I believe in both the books, and the movie, the Potters’ house is in ruins after Voldemort's attack. We know from the story that Voldemort did not intentionally blow up the house, as it appears that only 3-4 magic spells happened that night, none of which were meant to destroy the house. Voldemort walks in and kills James, walks up to Lily and kills her (when the magical protective love charm activates), attempts to kill Harry, and the curse rebounds.

Hagrid finds Harry in the ruined house, but I recall no mention of how it got ruined. What caused the destruction of the house? Did it have anything to do with how Harry got his scar?

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    I think it is implied that the rebound effect of the killing curse was a bit explosive, so that's what cause the damage to the house. I don't know if there is a canon answer to this though.
    – Deleteman
    Nov 7, 2014 at 16:31
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    now did voldemort die due to a killing curse hitting him, or due to the rebound explosion. i believe the book only states that he was killed when the curse rebounded, but obviously the rebounded curse was acting outside of what a normal killing curse can be expected to do.
    – Himarm
    Nov 7, 2014 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


The rebound from Voldemort's final curse.

As Deleteman states in the comments, when Harry first sees the house, he guesses that the damage was caused by a backfiring spell:

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.

This guess is correct.

When Voldemort tries to kill Harry, the damage is near immediate: as he comes to terms with his ethereal state, he sees the damage to the house:

"Avada Kedavra!"

And then he broke. He was nothing, nothing but pain and terror, and he must hide himself, not here in the rubble of the ruined house, where the child was trapped screaming, but far away... far away..."

Voldemort's spells are described as very deliberate. This isn't a duel; he's not casting lots of spells, but a few carefully targeted shots. The first two spells he cast were to kill James and Lily, not to attack the house. Indeed, it's not until Voldemort's wand is pointing at Harry that he realises that something is wrong; if the house was already blown apart, he'd work it out a lot sooner. (The noise of the explosion, if nothing else.)

This means that when he tries to kill Harry, the house is still intact. It follows that it must have been the curse trying to kill Harry, because that's the only spell from which the damage could occur.

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