On Oct. 14, beloved actor Robbie Coltrane — who took part in iconic films such as the Harry Potter series, National Treasure, and Brave— passed away at the age of 72 and left the Harry Potter fandom shattered. Although the actor was painfully suffering from osteoarthritis at the time, no cause of death has been reported thus far. Robbie Coltrane played many unique roles throughout his four-decades-long career, but his portrayal of Hagrid in the Harry Potter series is what undoubtedly made him known across the entire world.
The actor effortlessly captured the essence of Hagrid, so much so that the two became one and the same to those involved in the Wizarding community. The half-giant captured our hearts both on and off the screen with his nurturing, humorous, and kindhearted personality — clearly representative of the character readers know Hagrid to be.
Robbie Coltrane portrayed Hagrid — Keeper of the Keys and Grounds, Gamekeeper, and Care of Magical Creatures Professor at Hogwarts — for all eight of the Harry Potter films. Despite playing a literal hairy giant, (well, half-giant if you want to get technical) Robbie demonstrated the kindness and heart of gold Hagrid displays in the Wizarding World with ease throughout the films.
Like many other lifelong members of this fandom, the news of Robbie’s passing hit me hard. I was an “I’ve got to read the books before I can even touch the movies” kind of reader as a child (scratch that — I still am, take it up with my brain, not me) due in large part to the authenticity of the characters. Robbie’s portrayal of Hagrid quickly became the comfort character I needed throughout my childhood.
The Harry Potter cast has remained united as a family and consistently spoke of how loved Robbie was and how he truly took on a protective and close bond with the films’ leads. Many of the actors have taken to their social media platforms and provided touching tributes in his honor. All of these statements illustrate the same thing: Robbie touched the hearts of so many in such an indescribable manner that they’ll treasure and remember him for the rest of their lives.
In response to his passing, thousands of fans have been gathering at the Hogwarts Castle at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and raising their wands up in memory of the beloved actor who gave so much to the legacy of the Wizarding World. Since Robbie Coltrane’s passing, the Wizarding World has adorned Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure and Hagrid’s Hut with flowers in honor of his memory.
Robbie believed in the immortality of his beloved character, Hagrid, and with that character, he’ll live on. In the 20th anniversary celebration of the films, Return to Hogwarts, he discussed the legacy the movies will leave for generations to come and how he’ll “not be here sadly, but Hagrid will.” In loving memory of this gentle soul, raise your wands up tonight for Robbie and the role that he’ll always be remembered for.
“It’s not Hogwarts without you,” Hagrid, but we’ll continue on because of you. Thank you for making my childhood that much more magical.
Rest in peace, Robbie.