to return as someone else, as opposed to the book where they are disguised as a Muggle couple.

Appearances

Notes and references

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