While we might feel like we know Hagrid, especially given how many times Harry, Ron and Hermione popped down to his hut for a cup of tea in the Harry Potter books, there are some facts about the Hogwarts gamekeeper that still manage to surprise us.
Of course, we know (a little) about his pink umbrella, his love of all (literally any) animals, and also his ability to see the best in people, but there are many more layers to Hagrid than all that. So, to reacquaint ourselves with the different facets of Hogwarts’ Keeper of the Keys, here are some facts you might not know about Hagrid.
Given his love of all animals, it might be surprising to learn that Hagrid is actually allergic to cats. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid tells Harry that he ‘don’ like cats' because they make him sneeze, which is why he chose to buy Harry an owl, Hedwig, for his birthday present. J.K. Rowling has also confirmed that felines are one furry creature Hagrid won’t be friends with owing to his allergy.
In Harry Potter: Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, according to Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, the character was modelled on a real biker. Coltrane said that J.K. Rowling told him that Hagrid was ‘based on a Hell's Angel she knew in the West Country’. ‘He was just huge and terrifying,’ Coltrane recalled Rowling telling him. ‘And then he would sit down and talk about his garden and how his petunias had been very bad that year.’
Given Hagrid’s immense size (he is half-giant, after all), it’s no wonder that his wand would follow suit. Sitting at an awe-inspiring 16 inches, the wand, which was made of oak, has also been described as rather bendy. According to Mr Ollivander's notes on Wand Woods, oak makes sense for Hagrid - as wizards who use oak wands usually have an 'affinity with the magic of the natural world' - which Hagrid definitely does.
Unfortunately, after his expulsion from Hogwarts in his third year, Hagrid's wand was broken. And, we think he’d prefer it if we kept away any mention of his pink umbrella...
Hagrid’s Hogwarts house is never mentioned in the books, but, given his kindness, noble nature and bravery, it might not come as that much of a surprise that Hagrid was in Gryffindor.
Given his affinity for creatures, it was surprising to learn that Hagrid can’t actually cast the charm to produce an animal guardian. In a Q&A with Harry Potter fans on Twitter, J.K. Rowling was quizzed what Hagrid’s Patronus would be. In reply, she wrote, ‘Hagrid couldn't produce a Patronus. It's a very difficult spell.'
As Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, it makes sense that he might not have mastered the art of casting a Patronus. Indeed, you can read here that ‘the majority of witches and wizards are unable to produce Patronuses and to do so is generally considered a mark of superior magical ability’. Hagrid, therefore, isn’t alone in his inability to cast a Patronus.
Hagrid is another character in the Harry Potter series who had a hard childhood. When he was three years old, his mother, the giantess Fridwulfa, returned to her giant colony, leaving him alone to be raised by his father. Despite their size differences, he had a strong bond with his wizard father – Hagrid even used to put his father on the top of his dresser when he was annoyed with him. However, his father, sadly, passed away when Hagrid was in his second year of Hogwarts.
Tiny little bloke, my dad was. By the time I was six I could lift him up an’ put him on top o’ the dresser if he annoyed me. Used ter make him laugh ...’ Hagrid’s deep voice broke. Madame Maxime was listening, motionless, apparently staring at the silvery fountain. ‘Dad raised me ... but he died, o’ course, jus’ after I started school. Sorta had ter make me own way after that.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Most likely owing to his huge size, and his status as a half-giant, Hagrid is pretty resistant to stunning spells. As Herminone explains in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, ‘It’s very hard to Stun a giant, they’re like trolls, really tough.’
Hagrid’s loyalty knows no bounds. It’s why we love him so much. However, it’s also something that causes him a lot of grief, too. From Buckbeak to Grawp, Hagrid stands by those he cares about, no matter the cost. In fact, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn that Hagrid has been standing by Harry, who by then was Undesirable No. 1, despite Hogwarts’ reign of terror under Snape and the Carrows. During a broadcast of Potterwatch, we learn that Hagrid has been hosting ‘Support Harry Potter’ parties.
‘May I just add that while we here at Potterwatch applaud Hagrid’s spirit, we would urge even the most devoted of Harry’s supporters against following Hagrid’s lead. “Support Harry Potter” parties are unwise in the present climate.’
Remus Lupin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
As we know, Dumbledore always trusted Hagrid – it’s why he sent him off to pick up you-know-what from vault 713. Indeed, by that point Hagrid was probably quite used to having errands given to him from Dumbledore because Hagrid was actually a part of the original Order of the Phoenix. We can see him in the picture of the original Order in the film version of Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore even trusted Hagrid to go and pick up Harry from Godric’s Hollow following Voldemort’s downfall and the death of his parents.
Speaking in an interview with Daniel Radcliffe included on the Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Blu-ray, J.K. Rowling revealed that she had always planned for Hagrid to carry Harry’s seemingly lifeless body out of the Forbidden Forest during the Battle of Hogwarts. She explained that Hagrid carrying Harry at the end was symbolic, because he carried baby Harry when he delivered him to the Dursley’s at Privet Drive in the Philosopher’s Stone. In fact, it stopped her from killing Hagrid off. ‘That image kept him safe,’ she said. Phew.