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Harry Potter - 16 facts you probably don’t know about Hagrid

He's arguably the most lovable of the best Harry Potter characters, so let's delve into the Harry Potter movies for some fascinating Rubeus Hagrid facts.

Harry Potter Hagrid facts

What are some facts you didn’t know about Hagrid in Harry Potter? We all love Rubeus Hagrid. He’s the gargantuan groundskeeper at Hogwarts and one of Harry Potter’s biggest allies, literally and figuratively, throughout both the books and the movies.

When it comes to the Harry Potter movies and the coolest Harry Potter characters, they don’t come much more memorable than Hagrid. The late Robbie Coltrane did a terrific job at bringing the character to life in all eight of the films as a key part of the Harry Potter cast. If you watch the Harry Potter movies in order again, Hagrid is always there as a reliable hero. So we all know plenty about the half-giant with a heart of gold, but let’s uncover some secrets about the lovable man behind the great big bushy beard.

16. He was once just five feet tall

Obviously, a character as widely recognizable as Hagrid will feature in his share of parodies. In the 2003 charity skit Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan, five-foot-one-inch British comedian Ronnie Corbett played Hagrid. With the greatest respect to the late comedy great, we can see why he wasn’t the first choice for the movies.

15. His best friend inspired a real-life arachnid

In 2016, Iranian entomologist Alireza Naderi collected a single specimen of a new spider species. Now, that creature goes by the Latin name Lycosa aragogi in recognition of how much it looks like the puppet used to bring to life Aragog, Hagrid’s monstrous buddy, in the Potter movies. The resemblance really is uncanny, with apologies to any arachnophobe readers for this picture.

Harry Potter critter Aragog inspired the name of a real spider

14. One scene saved his life

On the Blu-ray disc for the final Potter movie, the series’ author explains that she had considered killing Hagrid off and might have done so, were it not for one scene. After Harry’s noble sacrifice in the Forbidden Forest, it’s Hagrid who carries his fallen body back to the castle.

This moment was a very intentional echo of Hagrid carrying the infant Harry to Dumbledore at the beginning of the first movie, with the two scenes book-ending the franchise. This echo was so important that it put an end to any thoughts of killing him. Thank goodness for that!

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13. He has at least one amazing magical skill

Almost the first things we see Hagrid do in the Harry Potter movies are kick-starting a fire and giving Dudley the tail of a pig. Hogwarts devotees will note that Hagrid does both of these things with a simple flick of his wand and without even muttering a spell.

That makes Hagrid proficient in wandless magic, which is a very difficult skill not taught at Hogwarts until the sixth year. Given that Hagrid was expelled in his third year, it’s impressive that he has been able to learn this tricky skill. Some spells are still beyond his abilities though, as we’ll discuss later.

12. He has one of the longest wands

Now now, no giggling at the back. Hagrid’s now-broken magic wand, which he keeps concealed within a pink umbrella, was originally 16 inches long. That’s much longer than the 13-14 inches of most of the main characters.

However, even Hagrid’s formidable wand – we said no giggling – is dwarfed by the over-compensation of Gilderoy Lockhart, who wields a 17-inch implement. Please, stop giggling.

Harry Potter - Hagrid kept his wand in a pink umbrella

11. He’s pretty much impervious to this spell

One of the most common and useful Harry Potter spells is the Stunning Spell – aka Stupefy. But as Hagrid is a half-giant, he’s almost entirely resistant to this particular charm. It takes more than that to bring him down.

10. He avenged Buckbeak

Walden Macnair is introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the Ministry of Magic executioner responsible for carrying out Buckbeak’s death sentence. Of course, Buckbeak ultimately survives because of the Time Turner, but Hagrid never forgot Macnair’s bloodlust.

Years later, at the Second Battle of Hogwarts, Hagrid came face to face with Macnair, who was fighting alongside his fellow Death Eaters. During the battle, he’s viciously thrown against a wall by Hagrid. His fate is left unknown in the books.

Harry Potter Hagrid facts - Walden Macnair

9. Norbert was actually a girl

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid gets hold of an illegal dragon egg. When it hatches, he briefly falls in love with Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback before Charlie Weasley takes him away to live in Romania with a colony.

In the final book, Hagrid asks Charlie for an update on Norbert. It turns out she was actually female and now goes by the name Norberta.

8. Hagrid loved Harry so much that he threw a very risky party

During the prelude to the second Battle of Hogwarts, supporting Harry Potter and his search for Horcruxes was a bad idea. The members of Dumbledore’s Army were frequently tortured and punished while Severus Snape and Death Eater couple the Carrows were in charge of the school at Voldemort‘s behest.

Hagrid, though, was defiant and we learned in the final book that he threw “Support Harry Potter” parties. That’s bravery.

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7. He loves animals but can’t cast a Patronus

We know that Hagrid has great affection for all animals, from the most adorable to the utterly disgusting. Book readers will shudder at the memory of the Blast-Ended Skrewts, which were too terrifying for the movies.

However, despite all of this love for the animal kingdom, we have no idea which of these creatures would form Hagrid’s Patronus. As it turns out, the Patronus Charm is very difficult and falls outside his abilities, given his early expulsion from Hogwarts. This is definitely a shame. A Blast-Ended Skrewt Patronus? Those Dementors wouldn’t know what hit them.

6. He loves animals, but he’s allergic to cats

We should stress again that Hagrid really loves animals. But that seemingly doesn’t stretch to cats. Way back in the first book, he decided to buy a pet for Harry to take to Hogwarts.

Of course, he opted for snowy owl Hedwig in the end, but he decided against a cat because he’s allergic to them, and they make him sneeze. Fortunately, he’s fine with dogs and has his trusty companion Fang.

Harry Potter Hagrid facts - Fang

5. His name is a nightmare

Hagrid’s name comes from the archaic but pretty brilliant word “hagridden”, which means to be tormented by nightmares or anxieties. As you might expect, it’s connected to the word “hag,” for witch, so there’s a magical element to it too.

Interestingly, the variation of the word “hag-rid” appears in the Thomas Hardy novel The Mayor of Casterbridge on the same page as the word “Dumbledore” and the name Minerva – as in McGonagall. Writers everywhere will sympathize with the impulse to pick up the nearest book and steal a few cool-sounding names for characters.

4. He’s based on a real person

In the book Harry Potter: Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, Robbie Coltrane explained that the author based Hagrid on a Hell’s Angel biker she knew years earlier.

Much like Hagrid, he had an intimidating appearance but was a nature lover who would happily talk about the flowers in his garden all day long.

Harry Potter Hagrid facts - motorbike

3. You’re pronouncing his name wrong

Hagrid’s surname is easy to pronounce, and you’ve probably always pronounced his first name, Rubeus, as it’s written. That’s how they do it in the best movies, after all.

But actually, the author has confirmed on a commentary track that “roo-bay-is” was the intended pronunciation. Sorry, but we’re sticking to our guns. We’re still pronouncing Voldemort wrong too.

2. He should be even taller

In the Potter books, Hagrid is described as being twice as tall as a normal man. The average height of a dude in the USA is five feet nine inches, which would make Hagrid 11 feet six inches tall.

Robbie Coltrane was just over six feet tall, so they obviously had to deploy some trickery to make him tall enough to be a convincing half-giant. Even then, though, Hagrid was only around eight feet tall in the movies. They’re selling the guy short.

It was impressive stuff though. Sometimes it was forced perspective, sometimes, he’d be composited in from a green screen, and sometimes they made smaller or bigger props to sell the scale. They even had a stunt double wear an animatronic Coltrane head for wide shots, which you can see at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in the UK.

Hagrid facts - Robbie Coltrane and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

1. He was nearly Robin Williams

While the Potter author had always had Robbie Coltrane in mind for the role of Hagrid, there was a Hollywood legend in the frame too. Robin Williams loved the character so much that he called director Chris Columbus to lobby for a chance to play him.

Unfortunately for Williams, there was a strict rule that only British or Irish actors could be in the movie. So despite being in some of the best comedy movies ever, he couldn’t be Hagrid.

Harry Potter Hagrid facts - Robin Williams in Jumanji

If that’s not enough Potter, learn about the secret inspiration behind the Deathly Hallows symbol. We’ve also explained why we still can’t forgive the Harry Potter finale, as well as going through everyone who’s owned the Elder Wand.

The creator of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, has made a number of transphobic remarks on social media in recent years. If you’d like to learn more about transgender equality or lend your support, here are two charities we encourage you to visit: the National Center for Transgender Equality in the US and Mermaids in the UK.