In Chapter 20, Hagrid is back and that’s the only thing I care about. Let’s go!
Hagrid is the embodiment of all that is good and right with this world. I adore him so much. Harry, Ron and Hermione hurry as fast as they can, while still trying to hide under the Invisibility Cloak, and arrive at Hagrid’s house to see lights in the windows and smoke coming out of the chimney. It’s true! He’s back!
Except it’s not all good. Hagrid looks awful.
Hagrid’s hair was matted with congealed blood, and his left eye had been reduced to a puffy slit amid a mass of purple-and-black bruises. There were many cuts on his face and hands, some of them still bleeding, and he was moving gingerly, which made Harry suspect broken ribs.
Oh Hagrid. I want to give him a hug except A). it would probably hurt him, and B). he’s, well, fictional.
Hagrid won’t tell them why or how he came by his injuries, keeps saying that it’s nothing even when they can obviously tell that he’s lying. Ron says he looks like he’s been attacked. Hermione wants him to go to the hospital wing. Hagrid just slaps a large steak of dragon meat on his face and tells them he’s fine.
Hermione asks him if the giants beat him up, which makes Hagrid jumpy. He wants to know how they found out, but he also knows these kids have a knack for figuring out stuff. He admits that, yes, he was sent out by Dumbledore to track down the giants. Yes, giants are a thing in the wizarding world, although they live pretty remote up in the mountains.
“Come on, Hagrid, tell us what you’ve been up to!” said Ron. “Tell us about being attacked by the giants and Harry can tell you about being attacked by the dementors –“
That makes Hagrid take notice. He didn’t know anything about that, or Harry almost getting expelled, or Harry getting a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry. Hagrid’s been out of the loop and, finally, decides to give them the details.
He wasn’t sent off to the dragons alone, thank goodness. Madame Maxime went with him. Dumbledore knew where the giants were and it took them a month to get there. They couldn’t travel a quicker way (like via Portkey) because they are being watched. They were followed by someone from the Ministry, but lost them in France. Once they got closer, they had to be careful not to use magic too much because giants don’t like it. They also had to be careful because of Death Eaters.
Oh, and giants are around 20 feet tall. And they found around 70 to 80 of them.
They met with the Gurg, which is what they call their leader, and brought them some gifts from Dumbledore. The Gurg, a giant named Karkus, seemed responsive, as did some of the others in the tribe. Hagrid and Maxime met with them over the course of several days, but then there were problems. A new Gurg took over, Golgomath, who had killed Karkus and was ready to kill Hagrid and Maxime too. They barely got away and spent a few days trying to see what had happened next, and it turns out that Death Eaters had already approached Golgomath.
Any giants who were friendly with Karkus went into hiding. Hagrid and Maxime found a few who had survived the take over, but they were soon hunted down. After that, they didn’t want to have anything more to do with Hagrid.
“So . . . so there aren’t any giants coming?” said Ron, looking disappointed.
“Nope,” said Hagrid, heaving a deep sigh as he turned over his steak again and applied the cooler side to his face, “but we did wha’ we meant ter do, we gave ’em Dumbledore’s message an’ some o’ them heard it an’ I ‘spect some o’ them’ll remember it. Jus’ maybe, them that don’ want ter stay around Golgomath’ll move outta the mountains, an’ there’s gotta be a chance they’ll remember Dumbledore’s friendly to ’em . . . Could be they’ll come . . .”
It’s not much to hope for, not really, but it’s at least a little something.
Hermione asks if Hagrid had found any sign of his mother while he was there. He did — she had died years ago. He’s okay, since he barely remembers her.
Before he can go into more of an explanation of why he looks the way he does, they see someone heading towards the hut. It’s Umbridge. Harry, Ron and Hermione rush to get under the Invisibility Cloak as Hagrid opens the door. Hagrid recognizes her name and tries to me cordial, but Umbridge is not here for small talk. She had seen footprints in the snow heading to Hagrid’s house. Umbridge starts searching the hut and questioning Hagrid about his injuries, which Hagrid explains very unconvincingly. She also asks why he has been gone, to which he says he was gone for health reasons. She makes a few pointed remarks about mountains which leads them to believe that she somehow knows about Hagrid’s mission. She also informs him that she is inspecting teachers now.
After she leaves, Hagrid asks about how she’s been inspecting people. He also gets excited because he has some very interesting animals to show them. Hermione is worried.
“Hagrid . . . please . . .” said Hermione, a note of real desperation in her voice. “Umbridge is looking for any excuse to get rid of teachers she thinks are too close to Dumbledore. Please, Hagrid, teach us something dull that’s bound to come up in our O.W.L. . .”
We all know that’s not going to happen.
See you next time for Chapter 21!