Traveling with Thestrals: Harry’s Key to Finding Godric’s Hollow
In my opinion, magical transportation, as devised by J.K. Rowling, is brilliant. As rabid Harry Potter fans around the world await the appearance of Book 7 and try to tie up all the loose ends with endless speculation, I have been combing my copies of the series, looking for possible ways that Harry will be able to find Godric’s Hollow. At the end of HBP, Harry tells Ron and Hermione that he is planning to return to Godric’s Hollow — but how to get there? As far as we know, only a few select people (most of them now deceased) know where Godric’s Hollow is. Let’s check the list of those in the know: Dumbledore (deceased, though his portrait has not yet awoken); Wormtail (living on borrowed time); Sirius (gone, with small chance that Harry will ever be able to communicate with him); Lily and James (deceased, with no instruction to G.H. from the GoF graveyard scene); Hagrid (how did he get there in the first place to retrieve baby Harry?); Voldemort (no chance of him telling Harry how to get there); and possibly several unidentified MoM officials (except perhaps Fudge — still alive but hardly an ally).
By the end of HBP, Harry has been introduced to all forms of magical transportation (or so we think), and as mentioned, they are brilliant! We have seen one magical method in each book: brooms (PS/SS), Floo powder (CoS), Hippogriffs and the Knight Bus (POA), Portkeys (GoF), Thestrals (OotP), and Apparition (finally learned by Harry in HBP).
Each of these methods has had its own special purpose of helping advance the plot line, and Harry has now had experience with all of them. I’d like to focus on Thestrals (and their amazing properties) as a possible mode of transportation to Godric’s Hollow. It is natural to assume that when Harry is ready to travel to Godric’s Hollow, he will ask for help from the people he knows best: Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Hagrid.
Thestrals are a rather ideal choice for finding the place for which riders are looking. They travel great distances at great speed and are invisible to those whom have not seen death. They are easily accessible, with a whole herd of them residing in the Forbidden Forest. Thestrals are amazing creatures with a sort of master in Hagrid. Couldn’t you just see Harry asking Hagrid where Godric’s Hollow is, and Hagrid saying that he used a Thestral to get there in the first place? We know that Hagrid got toPrivet Drive on Sirius’ flying motorbike, but how did he get to Godric’s Hollow? Technically, he’s not supposed to do magic, so I rule out Apparition, and Dumbledore could not tell Hagrid where G.H. is, because he was not the Potter’s secret keeper. I can only conclude that Hagrid hopped on a Thestral to get there, at Dumbledore’s instruction.
This theory would solve several problems. First of all, Harry would be able to get to Godric’s Hollow quickly, without knowing where it is exactly. He is too inexperienced with Apparition, as is Ron, and we know that in order to Apparate, it’s necessary to concentrate on the destination. Also, Harry doesn’t even like Apparition. He will use it in an emergency, but he doesn’t have a license yet (his acquiring one does seem inevitable, though). Harry has no memory of Godric’s Hollow, so he needs another method. Brooms are too slow. Floo powder, Hippogriffs, and Portkeys are out of the question. The flying car is out because you have to know where to drive to, and the Knight Bus is not very handy if you are trying to get somewhere in secret. (I assume that Scrimgeour will attempt to have Harry tailed, and he could be followed by Death Eaters as well.) Secondly, this will be an easy way for JKR to get Harry going without taking up too much effort or page space. No complicated explanations; we already know what Thestrals do. Lastly, Harry, Ron and Hermione have experience with Thestral riding, and we know that the MoM is in London, a long way from Hogwarts.
Once Harry and friends do get to Godric’s Hollow, we don’t know what they will find, but at least we have an easy, plausible way for them to get there!