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Harry Potter fans and cast remember how Robbie Coltrane brought Hagrid to life

Actor Robbie Coltrane died on Friday at the age of 72. Fans and cast members from the Harry Potter series shared remembrances of Coltrane's portrayal of the lovable half-giant Rubeus Hagrid.
Ilya S. Savenok
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Actor Robbie Coltrane died on Friday at the age of 72. Fans and cast members from the Harry Potter series shared remembrances of Coltrane's portrayal of the lovable half-giant Rubeus Hagrid.

Updated October 15, 2022 at 9:28 AM ET

Robbie Coltrane's career began long before the first Harry Potter movie premiered in 2001, but for the generation that grew up with the films and the books, it's hard to separate the Scottish actor from his larger-than-life (at least for muggles) portrayal of Rubeus Hagrid, the official keeper of the keys and grounds at Hogwarts.

Following the news of his death on Friday, fans of the series and Coltrane's fellow actors took to social media to remember the man that brought the loveable half-giant character to life with iconic lines including, "Yer a wizard, Harry."

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, remembered Coltrane for his compassion and the impact he had on her while they were filming.

"His talent was so immense it made sense he played a giant – he could fill ANY space with his brilliance," Watson wrote. "Robbie, if I ever get to be so kind as you were to me on a film set I promise I'll do it in your name and memory. Know how much I adore and admire you. I'll really miss your sweetness, your nicknames, your warmth, your laughs and your hugs. You made us a family. Know you were that to us. There was no better Hagrid. You made it a joy to be Hermione."

Tom Felton, whose character Draco Malfoy was often the rival of Harry Potter, spoke of how Coltrane and Hagrid were more alike in how they cared for others.

"One of my fondest memories of filming Harry Potter was a night shoot on the first film in the forbidden forest. I was 12. Robbie cared & looked after everyone around of him. Effortlessly," Felton wrote on Instagram. "And made them laugh. Effortlessly. He was a big friendly giant on screen but even more so In real life. Love you mate - thank you for everything xx."

Coltrane's Hagrid often brought grins to audiences as he found himself in comical situations with magical creatures. But his caring and nurturing demeanor often made him lovable.

"Hagrid represented the concept of unconditional love. A true friend. Thank you Robbie for bringing this character to life," said a fan on Twitter.

While reflecting on the films for the HBO special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, Coltrane spoke about his beloved character outliving him.

"The legacy of the movies is, I suspect, that my children's generation will show them to their children. So you could be watching it in 50 years' time, easy," Coltrane said. "I'll not be here, sadly, but ... Hagrid will, yes."

As Harry Potter said, "There's no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid" – and there would be no Hagrid without Coltrane.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Wynne Davis is a digital reporter and producer for NPR's All Things Considered.

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