Number 12 Grimmauld Place was introduced in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Audiences learned of this dusty old solace when Dumbledore brings Harry to the depreciating townhouse in London. Much to his surprise, Harry is met at the home by Hermione, Ron, and his godfather, Sirius Black who had recently escaped from Azkaban.
Avid readers will know a decent amount of history concerning Sirius’ old stomping grounds. But like most things Harry Potter, a lot of the delicious details had to be nixed from the film franchise. J.K. Rowling’s exquisite attention to detail left almost nothing to the imagination, so naturally many of the details concerning 12 Grimmauld Place are only privy to those readers. But don’t feel left out just yet. Here are 10 facts about 12 Grimmauld Place the Harry Potter movies leave out.
10 Sirius Grew Up There
We all know that Number 12 Grimmauld Place is the home of the Blacks. The films make that much clear. Sirius even shows his family tree tapestry and mentioned the place was “his mother's house.”
What isn’t specified is that Sirius lived in that house up until he was 16 years old. His family home was run with discriminating purebloods, from his father to his brothers. When he finally turned 16, Sirius had had enough of them and moved out. He was then graciously brought in by the Potter's where he lived for the remainder of his Hogwarts days with his best friend, James Potter.
9 Number 13 and Number 11
In the film, we see the townhouse magically materialize, much in the same way that The Leaky Cauldron's walls open up to Diagon Alley. Before this interruption, however, we see the buildings side-by-side with Numbers 11 and 13 stitched close together. Number 12 was simply not there and only became visible to the witches and wizards who sought number 12.
The neighboring homes are predominately inhabited by Muggles, who also noticed the number discrepancy. However, they simply dismissed it as an error in the architecture and never questioned whatever happened the number 12.
8 Dumbledore Added Protection
After Sirius offered the residence as the official headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix in 1995, Dumbledore took extreme measures to protect its grounds and its guests. It is said to possess “every security measure known to wizard-kind.”
The Unplottable Charm was placed on the house so that it could only be seen by wizards and didn’t appear on any maps of any kind. It was also under the protection of the Fidelius Charm, which meant that wizards couldn’t see it either. The only ones who know of Number 12 Grimmauld Place are those who were told of its location by its Secret Keeper.
7 Secret Keepers
A Secret Keeper is a witch or wizard who is under sworn secrecy. The charm is so powerful that it is rooted down into the Secret Keeper's soul. Once a Secret Keeper has been selected, only they can reveal the secrets. And in this case, the location of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Secret Keepers can pass on the information to as many people as they like, and those people, in turn, become Secret Keepers as well.
Dumbledore was the Secret Keeper for Grimmauld Place up until his death in 1997. After that, anyone Dumbledore told the location to subsequently became the inherited Secret Keepers. This included Snape, who they believed a traitor at the time, which is why the Order of the Phoenix switched their headquarters to The Burrow.
6 It Was Abandoned for 10 Years
Before the Order of the Phoenix, Number 12 was abandoned for over ten years. Sirius left the home in 1976 and his brothers, Regulus and Orion, died in 1979. This left the grim, old house occupied by only their mother, Walburga, and Kreacher.
Walburga died in 1985 and Sirius was in Azkaban until 1993. Its lack of occupants is part of the reason that the home was riddled with cobwebs and creatures (though, being the home of Dark Wizards certainly diminished the estate’s facade).
5 Grimmauld Place Clean Up
Once Number 12 Grimmauld Place became headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix, there was a ton of cleaning up to be done. Audiences don’t really get to see much of this charade, though it takes up more than a whole chapter in the book.
Molly Weasley is left with the task to make the place livable to the Order members and her family. The house had a ton of boggarts, and Molly has the wizard teens clean up them out of the garden and banish Doxies using a potent substance called Doxicide.
4 Molly's Boggart
One major occurrence that happened here that was left out of the films was Molly’s run-in with a boggart. During this time, Voldemort was on the rise and everyone was on edge. While cleaning, Molly was faced with a boggart which takes the form of her greatest fear.
Upon investigation, Harry and his friends saw Molly faced with a mirage of dead family members. The boggart changed into the corpses of her dead family members until Lupin used the Riddikulus spell to ward off the creature.
3 The Permanent Sticking Charm
In the films, we routinely see the legendary talking portraits, which are live representations of witches and wizards pass. We mostly see these at Hogwarts, but one particularly shrill portrait hung on the walls of Number 12.
Sirius’ mother’s portrait hung in the hallway near the front door. Anytime anyone who she deemed inferior entered through the door, she would go off on a string of insults that echoed throughout the entire house. Some of her favorite insults included "stains of dishonor, blood traitors, children of filth!” Sirius would have happily taken down the portrait of his screaming mother had it not been for the Permanent Sticking Charm that was placed behind it which prevented the portrait from ever being removed.
2 Harry’s Inheritance
The Order of the Phoenix transitioned to the Burrow after Sirius’ death because they had assumed Bellatrix would be next in line to inherit the house. However, Sirius clearly left the house to Harry in his will. Harry became in possession of the house and Kreacher soon after.
Harry contemplated staying in the house for his final summer before Hogwarts, but because of Dumbledore’s protection spell at the Dursley’s, he decided not to use it. Harry, Ron, and Hermione eventually use the townhouse as a hideaway during the seventh year while they hunt for Horcruxes.
1 Snape’s Banishment
When the Order believed Snape to be a traitor since he had killed Dumbledore, more security measures were taken to protect Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Although they no longer used the residence, it was believed that there were objects inside that could come in handy to Snape and the Death Eaters.
In the films, we see Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter Grimmauld Place for the first time since Dumbledore’s death. Upon entering, they are met with the frightening ghostly figure of Dumbledore who charges them before disappearing. Mad-Eye Moody set up this protective charm (along with the Tongue-Tying Curse) to prevent Snape from entering. The mirage would disappear as soon as the entered made it clear that they were not Snape.