'A most gifted magical historian...'

Elphias Doge and Auntie Muriel discuss Bathilda Bagshot's work and Rita Skeeter's new book

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling

‘And I’ll tell you something else,’ Muriel said, hiccoughing slightly as she lowered her goblet. ‘I think Bathilda has spilled the beans to Rita Skeeter. All those hints in Skeeter’s interview about an important source close to the Dumbledores – goodness knows she was there all through the Ariana business and it would fit!’

‘Bathilda would never talk to Rita Skeeter!’ whispered Doge.

‘Bathilda Bagshot?’ Harry said. ‘The author of A History of Magic?’

The name was printed on the front of one of Harry’s textbooks, though admittedly not one of the ones he had read most attentively.

‘Yes,’ said Doge, clutching at Harry’s question like a drowning man at a lifebelt. ‘A most gifted magical historian and an old friend of Albus’s.’

‘Quite gaga these days, I’ve heard,’ said Auntie Muriel cheerfully.

‘If that is so, it is even more dishonourable for Skeeter to have taken advantage of her,’ said Doge, ‘and no reliance can be placed on anything Bathilda may have said!’

‘Oh, there are ways of bringing back memories, and I’m sure Rita Skeeter knows them all,’ said Auntie Muriel. ‘But even if Bathilda’s completely cuckoo, I’m sure she’d still have old photographs, maybe even letters. She knew the Dumbledores for years ... well worth a trip to Godric’s Hollow, I’d have thought.’

Harry, who had been taking a sip of Butterbeer, choked. Doge banged him on the back as Harry coughed, looking at Auntie Muriel through streaming eyes. Once he had control of his voice again, he asked, ‘Bathilda Bagshot lives in Godric’s Hollow?’

‘Oh yes, she’s been there forever! The Dumbledores moved there after Percival was imprisoned, and she was their neighbour.’

‘The Dumbledores lived in Godric’s Hollow?’

‘Yes, Barry, that’s what I just said,’ said Auntie Muriel testily. Harry felt drained, empty. Never once, in six years, had Dumbledore told Harry that they had both lived and lost loved ones in Godric’s Hollow. Why? Were Lily and James buried close to Dumbledore’s mother and sister? Had Dumbledore visited their graves, perhaps walked past Lily and James’s to do so? And he had never once told Harry ... never bothered to say ...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling