After the Dark Lord murdered James and Lily Potter in their house in the village of Godric's Hollow, three people visited the house.

When did each of these happen? Who arrived first, second, and third? Did Hagrid visit before or after Sirius confronted Peter? Was Peter's visit soon after the murder, or did the wand lie under the ruins for over a decade? (user13267 assumes the latter.) Is there any other plot-significant person who visited the house?

  • The films and plays show other people who visited. But then again, those are nonsense.
    – ibid
    Feb 23, 2017 at 13:08

3 Answers 3


Things that are known:

Hagrid arrives first. Minutes later, Sirius shows up. Sirius tries to take Harry but is rebuffed, so leaves to track down Peter.

"I met him!" growled Hagrid. "I musta bin the last ter see him before he killed all them people! It was me what rescued Harry from Lily an' James's house after they was killed! Jus' got him outta the ruins, poor little thing, with a great slash across his forehead, an' his parents dead... an' Sirius Black turns up, on that flyin' motorbike he used ter ride. Never occurred ter me what he was doin' there. I didn' know he'd bin Lily an' James's Secret-Keeper. Thought he'd jus' heard the news o' You-know-who's attack an' come ter see what he could do. White an' shakin', he was..

Not Known

It's unclear when Peter retrieved the wand. Clearly it was after the murders, but it could have been directly after, or after Sirius and Hagrid depart the wreckage, or after he fakes his death later that night, or after the end of Prisoner of Azkaban (though I find that last one unlikely - the Potters house would have at least been investigated, if not cleaned up).


I always found it odd an Avada Kedavra curse, even rebounded, would damage the house. It wasn't supposed to leave any marks other than the death of it's victim, and this was part of it's terror. Additionally, descriptions that the curse itself damaged the house can be mainly explained as inferences made by the characters or Riddle messing with Harry's head (see the comments), meaning this does not have to be the accurate in-world explanation.

Therefore, I had always myself inferred that Peter was there with Voldemort — likely waiting outside, and possibly at Voldemort's instructions in order to be sure he had the right place — and it was actually Peter who destroyed the house.

There are several things going on that I feel support this idea.

First of all, a Peter who is waiting outside would not be immediately clear about what happened; he would need to investigate. Inside he would find a wand, a baby, and two dead bodies. I expect what would most grab his attention was the wand of his master, which he would see as an item of great power. Peter would try to use this wand, and I doubt the wand would accept him. At this point, the destruction of the house is a natural result.

Alternatively, he may have simply felt the need to destroy evidence — may have been under orders to do so, along with casting a Dark Mark, once Voldemort left. He may also have wanted to kill the baby himself, but being a coward he felt that a general destructive curse to the house would do that job rather than needing to more directly murder the child.

And then Hagrid arrives, followed a few minutes later by Sirius. Of course Peter has ability to hide from Hagrid. Once Hagrid leaves, this places Peter and Sirius together at the scene with no witnesses. Sirius in dog form would have no trouble sniffing out Peter's rat, and what happens next is now well understood.

The point of all of this is Peter was likely there first, with ample time to recover the wand. While it's not clear, there are some indications that an animagus could keep items like this on their person while transformed, making Peter's escape with the wand from the home and Sirius (with the appropriate distraction) easy enough to accomplish.

Even if this does not satisfy you as the most likely option, it should at least show there is room for interpretation here.

  • 15
    Sorry, but Book 7 explicitly shows the events from Voldemorts POV, and Peter ain't with him.
    – DavidS
    Feb 22, 2017 at 18:14
  • This question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/152493/… may interest you.
    – ThruGog
    Feb 23, 2017 at 6:06
  • The fight is actually described several times. Voldemort tells Harry that James was fighting bravely but in the last book it is shown that James never even had time to grab the wand. As with many other things in the HP universe, the explanations are not logical. I have always wondered why the decision about the Secret Keeper was either Peter or Sirius. Why not James or Lily...
    – Sulthan
    Feb 23, 2017 at 12:04
  • @Sulthan: see scifi.stackexchange.com/a/28194/4918 "Why wasn't James Potter his own Secret Keeper?"
    – b_jonas
    Feb 23, 2017 at 13:14
  • 1
    @Sulthan Voldemort also tells Harry they begged for their lives, at that point he's just messing with Harry's head. And I always assumed that those protected by the charm couldn't be the Secret-Keeper (otherwise you have a literally perfect method of keeping any and all secrets, since the keeper can't be forced or coerced into revealing it).
    – DavidS
    Feb 27, 2017 at 9:54

I can't recall if this was ever in the books but in the films we get a flash back of Snapes past. We see Snape holding Lilly's body and then sees Harry in the crib. He must have beaten Hagrid and Sirius there otherwise Harry wouldn't have been in the crib.

  • 6
    This is definitely a film-only addition designed to show Snape's pain more emphatically and is not in the books.
    – ThruGog
    Feb 23, 2017 at 6:04

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