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In Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2, in Harrys letter to Sirius he wrote

Dear Sirius,

Thanks for your last letter. That bird was enormous; it could hardly get through my window.

Things are the same as usual here. Dudley's diet isn't going too well. My aunt found him smuggling doughnuts into his room yesterday. They told him they'd have to cut his pocket money if he keeps doing it, so he got really angry and chucked his PlayStation out of the window. That's a sort of computer thing you can play games on. Bit stupid really, now he hasn't even got Mega-Mutilation Part Three to take his mind off things.

I'm okay, mainly because the Dursleys are terrified you might turn up and turn them all into bats if I ask you to.

A weird thing happened this morning, though. My scar hurt again. Last time that happened it was because Voldemort was at Hogwarts. But I don't reckon he can be anywhere near me now, can he? Do you know if curse scars sometimes hurt years afterward?

I'll send this with Hedwig when she gets back; she's off hunting at the moment. Say hello to Buckbeak for me.

Harry

Why does Harry put this in the letter?

I'll send this with Hedwig when she gets back; she's off hunting at the moment.

Why does Sirius care Hedwig is gone hunting?

It's like saving a draft of an email with the line

I'm saving a draft of this email because I don't have connectivity right now

It can't be to let Sirius know that this was the reason he did not reply back ASAP since in the para before the letter it says :

"Hedwig didn't approve of these flashy visitors" and "reminded Harry to call on him if Harry needed to. Well, he needed to now, all right...".

Also later on Harry says to Uncle Vernon about writing to Sirius:

"It's been a while since heard from me, and, you know, if he doesn't, he might start to think something's wrong."

All this implies Harry had received Sirius's letter a long time ago and he did not reply then, when Hedwig was still there. No point adding it much later when he did decide to write only when his scar hurt and he needed Sirius.

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    He most likely said that to explain the delay between Sirius' letter and his. There is no telling when an owl will be back from hunting. – Gallifreyan Jun 28 '17 at 15:24
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    It's a stream of consciousness – Valorum Jun 28 '17 at 15:36
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    It's a letter written by Harry "I wonder what's in this mysterious broomstick-shaped package", "What's Seamus trying to do to that glass of water" Potter. Do you really expect it all to make sense? – DisturbedNeo Jun 28 '17 at 16:45
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    "I'm saving a draft of this email because I don't have connectivity right now" well, I've never gotten that line exactly, but when my wife is traveling I'll often get an email that starts with something to the effect of "I'm on a plane without internet right now, I'll send this when I land." I don't think there's anything particularly unusual about it. – Kevin Jun 28 '17 at 17:02
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    I agree with with @Kevin (although I think The Dark Lord's answer gets at another important point). I frequently send my sister letters that say "I have to remember to buy stamps today so I can mail this" or "I'll send this tomorrow because the mail's already gone today." – MissMonicaE Jun 28 '17 at 17:32
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Harry was going out of his way to sound casual.

Why include the details about Dudley's dieting rituals? Or his tantrums in throwing his PlayStation out the window? Or Mega-Mutilation Part Three? Why does he send greetings to a creature that's unable to speak?

Collectively, these details serve the dual purpose of informing Sirius about his home life and padding out a letter which really has only one purpose. Harry sent the letter in order to tell Sirius about his scar hurting and to ask his advice about what it meant. But he was worried about sounding jumpy or paranoid. He wanted to check whether or not the scar hurting was serious without losing face and coming across as overly nervous. The latter point was why he didn't contact Dumbledore.

But what would he write?
Dear Professor Dumbledore, Sorry to bother you, but my scar hurt this morning. Yours sincerely, Harry Potter.
Even inside his head the words sounded stupid.
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2, The Scar).

After all, his scar hurting could have just been a moment of meaningless pain. Why bother anyone important? He only wrote to Sirius because he felt that Sirius was someone that he could confide in.

What he really wanted (and it felt almost shameful to admit it to himself) was someone like - someone like a parent: an adult wizard whose advice he could ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him, who had experience of Dark Magic...
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2, The Scar).

Even after he decided to confide in Sirius, he went to a great deal of effort to make his letter sound casual and carefree. He omitted the whole part about the dream, which actually turned out to be a vital detail.

Yes, thought Harry, that looked all right. There was no point in putting in the dream, he didn't want it to look as though he was too worried.
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2, The Scar).

The vibe he was going for was "Here's an update about my life. Oh, by the way, my scar hurt". Not "OMG, Sirius! My scar just hurt! Help me! Help me! What do I do?" Only after several drafts and taking out some important details was Harry finally satisfied with his letter. The last thing he wanted was to come across as a wimp to his debonair, daredevil godfather.

Simply put, the detail about Hedwig is meaningless padding, put in to make his question about the scar seem like less of a big deal than it actually was.

The other, simpler explanation is, as Valorum says, that he was simply gushing at random at the end of his letter. However, I think the numerous discarded drafts discount this possibility. It seems that Harry crafted his letter very carefully.

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    To add to this, he chooses this sentence (as well as the others) to make his letter sound more casual because it is in fact a totally normal, breezy thing to include in a letter (moreso than in an email, because emails are harder to edit so they tend to be more stream-of-consciousness, and because letters are more social/conversational). I frequently send my sister letters that say "I have to remember to buy stamps today so I can mail this" or "I'm writing this at the bus stop and it's really sunny" or "I'll send this tomorrow because the mail's already gone today." – MissMonicaE Jun 28 '17 at 17:36
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    @MissMonicaE Emails are harder to edit than letters? – Bellerophon Jun 29 '17 at 10:05
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    "he felt that Sirius was someone that he could confide in in confidence." That should probably be "confide to in confidence". And confide and confidence are similar enough that this sentence sounds a little awkward. – Faheem Mitha Jun 29 '17 at 10:10
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    @Bellerophon Oops, I meant the opposite. Thanks for catching that! – MissMonicaE Jun 29 '17 at 12:26
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    Who would know the answer to this question better than The Dark Lord afterall? – Neil Jun 30 '17 at 11:28
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Dear Susan,

I have received your email and am responding to it with haste and due attention. Unfortunately I am stranded on a desert island right now with no internet connection. As such I am saving it and will send it at the first possible moment. I hope this email finds you in good health and please don't think ill of me if you don't receive it for several years.

Sincerely, Jerry


In all seriousness, it is included in the letter to show that Harry wrote a reply quickly, but happened to finish after Hedwig had left, and to preemptively explain any delays Sirius didn't expect.

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    I thought so too, but from my comment under the question -- In the para before the letter it says "Hedwig didn't approve of these flashy visitors." Harry had received Sirius's letter a long time ago and he did not reply then, when Hedwig was still there. No point adding it much later when he did decide to write only when his scar hurt – dg428 Jun 28 '17 at 15:36
  • @devg428 - Maybe edit that into your question? Its been awhile since I read the book. – amflare Jun 28 '17 at 15:38
  • added to question – dg428 Jun 28 '17 at 15:45
  • Also another line from the next chapter. Harry says to Uncle Vernon "It's been a while since heard from me, and, you know, if he doesn't, he might start to think something's wrong." to get him to go to the World Cup. Definitely not the reason. – dg428 Jun 28 '17 at 16:20
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The existing answers provide a very good In-Universe explanation.

There is however another angle to this:

Exposition

In this particular case the author uses this particular sentence within a letter to let the reader (not Sirius, but the reader of the book) know, that Hedwig sometimes goes hunting.

It tells us more about Harry's relationship to Hedwig embedded in Harry telling Sirius why his response may be delayed.

Our concept that Hedwig might not always be around is strengthened.

This fact may be picked up later. If in future Harry needs Hedwig, but she is not around, we know that it's not unusual and it will not cause us to question the logic of that circumstance.

  • Also, he wanted Sirius to know that Hedwig was not caged, like she had been (although, I can't remember whether Harry ever told Sirius about that) – Matthew Barclay Mar 10 '18 at 14:59
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Harry did not reply to the letters right away. Rather, he hid them and only after his dream in which he saw the events of Chapter 1 and his scar hurt did he decide to write back.

Why did Harry not write back right away? Possibly to protect Sirius:

"...wherever Sirius was (Sirius never said, in case the letters were intercepted)..."

Harry only wrote back when he felt he had a pressing need to do so:

Sirius's letters, which were now hidden beneath the highly useful loose floorboard under Harry's bed....had reminded Harry to call on him [Sirius] if ever Harry needed to. Well, he needed to now, all right...

The line re: Hedwig reflects the urgency with which Harry is writing the letter. In other words, it's urgent, but he can't send the letter right away. Additionally, that sentence is paired with a message for Buckbeak, so it is also possible that Harry, in writing about Buckbeak, thought of Hedwig and included a simple udpate as to the well-being of his own animal companion.

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I guess many people are not used to traditional letters. They are not like e-mails or text messages, where you want to keep things short and include only relevant information.

I used to send a lot of letters and I have to say that it's more like a real conversation, where you mix the important stuff with a little bit of what you see and think about at the moment.

I'm not surprised with Hedwig out for hunting included.

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