Once upon a time, JK Rowling sat down to write the longest, most saddest and depressing book in the universe. She had it all planned out. First, she would isolate her hero to the breaking point. Then she would introduce the world’s most evil villain. She would have her hero overcome only to be stepped on and pushed down into the ground even further. The end of the book, well, that was going to be heartbreaking and intense and difficult, and not unlike a rollercoaster careening out of control and threatening to kill everyone aboard. But first before she did all that, she wanted to write about some kids taking some tests. It turned out pretty good, I think.
CHAPTER 30: GRAWP
Oh, Hagrid. Hagrid, Hagrid, Hagrid, Hagrid. WHY.
I mean, I know why. Maybe it’s just because I’m watching Battlestar Galactica right now, and it’s the episode where they introduce the concept of ‘projection,’ but I can’t help but feel that Hagrid lives his life in a constant state of his own type of projection.
For those of you not familiar with BSG (and shame on you!), projection is an ability the Cylons have to influence directly their perception of the world around them. They want to see a lush forest surrounding them instead of the drab gray walls of their spaceship? Boom. The forest is there. They literally see it as if it were real. This of course is in itself a metaphor for the way that all people allow their beliefs and assumptions and wishes and desires to influence the way they interpret the world around them. I say that Hagrid projects not because I think he willfully deludes himself or because he is refusing to believe something deep down he already knows, but rather because his deeply ingrained belief in the goodness and beauty of dangerous creatures — and perhaps moreso his personal identification with their “misunderstood” and “monstrous” natures — leads him to see things differently than other people. He wants to believe Skrewts are harmless, that raising a baby dragon in a wooden hut is possible, that he can teach a giant to speak English and live among humans. He wants to believe it so badly that his mind interprets the evidence to fit into his worldview. And yes, this optimism is the sign of a kind heart, but it’s also the thing allows him to ignore real signs of danger.
And don’t think I’m passing judgment on Hagrid, because I’m not. First of all, because like I said above, we all project the world somewhat based on our wants and expectations, and depending on the person and the situation, that’s either good, bad, or somewhere in between. It’s called ‘perspective.’ But also: because we need kind fools like Hagrid (and Firenze and Dumbledore) to project versions of the world that are better than reality, because maybe one day reality will live up to their expectations.