How Wizards Do Money: Rubeus Hagrid

It’s not easy to tell that Hagrid is in his 80s. Giants are notoriously long-lived, but Hagrid is only half giant. He is beginning to feel his age, mostly around his knees.

Hagrid still lives in his hut and still serves as Hogwarts groundskeeper, although he knows that there are rumblings inside the school about replacing him with someone “a little more appropriate.” Every year another professor leaves and is replaced by someone half a century younger. Hagrid sees them walking quickly down the halls, talking about the future.

Well. Hagrid knows his future. It’s the hut for as long as he can, and then making sure Grawp has what he needs, and then —

Hagrid has seen plenty of animals die, from injury or illness or just because you can only live for so long. Some of them look frightened, spending their last minutes alive feebly flapping their wings. Others look peaceful, as if death were a welcome. That’s what Hagrid hopes for himself.

The big question is what to do about Grawp. Hagrid didn’t exactly put off that question, but there were other things on his mind — the war, the rebuilding — and then it became so easy to put off, even for years. In the usual way of things, Grawp would have found his place in the world of giants. But Grawp wasn’t like that. He was different. Special. He’d need someone looking after him, at least with half an eye, until he died.

Which would be — Hagrid had calculated it — a good 150 years after Hagrid. Giants are notoriously long-lived.

Hagrid had thought, for a time, about becoming a ghost. He could keep an eye on Grawp that way, make sure he had enough food. Hagrid pictured himself haunting a group of giants, waving his arms and jangling chains until they agreed to let Grawp stay with them.

But he had asked Moaning Myrtle about it, what he would have to do, and she told him sorrowfully that becoming a ghost was the worst decision she had made in her life. “It’s exhausting,” she said. “And nobody likes you, and you spend all day sitting alone, and you see people come and go and die and you’re still here.”

In many ways, talking to Myrtle made Hagrid feel like a young boy again. She was the only person, alive or dead, who knew what he had been like “before.” Hagrid used to avoid thinking about before. Now he often forgot it had ever happened.

That was also the problem with Grawp. Grawp forgot things, like where home was or which Hogwarts students were friendly. When Minerva McGonagall was Headmistress, she tacitly allowed Grawp on the exterior grounds, and Hagrid was able to keep a closer watch over him. Now Grawp was — well, not precisely disallowed, but not exactly welcome, especially when he tried to befriend some younger student who had never seen a full-sized giant before.

“You can’t pick people up,” Hagrid kept saying. “They don’t like it.” But Grawp didn’t always remember.

Over the years people had suggested that Hagrid update his hut and buy something new instead of constantly patching and re-patching. They teased him about his shabby clothes and asked him why he never bought a new motorcycle. It was true that Hogwarts did not pay Hagrid as much as they paid their “real” teachers — even though Hagrid has been teaching classes for well on two decades — but it wasn’t lack of funds that prompted Hagrid’s shaggy, shabby appearance. He’d never much cared for clothing anyway, but he did care for money, because money would help him care for Grawp.

So every month, Hagrid would walk to Gringotts and make a deposit. He’d hand them his pay, ask them to take out just enough knuts and sickles to cover his expenses, and put the coins into a sack. Then the rest would go into the vault, for Grawp. Someday. 150 years of somedays which would come soon enough, after Hagrid was gone.

Hermione is, at present, the official executor of Hagrid’s will and the person responsible for providing for Grawp after Hagrid’s death. She, Ron, Harry, and Ginny have already begun talking to their children about continuing to watch out for Grawp when they are older. They all gather for a picnic on the exterior grounds, and Grawp steps gingerly around the young children, and says “Hermy” and “Haggers” and “Rose,” and everyone is happy for a moment. For all the moments that the afternoon lasts.

And then they leave, and Hagrid walks slowly back to his hut. His knees, you see. He’s getting older. You can’t tell just by looking, but he knows.

Previously: Arabella Figg

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