Matthew R. Davies
Welsh Bookworm, Horror-Nerd, Musician, Freelancer and Aspiring Writer of the Macabre
Rubeus Hagrid, the charming Hogwarts groundskeeper who led Harry away from his miserable existence at the Dursley’s to a new life in the wizarding world, remains one of the bestselling franchise’s most beloved characters. However, in a recent (and incredibly thorough) fan theory that surfaced on Reddit, confidence in Hagrid has been decimated after it was theorised that he was in fact, a high-ranking Death Eater and a double agent that was secretly working with Voldemort.
This particular Reddit user has undertaken an exhaustive critical reading of the novels in an attempt to prove this controversial notion; and the evidence is remarkably compelling.
Despite this, we maintain that Hagrid is undeserving of these ominous titles and seek to clear the half-giant’s good name with our own analysis of the key arguments from each novel.
Hagrid may have made some unwise decisions over the course of his troubled life and he might even be described as a bit of a liability at times, but a Death Eater? We think not!
"Hagrid’s immediate presence at the Potter residence indicates that he knows advanced fast-travel magic"
In Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone to our American readers), Hagrid is entrusted with the task of rescuing Harry from the smouldering remains of his parent’s house in Godric’s Hollow.
The theory suggests that Hagrid was capable of incredibly fast travel, despite having been expelled from Hogwarts during his third year and banned from practicing magic. However, at the beginning of the novel (despite McGonagall’s reservations), it is mentioned that this important duty was assigned to him by Dumbledore.
If we consider that Dumbledore is the most powerful and influential figure in all of the wizarding world (a fact that is mentioned frequently throughout the series), wouldn’t it be prudent to assume that he aided Hagrid’s speedy commute?
The theory speculates upon how Hagrid could possibly know where to go, given that James and Lily Potter were using Sirius Black (and later Peter Pettigrew) as their secret keeper.
Well, it has been mentioned that Dumbledore had put his own charm on the Potter residence and after their deaths, Dumbledore knew immediately what had happened. Therefore, it can be assumed that after acquiring this heart-breaking knowledge, Dumbledore could give clear instructions to Hagrid as well as use his own magic to permit him to travel to Godric’s Hollow at great speed.
Also, as far as anybody knows, Sirius Black was the Potter’s secret keeper and is suspiciously, at the ruins when Hagrid arrives.
Now, if Hagrid was a Death Eater would he have really reacted the way he did to Sirius?
Hagrid refused to give the baby to Sirius and whisked him away to Dumbledore. Sirius was now the prime suspect in the Potter’s betrayal and was supposedly in league with Voldemort.
Now, wouldn’t a high-ranking Death Eater have a thing or two to say to another high-ranking Death Eater?
If the shady organisation keeps secrets from each other to this extent, wouldn’t Hagrid have been having second thoughts about Sirius Black and had more to say?
Also, what better opportunity to be rid of the infant than while up in the air, riding a flying motorbike? Surely Sirius would have been the ultimate patsy?
"Hagrid is one of Voldemort’s oldest associates, and knows his true identity"
In Chamber of Secrets, it is revealed that Hagrid had been a student at Hogwarts during the same period that Tom Riddle (the true identity of Lord Voldemort) also frequented the school.
We learn that Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts for allegedly opening the Chamber of Secrets and as a result, ended up losing his wizarding privileges. It was Tom Riddle who turned Hagrid in to the powers-that-be to deflect any suspicion that they may have had away from himself.
When Harry discovers Riddle’s magical diary, he is transported back fifty years to the moment when Riddle accuses Hagrid of allowing Aragog the Acromantuala to kill a number of Hogwarts’ students.
The Reddit user suggests that Hagrid not only went to school with Riddle, but also knew of his secret identity in the years proceeding. Why would Hagrid join forces with the very man who had him expelled? The man who ensured that he lost his civil liberties within the wizarding world?
Riddle also attempts to have Aragog killed and as we all know; nothing is more sacred to Hagrid than the animals that inhabit the Potterverse.
Aragog was raised by Hagrid from infancy and is his best friend. It is hard to imagine that Hagrid, being the animal-lover that he is, would join the ranks of somebody who thinks so little of them.
Furthermore, Hagrid is sent to Azkaban for the same crime. Why would he continue an allegiance with Voldemort after being sent to the most severe prison in the wizarding world, for a crime he supposedly knows Tom Riddle perpetrated?
"Hagrid maintains unusual access to the powerful and influential, including Voldemort’s main targets"
In Prisoner of Azkaban, it is mentioned that Hagrid has contact with an array of extremely powerful figures and was an original member of the Order of the Phoenix.
The theory maintains that Hagrid’s position within the wider wizarding community is surprisingly privileged for a man of his social standing. Hagrid, being a ‘blue-collar’ worker and a half-giant would surely be subject to prejudice and not be allowed access to such important witches and wizard.
The user also emphasises Hagrid’s propensity for disseminating secret information to people who should not be informed of such matters.
Although Hagrid is a bit of a blabbermouth, it is important to remember that Dumbledore trusts him and upholds his innocence in all matters.
It is suggested that Hagrid purposefully spreads information to further Voldermort’s cause, but if we consider the sheer skill and intelligence it would require to undertake such an endeavour it would appear less and less likely that Hagrid is capable.
He is frequently referred to as a bumbling, oafish character who displays very little intelligence and is prone to emotional outbursts. This would mean that Hagrid would either have to be the greatest actor in all of the wizarding world or he is in fact, a humble supporter of Dumbledore’s.
So why be given so much power and influence? Well, lets consider Hagrid’s traits: He is incredibly loyal to Dumbledore and has motivation for hating Tom Riddle. He is a half-giant and therefore, an imposing figure in the fight against the Death Eaters and capable of communicating with the giants that remain in the wild.
He has a wealth of information about magical creatures. The list goes on, so we can see why he would be useful ally to the Order of the Phoenix. The idea that he is a double agent continues to grow less plausible.
"Hagrid has an established relationship with Barty Crouch Jr"
In Goblet of Fire, Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody, the respected Auror and original member of the Order of the Phoenix, comes to Hogwarts to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts.
The man is paranoid to say the least, having spent his entire life in the service of the Order and fighting dark wizards.
At the end of the novel, it is revealed that Moody isn’t who he claims to be, but is in fact Barty Crouch Jr disguised as Moody. Crouch has kidnapped the real Moody, drank Polyjuice potion, transformed and come to Hogwarts to ensure that Harry wins the Triwizard tournament. By winning, Harry is transported to Voldemort and forced into a bloody showdown.
The Reddit theory reminds us of Hagrid’s encounter with ‘Moody’ in Hogsmeade, where they share a hushed conversation about the first task.
The user maintains that Hagrid was fully aware of Moody’s true identity was actually plotting with him to ensure the success of Voldemort’s mission. So why does Hagrid appear to have such a cosy relationship with the man?
Well, let’s remember that Hagrid was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix, so he would surely be on excellent terms with Moody. Also, Dumbledore clearly trusts him, considering that he allowed him to come to the school in a teaching capacity.
Hagrid trusts no one more than Dumbledore, who he frequently refers to as a ‘great man’ and he was the only person to maintain Hagrid’s innocence before he got expelled.
Dumbledore gave him a job and a place to live, so why not trust Moody? As for the first task, Hagrid’s affinity for animals and especially for dragons, would suggest that he would be eager to discuss anything that related to this topic.
If Crouch’s plan should fail, Hagrid would be a prime suspect for aiding and abetting him, so why not meet in a more secretive location? Harry is present during all of this and nothing is mentioned by Hagrid that may reveal he is aware of Crouch’s disguise.
"Hagrid is an expert at using covert techniques"
In Order of the Phoenix, Hagrid undertakes his mission with Madame Maxine to somewhere in the Ural Mountains to parley with the giants that reside there.
After a series of positive negotiations, Death Eaters arrive to interfere and attempt to gain them as their allies in the war to come. Hagrid fails and returns home to recount the bad news.
Now, the Reddit user claims that this is evidence of corruption, as the Death Eaters mysteriously arrive at the same time as him and are successful in their endeavours.
Although Hagrid IS an unreliable narrator, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you of the fact that Maxine accompanied him along the way. If there was foul play, why didn’t she make the Order aware?
It is claimed that Hagrid purposefully tipped off the Death Eaters to the location of the giants, but why did he tell Dumbledore they were there at all?
He could of quite easily have told him that they were unsuccessful for another reason, that the attempt was useless or they couldn’t find the giants.
Also, Maxine wouldn’t have been too much of an issue if (as the user claims) Hagrid is indeed a powerful dark wizard. A lot of things don’t add up in this one...
"Hagrid has an unhealthy relationship with Harry Potter"
In Half Blood Prince, Hagrid undertakes a less pivotal role in the plot of the novel but nonetheless, the Reddit User has highlighted an ‘odd relationship that has developed between Harry and Hagrid.’
Okay, so it is safe to say that Hagrid is very good friends with the trio and is prone to letting them off the hook for a variety of poor behaviour. He even encourages them to undertake hazardous tasks with little or no guidance. But to say that this is all a ploy to put them in danger, for the purposes of furthering the goals of the Death Eaters is a little hard to believe.
Hagrid may be a little foolish when allowing the kids to do certain tasks at times, but this is primarily due to his own uneducated perspectives.
Being a half-giant and an animal lover, it is easy to see why he would believe Aragog would be friendly to them. After all, he has shared such unparalleled friendships with the beasts that occupy the Forbidden Forest, that he fails to see any danger at all.
The Potterverse’s sense of culture and society would appear very different to that of the reader.
What school in the real world would allow a nature reserve full of wild and potentially dangerous animals to reside within the school grounds anyway?
His position as Dumbledore’s confidant and member of the Order of the Phoenix allows him a unique perspective of the potential that lies within Harry.
Dumbledore is surely aware (at least to some extent) of the actions of Hagrid and the kids. He was also very good friends with Harry’s parents.
What would seem more likely, is that Hagrid is merely a little naïve when it comes to appropriate behaviour.
Given the humble nature that Hagrid possesses and everything that he has sacrificed for the common good, it is difficult to imagine him purposefully sending Harry, Hermione and Ron off into the wilds for any other reason than because, he thought it would be fine.
"Hagrid isn’t targeted during the Seven Potters operation; he also reveals the real Harry"
In Deathly Hallows, members of the Order arrive at Privet Drive to transport Harry away from the encroaching danger of the Death Eaters, after he has finally come of age and his mother’s protection charm over the property has broken. Six members take Polyjuice potion and transform into a version of Harry to act as decoys.
Little do they know; Snape has secretly revealed the date of the mission to Voldemort himself.
Hagrid is amongst them and he transports the real Harry in the sidecar of the flying motorbike that was gifted to him by Sirius Black. Once they are all in the air, they come under attack from the Death Eaters.
The Reddit user has suggested that the Death Eaters have purposefully avoided targeting Hagrid despite the fact he is so large. Hagrid also shouts Harry’s name a number of times and could have been the source that revealed the true Harry amongst the decoys.
First of all, why didn’t Snape reveal to Dumbledore that Hagrid was a member of the Death Eaters? Why was it, that Hagrid didn’t tell Voldemort the date of the mission?
Yes, he may have been able to dodge the spells of the flying fiends, but the whole scene is depicted to have been utter chaos. This supposed of evidence of Hagrid’s involvement feels a little thin while, Snape’s revelation and lack of insight into Hagrid’s (supposed) misdeeds resonates to us as the strongest evidence for the humble half-giant’s integrity of all...
So ends our take on this incredibly thought-provoking theory and with a bit of luck, the end of any doubts that you may have harboured for the valour of Hagrid.
Kudos to the Reddit user, as this was a detailed and well-evidenced exploration of Hagrid’s character.
There were at times, moments when we found ourselves VERY conflicted. But truly, Hagrid, in our estimation is innocent of all charges... What did you make of this polarising theory? Which do you find to be the most credible argument? As always, tell us what you think below...