The Ousting of Rubeus Hagrid was the forced removal of Professor Rubeus Hagrid from his teaching post at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Occurring on the night of 17th June, 1996, it involved a tussle between Hagrid and six Ministry officials when they attempted to arrest him. Hagrid put up a fight and managed to escape, but his friend and colleague Minerva McGonagall was badly inured in the course of the attack when she attempted to come to his aid.[1]


Background information

In June 1995, Harry Potter came back from the final task of the Triwizard Tournament carrying the body of fellow champion Cedric Diggory, claiming to have witnessed Cedric's murder at the hands of Lord Voldemort, the notorious Dark Wizard who he had vanquished as a baby fourteen years prior and who was thought to be dead by the wizarding world at large. Incumbent Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, refused to believe either Harry or Albus Dumbledore (who had long believed that Voldemort was certain to return at some point) and instead devoted his time and effort to slandering the two viciously, as he believed it was some insidious plot to usurp him. A Dementor attack on Harry and his cousin in the Muggle suburb of Little Whinging nearly got Harry expelled from Hogwarts when he violated the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery by casting a Patronus Charm in self-defence, but he was found not guilty by the court thanks to Dumbledore. Fudge also used his influence to force Hogwarts to accept a Ministry-appointed teacher, his Senior Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge, in order to gain control of the school and limit Dumbledore's power there. Umbridge was soon also appointed the position of Hogwarts High Inquisitor to inspect and remove teachers that were too close or loyal to Dumbledore. This included Hagrid, who had been away for several months on a secret mission for Dumbledore and which had made Umbridge suspicious. Hagrid's half-giant status also meant that Umbridge was highly prejudiced against him, viewing him as a "filthy half-breed", and so she became quite determined to get rid of him.

Umbridge's biassed and insulting inspections of his classes made Hagrid rather nervous and he was soon placed on probation. Though Dumbledore was able to prevent him from being sacked outright, he was forced to flee the school when an illegal student organisation, Dumbledore's Army, was discovered and treated as proof of his supposed treason and Umbridge was named Headmistress in his place. Hagrid's case was not helped by the open rebellion of the school against Umbridge which had one student, Lee Jordan, causing havoc for her by placing Nifflers in her office to wreck the place, one of which also tried to bite a chunk out of her as well. Since he was the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, she immediately suspected it was him.

The Skirmish

On the night of Wednesday 17th June, 1996, Umbridge and a delegation of five Aurors, including John Dawlish, set out of the castle to arrest Hagrid. The plan was to do so at midnight so as to avoid a scene like her previous attempt to remove Divination teacher Sybill Trelawney; however, at that moment the fifth year students happened to be taking their Astronomy exam in the Astronomy Tower, including Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry noticed them leaving the castle and heading for Hagrid's cabin but was too busy with his exam to pay as much attention as he would have wanted. As he was on the point of correcting a mistake he had made in his star chart, there was an extremely loud bang from the grounds that drew everybody's attention, several of whom poked themselves in the eye with their telescopes in their haste to see what was going on.[1]

Down below, Hagrid's front door had burst open so that the area was lit up and he was clearly visible, a massive figure roaring and brandishing his fists at his attackers, who were firing Stunning Spells at him in an attempt to subdue him. As the students watched in horror, Hagrid continued to fight, his giant blood causing the Stunning Spells to simply bounce off him. As the fighting intensified, Dawlish cried out for Hagrid to be reasonable, who responded that they wouldn't be taking him like this. Hagrid's loyal pet boarhound, Fang, also leapt into the fray, leaping repeatedly at the wizards attacking his master until he was hit by a Stunner and fell. Seeing his beloved dog hurt, Hagrid gave a loud howl of fury, lifted the culprit bodily from the ground and threw him; the unfortunate man flew what looked like ten feet and did not get up again. All of Harry's friends looked quite frightened at seeing Hagrid in such a temper, as he was usually quite gentle. Then Parvati Patil, who had been leaning over the parapet of the tower to get a better look, shouted and pointed to the foot of the castle where the front door had opened and a single figure was running towards the commotion.[1]

At this point the proctor of the exam, Professor Tofty, pointed out that there were only sixteen minutes left in the exam, a pointless gesture considering what was going on below. All attention was on the person sprinting towards the battle, who began shouting as she drew nearer; it was Professor McGonagall, who had presumably seen or heard what was happening and was now demanding that they leave Hagrid alone as they had no grounds to attack him. Then something happened which made Paravti, Hermione and Lavender Brown all scream in horror; just as McGonagall reached the halfway point between cabin and castle, the figures around the cabin turned their attention to her and shot no fewer than four Stunners straight at her without warning, provocation or even the chance for her to draw her wand. All four spells hit her at the same moment; for a moment, she glowed an eerie red, then lifted right off her feet, struck the ground hard on her back and didn't move again. Professor Tofty, finally forgetting about the exam, exclaimed loudly in horror and outrage at this dishonourable and cowardly move but not nearly as much as Hagrid. Witnessing his friend and fellow professor struck down with such callous cowardice, Hagrid bellowed at the top of his voice "COWARDS! RUDDY COWARDS!" (causing several lights to flicker back on inside the castle as people awoke) then took two massive swipes at his closest attackers, knocking them out cold at once. Then Hagrid doubled over (making Harry think he had finally been overcome by a spell) but got back up seconds later with the unconscious Fang slung over his shoulder. Umbridge, the only one standing apart from one other man, screamed for her remaining helper to press the attack. Unsurprisingly, her last goon was highly reluctant to go within Hagrid's reach, instead backing away so fast he tripped over one of his unconscious colleagues and fell over. Taking advantage of this, Hagrid made a break for the distant boundary gates, dodging one last Stunning Spell that Umbridge sent after him before he disappeared from view.[1]



Professor McGonagall, still in convalescence, shortly after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries

The attack on Hagrid caused much outrage within the staff and student body, particularly in Gryffindor since they were the house who got on best with Hagrid, though Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were also angered at the cowardice and underhanded methods employed. Gryffindor were also further outraged at the injuring of Professor McGonagall, as she was their Head of House; despite the convictions of students like Alicia Spinnet that Madam Pomfrey would be able to heal her, the extent of her injuries was too severe for the matron to handle and she was transferred to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for professional treatment; indeed, it was considered a miracle she wasn't killed considering her age. The attack also had several other effects; McGonagall, as Deputy Headmistress, had been the only obstacle to Umbridge seizing complete control of Hogwarts, which she immediately did. The Order of the Phoenix also lost two more of its members who were stationed at the school; the only one left was Severus Snape.[1]


Notes and references

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