The following events occurred in the year 1981:
- 31 October:
- Lord Voldemort kills James and Lily Potter, but his Killing Curse rebounds off infant Harry Potter, causing the Dark Lord to lose physical form and Harry to gain a lightning-shaped scar and become a Horcrux.
- The First Wizarding War ends.
- Horace Slughorn's fish dies.
- 1 November:
- Sirius Black is arrested for the murder of Peter Pettigrew and twelve Muggles. In reality, Pettigrew faked his death and went into hiding. Black is sentenced to Azkaban, without a trial.
- Vernon and Evans Petunia Dursley (née Evans) reluctantly become Harry Potter's guardians when he is brought to 4 Privet Drive by Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid Rubeus Hagrid], and Minerva McGonagall.
- Horace Slughorn retires from his post at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
- Severus Snape is appointed the new Potions Master at Hogwarts.
- Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr. are arrested for the torture of Alice and Frank Longbottom. The Longbottoms are committed to St. Mungo's and their infant son Neville is taken into the care of his paternal grandmother, Augusta Longbottom.
- April 27 - Karnus Flejj
- May 1st - Luna and Tempest Lovegood
- Colin Creevey
- Casin Conner
- August 11: Ginevra Weasley
- August 17: Daniel Potter