In book 1 of Harry Potter we learn that Voldemort is undone the night before Harry is left with the Dursleys. This is gleaned from the exchange between Professor McGonagall and Dumbledore outside the Dursleys' house while they wait for Hagrid.

‘What they’re saying,’ she [Professor McGonagall] pressed on, ‘is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric’s Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumour is that Lily and James Potter are – are – that they’re – dead.’

Shortly after this Hargid arrives in his motorcycle, making it sound like he came directly from getting Harry out of his parent's house.

‘No, sir – house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.’

Now Google Maps places Bristol a little over 2 hours west of Surrey, following the roads, and while the exact location of Godric's Hollow is is unknown the HP Lexicon places it in West Country. West Country typically includes Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, which places the location of Godric's Hollow somewhere South, South-west of Britstol, at most somewhere between 2 and 3 and hours away (again by road).

So in a flying motorcycle, following a route that would take them over Bristol, and assuming Hargid was going somewhat slow so as not to scare or wake Harry, it might take between 6 and 8 hours to get from the Potter's house to the Dursleys' house. So where were Hagrid and Harry in the extra 10 to 18 hours (since Hargid says he got Harry just as the muggles began to arrive, which should have been fairly fast)?

  • 1
    How did muggles know that a murder had taken place and that they needed to swarm around? I expect that while there may have been some noise and commotion, no one would notice the missing potters, least of all muggles, for a day or two. It's quite possible that Hagrid didn't pick Harry up for at least several hours after the initial event, and possibly for that whole time Harry may have been left alone in that house.
    – Adam Davis
    Jun 5, 2012 at 12:33
  • 4
    @AdamDavis `‘No, sir – house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.’ While Muggles may be a bit dense, they'd probably notice a house almost being destroyed. Besides, I doubt Dumbledore et. al. would want to leave Harry sitting in a nearly destroyed house all day.
    – Xantec
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:44
  • 2
    @AdamDavis And if you are wondering what "almost destroyed" means, from Deathly Hallows: The hedge had grown wild in the sixteen years since Hagrid had taken Harry from the rubble that lay scattered amongst the waist-high grass. Most of the cottage was still standing, though entirely covered in dark ivy and snow, but the right side of the top floor had been blown apart; that, Harry was sure, was where the curse had backfired.
    – Xantec
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:53
  • Is there a clue as to when the hiding charm was placed on the property? Given that they were also hiding from Voldemort, wouldn't they have also placed a charm on the house/property so that muggles were unaware of it? Did the charm wear off, or was it not placed until after the incident, because it was certainly there when Harry visited the home later, which is why the house was left undisturbed by the muggles though it was a wreck.
    – Adam Davis
    Jun 5, 2012 at 17:56
  • @AdamDavis There was a Fidelius charm around the house, keeping not only muggles but most wizards out. It stopped working when James and Lily were killed, according to the book.
    – Kevin
    Aug 22, 2012 at 0:22

6 Answers 6


Rowling actually admitted in an interview she didn't think it through:

MA: And what happened? There's this whole twenty four hours that people have been fantasizing about for years.

JKR: Yeah, I know. I've got a bit of problem with this myself, because every time I think it straight in my head I go back and look at what the fans are theorizing about, and I think "Yeah, maybe they've got a point." Dumbledore – Well there's an easy answer to how would Dumbledore know. Because you can – He? (laughs) You can. One can.

MA: Yeah. Yeah. (SU laughs)

JKR: Forgive me if I speak as though it's all real for a moment. (clears her throat)

SU: It is real! What do you mean it's not?

JN: That's what we all feel.

JKR: I know, exactly! That's how I feel as well. Yeah, so okay. Obviously Dumbledore could cast a spell on a dwelling that would immediately alert him if something happened to it. (SU: Oh.) So he could know instantaneously. That's not a problem at all. And then he could dispatch Hagrid and so on. I think The Scottish Book will have to answer that question. (SU, MA, and JN laugh) I'm gonna have to really go back through notes and either admit that I lost twenty four hours or I don't know, hurriedly come up with some back story to fill in. (SU laughs) Either way, you either get to be right, or you get more story. So you can't complain.


Hagrid needn't have taken the direct route. Especially since this was a dangerous and evolving situation, Hagrid may very well have taken alternate routes, backtracked, done various things to throw off potential tails, etc.

  • 6
    And let a one-year-old baby go without food for an entire day?
    – Kevin
    Mar 1, 2012 at 3:12
  • 1
    Possible, but unlikely I think. Most of the wizarding world was pretty reckless in their display of celebration (so much so that the muggles were taking notice). It hardly seems that there would have been too much danger to worry about (other than mobs of people wanting to touch the chosen one).
    – Xantec
    Mar 1, 2012 at 3:46
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    @kevin Hagrid always seemed to have plenty of food hidden in that voluminous coat of his.... Mar 1, 2012 at 13:29

I'm not aware of the canon answer, but it's possible he took Harry to Hogwarts, so Dumbledore/school healer could make sure he was OK magic wise and health wise

  • 1
    Could be, but then why does Hagrid mention that he got Harry before the muggles started poking around? Hagrid stopping anywhere would seem to indicate that there would have been time to send a message to Dumbledore (or even meet up with him), making the muggle statement superfluous.
    – Xantec
    Mar 1, 2012 at 14:40

At hp-lexicon.org a timeline for the hours (from Godrics Hollow on 31 oct at night to Privet Dr. on 1 sep at night) that Hagrid and Harry spent. That Harry fell asleep when they "was flyin over Bristol" indicates they were somewhere in Wales.

I assume that Hagrid agreed to meet Dumbledore on 1 sep at night in Privet Dr, assuming he would walk the distance from Godrics Hollow. Only when picking up Harry he met Sirius and bought his motorcycle, so he had more time than expected. That time he spent in hiding in Wales since he had to assume that death eaters were around, too.

However, it is mentioned at hp-lexicon.org that Hagrid (and Harry) meet McGonagall, which I find unlikely, since how should whe know where to find Hagrid. Though he is the one to tell that he meets Dumbledore at Privet Dr it seems more obvious that he hold her so before he left Hogwards.


I don't have any canonical reference, but isn't it possible that Hagrid arrived at the Privet Drive just before the sunrise?

Assuming Harry's parents were murdered between 9 - 10 pm, Harry would've arrived with Hagrid by say, 3 - 5 am, which is the most likely situation.

  • 4
    That would mean that Hagrid and Harry were missing for an even longer amount of time (9~10 PM until 3-5 AM of the second day after). The entire day previous wizards were out celebrating; the first chapter includes several instances of Mr Dursley seeing strange people wearing capes, with lots of owls and shooting stars being mentioned on that evenings evening news.
    – Xantec
    Mar 1, 2012 at 14:27
  • Hagrid arrived at Privet Drive at around midnight. The book says: In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all. That was when Dumbledore arrived, and Hagrid arrived shortly thereafter.
    – Alex
    Sep 8, 2019 at 18:59


They have left Potter house at 10pm, 31 oct. Weren't they sleeping a bit, maybe? Or eating? Finding milk for the kid, avoiding deatheaters all the time? Especially Hagrid.

I think so.

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