Sunday, July 24, 2016

Discussion: Hagrid vs the Chamber of Secrets

Faith of GeekyZooGirl and Micheline of Lunar Rainbow Reviews are hosting the Harry Potter Month in July and I'm on board! People can compete in the House Cup by accumulating house points. I'll be earning said house points by posting about Harry Potter among other Harry Potter related activities! This year I will be representing Hufflepuff!

I just finished rereading and watching Chamber of Secrets and I can't help but be outraged for Hagrid. This book, possibly more than any other in the series, shows us the tip of the iceberg of the injustice and corruption in the Ministry of Magic.

I just want to take a moment to share/explain how appalled I am at Fudge's actions and the authority in general. 

First, this is the book where we find out exactly why Hagrid isn't allowed to have a wand and why he was expelled.  In an unfortunate set of circumstances, Tom Riddle placed the blame for the Chamber of Secrets being opened on Hagrid. But let's think about this for a minute. We now know that Tom Riddle was the one who actually opened the Chamber of Secrets, so Tom must have been consciously keeping an eye out for a possible scapegoat, should the need arise.  
And unfortunately for Hagrid, he loves animals of all shapes and sizes, regardless of how dangerous the creature could be. He would be a perfect candidate for Tom to shove the blame.  And yes, Hagrid probably shouldn't have been raising an acromantula in the castle, but at that point the spider wasn't even fully grown, so how much damage could it has really caused.

The simple fact that Hagrid got expelled on Tom's word that he saw Hagrid with the monster that had be petrifying and killing people was enough for Hagrid to be expelled is ludicrous! If you recall, Aragog fled to the forrest after Tom caught them, so there's no actual proof of the monster other than one boy's word. We don't know Hagrid's behavioral record, but you can bet it's nowhere near expulsion. 

And for that matter, how would a acromantula have harmed any of the students without leaving puncture marks somewhere, seeing as his venom lies in his fangs, and nowhere do they mention that the victims had puncture wounds. I mean come on people use some common sense!

Isn't it quite convenient that the boy who had just asked to stay at Hogwarts over the summer holiday just so happens to come across the perpetrator that very night. I mean, come on Professor Dippet, I know you're trying to save face and keep the school open, but really you didn't think that was suspicious? Instead, he took Tom at his word, expelled Hagrid, gave Tom an award and the school got to stay open.  This is all swell, but it was at the expense of a 13-year-old boy! I mean, really!?
And that's probably not the first time Hagrid was unjustly blamed for something. Flash forward 50 years and once again, he's getting the brunt of the authorities fears and presumptuousness. After so many attacks, the ministry decides they need to do something to appease the populous, even though they are no closer to figuring out the cause than they were the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened.  So what do they do?  The minister of magic, Cornelius Fudge, personally comes to "visit" Hagrid at his hut.

"Yet again, Cornelius, I tell you that taking Hagrid away will not help in the slightest," said Dumbledore. His blue eyes were full of a fire Harry had never seen before.
"Look at it from my point of view," said Fudge, fidgeting with his bowler. "I'm under a lot of pressure. Got to be seen to be doing something. If it turns out it wasn't Hagrid, he'll be back and no more said. But I've got to take him. Got to. Wouldn't be doing my duty--"
"Take me?" said Hagrid, who was trembling "Take me where?"
"For a short stretch only," said Fudge, not meeting Hagrid's eyes. "Not a punishment, Hagrid, more a precaution. If someone else is caught, you'll be let out with a full apology--"

Oh really, Fudge. That's a great strategy. Can't make any headway on who's behind the attacks? Just blame to same person as last time, even though there is no evidence whatsoever this time, not even a false witness, that he had anything to do with it. It seems that a human's wellbeing is acceptable collateral damage to Fudge.

Rather, Fudge was "under pressure" to do something, so he thought, as Minister of Magic, it was appropriate for him to use his authority to take Hagrid to Azkaban -- the worst kind of prison -- on the premise of "it's just a precaution." A precaution would be putting people in place to keep at Hogwarts to keep an eye on Hagrid as well the kids, to protect the students there.  A precaution would be restricting Hagrid's access to the castle.  A precaution would be questioning him about the series of events.  A precaution is NOT taking someone straight to prisoner without any due process because their prior history.

The Ministry of Magic needs to do better.  And frankly, I'm not upset in the least that Fudge eventually resigns and when all is said and done, Kingsley Shacklebolt becomes the Minister of Magic.

What are your thoughts on the Ministry of Magic and their scapegoats?


  1. This has bothered me too. Fudge sends him to Azkaban to cover himself! He's definitely a politician. I hate how Hagrid was expelled and when his name was finally cleared years later did he get a public apology? Did he get permission to get a new wand? The only change was that he was allowed to become a professor, which was a big deal to him, but his expulsion influences his entire LIFE. I mean, part of me thinks that he wouldn't change his life much from the way he lives now, but still. Poor Hagrid, but I'm glad he had a friend like Dumbledore.

    1. Absolutely! The fact that Hagrid didn't have more choices in life is directly due to other peoples desires for power. Would he have chosen to do other things with his life, maybe, but the real issue is that he didn't have the choice. That was stripped from him when he became Tom's and then Fudge's scapegoat.

  2. Poor Hagrid is so unjustly blamed just because he's a giant and has particular tastes in animal friends. Since I've been rereading the books, I think that this is a perfect example of how Fudge is obsessed with lineage. Hagrid, as a half giant never stood a chance, evidence or no.

    I don't think I'll ever get over how the poor guy was striped of his wand and kicked out as a student in his SECOND year. And when the evidence came out that he was innocent, he was likely deemed too old to return as a student. If Dumbledore hadn't fought to get Hagrid's wand pieces in use, AND Hagrid a teaching position, who knows what would have happened to him.

  3. I agree! Even further than that...shouldn't someone be in more trouble for KILLING a girl and petrifying many others than expulsion and wand taken away? So they had to have known he was innocent. Professor Dippet should never have let him stay on as Groundskeeper if he ever truly thought he had done it. Fudge is one of those characters that it's difficult to like. He's clearly out for himself and makes decisions based on what would benefit him the most. Excellent discussion!

  4. I'm afraid it all comes down to the fact that Hagrid was half-giant and, naturally, it was so easy to blame someone who is already mistrusted by the rest of the wizarding community on account of his blood. It's horrible. As for Professor Dippet and Fudge they are perfect examples of bigotry, unfairness, centuries of prejudice, and fear of doing the right thing as opposed to what is easy. It's pathetic and despicable and outrageous and yet these things more often than not rule the world. Poor Hagrid... Excellent post!