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Essays

Is Godric's Hollow in Wales?

by Steve Vander Ark

We don't know at all where Godric's Hollow is, although the fact that Harry "fell asleep...over Bristol" when Hagrid was transporting him on the flying motorcycle has been used to "prove" that Godric's Hollow has to be in Wales. That isn't by any means proven. In fact, I would argue that it's highly un-likely that Godric's Hollow is in Wales. Here's what we do know:

On the evening of October 31, 1981 [Y1], Voldemort attacked the Potters in Godric's Hollow. This was just before midnight. Hagrid arrived shortly after the attack and rescued the infant Harry from the ruins of the cottage. He also met Sirius Black there and borrowed his flying motorcycle. All this happened within a fairly short time of midnight, October 31, 1981 [Y1].

In the next few hours, Hagrid took Harry somewhere. We have no idea where he took him and we don't know the speed of a flying motorcycle so we can't even estimate how far he took him. But I think it's unlikely that he stayed anywhere near Godric's Hollow, since that was 1) swarming with Muggles, and 2) the scene of the disappearance of Voldemort, which would mean that the Death Eaters were also probably all over the place, looking for their master. Hagrid left Harry in this place, wherever it was, in the very early morning. Sometime after that, but still in the early morning, Hagrid encountered McGonagall. Surprisingly, Hagrid told her practically nothing at all about what had happened. He didn't tell her that the Potters had been killed, he didn't tell her that he had rescued Harry or where he had taken him, he basically told her nothing. All he did say was that Dumbledore was going to be in some place called Privet Drive at some point that day. Hagrid didn't even tell her who lived in Privet Drive or what their relationship was to all that was going on. McGonagall went to Privet Drive at this point as a cat and waited all day on the garden wall.

We don't know where Hagrid went after this. We don't know at what point he was given Harry back to carry to Privet Drive. We might assume that wherever Harry was, he wasn't with Dumbledore, since otherwise Dumbledore wouldn't have needed someone to bring the baby to him. However, since Dumbledore obviously Apparated into Privet Drive, and since it seems unlikely that anyone can carry a baby when Apparating, and since Hagrid certainly doesn't have a license to Apparate, Dumbledore might have given Harry to Hagrid for safe transport from wherever they were to Privet Drive.

At any rate, this unidentified place, where Harry spent the day, is where Harry and Hagrid were coming from and it was on this trip that Harry fell asleep. And since they passed over Bristol on the way from there to Surrey, it is logical to assume that Harry spent the day somewhere 1) in Wales, and 2) not Godric's Hollow. So Godric's Hollow is very likely not in Wales at all; Wales would be a place that is a safe distance away from Godric's Hollow, which would be a dangerous place to be on that day, especially for Harry Potter.

That brings us to Privet Drive. It was almost midnight when Dumbledore finally appeared, and Hagrid arrived soon after. It was 24 hours since the attack in Godric's Hollow and Harry and Hagrid had traveled a good many kilometers in between.

© 2001 Steve Vander Ark

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