Hagrid's big surprise

Hagrid tells Harry and Hermione that he has a half-brother, who is a giant

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

They crept forwards and Harry saw that they were facing a large, smooth mound of earth nearly as tall as Hagrid that he thought, with a jolt of dread, was sure to be the lair of some enormous animal. Trees had been ripped up at the roots all around the mound, so that it stood on a bare patch of ground surrounded by heaps of trunks and boughs that formed a kind of fence or barricade, behind which Harry, Hermione and Hagrid now stood.

‘Sleepin’,’ breathed Hagrid.

Sure enough, Harry could hear a distant, rhythmic rumbling that sounded like a pair of enormous lungs at work. He glanced sideways at Hermione, who was gazing at the mound with her mouth slightly open. She looked utterly terrified.

‘Hagrid,’ she said in a whisper barely audible over the sound of the sleeping creature, ‘who is he?’

Harry found this an odd question ... ‘What is it?’ was the one he had been planning on asking.

‘Hagrid, you told us –’ said Hermione, her wand now shaking in her hand, ‘you told us none of them wanted to come!’

Harry looked from her to Hagrid and then, as realisation hit him, he looked back at the mound with a small gasp of horror.

The great mound of earth, on which he, Hermione and Hagrid could easily have stood, was moving slowly up and down in time with the deep, grunting breathing. It was not a mound at all. It was the curved back of what was clearly –

‘Well – no – he didn’ want ter come,’ said Hagrid, sounding desperate. ‘But I had ter bring him, Hermione, I had ter!’

'But why?’ asked Hermione, who sounded as though she wanted to cry. ‘Why – what – oh, Hagrid!’

‘I knew if I jus’ got him back,’ said Hagrid, sounding close to tears himself, ‘an’ – an’ taught him a few manners – I’d be able ter take him outside an’ show ev’ryone he’s harmless!’

‘Harmless!’ said Hermione shrilly, and Hagrid made frantic hushing noises with his hands as the enormous creature before them grunted loudly and shifted in its sleep. ‘He’s been hurting you all this time, hasn’t he? That’s why you’ve had all these injuries!’

‘He don’ know his own strength!’ said Hagrid earnestly. ‘An’ he’s gettin’ better, he’s not fightin’ so much any more –’

‘So, this is why it took you two months to get home!’ said Hermione distractedly. ‘Oh, Hagrid, why did you bring him back if he didn’t want to come? Wouldn’t he have been happier with his own people?’

‘They were all bullyin’ him, Hermione, ’cause he’s so small!’ said Hagrid.

‘Small?’ said Hermione. ‘Small?’

‘Hermione, I couldn’ leave him,’ said Hagrid, tears now trickling down his bruised face into his beard. ‘See – he’s my brother!’

Hermione simply stared at him, her mouth open.

‘Hagrid, when you say “brother”,’ said Harry slowly, ‘do you mean –?’

‘Well – half-brother,’ amended Hagrid. ‘Turns out me mother took up with another giant when she left me dad, an’ she went an’ had Grawp here –’

‘Grawp?’ said Harry.

‘Yeah ... well, tha’s what it sounds like when he says his name,’ said Hagrid anxiously. ‘He don’ speak a lot of English ... I’ve bin tryin’ ter teach him ... anyway, she don’ seem ter have liked him much more’n she liked me. See, with giantesses, what counts is producin’ good big kids, and he’s always been a bit on the runty side fer a giant – on’y sixteen foot –’

‘Oh, yes, tiny!’ said Hermione, with a kind of hysterical sarcasm. ‘Absolutely minuscule!’

‘He was bein’ kicked aroun’ by all o’ them – I jus’ couldn’ leave him –’

'Did Madame Maxime want to bring him back?’ asked Harry.

‘She – well, she could see it was right importan’ ter me,’ said Hagrid, twisting his enormous hands. ‘Bu’ – bu’ she got a bit tired o’ him after a while, I must admit ... so we split up on the journey home ... she promised not ter tell anyone, though ...’

‘How on earth did you get him back without anyone noticing?’ said Harry.

‘Well, tha’s why it took so long, see,’ said Hagrid. ‘Could on’y travel by nigh’ an’ through wild country an’ stuff. Course, he covers the ground pretty well when he wants ter, but he kep’ wantin’ ter go back.’

‘Oh, Hagrid, why on earth didn’t you let him!’ said Hermione, flopping down on to a ripped up tree and burying her face in her hands. ‘What do you think you’re going to do with a violent giant who doesn’t even want to be here!’

‘Well, now – “violent” – tha’s a bit harsh,’ said Hagrid, still twisting his hands agitatedly. ‘I’ll admit he mighta taken a couple o’ swings at me when he’s bin in a bad mood, but he’s gettin’ better, loads better, settlin’ down well.’

‘What are those ropes for, then?’ Harry asked.

He had just noticed ropes thick as saplings stretching from around the trunks of the largest nearby trees towards the place where Grawp lay curled on the ground with his back to them.

‘You have to keep him tied up?’ said Hermione faintly.

‘Well ... yeah ...’ said Hagrid, looking anxious. ‘See – it’s like I say – he doesn’ really know ’is own strength.’

Harry understood now why there had been such a suspicious lack of any other living creature in this part of the Forest.

‘So, what is it you want Harry and Ron and me to do?’ Hermione asked apprehensively.

‘Look after him,’ said Hagrid croakily. ‘After I’m gone.’

Harry and Hermione exchanged miserable looks, Harry uncomfortably aware that he had already promised Hagrid that he would do whatever he asked.

‘What – what does that involve, exactly?’ Hermione enquired.

‘Not food or anythin’!’ said Hagrid eagerly. ‘He can get his own food, no problem. Birds an’ deer an’ stuff ... no, it’s company he needs. If I jus’ knew someone was carryin’ on tryin’ ter help him a bit ... teachin’ him, yeh know.’

Harry said nothing, but turned to look back at the gigantic form lying asleep on the ground in front of them. Unlike Hagrid, who simply looked like an oversized human, Grawp looked strangely misshapen. What Harry had taken to be a vast mossy boulder to the left of the great earthen mound he now recognised as Grawp’s head. It was much larger in proportion to the body than a human head, and was almost perfectly round and covered with tightly curling, close-growing hair the colour of bracken. The rim of a single large, fleshy ear was visible on top of the head, which seemed to sit, rather like Uncle Vernon’s, directly upon the shoulders with little or no neck in between. The back, under what looked like a dirty brownish smock comprised of animal skins sewn roughly together, was very broad; and as Grawp slept, it seemed to strain a little at the rough seams of the skins. The legs were curled up under the body. Harry could see the soles of enormous, filthy, bare feet, large as sledges, resting one on top of the other on the earthy Forest floor.

‘You want us to teach him,’ Harry said in a hollow voice. He now understood what Firenze’s warning had meant. His attempt is not working. He would do better to abandon it. Of course, the other creatures who lived in the Forest would have heard Hagrid’s fruitless attempts to teach Grawp English.

‘Yeah – even if yeh jus’ talk ter him a bit,’ said Hagrid hope- fully. ‘Cause I reckon, if he can talk ter people, he’ll understand more that we all like ’im really, an’ want ’im ter stay.’

Harry looked at Hermione, who peered back at him from between the fingers over her face.

‘Kind of makes you wish we had Norbert back, doesn’t it?’ he said, and she gave a very shaky laugh.

‘Yeh’ll do it, then?’ said Hagrid, who did not seem to have caught what Harry had just said.

‘We’ll ...’ said Harry, already bound by his promise. ‘We’ll try, Hagrid.’


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling