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While reading this answer, I recalled that in the first book, Hagrid performs magic around Harry (on the hut on the rock, where he comes to deliver Harry's mail and take him to London). He gives Dudley a pig tail, lights a fire with his "umbrella", and moves the boat magically to the shore.

Hagrid does ask Harry not to mention his performing of magic to anyone, but wouldn't magic around Harry be detected anyway, considering he was an underage wizard? If so, was Hagrid in trouble?

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The Trace might not have been active at that time

Harry had performed a lot of underage ,magic before entering Hogwarts.

Harry looked into the fire. Now he came to think about it… every odd thing that had ever made his aunt and uncle furious with him had happened when he, Harry, had been upset or angry… chased by Dudley’s gang, he had somehow found himself out of their reach… dreading going to school with that ridiculous haircut, he’d managed to make it grow back… and the very last time Dudley had hit him, hadn’t he got his revenge, without even realizing he was doing it? Hadn’t he set a boa constrictor on him?

Yet, he never got a warning for any of those. When Hagrid came to Privet Drive to pick Harry up, Harry hadn't bought his wand yet. Therefore, I propose that the Trace becomes active immediately after the Wand is chosen by the Wizard, as that would be the first bit of magic done with a wand.

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Harry was young and wandless so the Ministry wouldn’t care yet.

Severus Snape explained to Lily Evans that young and untrained wizards who haven’t started learning how to use their magic yet won’t get in trouble with the Ministry for using magic.

“… and the Ministry can punish you if you do magic outside school, you get letters.’

‘But I have done magic outside school!’

‘We’re all right. We haven’t got wands yet. They let you off when you’re a kid and you can’t help it. But once you’re eleven,’ he nodded importantly, ‘and they start training you, then you’ve got to go careful.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

When Hagrid did magic to retrieve Harry from the Dursleys, Harry both hadn’t started training at Hogwarts and didn’t have his wand yet, so any magic performed around him at that time would have been ignored by the Ministry.

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  • This right here. I was going to say this. it isn't until you start your education that the ministry starts keeping an eye for punishment. Though I often wonder if they know who the magic was done around. I got the impression in Chamber of Secrets that the only reason they knew (thought really) that magic was done by Harry was because he was the only wizard in the area. Out in the middle of nowhere, They can see magic is done near an underage wizard, but they may not know who. otherwise Tom Riddle would have been a suspect in the murder of the Riddles. Don't you think? Feb 11, 2018 at 4:32
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Hagrid had permission to perform magic to retrieve Harry

So, the trace doesn't enter into the issue. Whether or not the trace was there, magic was expected to be occurring around Harry. The only concern is that Hagrid may have exceeded the amount / type of magic he was allowed to do, but the trace doesn't appear to have that level of specificity.

"Be grateful if yeh didn't mention that ter anyone at Hogwarts", he said. "I'm - er - not supposed ter do magic, scritly speakin'. I was allowed ter do a bit ter follow yeh an' get yeh an' stuff - one o' the reasons I was keen ter take on the job - "

- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)

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  • Consider also the circumstance, a "muggle-born" or at least muggle-adopted wizard is being invited to join the magical world, he's probably going to be a little incredulous, as are the guardians. I'd expect it's totally normal to have to demonstrate a little magic in front of the muggle-parents to get them to believe it. Pretty sure Hermione mentioned Mcgonagall having to do something to demonstrate it to her parents too. Jan 10, 2019 at 13:05
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Another thought: Note that Hagrid's use of magic takes place in a disheveled shack on a minuscule patch of rock sticking out of the ocean just off the coast of (wherever), a place that even muggles almost never go to. Maybe the Ministry's monitoring of the use of magic simply doesn't extend to cover that island - after all, what are the odds an underage wizard would even be there, let alone be there with muggles (and so at risk of exposing magic to them)?

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    Anything in the books suggest this isn't magically controlled like many things? Does being in a secluded place actually change anything?
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 12, 2018 at 13:59

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