You ruined Hagrid

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Rubeus Hagrid and Fang

I read this article about the first Harry Potter movie years ago and the opening always stayed with me:

Robbie Coltrane is anxious. “I’ve had visions of being chased by millions of children who thought I got it wrong,” says Coltrane, the Scottish comic who plays the giant groundskeeper, Hagrid, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. “They’re chasing me up Fifth Avenue. ‘There’s the guy who ruined Hagrid! Let’s get him!'”

Read the full article here.

It’s been almost 10-years since I read that article and I still throw a “you ruined Hagrid!” into my conversations from time to time. I don’t know why it stuck with me – I guess I could just imagine the pressure he was under to take a beloved character and not royally screw it up. But he didn’t did he? I can’t imagine Hagrid any other way – Coltrane was perfect.

Robbie Coltrane at the London premiere July 7th, 2011

For my own part, I thought a lot of the actors were spot-on. Of course, the movies started coming out before Rowling finished writing the books. It was a cycle: wait for a book, wait for a movie. A decade of anticipation. After a while it was hard to separate the movie characters from the book characters. I don’t remember how I first imagined the characters because they quickly turned into the characters portrayed on the screen.

The actors never knew what was coming for their character in future books either. I read an article recently where David Thewlis – who plays the werewolf Remus Lupin – decided to play his character gay in his first movie appearance only to find out later that he gets married to a woman. Oops.

And imagine being Alan Rickman/Snape and not knowing if you are going to turn out to be good or evil in the end but that the whole thing rests on his shoulders? Have you read his letter to J.K. Rowling?

I’m not sure I have an absolute favourite character – it seems to be fluid for me although I am fond of Dumbledore’s wisdom and everything about McGonagall (I still think Minerva would have been a good name for Moira). Do you have a favourite Harry Potter character? Does you favourite book character change when translated to the big screen?

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