Before the chapter
Right from the beginning of the Harry Potter stories, even when Harry was just a baby, Hagrid was there. Indeed, in the very first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid was one of the first magical characters we were introduced to, alongside Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore on that fateful night where Voldemort fell, Harry was left an orphan, and the Muggle world was none the wiser.
Arriving on Sirius Black’s motorbike with a fast-asleep baby Harry in his arms, Hagrid’s impact on us was immediate straight from the off. A half-giant with a heart of gold wailing in despair that Harry Potter’s parents had been killed, and now Harry had to live with a Muggle family who hated magic, away from all the people who truly loved him.
J.K. Rowling once notably said in an interview that she never planned to kill off Hagrid, due to having a strong image of Hagrid carrying Harry at the end of Deathly Hallows, mirroring the moment he did the same for Harry as a baby. As such, Hagrid has always been there for Harry – hence why we have picked the following chapter to celebrate him.
‘The Keeper of the Keys’
The giant squeezed his way into the hut, stooping so that his head just brushed the ceiling. He bent down, picked up the door and fitted it easily back into its frame. The noise of the storm out- side dropped a little. He turned to look at them all.
‘Couldn’t make us a cup o’ tea, could yeh? It’s not been an easy journey ...’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
A strange, otherworldly giant man aggressively breaking into a tiny hut, terrifying the entire room, and then casually asking for a cup of tea. Truly, this moment is Hagrid all over; a man who is seemingly quite intimidating on the outside, but compassionate and lovely the second you get to know him. It was the perfect introduction – except of course, Harry had no idea he’d already met Hagrid, albeit as a baby. The only memory Harry really had of Hagrid was an abstract one; a strange dream he had of a flying motorbike...
Hagrid’s appearance really was the apex of a strange couple of days for Harry and the Dursleys, who had been trying to escape an endless slew of letters inviting Harry to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – not to mention the fact it was Harry’s birthday. Hagrid’s fury at the Dursleys for not telling Harry anything about the wizarding world was both terrifying and amazing; Hagrid cared so deeply for Harry’s well-being, his tenderness was fearsome.
And what’s more? Hagrid even brought Harry a birthday cake and sausages! Harry was baffled – but also hungry. Again, how perfectly fitting that Harry’s first proper introduction to magic should be witnessing a half-giant using a magic umbrella to heat up some sausages.
And then, after all that, Hagrid uttered the words we would never forget in true Hagrid fashion.
‘STOP! I FORBID YOU!’ yelled Uncle Vernon in panic.
Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.
‘Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh,’ said Hagrid. ‘Harry – yer a wizard.’
There was silence inside the hut. Only the sea and the whistling wind could be heard.
‘I’m a what?’ gasped Harry.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Arguably, one of the most iconic scenes in all of Harry Potter history.
Why the chapter mattered
Hagrid has had many golden moments over the Harry Potter films and books, obviously. His giant pumpkins, the Care of Magical Creatures lessons, the absolute knees-up he had with Harry and Slughorn at Aragog’s funeral. And through it all, Hagrid was always just around for a huge hug at the end of a particularly gruelling time. Whether it be offering Ron a bucket for vomiting slugs, or flying Harry to safety from a swarm of Death Eaters, he would never falter in terms of taking care of his friends.
So endlessly loyal to Hogwarts, Dumbledore and Harry, Hagrid always led with kindness despite having suffered so many hardships himself. A spell in Azkaban, expulsion from Hogwarts, a damning news article from Rita Skeeter, having to let go of the dangerous creatures he so dearly loves on several occasions... when you weigh everything up, Hagrid had been through the ringer. But despite it all, Hagrid’s strength in times of darkness was crucial, especially as a torch of inspiration for Harry.
Hence why we have picked such an early chapter in Harry’s story to hero Hagrid. We can think of no better person to tell Harry that he was a wizard, the truth about his parents, the whole thing. And at the end, when Hagrid thought Harry was dead, and carried him through Hogwarts the same way he carried Harry has an infant, the story had come full circle.
And 19 years later, Hagrid was still around for Harry’s family, inviting Albus over for tea on his very first week of Hogwarts. Over generations, Hagrid will always be there.
‘See you at Christmas.’
‘Bye, Al,’ said Harry, as his son hugged him. ‘Don’t forget Hagrid’s invited you to tea next Friday.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
And we hope there will always be sausages.