Rubeus Hagrid is one of the most lovable characters in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, even if some of the fantastic beasts he was so fond of weren't quite as lovable themselves. The half-giant is the gamekeeper at Hogwarts and eventually becomes the professor for Care of Magical Creatures. Those who know Hagrid know him as a loyal friend. What would Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the others have done without him? His life has not been easy, but that hasn't stopped him from standing up for what’s right and believing the best of people — and creatures!
If Hagrid has a weakness, it's his fondness for beasts that others would perhaps rather have nothing to do with. In this way, he might be considered quite similar to Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts. Throughout Harry Potter, we see Hagrid care for and want to care for creatures that can be dangerous sometimes and are always quite unforgettable!
It's a big birthday for Hagrid this year, who was born December 6, 1928. As the gamekeeper turns 90, we wanted to honor the notable pets he loved in the Potter franchise, what made them so memorable to us, and what made them so meaningful to Hagrid. Here are some of the amazing pets he's had through the years.
Fang is not the most dangerous of Hagrid's pets. In fact, Hagrid describes him as a coward in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The large boarhound though doesn’t always run away when things get scary. Fang sticks by Hagrid’s side through a few intense situations and accompanies our heroes on trips into the Forbidden Forest on more than one occasion. He tries his best to defend Hagrid when he’s attacked and shows he cares in a way that might gross out some with his licking and slobbering, however it's hard not to fall in love with such an affectionate dog! Fang is not only lovable, but as loyal as his owner. In Sorcerer’s Stone, when Harry first meets Fang, the comparison is made that “like Hagrid, Fang was clearly not as fierce as he looked” and that might be one reason these two connect.
Fang is clearly a beloved companion to Hagrid. They stick together through all the tumultuous and good events of the series, having each other’s backs and not being what those who just judge on the spot think they should be.
Fluffy is an adorable name for an animal that many might not think of as very cute. Hagrid cared for the three-headed dog and loaned him (them?) to Dumbledore to be part of the defense for the sorcerer’s stone. Like the characters that first encounter Fluffy by accident, it’s impossible for readers to forget him. Rowling describes Fluffy as “a monstrous dog” that fills up “the whole space between ceiling and floor,” sporting three heads with rolling, mad eyes and three mouths to bite at the intruders. Fluffy did his job well at least and his weakness would have remained a secret if not for Hagrid’s unfortunate slip-up. The dog just can’t resist falling asleep to music, which is actually kind of sweet when you think about it.
There’s no doubt Hagrid cared about Fluffy a lot and knew where the dog’s skills could be put to use best. A three-headed dog though can’t be kept in his home like Fang. According to Rowling, Fluffy was later released into the forest and then Dumbledore helped him return to his native Greece. It was probably another tearful goodbye Hagrid had to say even if, like many of his other one-time pets, it was necessary.
Who can forget the baby dragon Hagrid tried to raise? Quirrell knew exactly what he was doing when he tempted Hagrid with a dragon egg in Sorcerer’s Stone, as the half-giant could not resist the chance to have a Norwegian Ridgeback dragon. As soon as Harry, Ron, and Hermione spot the huge black egg in the fire, they know it’s trouble. Convincing Hagrid of that however, is not so easy. When Norbert hatches, the fact that the dragon does not belong in Hagrid’s wooden hut becomes even clearer. Just due to the nature of the young fire-breathing dragon, Fang and Hagrid end up getting hurt and eventually Hagrid realizes his home is not the ideal place for Norbert to grow up. Luckily, Ron’s brother Charlie could help and they’re able to get the baby to him before Norbert can cause any lasting damage. The parting is a difficult one for Hagrid, even though he knows it’s for the best.
Hagrid truly loves Nobert, crying at the idea of him leaving and referring to himself as the dragon’s mommy. In the end, it all works out for the best despite the difficult parting. The dragon is where he, or rather she, belongs. Our heroes later learn Nobert is renamed Noberta since it turns out the baby was a female dragon the whole time!
The case of Aragog might be the time when caring for a creature cost Hagrid the most. Aragog was an Acromantula, a giant spider that could talk. Hagrid had him during his third year and when Tom Riddle discovered the creature, he blamed it and Hagrid for the deaths occurring at the school due to the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. Under Hagrid's protection, Aragog lived in the forest and was enjoyed occasional visits from his expelled friend. When Harry and Ron went looking for answers in Chamber of Secrets, Aragog at first thinks nothing of killing them until they say that Hagrid is in trouble, which concerns the big arachnid.
Aragog was certainly frightening and his presence alone would have made him a character to remember forever. However, it’s also how he’s a great example of the singular bond Hagrid could form with creatures. Aragog described Hagrid as “a good friend and a good man” and Hagrid continued to care for Aragog. When Aragog died in Half-Blood Prince, poor Hagrid is extremely upset. He manages to get the body away from Aragog’s kids, who might eat it, and gives him a proper burial. Their friendship wasn’t easy, yet Hagrid would clearly not trade it for anything.
Buckbeak was one of the hippogriffs Hagrid introduced to Harry’s third year Care of Magical Creatures class when he was finally a professor at Hogwarts. The majestic, proud creature gets into trouble thanks to Draco Malfoy and soon his fate is up in the air. Officials order Hagrid to isolate the hippogriff, but he doesn’t want Buckbeak to be alone so the gamekeeper takes him into his home. Buckbeak survives execution thanks to Harry and Hermione's use of a time turner and goes on to stay with Sirius Black before returning to Hagrid’s care after Black’s death. It’s then he receives a new name: Witherwings. Buckbeak is an incredible beast. Beautiful and with a loyal, fierce personality, it made us want to see Buckbeak and more hippogriffs in the future!
Buckbeak is another example of how Hagrid knows these amazing creatures are not as dangerous as they appear. Like we saw with Draco, if you’re not smart about how you interact with them they can be harmful but that’s not so different from every creature! Hagrid tries his best to protect Buckbeak and the hippogriff means a lot to him.
Buckbeak and all these pets show how big Hagrid's heart is and his interactions with them made the world even more magical in Harry Potter!