A news flash for ‘Harry Potter’ fans: Everybody’s favorite bumbling giant was likely a secret member of Voldemort’s inner circle

October 8, 2021 — by Nilay Mishra
Photo by Entertainment Weekly
Did Hagrid want Harry Potter dead all along? Mwahaha.

In the “Harry Potter” series, Rubeus Hagrid is a half-giant who acts as a friend and mentor to Harry. His character adds a sense of loyalty, friendship, kindness and wildness into the books through his various exploits with Harry.

Fans have noticed, however, that there is an abundance of evidence in the books that points to Hagrid being a Death Eater, a follower of the Dark Lord Voldemort. Indeed, while the books characterize Hagrid as a kind man who unintentionally endangers young schoolchildren because of his affinity for dangerous magical creatures, Hagrid might in fact be an evil spy, acting as a confidant to Voldemort for decades.

Here are 17 of the sketchiest instances, in chronological order, that hint at how Hagrid is actually far more powerful than he lets on, purposefully endangering Harry and his friends and working undercover for Lord Voldemort for more than half a century.

  1. Hagrid arrives at Godric’s Hollow before Dumbledore, Sirius or the Aurors.

There are two underlying issues here: How does Hagrid get there so quickly, and how does Hagrid know that Lily and James Potter, Harry’s parents, have just been murdered?

First off, Hagrid is expelled from school in his third year, after being framed for a murder. As a result, his wand is snapped in half and he is banned from using magical transportation. The only way he can reach Godric’s Hollow so quickly is through apparition, a difficult magical teleportation method taught in the sixth year. 

Additionally, Lily and James are protected under a Fidelius charm. Wormtail, James’s secret keeper, is the only person to know their location. Wormtail’s betrayal led to the death of Harry’s parents. 

It can be inferred that the first person to find out that Lily and James had died, however, was Hagrid, as he arrived at their cottage first. The only reasonable explanation for this is if Wormtail spilled the news ahead of time to Voldemort and Hagrid. This would enable Hagrid to reach there before Dumbledore did. 

 

  1. Hagrid flies across a sea completely unaided.

Vernon Dursley, Harry’s abusive uncle who raised him after his parents died, decides to move his entire family into a small cabin on an island in the middle of the sea to evade the constant barrage of letters from Hogwarts.

Hagrid manages to casually cross the extremely stormy ocean, without a boat or any aid. While wizards traditionally use broomsticks, thestrals, portkeys and apparition for traveling, Hagrid is unable to use any of these as he is too heavy for the first two and is banned from using the latter two.

Additionally, when asked how he arrived, he states that he flew. The fact that he did not bring anything with him besides some mice in his pocket implies that the flight was unaided.

There are only two other characters who flew unaided in the entire series: Voldemort and Snape (it is implied that Snape learned flying directly from Voldemort).

Therefore, the only people that Hagrid could have learned unaided flight from were Voldemort and Snape. If Voldemort taught it to him, this suggests that Hagrid is a high-ranking Death Eater, as most are not privy to one of the Dark Lord’s most prized tricks. It is unlikely that Snape taught it to him, as they rarely interact throughout the series and are not close enough to share such secret knowledge.

  1. Hagrid gives Dudley a pig’s tail.

After Vernon insults Dumbledore in a spitting rage, Hagrid casually gives Dudley Dursley, Harry’s cousin, a pig’s tail, which has to later be surgically removed. 

In other words, Hagrid can perform an act of permanent human Transfiguration nonverbally with the shards of a broken wand, despite only attending three years of school — this is one of the most impressive feats of magic in the entire book and is something many trained fighters cannot do.

The most reasonable explanation for how Hagrid is so magically advanced while being groundskeeper is that he is secretly being trained as a Death Eater by Voldemort.

 

  1. Hagrid is the only wizard to know that Voldemort is still alive, and hints at Horcruxes.

Early on in the series, Hagrid tells Harry about the latter’s origin, and how Harry’s parents were brutally murdered by Lord Voldemort.

In fact, Hagrid specifically said, “Some say he [Lord Voldemort] died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die … he’s still out there somewhere but lost his powers. Too weak to carry on.”

This shows that Hagrid believes Voldemort is alive, an opinion the rest of the Wizarding Community fails to acknowledge until the end of “The Order of the Phoenix.” Additionally, Hagrid is eerily specific in his prediction. It is later revealed that after Voldemort is destroyed, he is left as a powerless spirit without a body and is abandoned by most of his followers.

He also alludes to the existence of Horcruxes, physical containers that store pieces of Voldemort’s soul and allow him to achieve immortality as long as the containers remain intact. In particular, Hagrid recognizes that Voldemort “did not have enough human in him to die,” which refers to the fact that his soul was not intact. 

 

  1. Hagrid buys Harry the most conspicuous owl possible.

While Hedwig the snowy owl is one of the most beloved creatures in the entire series, there is no doubt she is a very conspicuous creature.

In fact, a recurring theme in the series is Harry using school owls from the Owlery instead of Hedwig because she is easily identifiable. In a mass of brown, black and grey birds, her white feathers stand out, making it easier for attackers to identify and steal communications involving him.

Dolores Umbridge, a falsely sweet, tyrannical professor, injures Hedwig in order to intercept a letter meant for Harry. If Hagrid had instead bought Harry a normal owl, this would simply not have been a problem.

 

  1. Hagrid drunkenly spills crucial information to a possessed Quirrell.

Hagrid repentantly tells Harry that he drunkenly told a stranger, later revealed to be Voldemort possessing Quirrel, the secret of how to get past the magical safeguards protecting the Sorcerer’s Stone.

He then lists some uncannily explicit details about the event, which were way too specific to be recalled so easily if he truly was so impaired that he would give away such vital information accidentally. Dragon eggs are also incredibly rare, making it highly unlikely that the stranger just had one by coincidence.

A far more likely story is that Hagrid and a possessed Quirrell came to a mutual trade. The latter would get crucial information and Hagrid would get the illegally smuggled dragon egg he so desperately wanted.

 

  1. Hagrid directly leads Harry to witness Voldemort drinking unicorn blood.

Hagrid administers a detention for Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger and Harry after they are caught sneaking around at midnight at the top of the Astronomy Tower.

During this detention, Hagrid splits up the group, leaving only his cowardly dog to take care of Malfoy and Harry, who search the forest late at night for the creature killing the unicorns.

They find a spirit, a weakened Voldemort, preying on the dead flesh of these majestic creatures. If the centaur Firenze had not come to the rescue, the story might have ended a whole lot sooner.

Again, the most reasonable explanation was that Hagrid is leading the children to his master, the Dark Lord, so that Voldemort could either kill or observe the children.

 

  1. Hagrid sets the stage for 11-year-old Harry to face Voldemort on his own.

Hagrid sets off a lengthy chain of events that eventually lead to young Harry having his second encounter with the most feared dark wizard known.

First, he piques Harry’s interest in a package that he stores in a vault at Gringotts. This package contains the Sorcerer’s Stone, a source of immortality and never-ending wealth. Hagrid deliberately points out its confidentiality, exclusivity and need for secrecy and concealment — as if a confidential and exclusive stone would never peak a child’s interest.

Additionally, after Harry and his friends encounter the three-headed dog Fluffy guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone in a forbidden corridor, Hagrid “accidentally” lets them know that the only people who should be concerned with what’s there are Nicholas Flamel and Dumbledore. Because Flamel is the alchemist who created the stone, Harry and his friends are able to connect the dots and discover what was hidden.

Not content yet, Hagrid invites them to his home and spells everything out for them, not overly concerned with the fact that they unearthed such a top-secret fact. 

Finally, Hagrid explicitly tells Harry how to get past the three-headed-dog, his own magical safeguard, enabling Harry and his friends to end up face-to-face with none other than Lord Voldemort.

 

  1. Hagrid is spotted in Knockturn Alley.

Knockturn Alley is essentially the shady ghetto area of magical London, where dark wizards, hags and goblins buy artifacts and conduct illegal trade and business. When Harry accidentally ends up there after mispronouncing the name of his destination, he is visibly distressed and scared. Soon, however, he finds Rubeus Hagrid, who had been shopping there earlier in the day.

Why was Hagrid shopping at the sketchiest place explicitly mentioned in the books? Apparently, he was buying gardening supplies that help grow his cabbages on the grounds at Hogwarts. However, those items are relatively mundane and can be found in many places other than Knockturn Alley.

More likely, Hagrid, a Death Eater himself, was there for the reason that all the other shifty characters frequent the place: its unparalleled repertoire of books, artifacts and contraptions that make it a haven for dark magic practitioners. 

 

  1. Hagrid knows Voldemort’s name, identity and past.

Voldemort’s past, as revealed by the books, is shrouded in mystery and guesswork. In fact, at the beginning of the series, barely anyone but Dumbledore and Hagrid knew that Voldemort was the charming, successful Tom Marvolo Riddle.

The fact that Hagrid knew so much about Voldemort and his rise to power shows a hidden truth: The two must have a close relationship of some sort.

As Hagrid and Voldemort were of similar ages and attended school at the same time, it is fairly plausible that Hagrid may have started working for or with Voldemort during his school years. There are a couple pieces of evidence for this.

First, the book repeats the idea of Hagrid being framed for wrongdoing by the Ministry, expelled and later even imprisoned. Riddle had grown desperate at that point, as the prospect of closing down the school until the murderer was caught was getting very real. In fact, Riddle explicitly tells Hagrid that he has no other choice but to turn Hagrid in. Yet Hagrid never tells anyone that Riddle was framing him and appears to barely protest the consequences that follow. 

Moreover, the fact that Hagrid took the fall for the murder when they were both teenagers seemed to have been planned in advance, given Hagrid’s lack of a defense. This would have started since the Chamber of Secrets was opened for the first time, which eventually culminated in Riddle’s murder.

Additionally, Hagrid somehow knows that Tom Riddle became Voldemort without Dumbledore telling him. Hardly anyone in the wizarding community realized Voldemort’s change in his appearance was related to the creation of Horcruxes (remember, Hagrid hinted earlier that he knew about these). One highly logical explanation for this is Hagrid and Riddle keeping in touch with each other after Hagrid had been expelled, which is only possible if Hagrid was already working under Riddle when he was still in Hogwarts.

All in all, there is a large amount of evidence supporting the fact that Hagrid had been loyal to Voldemort since the two attended school, and that Hagrid knew many facts about the Dark Lord’s past that he did not share with anybody else, including Dumbledore.

 

  1. Hagrid talks about private information regarding Wormtail’s betrayal loudly in a popular pub.

Despite the Minister for Magic emphasizing the need for secrecy and privacy about the night that Harry’s parents were betrayed and killed, Hagrid takes the opportunity to rage and bellow “filthy, stinkin’ turncoat” to the entire pub. 

In fact, half of the entire bar went quiet, indicating that they heard him and were distracted by what he said. While Hagrid did not reveal anything crucial, the pub was packed with students, teachers and Hogsmeade residents when the conversation occurred. Whether or not Hagrid is doing this intentionally, he has a habit of gossipping away information that is not supposed to reach the public’s eye. 

If Hagrid was a Death Eater, this behavior would make more sense. He would know that Wormtail was the one who betrayed James Potter, not Sirius Black. Leaking this confidential information, which he knew was inaccurate, would have served his purposes. In particular, the more time that the Ministry wasted searching for Sirius, the less time they would have to prevent crime and the easier it would be for Voldemort to gain power again.

 

  1. Hagrid reveals the First Task to Harry, and helps prepare him for future tasks.

One of the defining moments in “The Goblet of Fire” occurs when Hagrid surreptitiously reveals to Harry that dragons are the first task, enabling Harry to formulate a plan in conjunction with his defense professor Moody, who was actually just a disguised Death Eater, Crouch Jr. This causes Harry to win the task, eventually triumphing in the entire tournament and getting transported straight to Voldemort.

Additionally, Crouch was meant to act aloof as part of his disguise, as Moody was known to be overly paranoid and distrusting. Despite this, Hagrid and Crouch hang out far more than is natural, even engaging in private conversion. 

One reasonable explanation for this is if Hagrid is a Death Eater, and he and Crouch have the exact same goal: pull the strings from the sidelines so that Harry wins the tournament and is sent straight to a rebirthing Lord Voldemort.

 

  1. Hagrid demonstrates an uncanny knack for diplomacy, situational awareness and deception while recruiting giants in remote mountains.

Throughout much of the beginning of the series, Hagrid is characterized as a clumsy man who lacks tact and social awareness. This personality trait led to people’s distrust in allowing Hagrid in on secrets.  

These traits may simply be a charade, however, in order for Hagrid to convey certain information to whomever he likes. In fact, while going on a mission for Dumbledore, he displays the exact opposite of these qualities: experienced negotiation, reconnaissance and stealth. 

This reveals that Hagrid can  actually become  sophisticated under demand, and his temper and foolishness are simply facades to justify his exchanges of information.

 

  1. Hagrid “accidentally” reveals to the Death Eaters who the true Harry is during the Seven Potters operation.

The Seven Potters operation was a mission by the Order of the Phoenix to safely escort Harry out of his childhood home and into a safehouse. The plan was to transform six other people into looking like Harry, so that the Death Eaters would not know who the real Harry was.

Each decoy was paired with an experienced member, and the true Harry is paired with Hagrid. The Order believed that as Hagrid was the least experienced of the non-decoys, Voldemort would target him last.

Ultimately, every Order member was attacked by the Death Eaters except Hagrid, despite being physically larger and therefore more likely to be hit by a spell. 

In addition to the 14 times that Hagrid says the word, “Harry” during the ride, Hagrid also “falls” off his broomstick, abandoning Harry to the mercy of Voldemort and his followers. 

  A reasonable explanation is that Hagrid had finished his work by alerting Voldemort to the true Harry.

  1. During the Battle of Hogwarts, the acromantulas do not harm Hagrid, despite Harry’s fears otherwise.

The acromantulas are giant spiders described to be the size of a large car, and a swarm of thousands of them ran towards Hagrid and carried him away. The fact that none of them went for the kill, despite the fact that the venom of any one of them would have been sufficient, is telling.

The acromantulas also mention that they will not harm Hagrid when Harry is in the Forbidden Forest during “The Chamber of Secrets.” Instead of Hagrid being close to one particular acromantula, and the rest being hostile and deadly towards him, it is far more reasonable to assume that Hagrid was welcomed and accepted among all the acromantula, due to having raised their late leader since birth.

Hence, Hagrid or some of the other Death Eaters had most likely staged the event as a way to get to the Death Eater’s private headquarters in the acromantulas’ nest. Here, Voldemort and his innermost circle of followers were watching the progress of the battle. It would make a lot more sense for him to be there unscathed if Hagrid was also a high ranking Death Eater who had to escape under false pretences.

 

  1. Neither Voldemort nor any Death Eater harmed Hagrid in any way, despite capturing him.

In “The Deathly Hallows,” Hagrid is supposedly brought to Voldemort’s headquarters directly by deadly acromantulas. As a member of the Order, Hagrid would be tortured by Voldemort for information under reasonable circumstances. At the very least, he would face attack and insults from the rest of the Death Eaters.

Instead, he was relatively unharmed when Harry surrendered himself to Voldemort. Hagrid barely had any scratches, and had done almost no fighting at all. This was peculiar as he had landed right next to Voldemort, who would have little use of a professor so loyal to Dumbledore.

However, if Hagrid was a Death Eater who was actually supposed to be there, the headquarters would be a retreat for him rather than a warzone. It would explain the lack of hostilities and the lack of violence that the acromantulas had toward him.

 

  1. The only Death Eater that Hagrid harms is Walden Macnair, whom he had a personal grudge against.

The first and only time in the series where Hagrid directly fights Death Eaters occurs at the end of the last book, where he throws a Death Eater named Macnair against a wall, knocking the latter unconscious.

The catch is that Hagrid had been angry at Macnair for four years, as Macnair was going to execute one of Hagrid’s  beloved pets, a hippogriff named Buckbeak. While Buckbeak was eventually saved, the resentment and anger remained.

It is noteworthy that Hagrid did not harm even one of the other Death Eaters. Despite being in a full-on battle, he is unwilling or unable to harm other Death Eaters.

The most likely explanation for this is, once again, that Hagrid himself was a Death Eater and in a precarious position. He was able to maintain appearances that he was fighting them off, while in reality he had no intention of hurting any of them.  

 

There is overwhelming evidence throughout all seven of the Harry Potter books that Hagrid is actually a secret Death Eater, or a servant of the Dark Lord Voldemort. Despite the fact that this is never explicitly stated in the books, it is a reasonable explanation for many of the plot holes and sketchy phenomena that occur throughout the series.

For a “Harry Potter” aficionado like me, finding unintended tidbits like these and fan theories are part of the joy in rereading the series dozens of times. No matter how many times true fans read the series, they can always find something new or unexpected to ponder.

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