I know Harry was born in 1980 and went to Hogwarts in 1991, and he was described as a baby when his parents were killed on Halloween night. But was this 1980 or 1981? Was he only three months old or was he one and three months? In the film the child used looks to be somewhere between these ages to me.

I lean more towards one and a bit, not sure why, but then technically that's not really a baby but a toddler isn't it? Wikipedia says it happened in 1981 but doesn't explain this date, confirming his age at the time of Chamber of Secrets.

So, was he three months or fifteen months on the night his parents died?

  • 3
    You're correct that most 15-month-olds are already walking, and thus could be called "toddlers", but that doesn't mean that they can't also be called "babies". In my experience, "baby" applies at least until age 2, or until a younger sibling is born, whichever comes first.
    – Martha
    Feb 5, 2016 at 20:16
  • Oh I don't doubt for a moment that you're correct there. And I think it's only Hagrid who refers to him as a baby. I just couldn't remember where it says the year or his age exactly, and couldn't find it easily online.
    – ThruGog
    Feb 5, 2016 at 20:24
  • Merriam-Webster lists toddler as a near-synonym of baby; baby is defined as "a very young child" and toddler as "a young child". Feb 5, 2016 at 20:33
  • @ThruGog - His parents' death is recorded in Deathly Hallows, on the memorial marker. The date for Harry's bday is inferred, it's not stated explicitly in the books.
    – JohnP
    Feb 5, 2016 at 20:33
  • And BabyCentre, more expert in the matter than the dictionary, describes a toddler as a child between one and three years old, but that isn't the point.
    – ThruGog
    Feb 5, 2016 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


Harry's birthday is July 31, 1980. His mother was killed on October 31, 1981. That makes him exactly 15 months old when his mother and father were killed.

Additionally, as pointed out by Janus Bahs Jacquet, the letter from Lily to Sirius that Harry found in Deathly Hallows explicitly states that he had his first birthday while his parents were still living:

Dear Padfoot,

Thank you, thank you, for Harry's birthday present! It was his favourite by far. One year old and already zooming along on a toy broomstick, he looked so pleased with himself, I'm enclosing a picture so you can see.

Babies also age at different rates, and mature at different rates. Some children are walking as early as 6-8 months, others are not walking by 18 months.

Also, as pointed out in the comments, Dudley is approximately the same age as Harry, and in the Philosopher's Stone, the following passage is used to describe Dudley:

‘You don’t mean – you can’t mean the people who live here?’ cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. ‘Dumbledore – you can’t. I’ve been watching them all day. You couldn’t find two people who are less like us. And they’ve got this son – I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!’

  • Do you literally need to 'toddle' to be a toddler? I suppose so. Does it state the actual year anywhere besides Pottermore? I'm really not sure that it does. Just wondering why two downvotes already.
    – ThruGog
    Feb 5, 2016 at 20:25
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    @ThruGog Perhaps not the actual year as such, but in Deathly Hallows when Harry finds the old letter and photo in Sirius’ room, it quite clearly states that [Dumbledore? Someone else?] gave Harry his toy broom for his first birthday, so he couldn't have been only three months old. McGonagall also describes Dudley (who's in the same year as Harry in school, and we know he was born in summer, so presumably they're nearly the same age) as “kicking his mother up the street, screaming for sweets” (or something like that), which is hardly how you'd describe a five-month-old infant. Feb 5, 2016 at 21:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Excellent point, do you mind if I add that into the answer (credited, of course)?
    – JohnP
    Feb 5, 2016 at 21:24
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    @ThruGog Don't forget 1) they barely rise a foot into the air, 2) this is the future youngest Seeker in a century we're talking about, and 3) any minor injury is easily fixed by a bit of wand-waving. Feb 5, 2016 at 21:35
  • 2
    @JanusBahsJacquet - I found the quote, but other than Vernon asking Petunia "Their son - He'd be about Dudley's age, wouldn't he?" there's nothing that states his age explicitly, just infers that 'ickle duddykins is at least of talking age.
    – JohnP
    Feb 5, 2016 at 21:45

When Hagrid first tells Harry the story of his parents' death on his eleventh birthday, he explicitly states that it occurred ten years earlier when Harry was a year old:

All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where you was all living, on Halloween ten years ago. You was just a year old.

Similarly, the second chapter of Philosopher's Stone begins by telling us that it was nearly 10 years since Harry was brought to Privet Drive:

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all.

If Harry's parents had been killed when he was three months old then he would have been turning ten, rather than eleven, in Philosopher's Stone. Ergo, he was one year and three months at the time of the attack.


Harry's parents were killed on October 31st 1981.

Harry started Hogwarts in 1991, Harry must have been born 31st July 1980 so that he could start secondary education at 11.

This makes Harry 15 months old when the attack at Godric's Hollow occurred.

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