Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
Professor Bathilda Bagshot (d. 1997) was a magical historian and the author of A History of Magic and approximately ten other books. A History of Magic is used in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry class of the same name, taught by Professor Binns. She lived in Godric's Hollow, and was murdered around December, 1997, after which her corpse was animated by Lord Voldemort to contain his snake Nagini.
Professor Bagshot was born somewhere in the British Isles to the wizarding Bagshot family sometime in the early or mid nineteenth century. It is likely she attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in her youth, most likely earning an O.W.L. and/or N.E.W.T. in History of Magic, her area of expertise later in her life.
- " [Kendra Dumbledore] slammed the door in my face when I went around to welcome her with a batch of homemade Cauldron Cakes. The first year they were there I only ever saw the two boys. Wouldn't have known there was a daughter if I hadn't been picking Plangentines by moonlight the winter after they moved in, and saw Kendra leading Ariana out into the back garden. Walked her round the lawn once, keeping a firm grip on her, then took her back inside. Didn't know what to make of it."
- —Bathilda Bagshot relays her reminiscences about the Dumbledores to Rita Skeeter[src]
In the 1890s, Bagshot was already an adult living in her house in Godric's Hollow, when Kendra Dumbledore moved there from Mould-on-the-Wold along with her young children Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana, after her husband Percival's well-publicised arrest and imprisonment in Azkaban. Bathilda tried to befriend Kendra after they arrived, but she was rebuffed.
Within the next several years, Bathilda sent an owl to Albus Dumbledore, then a Hogwarts student, having been favourably impressed by his paper on trans-species Transfiguration for the scholarly journal Transfiguration Today. This initial contract led to acquaintance with the rest of the Dumbledore family. At the time of Kendra's death, Bathilda was the only person in Godric's Hollow who was on speaking terms with her.
In the summer of 1899, after Albus Dumbledore graduated from Hogwarts, an orphan and head of the family, Bathilda's great-nephew, Gellert Grindelwald, came to live with her and she made a point of introducing Grindelwald to Albus. The two talented young men became friends. It is unknown how much or what Bathilda knew of her nephew's actions concerning Aberforth and Ariana Dumbledore, but she witnessed the fist-fight that broke out between the Dumbledore brothers at Ariana's funeral.
In 1947, Bathilda's work on wizarding history was published under the title A History of Magic by Little Red Books. It was presumably around this time she authored her other works on magical history. She was deemed the most celebrated magical historian of the twentieth century.
- "We had a very quiet birthday tea, just us and old Bathilda, who has always been sweet to us, and who dotes on Harry. […] Bathilda drops in most days, she's a fascinating old thing with the most amazing stories about Dumbledore, I'm not sure he'd be pleased if he knew! I don't know how much to believe, actually, because it seems incredible that Dumbledore could ever have been friends with Gellert Grindelwald. I think her mind's going, personally!"
- —Excerpt from a letter from Lily Potter to Sirius Black[src]
In her older years, Bathilda was on close terms with Lily Potter and even spoke to the younger woman on the closeness between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, though Lily remained somewhat sceptical, given Bathilda's advancing age and possible senility. Bathilda was also the only one to join the Potters during Harry Potter's birthday tea when he turned one year old. Ron Weasley's great aunt Muriel called her "gaga" during Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding.
Also sometime in her later life, Professor Bagshot provided a quote for the critical acclaim for Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp, when she wrote "Kennilworthy Whisp's painstaking research has uncovered a veritable treasure trove of hitherto unknown facts about the sport of warlocks. A fascinating read." as a review.
- "Dear Batty, Thanks for your help. Here's a copy of the book; hope you like it. You said everything, even if you don't remember it. Rita."
- —Rita Skeeter's note to Bathilda[src]
Death and Post Mortem
- "Finally, we regret to inform our listeners that the remains of Bathilda Bagshot have been discovered in Godric's Hollow. The evidence is that she died several months ago. The Order of the Phoenix informs us that her body showed unmistakable signs of injuries inflicted by Dark Magic."
- —Lee Jordan (code name "River"), during a Potterwatch broadcast in March, 1998[src]
- A History of Magic (1947, Little Red Books; 2nd edition by M. L. Books)
- Hogwarts: A History
- The Decline of Pagan Magic (M. L. Books)
- The Oracle of Palombo (M. L. Books)
- Omens, Oracles & the Goat (M. L. Books)
- "Now that he was beside her, [Harry] realised how tiny she was; bowed down with age, she came barely level with his chest. She closed the door behind them, her knuckles blue and mottled against the peeling paint... Her eyes were thick with cataracts and sunken into folds of transparent skin, and her whole face was dotted with broken veins and liver spots... she unwound a moth-eaten black shawl, revealing a head of scant white hair through which the scalp showed clearly through. "
- —Description of her appearance[src]
An elderly Professor Bagshot was a tiny woman, her head at the level of seventeen-year-old Harry Potter's chest. At the time that Harry Potter met her, she was stooped, her eyes were thick with cataracts, and her hair was scant and white, with her scalp clearly visible. Her face had some liver spots and broken veins.
Personality and traits
- "Unfortunately, the brilliance that Bathilda exhibited earlier in her life has now dimmed. "The fire's lit, but the cauldron's empty," as Ivor Dillonsby put it to me, or, in Enid Smeek's slightly earthier phrase, "She's nutty as squirrel poo."
- —The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore by Rita Skeeter[src]
Little is known of Bathilda's personality. One can presume she was friendly and amiable, having tried to befriend Kendra Dumbledore in the 1890s with a batch of homemade Cauldron Cakes. She regarded Albus Dumbledore as something like a protégé and was friendly with Lily Potter in the early 1980s. She was a brilliant witch and historian in her youth, but during her later years she was quite possibly becoming senile.
Magical abilities and skills
- History of Magic: An authority in History of Magic, Professor Bagshot was referred to by some as the most celebrated magical historian of the twentieth century, having authored A History of Magic and ten other books on the subject.
- Transfiguration: Professor Bagshot was knowledgeable in Transfiguration as she was a reader of the scholarly journal Transfiguration Today and had enough understanding in the subject to properly assess the quality of one of Albus Dumbledore's papers on the subject of trans-species Transfiguration.
- Herbology: Bathilda kept magical plants in her back garden, such as Plangentines, and knew what the proper time was to pick them.
- Cooking: Bathilda Bagshot also had an aptitude for the kitchen, baking batches of Cauldron Cakes in her youth.
- Bathilda is an alternate spelling of the name of Saint Balthild, a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon noble and wife of King Clovis II of Burgundy who dedicated her later life to helping the ill and the poor. The name is derived from the Old English Bealdhild, meaning "bold battle".
- Bathilda is a German name that means "heroine".
- Bagshot is the name of a town in Surrey, England. The name is thought to be derived from a tribe (bacca) and the Anglo-Saxon word for "The place of" (sheatte) meaning "the place of Bacca's tribe" though Bag could also mean badger, "the place of the Badger", creating a reference to Hufflepuff.
- Bathilda's last name, Bagshot, may also be a reference to The Lord of the Rings, in which the characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and Hamfast and Samwise Gamgee lived on Bagshot Row.
Behind the scenes
- Hazel Douglas portrayed Bathilda Bagshot in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
- It is possible that Bathilda's body was animated as an Inferius, and thus controlled by Voldemort's will. As Inferi are never shown to speak, this would account for why Nagini had to speak for her instead, but this is not necessarily the case because it was stated in the book that Nagini came out of her.
- Bathilda was incredibly old when she died, as she was a great aunt of Grindelwald in the 1890s, although her precise date of birth is not mentioned.
- A picture by concept artist Peter Mckinstry shows a photograph of Bathilda Bagshot and other academics sitting in a classroom at Hogwarts Castle. This seems to be a reference to the famous picture of the 1927 Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics, as both the clothes and the overall alignment of individuals are similar. In the picture, Bathilda seems to take the place of Marie Curie: in both pictures they are the only featured women, and they are both in a similar position and in a similar pose.
- In a The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore prop for the first part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Bathilda Bagshot's name is poorly transcribed as "Batholith". The same book referred to Godric's Hollow as "Godlike's Hollow", Kendra as "Canard" and Hogwarts as "Hog warts".
- Her name may have been inspired by Walter Bagehot, who, in 1867, wrote the book that is considered the most important text on the British system of government. His work The English Constitution had nearly the same status in British public schools as A History of Magic did at Hogwarts.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mentioned only)
- Quidditch Through the Ages (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault(Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe) - When the Dumbledore family moved to Godric's Hollow in 1890, after Percival's arrest, Bathilda was already an adult and came by to welcome them, meaning she was at least seventeen years of age. This makes 1873 Bathilda's latest date of birth.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda's Secret)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 16 (Godric's Hollow)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- ↑ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Disc 2 (Godric's Hollow)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Chapter 7 (The Wedding)
- ↑ Quidditch Through the Ages - Praise for Quidditch Through the Ages
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows)
- ↑ See this image (archive from October 30, 2013; original link here).