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Potter Family Memorial Statue

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" . . . How strange it was to see himself represented in stone, a happy baby without a scar on his forehead. . . ."
-- Harry's thoughts (DH16)

Potter Family Memorial Statue

A memorial statue of the Potter family found in Godric’s Hollow to commemorate the deaths of James and Lily, and the survival of baby Harry.

  • Hermione and Harry viewed the statue while on a visit to Godric's Hollow on Christmas Eve 1997 (DH16).
  • The statue at first appeared to be a war memorial obelisk inscribed with names, but as they passed by it changed into a statue of the Potters: "a man with untidy hair and glasses, a woman with long hair and a kind, pretty face, and a baby boy sitting in his mother’s arms" (DH16).
  • Each head was covered with a cap of snow.



The scene in which Harry saw the Potter statue is filled with symbolism, and shows Harry's childhood coming full circle.

James and Lily were killed by Voldemort during wartime as members of the Order of the Phoenix, and their statue is disguised as a war memorial. From a distance, the memorial is just a obelisk covered in names, but up-close and personal Harry recognized himself in the family group and becomes very emotional.  The statue also unfortunately foreshadows the deaths to come during the Battle of Hogwarts, including Remus and Nymphadora Lupin, as well as Harry's sacrificial death in the Forest to save his friends just as Lily made that choice for him (DH31, DH34).

There is also a great deal of Christian symbolism in the connection to the statue's closeness to the church on the square in Godric's Hollow, and the fact that Harry and Hermione visit there on Christmas Eve. They saw Christmas trees through the windows of the houses and heard carols coming from the church.  Christmas celebrates the birth of a holy baby, and there was baby Harry with his mother and father in the statue. The snow on their heads could almost be halos, just as Mary, Joseph and Jesus are sometimes represented in paintings through the centuries.

The scene is reminiscent of Harry's obsession with viewing his parents in the Mirror of Erised which also happened over Christmas vacation (PS12), and as Dumbledore said gave him "neither knowledge nor truth." The statue is an idealized version of the Potter family, much like the golden statues of a noble wizard, a beautiful witch, a house-elf and a centaur at the Ministry of Magic (OP7). This time grown-up Harry was able to understand the loss of his parents, to move on to the graveyard and accept their deaths.

There is a Bible verse on the Potters' grave: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" 1 Corinthians 15:26 in the New Testament. Harry thought the verse sounded like Voldemort's fear of death, but Hermione explained: “It means . . . you know . . . living beyond death. Living after death.” And of course, when Harry later walks to what he thinks will be his death in the Forbidden Forest, he uses the Resurrection Stone to draw back the spirits of James, Lily, Sirius and Lupin to give him strength (DH34). Belief in love and the afterlife takes away Harry's fear of death, and thus destroys Voldemort's power. Hermione put Christmas roses on the Potters' grave - another name for that plant is Hellebore, an ingredient in the Draught of Peace, a potion which relieves anxiety (OP12). Harry's acceptance of his parents' death also gave him peace.

As they walked to the graveyard, Harry heard more music from the church and thought of the past and the happy Christmases he actually had growing up as a child, not with the Dursleys, but at Hogwarts with Dumbledore and Ron: "Peeves bellowing rude versions of carols from inside suits of armor, of the Great Hall’s twelve Christmas trees, of Dumbledore wearing a bonnet he had won in a cracker, of Ron in a hand-knitted sweater . . ." (DH16). This memory gave Harry one more reason to keep fighting against Voldemort - so that orphaned children like themselves would continue to have a safe haven in the magical world. ~ SIP

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