The Wizarding world’s mysteries have many unsolved chapters even now, more than 25 years since the debut of the Harry Potter series. On December 6th, in memory of the birthday boy, Hagrid, played by the late Robbie Coltrane, I wanted to solve my little mystery of “What makes Hagrid’s character so loveable?”
Acknowledging that everyone’s perception of Hagrid is different, I have compiled information in the hope that readers will find some new liking for the half-giant, and however unlikely if they ever find themselves defending against the Potter dislikers, they can at least have a solid argument about what made them attached to Hagrid!
The absolute truth about a character becomes highlighted in the face of adversity. It is often to find character growth occurring as a consequence of these moments. Still, I firmly believe that Hagrid’s traits were fully developed in the first introduction to this character itself. Therefore, rather than character growth, I consider his journey to be that of a character unveiling. In the following sections, I have also added some tidbits unfocused in the books and movies to deepen our understanding of the man further.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE
Hagrid has been there with Harry since our Wizarding world memories began. In the first chapter itself, we were introduced to this gigantic man carrying the little boy-who-lived into the Muggle world.
In what some might call Hagrid’s most important chapter, we see the giant breaking into the tiny hut, delivering to the viewers the first display of intentional magic with the pig tail that suited Dudley Dursley perfectly, the surprise cake that filled hearts all around with warmth, the thrilling anger about hiding Harry’s origin, and those iconic words that wouldn’t have meant so much if anyone had uttered them but Harry’s hairy fairy godmother, “Harry – yer a wizard.”
Hagrid provided a sense of security, be it through his size or actions, while also giving off the aura of being the most harmless creature on Earth. There could have been no one more comforting to guide Harry, and us, through our first tour of the Wizarding world. Throughout Diagon Alley, The Leaky Cauldron, and even through the dodgy areas of Gringotts, Harry felt secure because of his presence. This sealed his attachment to Harry and our very first memories of the fascinating magical world.
The gatekeeper at Hogwarts further exemplified his innocence and adorable clumsiness (contrasting to his large stature) by revealing information about the famed Nicolas Flamel while simultaneously throwing light on breeds of dragons. We saw Hagrid’s parental behavior with Norbert, his baby dragon, and his heartache at sending him away. At the end of the book, when Hagrid spends time compiling Harry’s parents’ pictures in a book for the unconscious Harry, it further cements his position as a favorite, bringing smiles to readers even in the darkest of days.
Tidbit: The reason Hagrid rides a motorcycle is that he is too big to ride a broomstick!
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
Capitalizing on his kindness and love toward magical creatures, we find the author now framing Hagrid’s past. We learn why he was expelled from Hogwarts and feel the lows of losing one of the most lovable characters. The determination of the magical trio to prove Hagrid innocent resonated among the readers/viewers; before many knew it, they were subconsciously attached to the half-giant gates-keeper of Hogwarts.
His furious reaction to the mud-blood comment, his invaluable help in providing crucial pieces of information and, of course, the unforgettable line which also surmises this article, “There is no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid.” were the highlights from The Chamber of Secrets.
Fact: There is no hug like a Hagrid hug.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
Relishing the promotion to the professor of the Care of the Magical Creatures, Hagrid, Harry, and co., the readers venture into the third part of the story, where we are again swept away by Hagrid’s familial treatment of his magical pets. The love he shows for Buckbeak, running alongside the delicate way he resolves the conflict between Ron and Hermoine like a father, were two standout moments that deepened the admiration and understanding of his character. Hagrid also taught us about not being afraid to cry, especially considering that giants or half-giants are not strictly emotional creatures.
Tidbit: Hagrid was a Gryffindor. Even though it wasn’t mentioned in the books, such a brave, kind, and loveable soul couldn’t belong elsewhere.
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
Akin to getting weirded out by one’s parents’ romance, Hagrid’s half-giant journey of romance was a unique experience. He also stood as an inspiration for not being ashamed of one’s origins.
We trace his family’s history, starting from his fond memories with his father to then losing him; his expulsion from Hogwarts, being left by his mother and being shunned by the rest of his family for being a giant. Hagrid’s life has never been without hardships. It is astounding how an orphan loner at Hogwarts maintained a heart of gold throughout his life. Growing up, I, among many, have come to realize that traumas and tough times make you somewhat practical and have you lose some of your untainted mentality. But knowing such people, even though in fiction, lends a unique sense of peace.
Tidbit: The dragon tamer cannot tame cats because of his allergies.
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
With all the light-hearted, comic or even serious teaching scenes up till now, Hagrid still felt like a neighborhood uncle. But this book delves into his status and contribution to the magical world. He was a core member of one of the highest leagues of wizards, “The Order of the Phoenix”. The introduction of his only living blood-related family, Grawp, the Giant half-brother, and their little bonding moments are a welcome relief from the dark mood at Hogwarts brought upon by Dolores Umbridge. His fight against the officials and Umbridge as the first open retaliation serves as a reminder of the bravery and ability of the man.
Fact: He was a founding member of the original Order of the Phoenix.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
From Aragog’s funeral to Dumbledore’s death, this book shows a low phase in Hagrid’s story. His disbelief over Dumbledore’s death and the heartbroken manner in which he carried the man who trusted him when no one else did—who gave him opportunities, support, and authority to become the man he is—is often overshadowed by the grief of the trio. But if thought about deeply, Hagrid was the most lost and hurt person at that funeral.
Fact: Even though he felt purer emotions than most, he could not cast a Patronus because he was expelled before his magic ability could reach that level.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
Even in the darkest of days, we find Hagrid’s loyalty unchanged. He hosts Harry Potter Support parties at his hut right under Snape’s nose until he is chased out of Hogwarts by dementors. His praise for his half-brother just before the Battle of Hogwarts is just one of the kind little things he has done over the years that drew people to him. One of the most iconic moments of the series, which even JK Rowling confessed to having been planning from the start, was Hagrid carrying Harry just as he did all those years ago in the very first chapter. The only difference was that this time, it was a dead boy in his arms and his legs felt a hundred times heavier.
Fact: JK Rowling confessed that she never thought of killing Hagrid solely because of the symbolic carrying scene.
Even 19 years later, Hagrid, the Gatekeeper at Hogwarts, didn’t shed his Gryffindor ways and was always there for his students. Harry’s reminder to his son Albus of a tea meeting with Hagrid was the last of Hagrid’s journey in the original Harry Potter series.
Brave, loyal, friendly, companion, helper, source of amusement, and much more was Rubeus Hagrid to every Potterhead. Robbie Coltrane’s passing this year led many like me to revisit this still underappreciated fictional character who consciously or subconsciously continues to affect many aspects of the lives of people beyond all borders. He is the most parental figure in the whole series and the example of someone every child deserves. Robbie’s words, “The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children … So you could be watching it in 50 years, easily … I’ll not be here, sadly … but Hagrid will.” are something that I could relate and wholeheartedly agree. This series has influenced my childhood significantly and has been a source of relief and escape for years. I continue to hold it dearly. In writing this article, I have found a new level of love for the character.
“There is no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid.” For all the memories that the legendary actor has brought us, on this birthday of his, I ask upon all the Potterheads to raise their wands.
Written by Nishant Choudhary for MTTN
Edited by Ishita Sharma for MTTN
Featured Artwork by Kazuhiro Kubuishi
Artwork by Annike Andrews