26

A user in an answer to this question suggested that Hagrid is mentally unstable.

Is there canonical evidence that directly states if Hagrid is mentally unstable or not?

Failing that, here's a follow-up:

Does Hagrid's behavior throughout all canonical materials indicate a mental illness, as per the DSM-V?

P.S. Word-of-God is acceptable.

  • 1
    DSM-V wasn't finished yet when writing the Harry Potter books. Did you mean the DSM-IV instead? – Mast Nov 28 '16 at 10:54
  • What does DSM stands for? – 絢瀬絵里 Nov 28 '16 at 11:32
  • 3
    @AyaseEri: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition of the American Psychiatric Association, a standard manual for classifying mental disorders used (in translation) all over the world. Someone may want to edit the link into the question. – Stephan Kolassa Nov 28 '16 at 12:02
  • @Mast I thought about that. However, I doubt there actually is WoG from the author regarding Hagrid's mental health, which would be the only thing that would make the DSM-IV preferred over the DSM-V. Otherwise, the DSM-V is the most current version of the psychological diagnostic manual and should be seen only as an improvement on the DSM-IV. Just my two cents. – DBPriGuy Nov 28 '16 at 15:13
  • 3
    Many of the faculty seem to be a bit touched. – 1252748 Nov 28 '16 at 19:23
52

It rather depends on your definitions. Although he was involved in some dangerous activities with his pupils the ultimate responsibility for the safety of lessons has to rest with the headmaster, similarly he didn't decide on the Forbidden Forest detention, he just carried it out and went to some lengths to make it as safe as possible in the circumstances.

For sure he does have a bit of a 'blind spot', as the book put it, for assessing the potential danger posed by magical creatures, but it's not as if Hogwarts is that safe a place anyway. Quidditch is plainly potentially lethal. Indeed his lessons have a pretty good safety record compared to Hogwarts in general. Equally, you can't really call this 'unstable' as his skewed judgement is, if nothing else, consistent.

Equally, there is no indication that Hagrid doesn't care if his students are hurt and he seems perfectly able to form reasonable social relationships with his colleagues and pupils. Consider that when Draco was mauled by Buckbeak (through his own arrogance) his first reaction was to take him to the hospital wing.

He also shows a lot of empathy for other people and animals, which is actually pretty impressive when you consider how he has been treated for most of his life.

He was also able to bounce back pretty well from being wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban and that in itself suggests that he is reasonably mentally resilient.

It is also reasonable to say that a certain amount of fearlessness is pretty much essential for his job and indeed the whole order of the Phoenix.

Indeed the worst act of unthinking recklessness in the whole book is Dumbledore putting on a cursed ring, is he mentally ill ?

  • 1
    As safe as possible? Whose idea was it for them to split up so that Draco and Neville could fend for themselves? – Valorum Nov 27 '16 at 20:25
  • 13
    Whose idea was it to send students out to help Hagrid track some unknown monster in the forest in the first place ? As far as we know he sent Neville and Draco off in a direction he knew was safe. – Chris Johns Nov 27 '16 at 20:28
  • So he only took three of them into a direction he thought was dangerous? What a hero – Valorum Nov 27 '16 at 20:51
  • 8
    Regarding his "risk estimation" issue, I wonder how much is due to the fact that... he's a GIANT. He's much tougher and stronger than the average human, and therefore may tend to estimate danger by different standards. – Matthieu M. Nov 28 '16 at 9:19
  • 1
    @^ Correction, a half-giant – 絢瀬絵里 Nov 28 '16 at 11:35
15

Hagrid displays a number of behaviours that would be more than sufficient to merit a diagnosis of mental illness under the DSM-5 definition.

  • In HP:PS he uses magic on Dudley. Now, admittedly, he's a horrid piggish child but zapping him with a tail is strongly suggestive of impulse control problems (in much the same way as if he'd turned around and slapped him).

  • Later in the same book he takes a group of untrained wizard children into a forest that he knows is crawling with deadly spiders and potentially unfriendly centaurs in search of whatever or whoever is murdering unicorns and drinking their blood. Again, this is deeply inappropriate behaviour by muggle standards, and strongly suggestive of a conduct disorder or at the very least, a deep under-appreciation of the risks involved.

  • We learn that Hagrid has been attempting to breed deadly creatures with little regard for his own health and safety. Blast-ended skrewts have a tendency to burn, sting, and bite. Dragons are decidedly dangerous (not to mention illegal) and we learn at the end of Chamber of Secrets that his best friend in the world is a gigantic man-eating spider. A deep under-appreciation of the personal risks involved in his activities would strongly imply an inability to delay gratification and the inhibition of inappropriate, dangerous, and hurtful behaviors.

DSM Online - Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders


That all being said, child endangerment seems to be the norm for Hogwarts and Hagrid has access to some of the finest medical care in the world via Madame Pomfrey and St Mungo's (not to mention his semi-impenetrable 'half-giant' skin) so it's possible that his actions aren't completely bonkers by wizarding standards.

  • @Valorum Thank you for your answer. Can you cite which mental illness of the section you linked fits Hagrid's symptoms best? – DBPriGuy Nov 27 '16 at 21:56
  • 2
    @DBPriGuy - His conduct toward the Dursleys fits the diagnostic criteria for a Conduct Disorder, specifically the fact that he initiated a fight, used a weapon, acted in a physically cruel way which he shows minimal remorse about. There are also elements of Self-Defeating Personality Disorder with regard to his persistent keeping of dangerous and harmful animals. – Valorum Nov 27 '16 at 22:10
  • 2
    Reading a wikipedia article is pretty insufficient for making a medical diagnosis. Maybe this question is ill posed to begin with, but this answer runs rampant with the idea you can make a diagnosis on extremely meager information. – jpmc26 Nov 28 '16 at 5:51
  • @jpmc26 Indeed, which is why the primary question posed is if Hagrid is mentally unstable, canonically speaking (WoG included). The secondary question is for if there is no canonical evidence, whether there is sufficient evidence to conclude "mental instability" under DSM-V. No one has yet provided an answer that provides enough evidence to my satisfaction.. (Also the link to the Wikipedia article for the DSM-V was not my addition. However, the DSM-Vitself is widely available and considered reputable.) – DBPriGuy Nov 28 '16 at 14:26
  • 4
    Worth noting: Blast ended skrewts were used in the third task, and as the Ministry never takes him to court for illegal breeding, despite it being in the paper, my assumption was that he was asked to do it for the Tri-Wizard cup, letting Harry's class deal with them is another way of helping Harry win the cup. Furthermore, note that many of these dangerous creatures aren't dangerous to Hagrid, only to others. Grawp, and Aragog never pose a threat to him, and assuming "safe for me, safe for thee" is pretty common in humans. That doesn't indicate mental illness, just bad assumptions. – EvSunWoodard Nov 28 '16 at 19:03
8

A mental unstable being means that we cannot predict their actions reliably or that their actions cannot be prevented by their own will, so crazy people are a subset of unstable people.

That being said, all evidence is pointing to an excessive case of Teratophilia, an irresistible desire and love for monsters. This condition is often found in old and current beastmasters (come on, "tamer" sounds lame), trying to befriend/control creatures which are dangerous because of their speed, strength, agility and ferocity. Even if their beasts are not monsters and are not intending to kill them, unintentional actions are able to do that (An annoyed, comparatively weak tiger strike with the paw could rip a human head off. I am not exaggerating).

While Hagrid has shown otherwise quite sensible behavior, all bets are off once he is confronted with a monster. It seems the only cure for him would be that one of his friends is eaten by a monster, otherwise he simply refuse to accept that his monster is endangering people (The argument that he knowingly endangers people is not convincing; he is endangering them, but he really does not comprehend that.)

  • He smuggled a giant venomonous man-eating monster spider into the school grounds, knewing well that it is highly illegal, evading detection and risking expulsion.
  • Later he, again illegally, acquired a dragon egg and hatched a vicious female dragon.
  • He also bought a three-headed dog as guardian.
  • He again illegally brought a giant which are known to be extremely dangerous to humans into the Forbidden Forest.

So yes, Hagrid is mentally unstable in the presence of monsters.

  • 9
    Teratophilia is defined as the uncontrolled sexual attraction to monsters. I suspect what you mean is that he has an uncontrolled Obsessional Collecting Disorder toward monsters rather than wanting to make sweet love to them. – Valorum Nov 27 '16 at 22:15
  • 2
    @Valorum I dunno, would you accept fanfic? :P – Au101 Nov 27 '16 at 22:49
  • 3
    @Valorum Wrong. -philia simply means obsessive affinity/desire, it does not imply sexual desire (while it is used for that for many sexual fetishes). Bibiliophilia is simply the love of books and it does not mean..I do not need to explain that, right ?! – Thorsten S. Nov 27 '16 at 23:06
  • 3
    @ThorstenS. - And while that's very true, in this instance, the word you've used has quite a specific meaning; Teratophilia is classed as a paraphilia. – Valorum Nov 27 '16 at 23:08
  • 1
    @Valorum I shouldn't have believed it that it is already used....especially because they could use something more accurate like dysmorphophilia. At least Wiktionary allows a second, non-sexual definition: Attraction to monsters – Thorsten S. Nov 27 '16 at 23:17
0

He can be nabbed for child negligence when transporting baby Harry with a motorcycle (which crashes into the bushes, nearly killing Harry). So I think it's fair to say that he is a bit mentally unstable.

  • Welcome to the site! I greatly appreciate your first post, but it is a bit trim, usually on this site we encourage fleshed-out answers (where possible, I mean, sometimes there's not a lot to say and drizzling your post with words helps nobody), ideally with references and citations to back you up. In any case, this post is unfortunately wrong. At no point does Hagrid crash the motorcycle while carrying baby Harry, it's a perfectly safe journey. Hagrid does crash the motorbike with Harry in The Deathly Hallows but this is just before Harry turns 17! And they were fleeing Death Eaters – Au101 Nov 27 '16 at 22:43
  • 3
    Also, I mean, he was rescuing Harry in very difficult circumstances at the start of Philosopher's Stone, I think using his use of a fast means of transport which should make them more difficult targets if any of Voldemort's loyalists should come along, as grounds for calling him mentally unstable could be considered a little ungenerous – Au101 Nov 27 '16 at 22:45

protected by Community Nov 27 '16 at 22:55

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.