Sadly, Harry’s dad died before he could really remember him, but that didn’t mean there weren’t others who took on a similar role. One that is often overlooked is Hagrid. We make the case for why he was one of the best father figures in Harry's life.
On that awful night when Voldemort murdered Harry’s parents, Hagrid was the one who took him from his house in Godric’s Hollow and brought him to Privet Drive. The care he had for infant Harry was clear from the moment we met him in that very first chapter. When Dumbledore asked Hagrid to hand him over so he could leave him with the Dursleys, Hagrid clearly didn’t want to be separated from him. Not only did he burst into tears, but he also worried like any parent would about leaving him there. We know we felt very emotional when Hagrid said his goodbyes to Harry.
The day that Harry found out he was a wizard had to be one of the best days of his entire life – and it was Hagrid who gave him that wonderful news. He burst into the hut-on-the-rock, gave the Dursleys a piece of his mind (not to mention Dudley a new tail) and even presented Harry with his first ever birthday cake. If that wasn’t enough, he told Harry who he was and introduced him to the wizarding world.
Though it was what happened next that really made us view Hagrid as a father figure. Any child starting a new school needs to get their school supplies together, and often it is your parents who help with that. In this instance, the role fell to Hagrid, and he was the one who took Harry shopping in Diagon Alley. He made sure Harry had everything he needed, from his books to his wand and even stepped in to stop him from impulse buying a solid gold cauldron. The whole day could have been a father and son bonding trip – especially when Hagrid bought Harry his beloved Hedwig… and a delicious ice cream.
Growing up with the Dursleys, Harry didn’t expect much (if anything) when it came to Christmas and birthdays. The best he could hope for was a pair of Uncle Vernon’s old socks. Yet Hagrid never forgot about Harry. He gave him presents on all of his birthdays and every Christmas – and never forgot him. While some of the gifts (like Hedwig) were more appreciated than others (like his homemade treacle toffee), it proved that Harry was never far from Hagrid’s thoughts. He loved him, wanted to make sure that he knew he was always there and that he could be relied upon.
Like all teenagers, Harry was prone to messing up and Hagrid was there to gently chastise him when needed – just like a father would. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry and Ron stopped talking to Hermione over Harry’s Firebolt and weren’t being particularly good friends to her. Hagrid noticed their behaviour and sat them down for a little chat. While Hagrid wasn’t often one for serious talks, this proved he could step in and take a parental role when needed. While we are sure Harry found it rather uncomfortable and probably wished the ground would swallow him up, there were only a handful of people who would be willing to have those awkward chats and put him on the straight and narrow.
Lots of parents like to support their kids whenever they can – whether it is cheering them on when they play in a football match, watching them be sheep number three in their school nativity, helping them with their homework, or just supporting their life decisions. Hagrid was no exception. He was there in the stands at Harry’s Quidditch matches yelling words of encouragement. He was there for all of the Triwizard Tournament tasks – and even gave him a heads up about the dragon in the first task. Most importantly, he believed and supported Harry in bringing about an end to Voldemort. If that’s not excellent dad behaviour, we don’t know what is.
When Harry was at Hogwarts, he knew he could always go to Hagrid’s cabin whenever he needed to – from the first time he was invited to pop over for a cup of tea. Harry clearly made the most of having Hagrid close by on campus. After all, it was the first place he thought to take Ron after that memorable slug vomiting incident. Like when it comes to visiting your parents, Harry needed no excuse to visit – and often didn’t provide any advance warning. On the whole, Hagrid was always pleased to see him and didn’t mind if Harry was coming for a catch up, to try and get information from him or to ask his advice. He would be there with a hot drink, (often inedible) snacks and a listening ear.