Monday, October 17, 2022

Life Lessons from Rubeus Hagrid

This post is dedicated to Robbie Coltrane, the gentle giant who played Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies.

I had planned on writing a blog post about Umbridge to go along with our villain theme this month. However, with the passing of Robbie Coltrane last week, I felt like it would be more appropriate to talk about our favorite half-giant. So here are a few lessons we’ve learned over the years with Hagrid.

Looks can be deceiving

Many people looked at Hagrid and saw an intimidatingly giant man (and that was even before people knew he had giant heritage). But those who knew Hagrid understood that he was gentle and kind. He tenderly took care of his many creatures and he cared deeply for little Harry, even way back when he was an infant. 

Can’t judge someone by their family

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about people because of their parents, their siblings, or distant relations. When it came to light that Hagrid’s mother was a giantess, people made all sorts of assumptions about Hagrid and his very nature. While giants tended to be violent and restless, Hagrid proved to be the opposite. Despite his temper at times, I think Hagrid would prefer to be a pacifist at times.

Treat animals with kindness

Hagrid never met a monster he didn’t love. Some of them he shouldn’t have loved (blast-ended skrewts), but others were misunderstood even by the supposed experts, like Buckbeak and the Thestrals. While his students would rather stick to more Ministry approved creatures, like bowtruckles and unicorns, Hagrid knew his stuff and more importantly he knew they all his creatures deserved respect.

Small gestures make a big deal

Whether we’re talking about Harry’s photo album or his birthday cake, Hagrid wanted to make sure Harry felt loved. Even when his cooking was inedible, he showed his love in a powerful way. Maybe it was a small thing to bake a cake and gather some photos, but for Harry who’d never had a birthday cake or pictures of his mom and dad, it changed everything.

Be proud of who you are

He explicitly taught this principle when Hermione was called a mudblood for the first time, but two years later he was forced to walk the walk when his parentage was unveiled. It took him some time to grieve what had happened and the horrible things that had been said, but he stepped up. That would be especially important the following year when Umbridge made it her job to get rid of Hagrid, because he was only half-human.

Know who to trust with your secrets

We all love Hagrid (I’ll fight anyone who doesn’t) but from the beginning of the franchise, we knew not to trust him with a secret. He’s lovable and loyal, but he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. Especially once you get some alcohol in him. 

All in all, Hagrid really was the BFG who, despite his size, fit perfectly in our hearts. Robbie Coltrane's portrayal was perfect. We could not have asked for a better giant or a better friend to carry with us from generation to generation! As Robbie himself said "So you could be watching it in 50 years time, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will. Yes." Rest in peace, Robbie. We will remember you always!

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