- "The hedge had grown wild in the sixteen years since Hagrid had taken Harry from the rubble that lay scattered amongst the waist-high grass. Most of the cottage was still standing, though entirely covered in the dark ivy and snow, but the right side of the top floor had been blown apart; that, Harry was sure, was were the curse had backfired."
The Potters' Cottage was the home of James, Lily, and Harry Potter from the late 1970s to 31 October, 1981, during the final months of the First Wizarding War. When Lord Voldemort showed up to murder the Potters, he was defeated when his curse rebounded but a large portion of the cottage was destroyed. The cottage has thenceforth been undisturbed and left in its ruined state.
First Wizarding War (1979-1981)
- "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...."
- —Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy[src]
After a prophecy was made by Sybill Trelawney concerning the birth of one who would be able to defeat Lord Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore had the Potters go into hiding after being warned of Voldemort's intentions by then-Death Eater Severus Snape.
A Fidelius Charm was placed on the house, with Sirius Black chosen as Secret-Keeper; this meant that the house and its occupants couldn't be found even if Voldemort "had his nose pressed against their sitting-room window". However, a last-minute decision was made to make Peter Pettigrew Secret-Keeper instead, as it was believed he would be less obvious to the Death Eaters. Unfortunately, neither the Potters nor Sirius knew that Pettigrew had in fact betrayed the Order of the Phoenix and turned spy for Voldemort.
- "All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where you was all living, on Hallowe'en ten years ago. You was just a year old. "
- —Overview of Voldemort entering Godric's Hallow[src]
After learning the whereabouts of the Potter family from a trusted friend of the Potters (Peter Pettigrew), Voldemort traveled to Godric's Hollow on the night of 31 October, 1981. With its magical protections broken, Voldemort was able to find it easily and blasted the front door open, catching its inhabitants off-guard. A wandless James was murdered quickly, trying to defend his family. After Voldemort murdered James he preceded up the stairs to infant Harry's nursery where mother and son were trapped inside.
Cornered in the nursery, Lily refused to step aside for Voldemort, and was murdered as well, the green light from this act actually lighting up the entire upper floor. When the Dark Lord then attempted to murder the one prophesied to defeat him, the protection laid down by his mother's loving sacrifice caused the Killing Curse to rebound, destroying Voldemort's corporeal body but unfortunately also taking out a significant chunk of the cottage's upper floor. Harry was left with nothing but a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, while Lord Voldemort's powers were temporally destroyed. Henceforth Harry was known as the "Boy Who Lived" and was marked as Lord Voldemort's equal, thus sealing his fate.
Dumbledore had placed a charm on the house that alerted him immediately to James and Lily's deaths. Sirius Black and Rubeus Hagrid discovered Harry still alive inside the ruined house. Hagrid used Sirius' flying motorcycle to deliver the infant to Dumbledore at 4 Privet Drive, while Black went after Pettigrew.
Second Warding War (1997-1998)
This house was visited again by Harry on Christmas Eve, 1997, along with Hermione Granger. It had been left in its ruined state and made invisible to Muggles, as a monument to the Potters and to Voldemort's first downfall. By this time, nature had largely reclaimed it with ivy covering most of the surviving portions and the lawn having grown out of control
Wizard visitors could observe a memorial sign with a message in golden letters explaining this fact. A number of visitors had written on the sign, either signing their names in Everlasting Ink, carving their initials, or leaving messages, including a number addressed directly to Harry Potter expressing their support for him. After the Second Wizarding War, it is unknown what happened to it.
Behind the scenes
- Harry's bedroom had a Magic Alphabet hanging on the wall.
- The Potter cottage that appears in the film version of Philosopher's Stone during Hagrid's conversation with Harry in the Leaky Cauldron, and the Potter cottage that appears in Deathly Hallows: Part 1 during Harry and Hermione's visit to Godric's Hollow appear to have different styles and designs. One possible reason for this is that a lot of the first film was shot on location, whereas a lot of the subsequent instalments were created on sound stages. Another reason may be that the cottage shown in the first film was in Harry's imagination when he was listening to the story from Hagrid, and the cottage from the last films was the actual one. It is interesting to note, however, that the first cottage bears similarities to Church Cottage, where Rowling grew up.
- Since Harry was born in the village of Godric's Hollow, it is very possible that he was born in his parents' home.
- In the first film version, Voldemort is seen creeping up to the house and nobody is seen through the windows. He opens the door, by possibly using Alohomora. Lily is seen slamming Harry's nursery door and mouths the word: James, as a cloaked man is seen going down the stairs. The nursery door is blasted open and Voldemort casts the Killing Curse on Lily. Green light is then seen flashing through the cottage windows, and Voldemort points his wand in Harry's face.
- In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Severus Snape was seen entering the household after Voldemort's attack, mourning over Lily's corpse, just before Hagrid arrived to retrieve Harry.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- 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 Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s))