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Harry Potter Wiki

"Very smart owl you've got there."
Tom noting Hedwig's impressive intelligence[src]

Hedwig (d. 27 July 1997) was Harry Potter's pet female snowy owl. Hedwig was an eleventh birthday gift from Rubeus Hagrid to Harry. Hagrid purchased her at the Eeylops Owl Emporium.[2]

In addition to delivering mail, the typical use owls are put to, Hedwig was also a close companion to Harry. She remained one of his closest friends right up to her death during the Battle of the Seven Potters at the height of the Second Wizarding War.



"Harry now carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with her head under her wing."
— Harry Potter having brought Hedwig[src]

Hagrid holding Hedwig's cage

On 31 July 1991, Hedwig was kept by the Eeylops Owl Emporium, until she was purchased by Rubeus Hagrid while he was helping Harry Potter get school supplies in Diagon Alley. She was a birthday present for Harry when he turned eleven. Harry was obviously delighted with his new pet and was very grateful to Hagrid. Harry and Hagrid purchased her from Eyelops Owl Emporium together. This was the first birthday present Harry had ever received, as the Dursleys never celebrated his birthday. He very quickly grew attached to her.[2]

Harry decided to name her Hedwig after an individual he saw mentioned in A History of Magic. In the days before arriving for his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry avoided the Dursleys by staying in his room. Hedwig stayed with him during this time, his only friend at 4 Privet Drive.[6]

Hogwarts years[]

Giphy (17)

Hedwig with Harry during his time at Hogwarts

Throughout her life, she fulfilled the traditional function of an owl by delivering mail for Harry. She spent her years at Hogwarts fulfilling her duties by getting and sending letters to many individuals. In 1991, Harry's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she would usually fly in during breakfast to nibble Harry's ear affectionately and have a bit of toast before going off to sleep in the owlery with the other school owls. The first letter she ever gave him was from Rubeus Hagrid inviting Harry to have a cup of tea and hear all about his first week at school.[7] At one point, she was tasked with sending Charles Weasley in Romania a letter asking if he can take Norberta the Norwegian Ridgeback, Hagrid's temporary pet dragon, to Romania.[8]

In the summer of 1992, they stayed at the Dursleys' in Privet Drive again. Vernon Dursley forced Harry to lock Hedwig in her cage, sometimes for weeks at a time to prevent Harry from sending messages to his "freaky little friends". Hedwig started to grow bored and frustrated, a feeling Harry mirrored. He felt forgotten by his friends and mused that Hedwig was the only proof he had that the wizarding world was real.[9]

Hedwig, Seamus, Ron and Harry Potter (1991)

Hedwig delivering mail to Harry during breakfast

When Ron, Fred and George Weasley, arrived to rescue Harry from Privet Drive in the Flying Ford Anglia, he nearly ended up forgetting Hedwig when he was getting into the car. She noticed and hooted, waking Vernon up. Harry had to run to get her and put her in the car too. He later let her out, and Hedwig flew behind the car all the way to The Burrow.[10] In subsequent summers, Hedwig's frustrated hooting convinced the Dursleys to allow Harry to let her out to fly, on the condition that he didn't use her to send messages. However, Harry sometimes ignored this instruction.

HarryPotterInBedWithWandMaraudersMapAndHedwig Still

Hedwig in the Gryffindor boys' dormitory for third-years

In the summer of 1993, she took longer to get back to Privet Drive because she decided to fly to Hermione to get her birthday gift for Harry. On her way back, she had to help Errol get Ron's gift to Harry when he collapsed. She later went back to Hermione to deliver Harry's letter to her, and in her absence he abandoned Privet Drive and went to the Leaky Cauldron. Hedwig was very intelligent, and knew the place she needed to go. She arrived at the pub a few minutes earlier than he did.

In the build-up to the Second Wizarding War, Hedwig was constrained in what she could do for Harry, due to the fact that snowy owls aren't native to Britain, which made her conspicuous; this could potentially raise suspicions if onlookers witnessed a snowy owl always going back and forth from a specific location. A specific instance of this was during Sirius Black's evasion of the Ministry of Magic in 1994. Hedwig was keen to deliver messages, but Harry refused to put her at risk and this led to a minor falling out between them.

Hedwig 1994

Hedwig preparing to deliver a message to Sirius Black in 1994

In 1995, Hedwig was attacked by associates of Dolores Umbridge in an effort to intercept Harry's mail, requiring Dobby and Professor Grubby-Plank to nurse her back to health.[11] Lavender Brown once admitted to Parvati Patil that she always loved Hedwig and thought her so beautiful.[12] In 1996, Hedwig brought Harry a brand new copy of Advanced Potion-Making from Flourish and Blotts, which was intended as a replacement for the Half-blood prince's copy, but he did not use it nonetheless.[13]


"No... NO! Hedwig... Hedwig..."
— Hedwig's death causing Harry much grief[src]

Hedwig was killed on 27 July 1997 during the Battle of the Seven Potters. While aboard Hagrid's flying motorcycle with Harry she was struck by a Killing Curse, possibly aimed at Hagrid or Harry. She was killed instantly and fell like a rag doll to the bottom of her cage. To add insult to the injury of losing his much-loved companion, Harry was then forced to destroy the sidecar containing Hedwig's body in an effort to slow down the pursuing Death Eaters.[1]

Harry was devastated by the loss of Hedwig. His friends were naturally deeply sympathetic and tried to comfort him. Hagrid consoled him by saying that Hedwig had lived "a great old life".[14]


Following Hedwig's death, Harry continued to keep a snowy owl to honour her.[15]

During the Calamity which happened across the wizarding world in the 2010s, a mysterious Foundable of Hedwig's memory appeared throughout the world, which was trapped in a whirlwind Confoundable. Volunteer wizards and witches of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force could free Hedwig by casting the counter-charm meteolojinx recanto to cancel the effects of the wind and have Hedwig's memory return to its rightful place.[16]

Personality and traits[]

"Hedwig's large round amber eyes gazed reproachfully at him over the dead frog clamped in her beak... In addition to every other miserable feeling, he now felt guilty that he'd been irritable with Hedwig; she was the only friend at he had at number four, Privet Drive."
— Hedwig's displeasure at Harry's treatment of her[src]

Hedwig was a very intelligent, loyal and affectionate companion, and tended to show her affection by gently nibbling Harry's ears or fingers. She also demonstrated that she was fully capable of understanding his wishes and would faithfully follow his orders, such as when he instructed her to find and peck Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger to prompt them to write to him during the summer holidays. Hedwig obeyed Harry's requests and even pecked Ron and Hermione on Harry's orders, in order to get them to write back to him.[17]

Hedwig was a dignified and proud creature and was disapproving of less mature owls such as Ron Weasley's Pigwidgeon.[18] She responded to the hyperactive behaviour she considered inappropriate by staring or hooting reproachfully. She would sometimes show her displeasure physically, turning her back on Harry (showing him her tail), cuffing him with a wing, or even nipping him a little harder than usual if she was offended.

In particular, she seemed disdainful when Harry had to stop using her to deliver messages to Sirius Black to avoid suspicion, which briefly affected their friendship. Hedwig would also make a lot of noise if she was locked in her cage for too long.[19]

Hedwig was a very intelligent owl. When Ron, Fred and George Weasley came to rescue Harry from the Dursleys in their Flying Ford Anglia, she was still and silent so as to not wake up the Dursleys. She also screeched loudly to alert Harry when he almost forgot to take her with him into the car.[10] Her intelligence also once made her decide to fly to France to get Hermione's thirteenth birthday present to Harry while she was on holiday. Harry relocated to the Leaky Cauldron during Hedwig's journey and she knew. According to Tom the landlord, she arrived five minutes before Harry did.

Further evidence of Hedwig's resourcefulness was found in the fact that she didn't need a specific address to deliver messages - a name alone was sufficient. Hedwig was a keen hunter too and when possible, was allowed to fly outside free and catch food for herself, such as frogs.[20] She would also eat Eeylops Premium Owl Treats.


J. K. Rowling found the name St Hedwig in a book of medieval saints.[21] It's derived from Hedvig - a Scandinavian name meaning female warrior or battle.[22] There are two female saints named Hedwig:

  • Saint Hedwig of Andechs (1174–1243), Duchess of Silesia, who is the patron saint of orphans.
  • Saint Hedwig (Jadwiga) (1373–1399), Queen (officially King) of Poland. A St Hedwig's Day dedicated to Hedwig of Andechs has been observed on October 16th every year since she was canonised in 1267.

Behind the scenes[]

"I made a few elementary mistakes when it came to my depiction of Hedwig. Firstly, Snowy Owls are diurnal (ie, they fly by day). Secondly, they are virtually mute, so Hedwig’s frequent hoots and chirrups of approval and comfort should be taken as signs of her magically enhanced abilities. Thirdly, as countless well-meaning owl-lovers and experts kept writing to me in the early days, owls do not eat bacon (Hedwig enjoys a bit of bacon rind when she delivers post at breakfast)."
— J.K. Rowling[src]
Hedwig Plush

Hedwig plush from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Death Eater kills Hedwig

Hedwig's death in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1


The Harry Potter Wiki has 233 images related to Hedwig.

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 3 (The Invitation) - "The first thing he saw was that Hedwig was back. She was sitting in her cage, staring at Harry with her enormous amber eyes, and clicking her beak in the way that meant she was annoyed about something."
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 3 (The Advance Guard) - "Hedwig's large round amber eyes gazed reproachfully at him over the dead frog clamped in her beak."
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 3 (Will and Won't) - "Her amber eyes surveyed the room imperiously, her head swivelling occasionally to gaze at her snoring master."
  6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 1 (The Worst Birthday)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 3 (The Burrow)
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione's Helping Hand)
  14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)
  15. https://stories.jkrowling.com/harrypotter/#question-6
  16. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 5 (The Order of the Phoenix)
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 3 (The Invitation)
  19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
  20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 3 (The Advance Guard)
  21. J.K. Rowling Official Site - F.A.Q. (archived via Wayback Machine)
  22. http://pagannames.witchipedia.com/hedvig
  23. Bloomsbury Live Chat
  24. Meet Gary Gero, Animal Trainer for Two Harry Potter Movies
  25. First Movie Trivia
  26. WP favicon Ook on Portuguese Wikipedia
  27. "Hedwig: Owl of a Different Fate?" on the Harry, A History site
  28. Movie-Censorship.com - Comparison - Theatrical Version / Ultimate Edition - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  29. Who Cast the Owl Crop Circle Spell?
  30. Deathly Hallows Scorecard- Mugglenet (via the Internet Archive)
Diagon Alley North Side

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Known residents, shop owners and employees

Blinkhorn · Belcher · Bufo · Crookshanks (formerly) · Eeylops Owl Emporium female employee · Eeylops Owl Emporium male employee · Florean Fortescue (deceased) · Flourish and Blotts manager · Hedwig (formerly; deceased) · Madam Malkin · Noltie · Madam Potage · Magical Menagerie salesman · Magical Menagerie saleswoman · Milvus Grizedale · Marcus Minucius · Trismus · Tut · Twinkle · Vietch · Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment employee

Owl species
Barn owl · Barred owl · Blakiston's fish owl · Ketupa Blakistoni Doerriesi Seebohm · Boreal owl · Brown Fish owl · Brown owl · Collared Scops Owlet · Eagle owl · Eastern screech owl · Golden owl · Great grey owl · Hawk Owl · Little owl · Long-whiskered owlet · Milky Eagle Owlet · Northern hawk-owl · Pink owl · Red owlet · Scops owl · Screech owl · Short-eared owl · Snowy owl · Spectacled owl · Spot-Bellied Eagle Owlet · Spot-Bellied Owl · Tawny owl
Known owls
Artemis (I) · Artemis (II) · Bartholomew · Astor Bellchant's owl · Bertram · Beryl · Sirius Black's barn owl · Sirius Black's owl · Brodwin · Crackers · Dumpy · Eek · Errol · Farnsworth · Fiddletick · Ominis Gaunt's owl · Gimlet · Glum · Goodwin Kneen's owls · Grey owl · Rubeus Hagrid's owl · Hawk-like owl · Hedwig · Hermes · Hortencia · Jacob's sibling's owl · Draco Malfoy's eagle owl · Mildred · Newt · Owlphonse · Paper-owl · Pigwidgeon · Pollylolly · Poot · Albus Potter's owl · James Potter II's owl · Sebastian Sallow's owl · Scouthibou · Scragg · Temeritus Shanks's owl · Horace Slughorn's owl · Squeak · Toodles · Unidentified 19th-century Hogwarts student's barn owl · Hogwarts school owls · Unidentified Hufflepuff student's snowy owl · Unidentified Muggle-born Hogwarts student's owl · Ivy Warrington's owl · Nigel Wolpert's owl · Igor (owl)
Content Droppings · Famous Stuffed Owls · Howlet's Wing · Owl Airforce · Owl dung fertiliser · Owl Mail Code · Owl Order Service · Owl Postal Service · Owl Racing