Many beloved characters were killed off throughout the course of the Harry Potter series, but there was one fan favourite J.K. Rowling admitted she could never get rid of – Rubeus Hagrid.
The kindly half-giant, played by Robbie Coltrane in the film series, is one of the first characters readers are introduced to as they begin their journey into the Wizarding World, and Rowling says that right from the start she knew the grizzly gamekeeper would be needed to play a major role at the end of the saga.
In the books Hagrid was part of Harry’s story right from the very beginning, being the one who rescued the boy who lived from the ruins of his house in Godric’s Hollow, later dropping him off at the Dursley’s following the murder of his parents at the hands of Lord Voldemort.
He’s a constant presence in Harry’s life throughout his time at Hogwarts, and is one of many surrogate family members Potter picks up throughout his journey, which made his fate look even more precarious as the book’s tone got darker and beloved characters started getting killed off at an alarming rate.
Prior to the release of Deathly Hallows fans were convinced Hagrid would get the chop at some point during the course of the story, but during an interview with Daniel Radcliffe on the film’s DVD extras, Rowling explained why Hagrid’s fate was never in doubt.
The author explained how 'within the first year of writing' she had a sketch for what she thought the final chapter would be, and she always knew that at some point in the story Hagrid would emerge carrying Harry’s dead body out of the Forbidden Forest.
Rowling added that she knew there would be a final battle at Hogwarts right from the start, that Harry would walk to his death, and she even 'planned the ghosts coming back'.
Although it didn’t actually end up being the final chapter of the film, the scene was included almost exactly as Rowling had imagined it during the climax of Deathly Hallows Part 2 and was every bit as impactful on screen as it was on the page.
Elsewhere in the interview, Rowling explained that even though Hagrid 'would have been a natural to kill in some ways', she wanted to keep that scene at the end of the saga because 'it was Hagrid who took him into the world, and Hagrid who would bring him back'.
So once that decision was made way back when Rowling was writing The Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid’s fate was sealed from the beginning.
Rubeus Hagrid was played masterfully by Robbie Coltrane in the cinematic adaptation of the franchise, and following news of his death earlier today, 14 October, a number of former colleagues and Potter alumni have posted their tributes.
Writing on Twitter, Rowling said: "I'll never know anyone remotely like Robbie again. He was an incredible talent, a complete one off, and I was beyond fortunate to know him, work with him and laugh my head off with him. I send my love and deepest condolences to his family, above all his children.”
Daniel Radcliffe also shared a statement following the news of Coltrane’s death, which read: “Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set.
“I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on Prisoner of Azkaban, when we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale up. I feel incredibly lucky that I got to meet and work with him and very sad that he’s passed. He was an incredible actor and a lovely man.”
Robbie Coltrane passed away on October 14 following a long-running battle with his health.
In an emotional interview at the series 20th anniversary show which aired earlier this year, a tearful Coltrane said: "It's the end of an era. Ten years of my life. My children have grown up during it.
"The legacy of the movies is that my children's generation will show them to their children ... So you could be watching it in 50 year's time, easily ... I'll not be here, sadly ... but Hagrid will, yes."