As a Potterhead you probably gasped, grabbed your heart, and fell over when you heard the news.
On October 14, 2022 Robbie Coltrane, the actor who played Rubeus Hagrid, passed away. In hindsight, we knew that Hagrid didn’t die, but it sure felt like it.
We immediately felt the urge to binge the movies or reread the series.
If you’re a millennial like me, then you grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The walls of Hogwarts feel like home. You learned the spells, hid under the invisibility cloak and drank butterbeer. From the start, Hagrid was the cool uncle; driving a flying motorcycle and magically lighting fires with his pink umbrella. We leaned on him. We relied on him for truth and figurative bearhugs. We listened to him in times of adversity and hardship.
Hagrid’s heart was not only big because of his size but because of how he showed up in the wizarding world. Although Robbie has left us, we mustn’t forget what his character Rubeus Hagrid taught us.
When we first met Hagrid, he busted down the Dursley’s hideaway door and let his anger rein free. Our skepticism of the half giant lifted when we witnessed him present truth and friendship to Harry for the first time in his life. During the first visit to Diagon Alley, Hagrid took us and Harry under his wing.
On countless walks to Hagrid’s Hut under the invisibility cloak, we always found the fire blazing and him up to no good with a magical beast. Although we Potterheads are a bunch of misfits like Harry, Ron and Hermione, Hagrid always stood by us during our journey.
Whenever school bullies or siblings made us doubt our existence, Hagrid was there to encourage and empower us. When feeling out of place in the world he reminded us that we “don’ have ter be ashamed of what yeh are”.
His strong and grounded presence always provided comfort. Without hesitation he shared stories of his childhood to help us feel less alone. In The Goblet of Fire he said, “my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it [being different] against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.’ An’ he was right.”
Growing up with the Harry Potter series, these simple, yet impactful remarks from Hagrid brought us a sense of ease. We believed that we could have a place in the world and be surrounded by those who love and accept us exactly as we are.
Yeh can do it
Whether we escaped our worlds in the pages of the series or in the scenes on a screen, Hagrid supported us when times were tough. Both as kids and adults, we doubt our powers often. Those who lift and encourage us make it possible to rise when facing adversity.
Book after book, Hagrid believed in Harry and his fellow students. He reminds us that “what’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does”. Somehow, he always made the impossible feel possible.
Always be there fer yer friends
Hagrid never spoke of loyalty but showed it through his actions. He was there for Aragog when he was a baby spider hidden in a cupboard and buried him after he passed. He served Dumbledore at all times of day and defended his name even after a tragic death. Whenever Harry and his friends needed Hagrid, he was there. To give Ron a bucket for slugs or to wipe Hermione’s tears after being called a Mudblood. He delivered Harry to the front steps of 4 Privet Drive and carried him out of the Forbidden Forest.
Hagrid was the best Keeper of Keys Hogwarts has ever seen. Subtle lessons of unwavering loyalty were woven into the story to show us the importance of supporting and loving each other.
“It’s not Hogwarts without you, Hagrid”
When I think of Hagrid, I can see the smoke chugging from the chimney of his hut and his long scraggly beard. I see him cheering at a Quidditch match or feeding Buckbeak in his yard. But most of all, I can feel his big heart and unwavering loyalty.
Earlier this year when the Harry Potter 20th anniversary aired, Robbie Coltrane said something that was touching then, but heartbreaking now. He said, “the legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children. You can be watching it in 50 years’ time, easy.” He chuckles, then says, “I’ll not be here, sadly. But Hagrid will. Yes.”
Although Robbie has passed away, the legacy that he left will live forever.