Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
As Easter approaches, Hermione begins to worry about exams, while Harry and Ron merely try to keep up with the tremendous amount of homework assigned. One day, Hagrid comes upon them studying in the library. They bombard him with questions about the Sorcerer’s Stone. He invites them to come and talk to him later but says he does not promise that he will reveal anything. They visit Hagrid’s hut later, and Hagrid tells them he does not know what else is guarding the stone besides the three-headed dog. He does tell them which teachers cast spells to guard the stone. He adds that he will never give out any information on how to bypass the dog.
Hagrid shows the students a dragon egg that he won in a poker game the previous night. Dragons are illegal, but Hagrid wishes to raise one anyway. Later, Harry gets a note saying the dragon egg is hatching. Excitedly, he and his friends rush over to Hagrid’s to watch the dragon’s birth. The children realize that Hagrid must get rid of this dragon, which Hagrid names Norbert, before he grows too big. They decide to write to Charlie, Ron’s older brother, who is studying dragons in Romania. Charlie agrees to help them and arranges for them to meet some of his friends to take the dragon away. The plan is set for the children to meet Charlie’s friends at midnight one Saturday atop the tallest tower of the castle. They take the invisibility cloak and sneak up carrying Norbert. Charlie’s friends come and take the dragon away. As they descend from the tower, they forget to wear the invisibility cloak, and Filch catches them.
Rowling fleshes out the character of Hagrid more fully in this chapter. Hagrid initially seems like an uncouth but affectionate and well-meaning oaf sincerely concerned for Harry’s welfare after the boy’s arrival at Hogwarts, sending him a much-appreciated invitation to tea. Hagrid’s fondness for animals shows that he can see the gentle side of even fierce creatures, as he is the owner of the murderous three-headed dog he cutely names Fluffy. For Hagrid, even wild and monstrous nature is full of kindness; he simply cannot believe in the bad side of anything. Unfortunately, this naïveté makes him ill-equipped to understand the villainous plots afoot at Hogwarts, because he cannot imagine that anyone would want to unseat the beloved Dumbledore. This simple faith is not just wrongheaded but downright dangerous, because, as we later discover, Hagrid’s trust in a stranger who brings him a couple of drinks is what enables the villains to learn the secret of the guard dog.
Hagrid’s optimism also keeps him from understanding the dangerous consequences of raising a dragon at home, not only because of the destructive potential of the beast, but also because it is a major offense and could get him and any accomplices into a lot of trouble. The dragon becomes a symbol of bad consequences that can come from good intentions. In insisting on seeing only the optimistic and kindly side of life, Hagrid makes us think about the dangers of being naïve and unaware of evil. In this sense, he makes us draw parallels between him and Harry, who may be similarly naïve. When Harry gets into trouble for helping Hagrid with his dragon, we see that being naïvely kind can be punished severely. Harry’s awareness of evil is growing, as evidenced by the fact that he urges Neville to stick up for himself against the wicked Malfoy. But he still has some things to learn. Harry, like Hagrid, needs to think more critically and realistically about the consequences of his well-intended actions.