pqotw 219

Podcast Question of the Week: Episode 219

It’s back! As we return to revisiting chapters in the series, we also decided to return to asking for your marvelous insight. This week, we look at our “Native Informant,” Hagrid.

Is Hagrid the best “first impression” for Harry? What would have happened if Harry had been introduced to the wizarding world by someone else?

Leave us a comment with your answer below, and we’ll read some of them in our next recap episode!


  • Hagrid himself admitted that he might not be the best person to introduce Harry to the wizarding world, but after a decade of being neglected by the Dursleys, I think Harry needs someone to give him affection and a lot of it.

    Dumbledore and McGonagall would be more buttoned-down. Dumbledore might look too eccentric for the Dursleys, but McGonagall, whose dad is a Muggle, might be able to hold it together long enough to convince the Dursleys that sending Harry to Hogwarts is a good thing.

    Molly, who doesn’t work for Hogwarts, won’t be the one to give Harry his letter, but I can imagine her having a good go at the Dursleys for abuse, even if she doesn’t really know who Harry is at the beginning.

    • travellinginabluebox

      I do not share your concern of Dumbledore looking to eccentric, after all Hagrid is a half-giant, so he most certainly stood out in his own way. And I dare say half-giant or eccentric Santa doesn’t make that much of a difference 😉

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        “Eccentric Santa” LMAO!!! 😀

      • Most people would think twice before messing with a half-giant, so that works to Hagrid’s advantage.
        Jo herself wrote that Dumbledore is out of place in Privet Drive in the very first chapter, though he does quite well at the beginning of Half Blood Prince when Harry is already a Hogwarts student. The Dursleys must just kick him out or call the pleasemen if he was the one to make the initial introduction.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Just kick Albus Dumbledore out? He has proven in HBP to easily control the Dursley with wandless magic none the less. He definitely doesn’t look as intimidating, which was my point. But he is the bigger threat compared to Hagrid.

          • Now that you have said it, the Dursleys attempting to kick Dumbledore out would be epic. Or maybe we have already seen that in the multiple Hogwarts letters.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            Vernon trying to kick Dumbledore out would have looked a lot like that Sir Ector trying to mess with Merlin in Disney’s Sword in the Stone.

  • Mollywobbles

    I personally think Hagrid was a great first impression of the wizarding world for Harry. I love Hagrid and though he can undoubtedly be irresponsible and doesn’t always make the best decisions, he is pretty much the opposite of the Dursleys. He knows the Potter family and isn’t afraid to tell Harry about his parents, which is more than Harry has ever learned from Vernon and Petunia. Though Hagrid can be intimidating at first glance, he’s very kind to Harry and he shows him the care of a friend that Harry has never received from anyone before (aside from his parents anyway). In addition, Hagrid’s passion for Hogwarts and magical creatures spark Harry’s curiosity about the wizarding world and the possibilities it offers. Hagrid also has a laid back demeanor that would make Harry feel more comfortable about asking questions and talking to him. While Hagrid does give Harry some bad impressions of some of the Houses, his friendship and the experience of going to Diagon Alley are things that Harry will always remember and cherish.
    In terms of some of the other teachers at Hogwarts, I think both Sprout and Flitwick would also be kind, informative people who could give Harry a good first impression. They both could show aspects of the whimsy and the more serious side of magic, though Harry may not be able to relate to them as well and likely wouldn’t form a friendship with them. McGonagall would also be good since she is very no-nonsense, but she might end up being too direct and not entirely believable. I could only imagine what would happen if Snape was the first one Harry met, but I highly doubt it would go well. Dumbledore on the other hand would probably form a mentor-student type of relationship that he already has with Harry, so he would likely be a good choice as well. However, I think it would be unlikely that Harry would have the chance to be friends with Hagrid if he hadn’t met him first, and I think it’s probably the best case scenario for both of them.

    • Only this person has to intimidate/look presentable enough to the Dursleys to get a chance to talk to Harry. Flitwick being half-goblin is instantly identifiable as magical. Sprout might be able to enter if she dressed up (normally in school she’s working in the greenhouses and not dressed to Dursley standards).

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      If it had been Snape who appeared in the hut in the middle of the night, Petunia would have freaked out big time. We don’t know how much she knows about his friendship with Lily and why their ways parted, but from their encounters in their childhood he did not leave a good impression.

      I’m wondering how the decision to send Hagrid came to be. After Harry did not get his first letter, days passed with more and more letters and when Hagrid came to pick up Harry, things had really gotten out of hand. This can’t be standard procedure, if guardians or parents keep their children from reading their Hogwarts letters, can it?

      Hagrid may not have been “the best” choice, but sending him was an appropriate choice. As long as Harry wants to come and see the magical world, Hagrid will make sure he can go there. He will fight for Harry’s well-being if neccessary and provide protection against the abuse Harry has been suffering at the hands of his uncle, aunt and cousin.

      Other people may have been more diplomatic, subtle or equipped – but Hagrid is prepared to do his best in this task.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        That’s an excellent question/observation regarding similar circumstances taking place in other families. What IS the standard procedure when a parent dismisses or outright fears their child’s magical abilities and the need to hone them? Surely this would have happened much more frequently centuries ago when witches and wizards (or people thought to be witches and wizards) were hunted and killed. I have to imagine, in those circumstances, the headmaster would be the one to talk to those families in person and convince them to allow their child to attend school.

        I see Harry’s situation as unique. Not just the fact that his parents died and he was raised by Muggles (though that must be rare), but the fact that he’s famous for “killing” Voldemort as a baby. His entry back into the magical world should have been handled with great care and, looking at it objectively, I don’t think it was. It all turned out okay, thankfully, but they had 10 years to plan this and THIS was the solution they came up with? Really? Even if Hagrid ended up being the best choice to spring him from the Dursleys, Dumbledore should have written him a letter or sent along a book to help initiate him. Surely there’s a “So You Just Found Out You’re a Wizard” pamphlet that can be given to Muggleborns and their families? Not all children are going to read all of their schoolbooks (and more) before term starts, like Hermione.

  • Rosmerta

    Hagrid is absolutely wrong as a first impression but he is exactly what Harry needed too! Friendly, warm and effusive, he envelopes Harry with new experiences with such genuine enthusiasm that Harry is swept along by it. Hagrid doesn’t stop long enough to think about how the Dursley’s have treated Harry, he just wants to bring Harry back into the Wizarding World, like a favourite uncle or Godfather. Other characters would just have been wrong, as Hermione & Molly have outlined!

    • Voldemort’s Lost Nose

      Feel free to multiply my like by 100,000!

  • travellinginabluebox

    I think the only proper option aside from Hagrid would have been McGonagall. She could have easily fitted into the muggle world, after all she was married to a muggle. She would also not be intimidated by the Dursleys.

    While McGonagall is often very strict, I think Harry would still gotten along with her easily and she would probably loosen up a bit after dealing with the Dursleys. However. I doubt she would have gifted Hedwig to Harry and that is just sad.

    So in the spirit of revisiting old episodes, here is Caleb’s catchphrase: Minerva is my home girl!

    • She married her ex-boss at the Ministry though? But her dad’s a Muggle and she nearly married a Muggle guy, so she definitely knows about Muggles.

      • travellinginabluebox

        Oh right, got my facts confused there. Thanks for pointing that out :-)

  • SMills

    We know Hogwarts has a board of governors that had enough power to take Dumbledore out of the school in CoS. What if Lucius Malfoy had pulled enough strings to be the one to introduce Harry to the wizarding world? Wouldn’t he have set him on the path to becoming a dark wizard?

    • Rosmerta

      Really interesting, an amazing and completely different journey for all of us! The alternative Potter!

  • Minerva the Flufflepuff

    Hagrid embodies so many qualities of the Wizarding World itself: He’s quirky and weird, loud, slightly violent but warm and good-hearted, so from a literary perspective he is the perfect introduction to it.

  • hyungchunnie

    i think Hagrid was a good choice for someone to introduce Harry to the magical world. It’s a whole lot of new information to take in and he just came from an abusive environment. Hagrid showed him the fun side of the this world without shoving so much info. He showed love to Harry, baking him a birthday cake, buying Hedwig as a gift. Hagrid is an outsider and that gives Harry and him a special connection because Harry felt like an outsider with the Dursleys for so long.. Hagrid has such a warm personality that can show Harry that in any world magic or none, there can be a good innocent person like Hagrid around.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I think we can often question the responsibilities Dumbledore gives Hagrid, given his tendency to well, not really think things through. However, I think Hagrid says it himself- Dumbledore trusts him. It isn’t that Hagrid is the most capable, certainly any number of people could have taken Harry shopping, but Dumbledore trusts in Hagrid’s loyalty to whatever purpose Dumbledore sets him to. He’s knows Hagrid will do his darnedest to make sure he gets the information and things he needs to get to Hogwarts. Plus, there’s a certain intimidation factor there when it comes to dealing with the Dursleys. They aren’t going to stop a magical half-giant taking Harry away.

    Also, I’m seconding the number of comments regarding Hagrid as the sort of friend Harry needs. In terms of Dumbledore being the puppet master, I think he would have foreseen that Hagrid could be a valueable friend to Harry- being at a new school, in this new magical world, it’s smart to ally him with an adult there who isn’t just another one of his teachers, but someone he can go to as a friend rather than authority figure. And he knows Hagrid is going to look out for him; that bond was established way back when Hagrid first brought Harry from Godric’s Hollow to Private Drive.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      That’s a good point about the bond between Hagrid and Harry since he was the one to bring him to the Dursleys as a baby. I wonder if Hagrid actually begged for this job because he already felt so much for Harry?

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Oh yeah, I could totally see Hagrid volunteering to do it before Dumbledore even asked.

  • Hagrid is the best choice. He has undying loyalty and this is important. This loyalty takes Hagrid and Harry all the way to the 7th book when Hagrid sacrifices himself during the flight of the 7 Potters. McGonagall, Dumbledore, or any other Hogwarts professor could not have been there for Harry as many times as Hagrid was. The bond that the 2 form is proof that Hagrid was the best choice.

    Harry… Yer a wizard

  • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

    After re-reading Chapter 3 of Half-Blood Prince, I think Dumbledore would have done an excellent job of retrieving Harry from the Dursleys in Sorcerer’s Stone. I realize by HBP the Dursley’s had much more exposure to the wizarding world, so it’s not such a shock. But they actually treat Dumbledore with fear and respect, unlike Hagrid who they try to bully. And perhaps if DD had admonished them sooner, they wouldn’t have treated Harry so badly during his summers home from school.

  • Huffleclaw

    I’ve finally had a chance to listen to the episode and have been thinking about this question for a while.
    I like Hagrid as the “native informant” to both Harry and the reader. He’s not the most reliable for points of bias such as Slytherin being the “bad” house or the safety of Gringrots and Hogwarts but these points are brought up by other characters later in the first book.
    For Harry, he represents key points of wonder for his entrance to the magical world. He is larger than life. His interest in dragons is established in this chapter and what 11 year old who found out they were a wizard would not want to hear about dragons? He’s a representative of the wild and natural forms of magic, so Harry gets that untamed impression before entering Hogwarts and the fancier magic of McGonnagal, Flitwick, Dumbledore, and Snape. So Hagrid represents a transition from non-magical, to “natural” magic and then the formal magic that Harry would learn at Hogwarts.
    I would be curious to see how the story would have changed if Dumbledore had picked up Harry from the Dursley household. Dumbledore, as headmaster, represents the height of magical skill – the ivory tower sort to speak. While I see Dumbledore as guarded with Harry in this scenario – Harry would not. Much like Tom Riddle I think Harry would speak freely with Dumbledore. Perhaps, the snake incident fresh in his mind, Harry would ask the wise Dumbledore about what animals he could talk to. Dumbledore would pause and stare at Harry intently as Harry relates the conversation with the snake. A full year before anyone else at Hogwarts knew about Harry’s parseltongue Dumbledore would begin to put the clues together now. Perhaps Dumbledore would even realize that Harry is an accidental horcrux and put plans into motion for sooner.

  • Sherry Gomes

    Regarding last week’s question of the week. somehow, I missed it! I always thought Hagrid was the perfect person to intro Harry to the wizarding world. For two reasons. Most important, Harry is able to express his concerns, and fears about whether or not he will be able to fit into this new world. Hagrid reassures him, because Hagrid does indeed know how it feels to be different and singled out. I love this chapter all the way, but those moments are some of my favorites in the entire series. being excessively shy myself, especially when I was schoolage, I’d have loved a Hagrid to reassure me. My other reason for being glad Hagrid was the one, well, who would have gotten Hedwig for Harry if anyone else had brought him? Yikes!
    Can you imagine if it had been Snape? Harry might have chosen to avoid Hogwarts altogether!