Why The Origin Of Hagrid's Name In Harry Potter Holds A Deeper Meaning

By now, almost every person on the planet is probably familiar with the Harry Potter series. And out of that franchise, Hagrid remains one of the most popular characters to date. As Wizarding World explains, Rubeus Hagrid has many interesting facts about his person. For example, Hagrid is actually based on a biker that J.K. Rowling once knew. The actor of Hagrid in the movies, Robbie Coltrane, once even retold a story about said Hell's Angel. (Hell's Angels are a notorious group of bikers who are known to have gotten in trouble with the law over matters of drug trafficking and violence, per Britannica.)

According to Coltrane, the biker had a fairly large and intimidating frame yet was also gentle and kind and liked to garden, which is strikingly similar to how Hagrid is in the series. But one thing about Hagrid might stick out to readers more than others: his name. Rowling is no stranger to giving her characters names with particular meanings, often relating to their personality. But Hagrid's name actually has a deeper significance than many people might think. 

His name has very significant connections to his love of alcohol

J.K. Rowling's naming conventions draw from many different sources and languages. She has taken inspiration from mythology, astronomy, history, and many languages like French, Latin, old English, and more. As Name Berry explains, many of Rowling's character names often have thematic or character relations. For example, Voldemort's name is derived from the French "Vol de Mort," which basically means "thief of death." In Hagrid's case, his name has several layers of meaning, all of which go hand in hand in fleshing him out as a character. 

As The Harry Potter Lexicon says, his first name Rubeus is actually a homonym, which means two or more words that sound very similar but have different definitions, like flower and flour. Rubeus is derived from "rubious," which is then derived from "ruber," a Latin word meaning "red." People who drink excessively are often characterized as having reddish complexions, and Hagrid was shown to be a fairly heavy drinker in the books and movies. 

Hagrid's name may also signify his half-blood status

In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, "half-blood" or "half-breed" refers to anyone who has one magical parent and one non-magical or non-human parent. As The Harry Potter Lexicon explains, it's basically a fantasy analogue to biracial children in real life. Hagrid is a half-giant, meaning his mother was a giant and his father was a human. Because of this, he, too, is subject to the numerous amounts of discrimination against the half-bloods present in the series. However, what's interesting is that Hagrid's name itself might point to that mixed-blood heritage. 

As The Harry Potter Lexicon says, Hagrid's name has relation to the Old English word "hægtesse," meaning "hedge-rider." This often meant one who lived a divided life between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Given that Hagrid is a half-blood, this could mean he's straddling the hedge of his heritage between giant and human parentage. Another meaning for Hagrid's name might also come from the word "hagridden," which means anxious or worried (via Wizarding World). Given that Hagrid was constantly worried about Harry and his friends all throughout the franchise, this interpretation is also a pretty safe bet.