Rubeus Hagrid of the Harry Potter series is best known for his love of magical creatures and his fierce loyalty to both Harry and Dumbledore. As played wonderfully on screen by Robbie Coltrane, we have gotten to know Hagrid even more through the films. While he may not seem to be the smartest or have much magical ability, there are plenty of things about Hagrid that people tend to forget, or, get completely wrong. It may come as a surprise that Hagrid has more abilities than we realize, and has been an important player in Harry’s life far before they met each other. Who is Hagrid really, and how has he been misunderstood?
True Hagrid fans know that he is much more than just a lovable guy who gardens and befriends dangerous magical creatures. In fact, Hagrid has a dark past, and has gone through a lot to get where he is now. Often times people dismiss Hagrid because he seems harmless, but his story is anything but rainbows and butterflies.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has weighed in on Hagrid’s story after the series ended, clearing up whether or not he can cast a Patronus, and revealing the true inspiration behind his character. From childhood events to present hidden abilities, we’ll see what the truth is behind Hagrid. We’re going to show you that Hagrid is an incredibly complex character, and get to the bottom of some things that people just can’t seem to get right.
These are 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Hagrid
20 He is taller than you think
When the Harry Potter series was adapted into movies, a lot of details were under consideration. There are many magical elements involved, and some things inevitably had to be altered – like Hagrid’s height. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hagrid is described a being 11 1/2 feet tall, with “hands the size of trash can lids.” This makes sense, seeing as how Hagrid is half giant, but for movie purposes they scaled Hagrid down drastically.
In the films, Hagrid is only about 8 feet tall. This makes it much easier to frame him in shots, seeing as how Hagrid is often around regular-sized people. The smaller size also makes Hagrid far less intimidating, and allows for a much more relatable character.
19 He was an orphan, like Harry
Hagrid may speak about his parents often, but from a very young age he was orphaned, just like Harry. In fact, Hagrid may have an even sadder tale of losing his parents. When he was only a baby, Hagrid’s mother abandoned him. We are left to believe that his father raised him, which he did for the most part. Hagrid talks about his father, describing him as a “tiny little bloke” and said that “by the time [he] was six [he] could lift him up and put him on top of the dresser.”
Sadly, Hagrid’s dad passed when he was just 12 years old, and only Hagrid was left. It wasn’t until later in life that Hagrid found his half-brother, Grawp.
18 He was in the original Order of the Phoenix
The Order of the Phoenix is full of skilled wizards. The original members include Albus Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Snape, and Harry Potter’s parents among others. What you may not have known is that Hagrid, too, was an original member of the Order.
Though Hagrid couldn’t perform magic as well as the others, he was given incredibly important tasks all the same. Arguably his most important moment was when he rescued Harry from Godric’s Hallow after his parents attack and brought him to the Dursley’s. Dumbledore knows that Hagrid’s loyalty is one of his best qualities, along with his physical strength. This makes him a great asset to the Order ,even without the highly skilled magical abilities of the other members.
17 He’s incredibly powerful
Because of Hagrid’s bloodline, he has some very unique abilities that wizards do not. Hagrid is half human and half giant, but that means much more than being tall.
In fact, Hagrid’s physical strength is one of his greatest assets. He is known for being highly resistant to stunning spells and even resistant to dark magic. This is a big part of why Dumbledore trusted Hagrid with the task of taking baby Harry from Godric’s Hallow to the Dursley’s. Hagrid is figuratively and also quite literally one of the biggest protectors that Harry has. Hagrid may not be skilled with spells in the traditional sense, but his giant bloodline still gives him advantages in the wizarding world.
16 He can’t cast a patronus
J.K. Rowling has always been excellent to her fans, and answers almost all of our questions when it comes to Harry Potter. One fan asked a question that revealed a sad truth about Hagrid when it comes to the Patronus Charm. When a fan tweeted Rowling asking what Hagrid’s patrnous is, Rowling replied, “Hagrid couldn’t produce a Patronus. It’s a very difficult spell.”
Some fans speculated further, saying that Hagrid’s sad childhood may be the reason he can’t produce a happy enough memory to make the spell work. This is a depressing thought, but Harry who had a similarly rough childhood is still able to cast one. This seems to be a simple case of Hagrid’s limited magic.
15 His giant heritage was a secret at first
While it may seem obvious by his size alone that Hagrid is a giant, his giant bloodline was actually kept a secret from most for quite a while. Since Hagrid is half-human and half-giant, he doesn’t look like most giants that the wizarding world is used to seeing. He also acts like a human more or less, and is able to pass at Hogwarts as a larger-than-life professor.
In The Goblet of Fire, Rita Skeeter published an article talking about Hagrid’s giant heritage and his supposedly evil ways. This got parents of Hogwarts students up in arms, calling for Hagrid to be fired, and worrying for their children’s safety. All of the hatred almost caused Hagrid to resign, but thankfully his friends convinced him otherwise.
14 He can’t fly on a broomstick
J.K. Rowling has made it known that Hagrid was in fact based on a Hell’s Angels motorcycle club member that she met in England. Robbie Coltrane, who portrays Hagrid in the films, knew this from the beginning. “He used to get off of his Harley and walk towards the bar. People would move like ants out of his way,” Coltrane said. Rowling told him that the man was a gardner with “fists like hams” but “a gentle heart.”
This sounds pretty spot on for Hagrid, so that must be why he rides a magic bike instead of a broom, right? Not exactly. The real reason Hagrid rides a motorbike is because he is simply too big to ride a broom properly, and he can’t legally Apparate.
13 He doesn’t have an evil twin
Hagrid’s back story was always a bit of a mystery. For instance, Hagrid wasn’t aware of his half-brother Grawp until he happened to visit a camp of giants where Grawp was living. There were also rumors of Hagrid having an evil twin named Dirgah, but unlike his long lost half-brother, Dirgah doesn’t exist.
Dirgah is actually “Hagrid” spelled backwards. The rumors of Dirgah were started in order to scare students away from the Sorcerer’s Stone. They were told that, for some reason, Dumbledore wasn’t able to get rid of Dirgah, and that Dirgah was hiding out in the forbidden chamber. Dirgah never actually existed, and was just another in a series of obstacles trying to block the stone.
12 He is older than he appears
Pottermore has given Harry Potter fans a lot of valuable information about their favorite characters. One thing we learned is that Hagrid was born December 6th, 1928. This may seem like a small detail, but it is worth pointing out, especially in regards to the film adaptations.
In the movies, Hagrid has a relatively young appearance. When filming the final movie, Robbie Coltrane was 58 years old. In the books, in Harry’s final year at Hogwarts, Hagrid would have in fact been 70 years old. While this difference isn’t wildly drastic, it’s worth noting that Hagrid is definitely entering old age by the time the series ends. The films did add small details, like grey hairs, to age Hagrid a little more.
11 He has his vices
Hagrid has so many good qualities we almost hate to point out the bad, but did you ever notice that Hagrid imbibes too much? We love to think of Hagrid as the wholesome best friend to anyone who needs it. He values his friendships highly, and would never hurt someone he loves, but Hagrid has his downfalls as well.
For instance, when Buckbeak escapes, Hagrid’s first instinct is to get in his cups. He even admits at one point to having a drinking problem. After accidentally revealing important secrets about Fluffy the three-headed dog, he vows never to drink again. He does not keep that vow, and we see Hagrid drink a few times throughout the series.
10 He’s reckless
When it comes to helping his friends or his beloved magical creatures, there seems to be no law, magical or not, that Hagrid won’t break. For someone who has been heavily punished in the past by the Ministry of Magic, and even went to Azkaban, he sure does continue to be reckless.
The only time that Hagrid was really cautious about the law is when he is under pressure for his questionable teaching tendencies. This is the only reason he doesn’t release Buckbeak himself, for fear of going back to Azkaban. While Hagrid may break many laws, like trying to keep a dragon for a pet, at least he knows when to pull back the reigns.
9 He trusts Snape
Dumbledore has always been the man who knows everything but only reveals so much. We often see Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship being strained because Harry doesn’t understand what Dumbledore’s purpose is, or why he trusts the people he does.
One of these people is Professor Snape, with whom Dumbledore has always had an understanding. Everyone else seems to loathe Snape, except for Hagrid. This isn’t because Hagrid has a wealth of knowledge on Snape; he trusts him for one simple reason – Dumbledore trusts him. Hagrid is so fiercely loyal to Dumbledore, and owes him so much, that if Dumbledore trusts somebody that is good enough for him. Honestly, it should be good enough for anyone!
8 He still has his wand
When Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, he not only lost his spot at the school, but also lost his privilege to do magic. The Ministry took it so far as destroying Hagrid’s wand, breaking it into several pieces.
As usual, Dumbledore was there to help out Hagrid. Since he was the only one who believed Hagrid did not open the Chamber of Secrets, he allowed Hagrid to keep shards of his wand. The shards of his wand still exist in none other than Hagrid’s signature pink umbrella. If you’ve ever wondered why Hagrid can do simple, although often messy spells with is wand, it’s because of the magical wand pieces still contained inside. Tricky Dumbledore!
7 He doesn’t love all animals
There seems to be no creature, magical or not, that Hagrid can’t love. He has a soft spot for even the most seemingly intimidating monsters, like Aragog the massive spider, who gave Harry and the gang more than a few problems.
Interestingly enough, there is one animal that Hagrid mentions a few times that he does not enjoy – cats. Not only was he tormented by Filch’s spying cat for years, but he also tells Harry that he is allergic to cats. Of all the animals Hagrid deals with, it’s almost funny that cats would be the one he can’t handle. If he weren’t allergic, we’re sure Hagrid would find a way to love cats too.
6 He does have a tragic past
On the outside, Hagrid seems like a happy half-giant who is passionate about animals, and always there to help his friends. Hagrid is always someone people turn to in hard times, and maybe he is so willing to help because of the difficult times he went through as well.
Besides being abandoned by his mother, then orphaned when his father passed, Hagrid’s school life was difficult too. He got bullied for his size and, most importantly, was expelled from Hogwarts for something he didn’t even do. Tom Riddle, who we eventually come to know as Voldemort, blamed Hagrid for opening the Chamber of Secrets when it was in fact Riddle who did it. Dumbledore was the only one to believe Hagrid, but Hagrid still got expelled and banned from using magic.
5 His fearless nature causes problems
While Hagrid’s fearless nature is what allows him to tame and deal with even the most wild beasts, it can cause problems for those around him. We respect Hagrid for his willingness to give every creature a chance, but what we often fail to realize is how often Hagrid puts others in harm. Because of Hagrid’s giant bloodline, he is naturally less afraid of creatures as they cannot cause him harm as easily as others.
Harry and Ron experience this first hand after Hagrid sends them to see Aragog and barely make it out alive. He even assigns his entire class a book that tries to eat their hands off. Oh, and detention in the Forbidden Forest? That was Hagrid’s idea too.
4 He is skilled with potions
While Hagrid is not skilled in traditional magic, it doesn’t mean that he is completely unskilled in the magical world. Besides having some physical attributes that help, he is also skilled in the magical art of potions. He is often seen shopping for various ingredients, and he gives concoctions to many of his plants and animals.
Maybe most importantly, he has a garden of his own where he grows potion ingredients. Harry and Ron have looked for ingredients in Hagrid’s garden a few times. Once Hagrid told them, “I’ve a lot of strange things growin’ out in my near my garden; yer welcome to go take a look. Be careful mind – wouldn’t go wanderin’ round at night.“
3 He is loyal, but can’t keep a secret
It’s no question that Hagrid is a fiercely loyal friend, but if you need a secret to be kept, he’s not your guy. Hagrid has let quite a few secrets slip in his day, and they are often secrets with huge consequences.
One of the earliest and biggest is Hagrid letting Fluffy’s secret slip, allowing Harry and the gang to bypass Fluffy on their way to the chamber. Hagrid also let slip that he overheard a conversation between Dumbledore and Snape, confirming that Snape is following orders from Dumbledore. While Hagrid doesn’t know enough to reveal what exact orders they were, this becomes a key factor later in the plot when it is revealed. The point is, you can trust Hagrid with your life, but not with sensitive information.
2 He can use magic
A very crucial part of Hagrid’s expulsion from Hogwarts is the punishment of not being able to use magic anymore. While he is still technically under this order, Hagrid illegally uses magic all the time.
He is not banned from magic in that he is physically unable to do it, just in the sense of not lawfully being able to do it. It also doesn’t help that his wand is destroyed, but as we have learned, he still has wand shards in his umbrella. This is why we still see Hagrid perform small, sometimes unsuccessful spells every once in a while – like trying to transfigure Dudley but giving him a pig tail instead.
1 He is a father figure
It is often believed that Dumbledore is Harry Potter’s sole father figure in the series because of his wisdom and protection of Harry. Hagrid comes off as more of a beloved friend turned family, rather than a father figure. Nevertheless, J.K. Rowling confirmed that both Dumbledore and Hagrid are meant to be father figures.
Rowling told BBC America, “the colours red and white are mentioned many times in old texts on alchemy, Rubeus (red) Hagrid and Albus (white) Dumbledore… both hugely important to Harry, seem to me to represent two sides of the ideal father figure he seeks.” Hagrid is the “warm” and often more practical side that Harry needs to balance Dumbledore’s intellect and detachment.
What else do people get wrong about Hagrid in Harry Potter? Tell us in the comments!