You’re a Father, Hagrid
The most prevalent theme throughout the Harry Potter series is love.
Love is shown in a variety of ways. From Lily and James’s ultimate sacrifice defending Harry, Snape’s unorthodox protection of Lily’s son, Sirius’s thirst for revenge on the man who killed his friends, and even the love of friendship shared between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. These examples all have obvious roots: Harry was Lily and James’s son, Snape was in love with Lily, Sirius and James were best friends, and the trio took down a troll together – and there are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other.
But this post is not about the love of Harry’s parents or his best friends. This is for the first father figure Harry had. This is for the man who had more in common with Harry than anyone else, not that Harry knew it. This is for Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.
Rubeus is the half-giant son of Mr. Hagrid, a wizard, and Fridwulfa, a giantess. When Hagrid was three years old, Fridwulfa left Mr. Hagrid and young Rubeus to rejoin her giant colony. Mr. Hagrid raised Rubeus on his own with many fond memories. “My dad was broken-hearted when she wen’. 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.” Mr. Hagrid was ecstatic when Rubeus was accepted to Hogwarts, but he died in Rubeus’s second year, one year before his expulsion on the false accusation of opening the Chamber of Secrets. At the age of 12, Rubeus Hagrid became an orphan.
On Halloween night in 1981, Albus Dumbledore sent Rubeus to rescue the newly orphaned Harry Potter from the ruins of his Godric’s Hollow home. Hagrid did so eagerly and became immediately attached to the tiny baby asleep in his arms. He cried when Dumbledore left Harry on the front step of Number 4 Privet Drive, but he made sure that was not the last time he saw young Harry.
In July of 1991, Hagrid was given the task of locating Harry to give him the most exciting news he would ever hear:
But Hagrid had another task at hand as well: to wish the 11-year-old a very happy birthday.
Throughout Harry’s years at Hogwarts, Hagrid was his most consistent father figure. He took Harry to buy his school supplies, bought him his first pet, answered his questions (even when he should not have said that), encouraged him to try new things such as riding a Hippogriff, cheered him on in Quidditch, and supported him and his friends. That’s just a brief overview of all the father-like care that the gentle giant provided the young orphan.
And why? Hagrid knew Lily and James, but they were not his closest friends. He had a gentle heart, but there were other children at Hogwarts he could have bonded with. Hagrid attached to Harry most because he saw himself in the Boy Who Lived.
Hagrid never truly knew his mother, and he lost his father, his only friend, when he was 12 years old. It is not a stretch to understand his tears on the steps of the Dursleys’ home. He saw the future for Harry without his parents. He remembered how it felt when his own father died. He never wanted Harry to feel alone as he did. He wanted Harry to feel loved. He wanted to give this orphan what he wanted after his father’s death: a family.
Hagrid was with Harry from the very beginning to the very end. It is plain to see in Deathly Hallows just how much Harry meant to Hagrid when he was forced to carry his lifeless body from the Forbidden Forest to the castle. As a baby, he was Hagrid’s reflection. As a 17-year-old, he was Hagrid’s son.
Rubeus Hagrid is a perfect father figure for Harry throughout the series. Wands up to the gentle giant. Cheers, Hagrid!