- "It's ideal for Headquarters, of course. My father put every security measure known to wizardkind on it when he lived here. It's unplottable, so Muggles could never come and call - as if they'd ever have wanted to - and now Dumbledore's added his protection, you'd be hard put to find a safer house anywhere."
- —Sirius Black[src]
12 Grimmauld Place was the ancestral home of the Black family. It is located in London, in a Muggle neighbourhood, and the location is protected by a Fidelius Charm. As the house is invisible to the neighbourhood residents, the local Muggles have long since accepted the mistake in numbering which landed number 13 next to number 11.
Under Walburga Black
Number 12, Grimmauld Place was the ancestral home of the House of Black for many generations. The previous matron, Walburga Black, made it clear through her disgust of having anyone less than pure-blood in her home through the hostile shrieks of her portrait, which was affixed to the wall of the home with a Permanent Sticking Charm. For years, the house was home exclusively to the Black family house-elf, Kreacher, who wandered around the building still remaining faithful to his old mistress' portrait, muttering insults about the "blood traitors" and "mudbloods" which had displeased his mistress so.
Under Sirius Black
Sirius hated number 12 Grimald Place, and left when he was sixteen. He never imagined he would have to return to his family's home.
During Sirius Black's imprisonment in Azkaban, the house was unoccupied. After his escape, Sirius gave the home over to the Order of the Phoenix to be used as a headquarters. The home required an arduous cleaning up to make it even remotely habitable. Much of this work fell to Molly Weasley and her children. The home was in such disrepair that doxies and boggarts had made themselves quite at home.
The Order of the Phoenix
After Sirius Black was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange in 1996 during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the house was inherited by his godson, Harry Potter. He continued to allow the Order of the Phoenix to use it as a safe house. After the death of Albus Dumbledore, Grimmauld Place's Secret-Keeper in 1997, each of the members of the order to whom the secret had been imparted became Secret-Keepers themselves, giving them the power to reveal the house to others.
Under Harry Potter
This included Severus Snape, who was believed to be in Lord Voldemort's employ and therefore would allow Death Eaters into the Order's headquarters. Alastor Moody placed a number of enchantments on the house to keep Snape from entering it. These were a Tongue-Tying Curse to prevent him from telling others of the place and a dust-composed form of Dumbledore, which disintegrated when the person it advanced upon said the word kill or a variant, the point of this being that Moody believed that Snape would be too overrun with guilt to say that he had killed Albus, forcing him to retreat. However, the Order did not know that Albus Dumbledore's death was prearranged with Severus Snape. Despite these enchantments, the Order ceased use of the house as headquarters as they still could not risk being ambushed by Death Eaters.
Use as a hide-out
When Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger escaped from the Death Eater attack on Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding ceremony on 1 August, 1997, they hid at Grimmauld Place. They were able to remain hidden there for a month, though Death Eaters, who were staking out locations linked to the Order, skulked about the street outside, unable to see the secret location.
While at Grimmauld Place, the trio learned that Kreacher had attempted to destroy the Salazar Slytherin's Locket at the request of his master, Regulus Black. Kreacher revealed that the horcrux was stolen by Mundungus Fletcher during a looting of 12 Grimmauld Place. After presenting Kreacher with Regulus Black's locket, Harry asked Kreacher to track down Mundungus. Kreacher returned days later with Mundungus, who revealed that the locket was taken by Dolores Umbridge in Diagon Alley. The trio hatched a plan to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic
After retrieving Salazar Slytherin's Locket from Umbridge, they Apparated back to Grimmauld Place, but Yaxley grabbed Hermione's arm in the process. She struck him with a Revulsion Jinx and Disapparated away with Harry and Ron, but the house's location had been revealed to Yaxley, and they were forced to abandon it.
The front door opens into a long hallway, lit by a large chandelier and gas lamps. By 1995, its wallpaper was peeling and the carpet had been worn thin. Walburga Black's portrait hangs in this hallway. There is also a troll-leg umbrella stand, which, on numerous occasions, Tonks tripped up over, usually causing the portrait of Walburga Black to awaken and start screaming.
On one side of the hallway is the dining room, which features a dresser holding the Black family crest and china. It became filled with spiders when the house was abandoned. At the end of the hallway are the stairs to the upper floors, decorated with a row of shrunken house-elf heads, mounted on the wall on plaques.
The kitchen is below the ground floor and accessed through a narrow staircase at the end of the entry hallway. The kitchen is a cavernous room with a large fireplace at one end and a large wooden table in the centre. There is also a large pantry and a small room used by Kreacher as a bedroom.
The wall of the staircase leading to the first upper floor is decorated with the heads of house-elves mounted on plaques. On the first landing, there are at least three rooms: a drawing room, a bedroom once shared by Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley, and a bathroom. The drawing room has long windows facing the street in front of the house, a large fireplace, and the tapestry of the Black family tree.
The second floor features at least one bedroom, which was shared by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the summer of 1995. It featured a portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black until Hermione removed it to take on her, Harry, and Ron's journey.It is unknown what is on the third floor, but it is likely filled with bedrooms, given that Arthur, Molly, and Fred and George all slept a floor above Harry and Ron in 1995, and the topmost landing features only two bedrooms. in Harry's bedroom in 12 Grimmauld Place.]]
These were the bedrooms of Sirius and Regulus Black. The former was decorated with Gryffindor colours and banners and posters of bikini-clad Muggle women and muggle motorbikes, while the latter was decorated in Slytherin green, with the Black family crest over the bed and newspaper clippings about Lord Voldemort on the walls. Both were once ornate, but had decayed by the late 1990s.
The master bedroom where Buckbeak stayed may have been on the third floor as well.
Number 12, Grimmauld Place held many Black family heirlooms and possessions, such as a music box that played a sickly tune and attempted to put the listener to sleep, crested goblets, a biting silver box containing Wartcap Powder, and an unopenable locket which turned out to be Salazar Slytherin's Locket, one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. This was where Kreacher put the object after he drove himself mad not being able to complete his master, Regulus' orders to destroy the locket due to the fact that it had to be damaged past the point of repair which was beyond the capabilities and understanding of the house-elf.
Another object of note is the portrait of Walburga Black, which has an unpleasant habit of loudly screaming about the "Mudbloods" and "blood traitors" of the Order of the Phoenix that inhabit the house, due to Walburga's prejudice against such people. The portrait is usually closed off with curtains, which aim to keep the portrait quiet, but are not very effective; any loud noise in the vicinity will cause the curtains to fly open, and Walburga to start raging and howling again until someone forces the curtains shut.
Many of these family heirlooms were stolen and peddled by Mundungus Fletcher, including the locket which the thief was forced to give to none other than Dolores Umbridge to avoid prosecution for trading without a licence, she used the locket to enforce her pure-blood credentials, claiming that the 'S' stood for Selwyn, which she claimed was a pure-blood family to whom she was related. In fact, the locket was an heirloom of Salazar Slytherin as well as one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, which Regulus Black stole when he abandoned the Death Eaters.
- An ornate crystal bottle with a large opal set into the stopper, full of what appeared to be blood.
- Boxes, made of tarnished silver and inscribed with languages Harry did not understand.
- A dusty box containing Sirius's grandfather's Order of Merlin First Class.
- China with the Black family crest and motto.
- Rusty daggers
- Family photos in silver frames.
- A grandfather clock that shot heavy bolts at whomever passed by.
- A spidery instrument, rather like a many-legged pair of tweezers, which scurried away and tried to puncture Harry's skin.
- An unopenable locket which turned out to be Salazar Slytherin's Locket.
- A music box that played a faintly sinister, tinkling tune that when wound nearly knocked everyone out.
- A large and golden ring bearing the Black family crest.
- An ancient set of purple robes that tried to strangle Ron when they were removed from their wardrobe.
- Several ancient seals.
- Coiled snakeskin
- A snuffbox
The name is another of J. K. Rowling's puns: Grimmauld Place can be taken as "grim, old place" or "grim mould place."
Behind the scenes
- It is interesting to note that the Blacks decided to locate their house in a quaint Muggle neighbourhood seeing as how they were, for the most part, a family of Pure-blood supremacists.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)