Why was Hagrid expelled from Hogwarts in ‘Harry Potter’?

Hagrid and Harry Potter
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Very few things in life are absolute, but when it comes to Harry Potter, there’s no questioning the universal love for gamekeeper, Care of Magical Creature Professor, and gentle half-giant, Rubeus Hagrid. For fans everywhere, Hagrid was the first friendly face they saw on their journey to Hogwarts. And although Hagrid stands at a whopping eight feet, six inches (11 feet if you go by the books) his gruff and intimidating exterior is matched only by his big heart and generous soul… And, of course, his rock-hard tea cakes. Despite his jovial and kind-hearted disposition, Hagrid held a deep secret: long ago, he was expelled from Hogwarts.

Remembered for his pink umbrella and delivering the famous line “Yer a wizard, Harry,” Hagrid was both ours and Harry’s very first introduction to the Wizarding World. He brought us to the charming cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley; he took us to Ollivander’s magical wand shop to explore the shelves of hand-made wands with unique cores like dragon heartstring, phoenix feather, and unicorn hair; he walked us through the towering entrance of Gringotts and introduced us to the surely Goblins. But most importantly, he was one of the few constant parental figures in Harry’s life. 

Parentage was a sore spot for Hagrid, though, given his half-wizard, half-giant blood. The Wizarding World, while charming and magical, did not have a history of being kind to non-Wizards – Hagrid endured years of prejudicial bullying both during his time at Hogwarts and afterward. Sadly, it was his half-blood lineage — and his obsession with dangerous magical creatures — that opened the door for tragedy during his third year as a student at Hogwarts. 

In a world where not everyone believes all magical creatures are innocent, Hagrid holds a special place in his heart for those who have been tarnished by society’s blemishes. Whether it’s Fluffy the three-headed dog or Aragog the ginormous Acromantula spider, he sees them with innocent eyes and loves them unconditionally — even when others urge him that they are dangerous. 

When Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort) — also in his third year at Hogwarts — discovered his lineage to Salazar Slytherin and became obsessed with his pure blood ideology, he opened the Chamber of Secrets and commanded the Basilisk within to attack the muggle-born population at school. After several students were petrified, and one even killed (Moaning Myrtle), Headmaster Dippet forewarned the closure of the school if the monster was not found. For Tom Riddle, this meant returning to the muggle orphanage he hated so much. He framed the attacks on Hagrid and his Acromantula, Aragog, and unfortunately, nobody saw through his lies, because who would believe an intimidating half-giant like Hagrid over an upstanding student like Tom Riddle? 

tom riddle in the chamber of secrets
Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

To add insult to injury, Riddle was awarded Special Award for Services to the School, and Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts. The Ministry of Magic stripped Hagrid’s wand from him, snapped it in half, and forbid him from performing magic again. 

Luckily, Albus Dumbledore, who was the Transfiguration Professor at the time, strongly believed in Hagrid’s innocence. Even though he couldn’t find solid proof to exonerate the half-giant, he urged Headmaster Dippet to employ Hagrid as gamekeeper-in-training at Hogwarts. It’s very possible that the pink umbrella Hagrid came to possess was a result of Dumbledore’s aid in preserving Hagrid’s wand, perhaps with the aid of the Elder Wand that he won from Gellert Grindlewald years later. 

Though Hagrid would never be free of prejudice in a world that viewed giants as dangerous, he found joy in the simple life of being gamekeeper at Hogwarts — all thanks to Dumbledore’s perceptiveness and kindness. The two formed an everlasting friendship, and Hagrid went on to join the first iteration of the Order of the Pheonix to fight Lord Voldemort and his band of Death Eaters. 

Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

After Voldemort’s attacks on the Potter’s, Hagrid saved Harry from the ruins of Godric’s Hallow and eleven years later, handed the young boy his very first Hogwarts letter. In his second year at school, Harry uncovered the truth of the Chamber of Secrets, and Hagrid was finally acquitted of the false crime he’d been accused of 52 years earlier. Dumbledore, who never doubted Hagrid’s innocence, offered the gamekeeper the position of Care of Magical Creatures, a dream job for the half-giant, and Hagrid went on to live many happy years teaching young wizards about the magical creatures he’d always loved. When it was time for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to send their kids to Hogwarts, Hagrid was there too, lending a helping hand, a listening ear, and of course, a rib-crushing hug.