Hedwig was Harry Potter's pet Snowy Owl and magical familiar. She was a gift to Harry on his eleventh birthday from Rubeus Hagrid, in 1991. As an eleventh birthday present, Hedwig was an important companion as Harry was initiated into the wizarding world.
Harry decided upon the name "Hedwig" after finding the name in A History of Magic. Throughout her life, Hedwig provided Harry with message and package carriage and loyal companionship. She loved Harry dearly and loyally obeyed his every command. She was extremely intelligent and had great self-worth. She held herself above other owls, including Ron Weasley's owl, Pigwidgeon. She hunted mice, frogs and rats.
Snowy Owls are not native to Great Britain. This caused some hardship for Hedwig, as she could not always perform tasks for Harry. Specifically, when Sirius Black was in hiding from the Ministry of Magic in 1994, Harry could not send Hedwig to deliver messages to him, as onlookers would remember a Snowy Owl going to and from a specific location.
While living with the Dursleys, Hedwig was locked in her cage for months at a time to prevent Harry from sending messages to his "freaky little friends." As a result, in the summer holidays she became very frustrated and bored. When Harry was rescued by the Weasley brothers in 1992, Hedwig is freed from her cage and flew along following behind the Flying Ford Anglia all the way to The Burrow.
In 1997, Hedwig was killed during the Battle over Little Whinging. While in the air someone cast the Killing Curse, which was meant for Hagrid, but which struck Hedwig, which caused her and her cage to crash to the ground. Harry suffered grief at her loss. Hagrid consoled him by asserting Hedwig lived "a great old life."
Behind the scenes
- In the films, Hedwig is played by male owls, as male Snowy Owls are whiter.