Bathilda Bagshot

Bathilda Bagshot was a celebrated historian, witch and author in the world of magic in the Harry Potter series. She was the author of “A History of Magic”, a prescribed textbook in Hogwarts.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Bathilda Bagshot was a British witch known most for her work as one of the best magical historians of her time. She wrote the famous book A History of Magic in several volumes and was said to have written at least ten more equally relevant books in her time. She lived in Godric’s Hollow, the place where Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Ignotus Peverell and Godric Gryffindor are also from. Bathilda Bagshot is also known for being the great aunt of Gellert Grindelwald, the infamous dark wizard who tried to conquer the magical world. 


Bathilda is a German name that means ‘Heroine.’ Bathilda is also believed to be another spelling for the name of the seventh-century Anglo-Saxon noble Saint Balthild, who was the wife of King Clovis II of Burgundy. It may be derived from an Anglo-Saxon word which in turn may be derived from the Old English Bealdhild, which means “bold battle.” Bagshot, her last name, may be derived from The Lord of the Rings, written by J. R. R. Tolkien, as several of its characters, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, lived in a place called the Bagshot Row. Alternatively, it may also be named after a town in Surrey, England, which gets its name from the Bacca tribe and means ”place of Bacca”. Finally, it could also mean Badger, which is the mascot of the Hufflepuff house.

Bathilda’s Early Life

Bathilda Bagshot was born somewhere in England in the nineteenth century to the wizarding Bagshot family, where Bathilda’s last name comes from. As a younger woman, she already lived in her house in Godric’s Hollow when the Dumbledore family moved there from Mold in the Wold, which was the name of a town in England. They moved in 1890 due to Percival’s arrest by the Ministry of Magic and subsequent imprisonment in Azkaban. She was a neighbor of the Dumbledores but kept her distance as she was not received well by Kendra Dumbledore, Albus’s mother, when she tried to befriend her. However, since it was around the time that Kendra’s husband Percival had just been taken to Azkaban, so Kendra’s strange behavior may be justified. They would eventually end up knowing each other, and it is believed that Bathilda was the only person in Godric’s Hollow other than her young children Albus, Aberforth and Ariana that Kendra talked to.

While she was only acquainted with Aberforth and Albus Dumbledore at first, the latter being a protégé of hers due to his interesting paper on trans-species Transfiguration that he wrote while a Hogwarts student. This paper also appeared in the famed scholarly journal Transfiguration Today. Bathilda was in correspondence with Albus, and the two exchanged interesting papers. Albus Dumbledore greatly admired Bathilda’s work as well.

Eventually, Dumbledore meets Bathilda’s great-nephew Gellert Grindelwald and befriends him in Bathilda’s cottage. Bathilda was present at the funeral of Ariana Dumbledore when the Dumbledore brothers had their fistfight, and Aberforth’s knuckles broke Albus’s nose. Rita Skeeter would later exploit these details from an elderly Professor Bagshot with the use of Veritaserum. It is believed that Albus Dumbledore was a wizard of extreme ambition, but after his sister’s death and the fight with Aberforth, he decided to stay in Godric’s Hollow as he was the head of the family and later became a professor at Hogwarts, where he taught Transfiguration and some other wizardry class.

Bathilda’s Life

Bathilda’s life was mostly surrounded by her academic pursuit of researching the world of magic. However, she is believed to have been a brilliant witch with extraordinary magical abilities. However, the advantage of Bathilda being an intellectual rather than engaging in the field was that she could continue partaking in her passion -History. Her most popular book, titled A History of Magic was published in the year 1947 by Little Red Books. She went on to publish several other books, including Hogwarts: A History. She stayed in Godric’s Hollow throughout her life which meant that she was on close terms with the Potters too till the day they died. In fact, Bathilda was one of the only people in attendance for Harry Potter’s birthday tea, which was held at their place during the First Wizarding War. It was a quiet birthday tea for when Harry turned one year old because James and Lily Potter had gone into hiding as Voldemort was hunting them down. Lily Potter wrote about this event in one of the letters she wrote to Sirius Black and sent it through owl to Twelve Grimmauld Place. In that letter, she had written about how although Bathilda was a fascinating old thing in her later years, she had amazing stories about Dumbledore. Bathilda meets Harry once again after Harry turns an orphan, losing both his parents. 

Bathilda’s A History Of Magic

Bathilda is primarily known in the Harry Potter series for being an authority in magical history and the author of A History of Magic, also a prescribed textbook for first-year Hogwarts students as a part of a course of the same name taught by Professor Cuthbert Binns. She was the best magical historian of Britain and was also probably the best magical historian of the twentieth century and received several accolades for it. She was also believed to have taught somewhere, likely in Hogwarts in her younger years, as she was referred to as Professor Bathilda Bagshot by some people, including Hermione. Bathilda’s works were revered with critical acclaim following most of her works for their authoritative take on History. Bathilda would also go on to write the ‘foreword’ for Quidditch Through the Ages where Bathilda drops praise for Kennilworthy Whisp’s painstaking research and claims that his work had uncovered a veritable treasure trove of unknown facts about Quidditch.

Bathilda and Rita Skeeter

Soon after the death of Albus Dumbledore at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Rita Skeeter contacted the very old Bathilda Bagshot and decided to interview her to obtain stories about Dumbledore as he had been her neighbor in Godric’s Hollow for a very long time. However, as usual, Rita Skeeter used unethical means to get what she wanted and is said to have used Veritaserum to obtain personal information about Dumbledore from Bathilda. Furthermore, she visited Bathilda in her house at Godric’s Hollow and took great liberties in taking photographs of several personal items, including the photograph of a young Albus Dumbledore and Grindelwald and the photograph of an old letter written by Dumbledore to Grindelwald claiming ‘wizard domination.’ She abused her position as a reporter to obtain useful information from ‘Batty,’ as she called her, despite her weak and wizened existence and poor mental state. Skeeter used all the material she obtained to write her only partially true biography titled The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. 

Bathilda’s Death

Bathilda’s death came most likely in the December of 1997, a few months after Rita Skeeter had taken details of Dumbledore’s life from her. Lord Voldemort used Dark Magic and Dark Arts on the corpse of Bathilda Bagshot and reanimated it with the help of his snake Nagini. The goal was to trap Harry Potter in her house as Voldemort expected Harry to come to Godric’s Hollow. In her older years, Bathilda had probably developed cataracts which is why she almost looked blind. She came to the chest level of seventeen-year-old Harry Potter. Although Harry couldn’t tell if Bathilda was acting like a possessed woman, he sensed something was wrong as did Hermione. She looked very frail and veins were visible near her scalp. It was also surprising that she was aware of Harry’s identity even before he introduced himself. It would later be revealed that the reason was that it was not actually Bathilda herself.

Ambush at Godric’s Hollow

Bathilda Bagshot is perhaps known best for two reasons in the Harry Potter series. First, it is for her popular books on History. Second, it is for the ambush in Godric’s Hollow where Harry Potter and Hermione Granger are almost killed. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry attends Bill and Fleur’s wedding, he meets Elphias Doge, a member of the Order of the Phoenix who used to be a friend of Albus Dumbledore. While Elphias has a lot of good things to say about Dumbledore, Ron Weasley’s great aunt Muriel lets it slip that Dumbledore had a lot of secrets and that Rita Skeeter had written a book about it with the help of Bathilda Bagshot, who was Dumbledore’s neighbor. So, when Harry went to Godric’s Hollow following Christmas Eve with Hermione in search of clues related to their hunt for Horcruxes, he wasn’t surprised to find Bathilda Bagshot waiting for them. They followed her to her house. However, it was actually the Dark Lord Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini inside Bathilda’s body, made to mimic Bathilda’s personality with the help of dark magic. Harry and Hermione somehow escaped, but Harry’s wand was broken into pieces in this ordeal.


How did Nagini become Bathilda Bagshot?

Bathilda Bagshot was very old around the time Rita Skeeter came to interview her. After Rita left, Bathilda died a few days later. Lord Voldemort used Dark Magic to reanimate Bathilda Bagshot’s corpse and then made Nagini enter her corpse, thereby giving her control of the movements of the corpse. He did this in hopes of trapping Harry Potter when he comes to Godric’s Hollow, as Voldemort had a feeling that Harry would show up.

Why did Bathilda Bagshot talk to Rita Skeeter?

Bathilda Bagshot was very old when Rita Skeeter came to her asking for details and stories about Albus Dumbledore. However, Rita also made use of Veritaserum, which is a truth serum that forces its drinker to tell the truth. Therefore, when Rita asks Bathilda about Dumbledore, she has no choice but to tell Rita all the things she knew and remembers about Dumbledore and his family, including Ariana’s Death, the relationship that Dumbledore had with Gellert Grindelwald and the fight between Aberforth Dumbledore and Albus Dumbledore.

What did Bathilda Bagshot say to Harry in Parseltongue?

Bathilda was merely asking Harry to ‘come’ using Parseltongue. This may have been a mistake on the part of Nagini as only she could have spoken in Parseltongue and not Bathilda. Harry followed her into the room, where she suddenly revealed herself, but Harry and Hermione were clever enough to escape the cottage alive.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap