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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

How Did Hagrid get to Godric's Hollow? How will Harry?

How Did Hagrid get to Godric's Hollow? How will Harry?

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JKR’s Web site contains the following information about the Fidelius Charm:
When a Secret-Keeper dies, their secret dies with them, or, to put it another way, the status of their secret will remain as it was at the moment of their death. Everybody in whom they confided will continue to know the hidden information, but nobody else.
Just in case you have forgotten exactly how the Fidelius Charm works, it is
"an immensely complex spell involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret-Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find -- unless, of course, the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it" (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
In other words, a secret (eg, the location of a family in hiding, like the Potters) is enchanted so that it is protected by a single Keeper (in our example, Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail). Thenceforth nobody else – not even the subjects of the secret themselves – can divulge the secret. Even if one of the Potters had been captured, force fed Veritaserum or placed under the Imperius Curse, they would not have been able to give away the whereabouts of the other two. The only people who ever knew their precise location were those whom Wormtail had told directly, but none of them would have been able to pass on the information.
How, then, did Hagrid know how to get to the Potter’s home in Godric’s Hollow? Did Pettigrew tell him where it was?   Dumbledore couldn’t have done so, although he apparently knew.
More to the point, how will Harry get there in DH? Presumably he doesn’t need to be “told”, sine he once lived there himself (i.e., if it’s hidden he’ll be able to see it), but he’d be completely unable to communicate the information to Ron & Hermione, wouldn’t he?
  • Notice that it doesn't say what happens when whoever cast the spell dies? That's my guess: that with James and Lily dead (and Lily as the likely spell caster) the charm was gone. But I imagine we'll find out in book seven.
    • Good theory. I agree that we'll find out. (Although she does say that there'll still be lots to argue about after DH!)
  • I have wondered whether there is a requirement for input from the owner of the property. This would prevent, for instance, a burglar putting a rich person's home under the Fidelius and robbing it whilst the owner couldn't even see the house. If this is the case, then the deaths of James and Lily would break the Fidelius charm and then Hagrid would be able to find Godric's Hollow (I would presume that there would be no input from Harry as a one year old baby). This would also allow Bellatrix to find Grimmauld Place after Sirius's death, if the property had gone to her as seemed possible early on in HBP.
    • Interesting, Bel! I hadn't thought about the burglar angle. I had always assumed that Bellatrix, if she owned Kreacher, could get him to tell her what was going *on* at HQ even if he couldn't tell her where it was.
      • If that were all Bellatrix stood to gain, then the house would just remain in limbo, or a bricks and mortar equivalent, without anyone being able to get in or, eventually, even knowing it existed. Of course, 'Dung would have sold off all the contents.

        I actually think that the Fidelius charm is one of those things JKR hasn't really worked out to the last little detail so we will never discover anything extra about it. My theory would explain some of the problems so that'll do for me. At least we'll all still have lots of things to discuss for years to come, long after the last book is published.
  • I've never understood/liked JKR's explanation of what happens when a secret-keeper dies. Over time little bubbles of space would keep disappearing as, one by one, locations are permanently 'lost' as everyone privy to its secret dies.

    Anyway, I've read a couple of stories where Harry, who already 'knows' the secret of Godric's Hollow's location, simply leads Hermione and Ron into the premises by the hand. Once inside they're fine, even if they don't know where they are.
  • I wonder if it's to do with the fact that the secret was 'the location of the Potter family in hiding'. Since they no longer live at Godric's Hollow, the house itself need no longer be the subject of the Charm?
    • Which makes me wonder about the status of the house at Grimmauld Place now that Dumbledore's dead? If the secret is 'the location of the HQ of the Order of the Phoenix', then no worries - it's still secret, although it may be impossible for new members to find it.
      • Wait -- don't I remember something in OoP about Harry's being unable even to see Ten Grimault Place until he read the message from Dumbledore? And as to the other thing -- hm, if Moody still has the paper with Dumbledore's handwriting on it, maybe it still works even with Dumbledore dead?
  • Argh, I had a long response all typed up at home before I left for work this morning and then my Internet connection wonked out on me. Here we go again:

    If you remember from OotP, the secret of Grimmauld Place isn't its location, it's that it's the headquarters of the Order. Flitwick says in PoA that You-Know-Who himself could have been looking in the Potters' sitting room window and not seen them, so I would assume that their secret was something similar - not the location of the house, but the fact that they were there. A secret like "The Potters live at 123 Gryffindor Lane, Godric's Hollow" would be irrelevant to Harry now because the conditions of the secret have expired as James and Lily are dead and it's no longer Harry's home. He, Ron, and Hermione should be able to just walk up to its ruins no problem.

    As to how Hagrid found it and Harry, I would assume that James and Lily told some people where they lived, so they must have had Peter write some notes like Dumbledore did for Harry in OotP. Hagrid, Dumbledore, and perhaps a few other Order members could easily have been on the list of people who got those notes. After all, there's no risk in people knowing where they are, since they can't tell anyone anyway.

    As for the fate of Grimmauld Place now that Dumbledore is dead, I'm of the opinion that they just need to make a new secret. Once they've done that, they should be able to disseminate the location of the Order's headquarters as easily as they did before.
    • I hate it when I lose my comments or reviews like that. Thanks for taking the time to write it over.

      Hm, I thought Harry couldn't see Number Twelve at all before he read the paper from Dumbledore. So maybe Ron & Hemione won't be able to see the (ruins of the) Potter house either?

      I knew about your superseding Fidelius theory, of course, from Curse's Legacy; it'll be interesting to see JKR's take on it.

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