Sunday, August 12, 2012
Book 1 - Some thoughts 2
Hagrid. What do you think of him?
Hagrid was clearly on Harry's and Dumbledore's side. But does that make him good?
Both Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall are aware of his failings. We realize that in the first chapter, even though we don't know exactly what they mean at the first reading of the series. As with most things in the books, this comes home to us as we move ahead in the series or even on a re-reading.
"'Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?'
'Yes', said Professor McGonagall."
"'But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?'
'Hagrid's bringing him.'
'You think it- wise - to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?'
'I would trust Hagrid with my life,' said Dumbledore.
'I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place,' said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, 'but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to- what was that?'"
Hagrid is careless, divulging secrets to all and sundry without regard for the consequences. Especially if he is drunk and tempted with his one passion- monstrous magical creatures. He gives away the secret of the 3-headed dog to a stranger in a pub who offers him a dragon's egg.
He is thoughtless- towards humans and his beloved monsters alike. Hatching a dragon egg and keeping it hidden in a wooden hut which could easily catch fire.
In later books, we see how he hatches the man-eating acromantula inside Hogwarts. How he gets his half-brother, Grawp, and hides him in the Forbidden Forest, putting all creatures in there at danger. Even when Grawp clearly did not want to come there from the mountains. How he is more concerned about the spiders in the last book than about the people they may kill.
One can say that this is all because of his ancestry- being a half-giant. He comes across as just a little better than those other problematic Gryffindors, Mundungus Fletcher and Peter Pettigrew. One of the few things we can say in his favour is that he was unflinchingly loyal to those he considered his friends. Dumbledore, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, etc.
As we read the whole story mainly from Harry's point of view, we learn to have a positive take on Hagrid, who is Harry's first friend in the wizarding world. Half-giant, yes, but as flawed as any human being.