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In the first book/movie... When Harry wasn't allowed to read the letter from Hogwarts, there started a bombardment of thousands of the same letters. Who was behind this?
Was it ever mentioned in canon?

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    Stupidity? It seemed to me to be a rather charming way of ensuring that Harry would get ahold of at least one to actually read. I'd downvote if I could. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Feb 11 '12 at 21:43
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    It seemed more like determination to overcome the Dursleys efforts to withhold Harrys mail. I imagine the yard, car and house were fairly covered in owl poop, which in itself would be enough to get me to give the kid his letter. – Major Stackings Feb 11 '12 at 22:23
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    @Ernest Friedman-Hill: Harry didn't read the letter until Hagrid delivered it i.e., sending thousands of letters hadn't worked. – jfs Feb 12 '12 at 1:16
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Hagrid says

"I was allowed ter do a bit ter follow yeh an' get yer letters to yeh an' stuff -- one o' the reasons I was so keen ter take on the job --"

In chapter 4 of Sorcerer's Stone, Hagrid makes the claim that he himself was responsible for delivering and sending Harry's letters. As we know, Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts and not allowed to use magic, but jumped at this opportunity to send Harry his letters and use as much magic as he liked in the process.

Another quote showing Hagrid was on the job from the start:

"I never expected this," he said, in a low, worried voice. "I had no idea, when Dumbledore told me there might be trouble gettin' hold of yeh, how much yeh didn't know. Ah Harry, I don' know if I'm the right person to tell yeh -- but someone's gotta -- yeh can't go off ter Hogwarts not knowin'."

17

Why is it stupid?

This isn't canon, but knowing Dumbledore's sense of humor, he was probably behind it. He showed, in his visit with the Dursleys in Half-Blood Prince that he thought it amusing to do things to annoy them. (Bouncing cups off their heads because they're too stubborn to take them, for example)

Of course, it would have fallen to Professor McGonagall to send the owls, but I still think Dumbledore had a hand in it. I can easily picture him, with a twinkle in his eye telling Professor McGonagall to send them, and her, joyfully complying. (She had a sense of humor, too you know.)

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    I agree that it would totally be Dumbledore's style of humor to bombard No. 4 Privet Drive with letters. :) – Slytherincess Feb 11 '12 at 22:00
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    @Slytherincess - SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM and SPAM! Well, he IS British, and probably a MP fan! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 11 '12 at 23:13
  • What I like is that we KNOW Hagrid would have had to go ANYWAY (Snape's memories), so there really was no reason other than for fun ^^. – Mac Cooper Sep 19 '14 at 19:32
  • Could it have actually been a spell connected with the Book and the Pen (forgot what they are called) that keeps sending letters until one is received? – user32390 Dec 6 '15 at 3:30
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That would be Hogwarts. The return address was on the back of the envelope, thus indicating who was sending the letters. Professor McGonagall, as Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, was in charge of the Hogwarts letters. And, yes, this is in the book. :)

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    -1 for no quote (yes, different standards apply to you :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 11 '12 at 22:00
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    +1 to @DVK for humorous observation, without actually giving the -1. – Iszi Feb 12 '12 at 3:17
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    By the way, it should be noted that this (without any supporting quotation) is only speculation - it could be the case that McGonagall went to Dumbledore and said "Potter hasn't responded to his letter, whatever should we do?" and Dumbledore said "Send as many letters to him as we have owls in the owlery! Instruct the owls to break the door down, if they must!". – Iszi Feb 12 '12 at 3:21

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