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Throughout the Harry Potter novels, Rubeus Hagrid is the only character consistently addressed by his last name in a friendly manner. While the trio do frequently address their enemies by their last names, and constantly refer to their professors by last name, they always address their friends by first name. Harry never calls Ron "Weasley", Neville never calls Hermione "Granger", etc. Even among the staff, most often they address each other directly by first name. McGonagall calls Dumbledore "Albus", Dumbledore calls Snape "Severus", etc.

And yet everyone - staff, student, enemy, or friend - consistently addresses Rubeus Hagrid as simply "Hagrid". Is there any reason for that? Why the change in style of address for this one man alone?

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    my best guess is that when he went to school he didnt have many close friends so the use of his last name stuck since he never left school. I know personally that my last name was used by even my close friends in highschool do to its uniqueness vs my first name which was far to common in our group of friends.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:13
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    The students seem to address the professors by their surnames as professors seem to address the students in the same manner. the first name is reserved for friends. indeed when dumbledore address snape or mcgonagal as severus or minerva it usually in a more private setting.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:29
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    Dumbledore calls him Rubeus, doesn't he? Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 22:14
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    Maybe just because Hagrid is easier to say and a syllable shorter than Rubeus? Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 7:04
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    Worth noting that barring a couple of instances, Nymphadora Tonks is almost exclusively called Tonks. In her case, we at least hear her say it is because she hates her first name.
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 15:28

7 Answers 7

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Hagrid is virtually the only occupant of a 'middle ground' in the Hogwarts hierarchy.

The two principal 'classes' (for want of a better word) at Hogwarts are the pupils and the staff. Within the classes everyone calls each other by their first names - Harry calls Ron 'Ron', and Dumbledore calls Snape 'Severus'. But pupils call staff by their last names, and staff call pupils by their last names (excepting those that are exceptionally close, like Harry and Dumbledore).

Hagrid is lower than staff, but higher than pupils. It's entirely applicable for pupils to call him Hagrid (since he is above them) and same for staff (since he is below them).

Note that Filch is in the same position, and is universally referred to as Filch, not Argus.

You could argue that Harry, Ron and Hermione become close friends with Hagrid, and they could probably get away with calling him by his first name. Probably they don't because old habits die hard, because everyone else calls him Hagrid, and because it's easier to start calling those below you by their first names - Dumbledore calls Harry 'Harry', but Harry never reciprocates.

Some of this is indeed related to the British tradition of school stories, where teachers and pupils both call each other by their last names.

EDIT: Doing a little rethinking here, I believe that while what I've written above is correct, it is only a partial explanation. When pupils address staff, they don't call them just by their name, but with an honorific - "Professor Dumbledore", for example. (though they may just call him 'Dumbledore' when he's not there) If this were the only factor, Hagrid would properly be addressed as "Mr. Hagrid", just as Filch is properly addressed as "Mr Filch." This doesn't happen. So @Valorum 's explanation is at least as significant as mine - Hagrid is addressed as Hagrid because that's what he calls himself.

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    He's universally referred to as "Mr. Filch" in front of the children and as Filch by the children among themselves and by the staff among themselves (except for Dumbledore).
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:38
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    I believe McGonagall (?) calls Filch "Argus" at some point.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 0:28
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    @Randal'Thor that's when his cat is petrified and she wants to comfort him if my memory serves me.
    – Zikato
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 5:48
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    @JoshuaLamusga "virtually the only occupant" means "the only occupant with a small number of exceptions". I would contend that one is a small number of exceptions. Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 18:42
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    @DJClayworth And yet going from 1 to 2 is a 100% increase...
    – user16421
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 8:34
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Those that don't know him from school call him Hagrid because he tells them to.

‘Call me Hagrid,’ he said, ‘everyone does. An’ like I told yeh, I’m Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts – yeh’ll know all about Hogwarts, o’ course.’

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Presumably those that do know him from school call him Hagrid because it's quite common at boarding schools to refer to someone by their surname, hence why Draco and Harry continually refer to each other as Malfoy and Potter or why Wood's friends call him Wood.

Since he's ended up living at the school, pretty much everyone he knows neatly falls into one of those two categories.


You may also wish to note that the sole person we see who doesn't fall into either category (e.g. someone who knew him before he went to school) refers to him by his first name first.

‘Rubeus! Rubeus Hagrid! How nice to see you again … Oak, sixteen inches, rather bendy, wasn’t it?’
‘It was, sir, yes,’ said Hagrid.
‘Good wand, that one. But I suppose they snapped it in half when you got expelled?’ said Mr Ollivander, suddenly stern.

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    I admit I'd forgotten that particular quote. Still, there's a bit of circular logic there, if he tells everyone to calls him Hagrid because everyone call him Hagrid... It may be common at real-life boarding schools, but as I said, none of the students in Hogwarts address each other by surname unless they are antagonistic toward one another. In fact, IIRC, in Riddle's memory, we saw Riddle refer to Hagrid as Hagrid, but Hagrid called Riddle "Tom".
    – Paul L
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:26
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    @PaulL - Actually, Tom Riddle calls him Rubeus on more than one occasion; "Evening, Rubeus,’ said Riddle sharply" (CoS), etc
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:33
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    My mistake then. I must have been confusing it with the film's portrayal of that scene.
    – Paul L
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:37
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    Wood is always referred to by his last name by his friends. You're right that it's old fashioned and therefore not used by most of the students but it is a school sort of thing. And, after all, Hagrid is pretty old.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 10:50
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    This is exactly the right mix of in- and out-of-universe explanation. Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 12:51
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"Hagrid" is his informal name, while "Mr. Hagrid" is his formal name.

An informal name is a self-chosen name, which usually but not always is the first name of the person. If you remember the television series A-Team, the characters' informal names were Hannibal (John Smith), Face (Templeton Peck), Murdock (H.M. Murdock), and B.A. (Bosco Albert Baracus). While the informal name is commonly the first name, it doesn't have to be. Some people use their middle name as their informal name, others use a variant of their first name, such as Bob or Dick for Robert or Richard. Others use a completely made up name. Using your last name as your informal name is uncommon, but not unheard of.

As @Valorum says, Rubeus Hagrid usually introduces himself by his informal name "Hagrid", thus allowing people to use his informal name.

Informal names can change over the lifetime of the person. Also, in a setting where calling each other by informal name is the default, less close friends will occasionally call someone by their first name instead of their informal name, which explains Tom Riddle calling Hagrid "Rubeus".

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    I think MacGyver would agree.
    – Dubu
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 8:10
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Well I think it is an old fashioned (respect?) sort of thing that stuck around with pure blood families, Hogwarts and the like. For example you'll notice Malfoy nearly always calls everyone by their last name even his two friends Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy also calls Harry 'Potter', Ron 'Weasley' and Hermione 'Granger' as well as everyone else. I think he calls them by their last names (as people have said) because he thinks they are below him. Professor Snape also calls Harry 'Potter' because he dislikes him and thus thinks Harry is below him. Also a weird fact, they call Draco Malfoy 'Malfoy' and Lucius Malfoy 'Lucius' (Hmm?). But in the second movie (Harry Potter and the Chambrr of Secrets) at the end Harry calls Lucius Malfoy 'Mr Malfoy' which just sounds weird! There are many odd things about what everyone calls each other I could go on and on but I think after reading everyone else's answers as well as mine you'll have a pretty good idea on why they call Hagrid 'Hagrid'.

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  • (Vincent) Crabbe and (Gregory) Goyle.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 11:26
  • Also, if you have additional questions, you should use the "ask" button
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 11:27
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I stumbled upon this question and I know that I am late to the party, but another explenation, is that Hagrid is older than all the Hogwarts staff. Snape for example was born on the 9th January 1960, while Hagrid was born on the 6th December 1928. Thus Hagrid is far older than most teachers, except for Dumbledore,who was born in 1881. That doesn't translate well to the movies though, as all the Hogwarts staff and the adults in general are aged up there to fit Severus Snapes/Alan Rickmans real-life age.

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    Why would him being older than everyone mean that they call him by his surname?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 9:58
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    @F1Krazy I suspect it's a cultural thing in some countries for example. Something about showing respect to your elders.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 10:03
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    @Clockwork - If you're showing respect in British English, you'd call them Mister Hargrid
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 10:43
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I have noticed that following British tradition, people tend to call each other by last names....I grew up in Trinidad in the Caribbean, and even in high school, we tended to call each other by last names, informally, and put Sir or Miss for formality. In the series, Harry is called Potter by Snape (last name), and Malfoy (last name)..Hermione is called Granger, and well everybody says Dumbeldor (last name)....It's cultural. So calling Hagrid by his last name is normal, unlike in the US where the first name is used more often

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  • As has been pointed out, in the Harry Potter series, professors address students by last name, students address professors by [Professor] last name, students address each other by first name, and professors address each other by first name. Hagrid is the only one addressed by last name by both professors and students.
    – Paul L
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 12:34
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In some cases the surname becomes the nickname. A friend (and former schoolfriend) of mine is usually called by his surname, it took some a few months or even years to find out that it was not his firstname they have been told. Only his family and early childhood friends call him by his firstname. For all others in our group we use the firstname or other nicknames. If I recall correctly it was caused by another kid in his class having the same first name (it is a very usual german name) but he has a quite unusual but easy to speak surname. With two kids having the same first name it became neccessary to use the combination of first and surname to make clear who you mean and well the surname stuck.

For Rubeus Hagrid it may be the same reason. Also note that "Rubeus" has a syllable more than "Hagrid" making it longer to say like nicknames, which are often shorter than the "actual" names.

For evidence: Hagrid introduces himself with the words

'Call me Hagrid,' he said, 'everyone does.'

not even mentioning his first name, or whether it is his first or last name, just like my friend does when introducing himself. The only close person that would call him Rubeus was his father, who is dead.
Also tom riddle did call him Rubeus in Book 2, but as a non-friend he was probably not aware that everybody called him Hagrid.

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  • Can you offer any evidence to show that this is what JKR had in mind for the character?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 6:20
  • @Valorum actually I can. I edited them in.
    – datacube
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 11:12
  • This appears to be the same evidence from the answers above
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 11:19
  • @Valorum yes it is, and it is brought into the context of a different possible answer. There is only a finite amount of words in those 7 books.
    – datacube
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 11:22

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