In the first Harry Potter book it shows that Harry was gotten by Hagrid, instead of Dumbledore. Why didn't Dumbledore get Harry himself, after Harry's parents died?

Dumbledore was stronger than Hagrid, Hagrid had less skill.

The most I can think is that Hagrid (since he was part giant) would be immune to some spells, like he was immune to the stunning spells they shot at him in the 5th book.

  • Hagrid says that he didn’t encounter any problems at the Potter’s House when he arrives in Privet Drive, and if there had been Death Eaters or Muggles there, then Dumbledore would have been better equipped to handle them. I don’t think “Hagrid is part-Giant and physically stronger” is a sufficient explanation.
    – alexwlchan
    Jun 20, 2014 at 4:00
  • 2
    Hard to say because there is no literal in-book explanation (that I recall). Another possibility might be that perhaps Dumbledore would (I know this is going to sound funny) attract more attention with his appearance because he is such a powerful wizard. Sort of like how celebrities attract a lot of unwanted attention just by being themselves and recognizable, it might be the same for powerful wizards and witches in the HP universe?
    – Aith
    Jun 20, 2014 at 4:12
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    can you be more specific as to which time Hagrid went to collect Harry? After the incident at Godricks Hollow (which i think you are referring to) or to tell Harry he is a wizard and to go shopping at Diagon Alley? :D
    – BP_Phoenix
    Jun 20, 2014 at 7:20
  • @SQB - none of my edit changed the original question. I merely corrected grammatical errors. I did NOT remove anything from the original question. Please clarify to me what exactly I "Removed" from the original question.
    – Stark07
    Jun 20, 2014 at 10:02
  • Because he was busy being a distraction elsewhere? Rule 49: "If I learn the whereabouts of the one artefact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper." Aug 7, 2019 at 7:53

5 Answers 5


I can't provide a citation, but I would suggest, that there was a lot of trouble after the death of the Potters and Voldemort vanishing...

I can't exactly figure it out, but I'm sure Dumbledore had many things to organize, make sure the Ministry does the right things, protect witches and wizards from masterless-turning-mad Death Eaters, etc... This was a task where all his expertise was needed. To be honest, Hagrid would not have been much help with that, would he?

But given his (giant) immunity against spells, his strength, necessary to rescue Harry from the ruins of the house, and his unquestionable loyalty to Dumbledore he was exactly the right person to do it while Dumbledore was doing politics and casting protection spells to ensure Harry's future. And the task seemed not to be that dangerous - Voldemort was gone, and there wasn't an army of death eaters around the house.

  • How much extra time would it have taken Dumbledore to stop at Godric's Hollow on his way to Privet Drive?
    – Alex
    Nov 25, 2018 at 22:02
  • @Alex When Dumbledore came to Privet Drive, Voldemort had been dead(-ish) and Harry orphaned for more or less a full day. You'll note that Vernon notices the signs of something big having have happened with the wizards during the entire day before Harry is dropped off. Leaving Harry lying around unattended in his parents house would've been a bit weird an inappropriate.
    – Cubic
    Sep 6, 2019 at 13:47

I would suggest that Dumbledore sent Hagrid for Hagrid's benefit.

Hagrid never finished his education and was not a qualified wizard. It would be very easy for him to be marginalized in the Wizarding world. Dumbledore, therefore, went out of his way to give Hagrid responsibilities so that Hagrid would feel useful and important.

When Hagrid was expelled and no one else cared about him, Dumbledore arranged for him to become gamekeeper — something useful he could do even without a magical education — and Hagrid expressed his appreciation for this to Harry in the beginning of Philosopher's Stone:

"Oh well — I was at Hogwarts meself but I — er — got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wand in half an' everything. But Dumbledore let me stay on as gamekeeper. Great man, Dumbledore.

Hagrid expands on this in Goblet of Fire when he is hiding in his hut after Rita Skeeter's article about him:

"Dumbledore was the one who stuck up for me after Dad went. Got me the gamekeeper job... trusts people, he does. Gives 'em second chances... tha's what sets him apar' from other Heads, see. He'll accept anyone at Hogwarts, s'long as they've got the talent.Knows people can turn out okay even if their families weren'

Similarly, when Hagrid and Harry go to Gringotts to pick up the Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid says:

As a matter o' fact, I gotta visit Gringotts anyway. Fer Dumbledore. Hogwarts business." Hagrid drew himself up proudly. "He ususally gets me ter do important stuff fer him. Fetchin' you — gettin' things from Gringotts — knows he can trust me, see.

And later when they are actually in Gringott's Hagrid again displays the importance he feels at having this responsibility:

"An' I've also got a letter here from Professor Dumbledore," said Hagrid importantly, throwing out his chest.

These tasks would not require any advanced magic, so Dumbledore assigns them to Hagrid so that Hagrid can feel like he contributes. As there are a limited number of activities in the Wizarding world that can be accomplished without magic, Dumbledore probably takes advantage of such opportunities as much as possible.

In fact, as soon as a teaching position opened up for a subject that would not require much magical prowess, Dumbledore gave it to Hagrid.

We similarly find that Dumbledore gave Hagrid a part in protecting the Philosopher's Stone, and that this too made Hagrid feel really good about himself:

"Oh, come on, Hagrid, you might not want to tell us, but you do know, you know everything that goes on round here," said Hermione in a warm, flattering voice. Hagrid's beard twitched and they could tell he was smiling. "We only wondered who had done the guarding, really." Hermione went on. "We wondered who Dumbledore had trusted enough to help him, apart from you."

Hagrid's chest swelled at these last words. Harry and Ron beamed at Hermione.

Indeed, when Dumbledore appointed Hagrid to retrieve Harry from Godric's Hollow, Professor McGonagall questioned his choice, and Dumbledore simply responded that he trusts Hagrid:

"You think it — wise — to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"

"I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore.

And by the end of Half-Blood Prince it looks like McGonagall might have caught on:

"Pofessor Dumbledore always valued your views," said Professor McGonagall kindly, "and so do I."


In Stone chapter 16, when Harry wants to talk to Professor Dumbledore urgently, Professor McGonagall informs him that he's not available.

‘Professor Dumbledore left ten minutes ago,’ she said coldly. ‘He recieved an urgent owl from the Ministry of Magic and flew off for London at once.’

‘He's gone?’ said Harry frantically. ‘Now?

‘Professor Dumbledore is a very great wizard, Potter, he has many demands on his time –’

‘But this is important.’

‘Something you have to say is more important than the Ministry of Magic, Potter?’

So anyway, Professor Dumbledore is busy, and picking up Harry Potter from the Dursleys to take him to shopping in Diagon Alley is not important enough that he has to do it personally, he can delegate that task to his most loyal employees.

(What exactly Dumbledore is busy with is hard to tell, and Cornelius Fudge would like to know it.)

  • 2
    I think the question is directed more towards why Dumbldore didn't fetch Harry from Godricks Hollow after the fall of Voldie, don't think the question relates to telling Harry he is a wizard and give him his school letter and shopping etc, maybe need clarification in the question though
    – BP_Phoenix
    Jun 20, 2014 at 7:20
  • @BP_Phoenix: the question now mentions Godric's Hollow since ash_k29's recent edit (revision 4). The original question is ambiguous about which event of Hagrid picking up Harry it refers to. See old text at scifi.stackexchange.com/revisions/59716/3
    – b_jonas
    Jun 20, 2014 at 9:41
  • yup fair enough
    – BP_Phoenix
    Jun 20, 2014 at 10:23

I believe that Dumbledore sent Hagrid instead of going himself because he had to arrange Harry's living situation with Aunt Petunia. He also sent professor to watch the Dursleys.


This is alluded to elsewhere, but it seems worth noting in an actual answer as well.

Hagrid would attract less attention than Dumbledore.

Presumably, it would not be in Harry's best interest for his location to be known (even given the protection that living with the Dursleys provided). Harry is of interest to the wizarding world, and Dumbledore is as well, at this point in time. Dumbledore picking up Harry puts two people of interest together, which would result in even greater interest.

By having Hagrid transport Harry, Dumbledore can (potentially) distract from that transport, and (somewhat) reduce the level of interest in where he goes when Hagrid arrives. We know there are ways to track wizards (for instance, the trace on underage wizards); so, he needs to limit interest in the Dursleys, and (possibly) to limit his time near them.

We don't know the level of interest in Professor McGonagall's activities. She doesn't seem to attract the same level of attention as Dumbledore, so her monitoring the Dursleys' residence doesn't seem likely to attract the sort of attention she (presumably) was present to seek out. It seems likely that she was there to make sure that no one else was watching the Dursleys, to ensure that it was actually safe to leave Harry with them.

Also, note that Hagrid is using Muggle transport (obviously with magic involved, similar to the Weasley's flying car); this may have helped avoid/lose any attempts to follow Hagrid (we don't know that he was flying for the entire trip).

This answer is, of course, a matter of guesswork and extrapolation from human behavior and what we do see in the books, rather than something with direct support from the books (or movies).

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