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"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 regarding Voldemort's motives[src]

The attack at Godric's Hollow on Christmas Eve of 1997 was an ambush by Lord Voldemort's snake Nagini. The snake ambushed Harry Potter during the height of the Second Wizarding War.[1]

The snake was planted in the animated corpse of Bathilda Bagshot to wait to see if Harry would come to see the grave of his parents in Godric's Hollow, and then to hold him there until Voldemort arrived to murder him.[1]

Harry eventually came with his friend Hermione Granger. The two narrowly escaped death at Voldemort's hands. They managed to escape by Disapparating out the second floor window of Bathilda Bagshot's home.[1]


Background information[]

Hermione Granger: "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 Potter: "Er — what's there?"
Hermione Granger: "Well, the sword, Harry!"
— Harry and Hermione discussing the sword's location[src]
Harry ron fight

Harry and Ron Weasley row before Ron abandons the Horcrux hunt

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.[2]

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-potter-deathly-harry hermione

Harry and Hermione discussing travelling 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 the Sword of Gryffindor — one of the only known items able to destroy a Horcrux — might be there.[3]

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,[3] as they previously overheard goblins Griphook and Gornuk discussing how the sword Severus Snape sent to Gringotts from Hogwarts was a fake.[2]

The ambush[]

The Potters' graves[]

"The headstone was only two rows behind Kendra and Ariana's. It was made of white marble, just like Dumbledore's tomb, and this made it easy to read, as it seemed to shine in the dark. Harry did not need to kneel or even approach very close to it to make out the words engraved upon it."
— Harry visiting his parents' grave[src]
Godric's hollowdh2

Harry and Hermione entering Godric's Hollow undetected

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 Cloak of Invisibility 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.[3] They entered the village as two phantoms.


Harry and Hermione (disguised as Muggles) visiting the Potter's memorial

Harry and Hermione passed a war memorial, in the middle of the village on the way to the graveyard. The memorial depicted the Potters, including an infant Harry. Once in the graveyard they spotted the graves of Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore, as well as that of Ignotus Peverell. The Peverell grave caught Hermione's attention, as it bore the same symbol that was on her book and worn by Xenophilius Lovegood.[3]

Godric's Hollow graveyard Pottermore

Harry and Hermione visiting the James and Lily's grave

At last, they found the grave of James and Lily Potter. On the grave was the inscription was 'the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death', which meant living after death. Before leaving Hermioneconjured a reef of flowers for Harry to place at the foot of James and Lily's headstone. They also found a sign near the ruins of the Potters' home to commemorate what occurred there. The sign also had magical graffiti on it with supportive messages for Harry, which he appreciated.[3]

Bathilda Bagshot's house[]

"Harry had the strangest feeling that she knew that they were there, and also who they were. Just as he reached this uneasy conclusion, she raised a gloved hand and beckoned."
— Nagini (disguised as Bathilda Bagshot) inviting Harry to follow her[src]
Bathilda Bagshot and Harry Potter

Harry and Nagini (disguised as Bathilda Bagshot) speaking in Parseltongue

Harry and Hermione then realised that they were being stared at by a very old woman, who was able to see them despite their being under the Cloak of Invisibility. 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 recognised 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.[1]

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 realise she was speaking to him in Parseltongue which, according to Harry, was why she didn't want to talk in front of Hermione.[1]


Nagini in combat with Harry Potter

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 the Sword of Gryffindor), 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.[1]


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

Harry and Hermione Apparating from Bathilda's home

While Harry was too preoccupied with the pain he was in because of his scar, Hermione managed to keep the snake at bay with several curses. One of Hermione's curses landed and Nagini smashed much of the furniture in the room.

Harry then 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. They even caught a glimpse of Voldemort before escaping.[1]


Hermione Granger: "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 Potter: "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!"
— Discovering the full truth about Dumbledore[src]
Forest 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.[1]

Teenage Grindelwald DHF1

Harry Potter reading The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

Soon after, Hermione showed Harry Rita Skeeter's book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, and they realised 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.[1] 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.[1] It is possible that much more time had passed before Mr Weasley was healed, or 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 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.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda's Secret)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 15 (The Goblin's Revenge)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 16 (Godric's Hollow)
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)