Rubeus Hagrid is a half-giant with shaggy hair and a “wild, tangled beard” (PS1) who serves as the Keeper of Keys and Grounds, Gamekeeper, and Care of Magical Creatures professor at Hogwarts (PS4, PA6). He is excessively fond of “interesting creatures” — that anyone else would call fearsome monsters. Hagrid’s appearance is very intimidating, but his disposition is kind; in fact, his soft heart tends to lead him to cry rather a lot (PA11). He lives in a hut on the Hogwarts grounds near the Forbidden Forest with his pet boarhound, Fang (PS8).
The son of a human and a giantess, Hagrid tends to stick out (PS6) and has been subjected to much prejudice (GF24, OP15). His childhood was difficult, as his mother Fridwulfa, a giantess, left the family when he was three, and his father died during Hagrid’s second year at Hogwarts (GF23).
While at school he was known to be something of a troublemaker – among other things, raising an acromantula in the school. This set him up to be framed by Tom Riddle for opening the Chamber of Secrets, and at the end of his third year he was expelled and his wand broken in two (CS17). Albus Dumbledore, then the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts, arranged for him to stay on as gamekeeper, and took care of him. As a result Hagrid is fiercely loyal to Dumbledore, who has been heard to say that he “would trust Hagrid with my life” (PS1). In 1993, his name was cleared through the efforts of Harry Potter and his friends.
His acromantula, Aragog, is not the only “interesting creature” that has attracted Hagrid’s attention; he has since been known to attempt to raise a dragon (PS14), illegally breed Blast-Ended Skrewts (GF13), and hide his giant half-brother, Grawp, in the Forbidden Forest (OP30), in addition to his “normal” creatures like his pet boarhound, Fang. His fascination with such creatures has gotten him in trouble at times as a teacher, such as a lesson on hippogriffs that led to Draco Malfoy getting slashed (PA6) and a lesson on thestrals, which Umbridge notes are classified as “dangerous” (OP21). In such cases Hagrid tends to lose his confidence and his nerve, and his classes turn boring for long periods of time (PA8).
From the moment he was sent to retrieve Harry for his first year at Hogwarts, Hagrid and Harry Potter became friends, and have remained so ever since. Harry, Ron, and Hermione visited Hagrid’s hut regularly while in school (OP20), and Hagrid has served several times as a bodyguard for Harry (HBP6, DH4). When Harry was on the run from the Ministry of Magic, Hagrid also threw a ‘Support Harry Potter’ party in his house, and was nearly arrested (DH22).
Hagrid and his half-brother fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. During the first part of the fighting, Hagrid was captured by Voldemort’s giants and tied up in the forest. After Harry was “killed,” Hagrid was forced to carry his friend back to Hogwarts as a symbol of Voldemort’s complete victory. Of course it didn’t turn out quite like Voldemort planned (DH35).
Mother: Fridwulfa, one of the last British giants; she abandoned the family when Hagrid was 3 years old (GF23).
Father: An unnamed human, died 1941-2 during Hagrid’s second year at Hogwarts (GF23).
Siblings: Grawp, a giant half-brother (OP30).
Childhood: Raised by his human (presumably wizard) father and orphaned in his second year at Hogwarts; Dumbledore looked out for him after that.
Location of childhood home: "West Country," which usually refers to Devon, Somerset and Cornwall (R4). This area of England is where many of our folktales about giants come from: Jack the Giant Killer and Jack and the Beanstalk to name a few. Many Cornish rock formations and ancient stone-age stone rings have long been associated with giants.
Attracted to: Mme. Olympe Maxime of Beauxbatons (GF), but the relationship does not work out (OBT/CH).
Pets, etc.: Fang (boarhound), Aragog (Acromantula), Buckbeak, (Hippogriff), Norbert/Norberta (dragon), Fluffy (hellhound).
Birthdate: December 6, 1928. December 6th is the date of the Catholic Feast of St. Nicholas.
Hagrid is "not a fully qualified wizard" (PA5). Affection for magical animals, especially the dangerous ones. Hagrid was not allowed to do magic before his name was cleared, although it seems that his broken wand was somehow embedded in his pink umbrella and he did cast a spell or two. Now he is allowed to do magic, but as he was never properly trained, he'll always be somewhat inept at it (SN).
Other canon notes and references
Eye color: glinting like black beetles, crinkled in a smile (PS1).
Hair color: long, wild tangled black hair and beard (PS1).
Overall: “If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild – long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, He had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins” (PS1). Wears a flowered apron when cooking (HBP), and a bearskin coat whilst hunting (HBP19).
Formal attire: A "hairy" suit with a yellow and orange tie (PA14).
HAGRID at HOGWARTS
His first year: 1940
Hogwarts staff: "Gamekeeper" and "Keeper of the Keys and the Grounds" at Hogwarts (PS4). Possibly replaced Ogg (GF33). As "Keeper of the Keys," it is Hagrid's job to meet the Hogwarts first-years and escort them from theHogsmeade railway station across the lake to Hogwarts. Since 1993, Hagrid has also been the Care of Magical Creatures teacher.
Residence: cabin or hut on Hogwarts' grounds near the Forbidden Forest(image from PS/f on the right).
Equipment: Pink umbrella (disguises his broken wand), Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent (CS4).
Penalties: Expelled from Hogwarts during his third year (1943) after he was framed by Tom Riddle for opening the Chamber of Secrets and causingMoaning Myrtle’s death.
Wand: Oak, sixteen inches, rather bendy (PS5); it was broken when he was expelled from Hogwarts (Hagrid has embedded it in his pink umbrella).
Organizations & affiliations: Order of the Phoenix.
Career: Keeper of the Keys and the Grounds at Hogwarts (PS4).
Skills: "not a fully qualified wizard" (PA5). Affection for magical animals, especially the dangerous ones. Hagrid was not allowed to do magic before his name was cleared, although it seems that his broken wand was somehow embedded in his pink umbrella and he did cast a spell or two. Now he is allowed to do magic, but as he was never properly trained, he'll always be somewhat inept at it (SN).
Worst fear/memories: His father’s death in 1941-2, saying goodbye to Norbert, being expelled from Hogwarts (PA11)
Handwriting: "scribble" (CS2).
Punishment: Incarcerated in Azkaban for a few weeks during May 1993, after the Chamber of Secrets was re-opened; released after Harry was able to exonerate him.
Rubeus = a homonym for the English word 'rubious' from Latin 'ruber,' for "red." Related to the word 'ruddy;' a 'ruddy' (reddish) complexion is often the sign of someone who drinks a lot.
Hagrid's last name is related to several old English, French and German words:
hag = hægtesse, Old English for "hedge-rider," or "she who straddles the hedge," because the hedge was the boundary between the "civilized" world of the village and the wild world beyond. The hægtesse would have a foot in each reality. Even later, when it meant the local healer and root collector, living in the open and moving from village to village, it may have had the mildly pejorative sense of hedge- in M.E. (hedge-priest, etc.), suggesting an itinerant sleeping under bushes, perhaps.
hag-ridden = from hag + ride. Ridden by a hag or witch; hence, afflicted with nightmare. An old term for sleep paralysis, the sensation of being held immobile in bed, often by a heavy weight, and accompanied by a sense of alien presence. A holed stone hung over the bed was said to prevent it.
haggard = Gives the appearance of exhaustion; Medieval French for "wild, unruly."
hager = Low German for "gaunt, haggard." Sense of "with a haunted expression" or "careworn."
Sources: compiled from Dictionary.com and the Online Etymology Dictionary.
Rowling on naming Hagrid: "Hagrid is also another old English word meaning if you were "hag-rid," it’s a dialect word meaning you’d had a bad night. Hagrid’s a big drinker. He has a lot of bad nights." (Con).
HAGRID IN THE FILMS
In the Warner Brothers films based upon Rowling's books, Hagrid is played by Robbie Coltrane; however in "Chamber of Secrets," young Hagrid is played by Martin Bayfield who is also Coltrane's body double.
Both Jim Dale (on the audio book recordings) and Coltrane give Hagrid a Devon accent. Steve Kloves, the scriptwriter, invented a running gag in which Hagrid gives some bit of information away and then says "I shouldn't have told you that." This repetition never actually happens in any of the books.
Discussants on Episode 2 of the MuggleNet Academia Podcast described Hagrid as dualistic with hyper masculine characteristics such as hunting skill, handler of beasts, and the "thick skin of a giant" as John Granger said. Hagrid also has many feminine characteristics such as the mothering he shows Norbert(a), baking in flowery aprons, and his sentimentality during occasions such as Aragog's funeral. --Hufflepuffskein