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Inspired by the specie-ism discussion in a recent question about Hagrid, how did Hagrid's parent and other mixed human/giant species manage to reproduce?

I am not sure of what the average giant dimensions are, but Hagrid's brother is massive enough to suggest some mechanical difficulties.

(And no, "the male is the small one" does not solve them either.)

  • 30
    Two words: Engorgement charm. – David Stratton Dec 8 '12 at 1:14
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    Very carefully. – John Rennie Dec 8 '12 at 9:32
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    In Goblet chapter 23, Hagrid says it clearly that his mother was a giant and the father a “tiny little bloke”. The more disturbing part is that he also asks Madame Maxime ‘was it yer mother or yer father?’. Twice. – b_jonas Dec 8 '12 at 10:58
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    I've received many, many emails that claim they would solve this problem. – DJClayworth Dec 6 '13 at 0:30
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    Well you see, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very, very much, they have a special hug... – Broklynite Dec 2 '16 at 14:36
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If you're worried about whether Hagrid's father did it voluntarily, be assured that he did: Hagrid says in Goblet chapter 23:

‘Me dad was broken-hearted when she wen'.’

If you wanted to know about the technical details (eg. you want to replicate the feat), forget it. This is a question better left unasked for your own sanity. You don't want to learn about what some humans manage to have sex with IRL, and enjoy it.
Let me quote the flavor text of the Magic: the Gathering card "Distress" from Kamigawa.

"Today I asked Master Dosan what the ogre mages did with the humans they sacrificed. He gave me a hard look and said to think no more on the matter." —Meditation journal of young budoka

Just assume it was in-vitro fertilization.

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    smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3321 may also be relevant. – b_jonas Mar 3 '15 at 17:03
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    Reminds me of a line in Adrian Plass' hilarious novel "The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass" in which he and other members of his church are playing Scrabble at a church social. One of the "odder" church members, Leonard Thynn, puts down the word "vqex", claiming that in the full-length Oxford English Dictionary it means "a cross between an armadillo and a giraffe". Adrian's son Gerald then objects, on the grounds that the mating act between two such animals would be geometrically impossible. – Wallnut Nov 9 '16 at 9:37
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I know a dog that was born of a german shepherd, but fathered by a chiuahua. Conversly, our puppy comes from a cross between a queensland and a cockapoo. Maybe size really doesn't matter as long as you know how to use the tool you have?

All that would be required for fertilization to occur would be that one of his "swimmers" found one of her eggs and penetrated through the cell wall and it really does only take one. The fact that his anatomy is the smaller of the two really makes that completely believable in terms of possibilities - she doesn't even have to have felt anything for fertilization to be successful.

However, biologically, usually animals from two different species have the wrong numbers of chromosomes to result in offspring. The fact that a giant and a human can inter-breed would indicate that either:

  • We are actually of the same species but of vastly different sizes (as in the dog example I offered), and they simply over came the size differential either through magic using spells to make one or the other a different size, or the size differential didn't actually pose a problem for them.

or

  • The two species can have an offspring, but that offspring will never successfully produce its own offspring (as in the case of mules which are bred from a horse and a donkey and always come out female and infertile. This kind of a result happens, but amongst animals is extremely rare - most of the time, cross species intercourse is quite literally fruitless.

So, my problem with this pairing is less about size issues (seriously, he was a wizard - he had magical options here - as listed by others) and more about the chromosomal difficulties in the match. It helps that niether Hagrid nor Madam Maxime went on to have children of their own in determining that perhaps the second option here is the case making it less of a "hole" if it ever was one.

In either case, I don't really believe the size differential actually poses a problem to inpregnation, though it may have created a problem in Hagrid's Mother's enjoyment of the process.

  • Good exposition, lacking in the explanation however. – AncientSwordRage Dec 5 '13 at 23:53
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    @Pureferret the explanation is that, size doesn't matter in terms of creating a baby - in real life that is. – balanced mama Dec 7 '13 at 1:39
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    Mules are not always female, and female mules can be fertile (although there is no record of any fertile male mules, so all mollies that have foaled have been with a purebred horse or donkey sire). – Brian S Jul 8 '14 at 15:35
  • Just to enhance the nerdiness of this a bit more, there's a good article in this week's Science which addresses hybrids as a method of evolutionary impetus. – Broklynite Dec 2 '16 at 15:04
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    +1 for raising the genetics issues, which in my opinion are far more problematic then the, ahem, mechanical issues. – ApproachingDarknessFish Mar 15 '17 at 19:45
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I have two solutions to your problem, hun.

  • One: like my previous answerers, Engorgio.
  • Two: the Swelling Solution. A potion which causes whatever it touches to swell in size; its three key ingredients (the only ingredients in it) are bat spleens, dried nettles, and puffer-fish eyes.

I got this from The Harry Potter Wiki.

4

I would like to propose a different theory, which I think is much simpler, and consistent to what we know about the wizard society. Maybe half giants are a rare type of giant who, quite ironically, suffer from the giant equivalent of dwarfism, and the notion that they must be the offspring of humans and giants is just a myth or misconception. People in the wizarding world seem to be very poorly informed about other magical species, and that led some of them to actually believe this. As half giants are so extremely scarce, it is hard to dispute this idea.

Meanwhile, giants are very proud of their size and strength, so, upon seeing how children with this uncommon condition would be outcasts in the community, probably killed or left to die, there were a couple of times when the occasional wizard envoy/researcher among them would end up adopting said children, who were not only smaller, but more prone to use magic.

Hagrid is very sweet and somewhat simpleminded, and it would be easy to convince him that a man could fall in love with a giantess, since he himself loves unusual creatures, in his own nonromantic way. Maybe his father was only “broken-hearted” to remember how a giantess abandoned her child, and would never tell him the truth. It is possible that when Hagrid was still a baby, he grew attached to the human, the only one around that would care for him, and never doubted that he was his father.

Madame Maxime, on the other hand, is much more intelligent and sophisticated. Well-informed people like her know that "half" is just a reference to their height (the same way Tyrion from Game of Thrones is sometimes called the Halfman), not their bloodlines. She is aware of why she is what she is, and struggled to try to pass as human because she does not want to be erroneously seem as “half” a person, neither is she willing to admit that, among giants, she is an undesirable figure. It simply has a different connotation to her, because, after all, she was not as naïve and spared the implications of her condition as Hagrid.

  • This is very interesting, however could you provide some more sources for your suggestions. +1 from me either way but it would help it gain traction with other users here. – Edlothiad Mar 18 '17 at 17:51
  • So Grawp might be Hagrid's full brother? – MissMonicaE Mar 18 '17 at 19:50
  • This is interesting, but it's basically just fanfiction. – Adamant Sep 7 '18 at 19:49
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Why does everybody assume Hagrid's dad enlarged himself rather than have shrinked down Hagrid's mother into human size? I mean I'm sure there's a spell for that, or if ever may she took some shrinking potion daily like a brith control pill.

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    Perhaps. Is there any evidence to suggest this is possible? The other answers don’t seem to have many references, but they nonetheless help increase answer quality. – Adamant Nov 9 '16 at 2:27
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    If shrinking to human size was that simple, surely Hagrid would have arranged it for his brother, rather than chaining the poor guy up in the Forbidden Forest? – Martha Nov 9 '16 at 3:57
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    Everyone assumes it because giants are naturally resistant to magic, so it is less likely to work. And given the personalities shown and implied for pure giants, it is less likely she would allow it. – Xavon_Wrentaile Dec 10 '16 at 8:40

protected by Community Nov 22 '17 at 11:05

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