In addition to the usual use Owls are put to, delivering mail, 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 after receiving Hedwig as a gift[src]
It was Rubeus Hagrid, while helping Harry Potter purchase his school supplies, who bought Hedwig as a birthday present for Harry in Diagon Alley. Harry was obviously delighted with his new pet and was very grateful to Hagrid. This was the first birthday present Harry had ever received, as the Dursleys never celebrated his birthday. He very quickly grew attached to her.
Harry Potter's pet
Harry decided on the name Hedwig after seeing it 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.
Throughout her life, Hedwig fulfilled the traditional owl's function of delivering mail for Harry, but was also a loyal and affectionate companion; her usual way of showing affection was to gently nibble his 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 summer holidays.
Hedwig was resourceful and intelligent. She once flew to France to deliver Hermione's thirteenth birthday present from Harry while the former was on holiday there with her parents. During Hedwig's journey, Harry relocated to the Leaky Cauldron, having stormed out of Privet Drive after a particularly bad argument. Despite not being in contact with Harry, Hedwig did not return to Privet Drive, but went directly to the Leaky Cauldron, arriving five minutes after him, according to Cauldron's landlord, Tom. Further evidence of Hedwig's resourcefulness is found in the fact that she didn't need a specific address to deliver messages, a name alone was sufficient.
Hedwig was a proud and dignified owl. She responded to 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 a disdainful of the hyperactive behaviour of Ron Weasley's pet owl Pigwidgeon.
In the summer of 1992, in the holidays between Harry's first and second year at Hogwarts, while staying at the Dursleys, Vernon 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". This caused Hedwig to grow bored and frustrated, a feeling Harry mirrored. Harry felt forgotten by his friends, and mused that Hedwig was the only proof he had that the wizarding world was real. When the Weasley twins, Fred and George, arrived to rescue Harry from Privet Drive in the flying Ford Anglia, Hedwig flew behind the car all the way to the Burrow.
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, possibly dismissing it it entirely after meeting Sirius Black and gaining leverage over the Dursleys.
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.
Battle of the Seven Potters and death
Hedwig was killed in 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. 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 side car containing Hedwig's body in an effort to slow down the pursuing Death Eaters.
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".
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 expresses her displeasure at Harry's treatment of her[src]
Hedwig was very loyal to Harry and frequently displayed affection for him by nipping him gently. She sometimes fell out with her master, but they always made up with each other before long. 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.
Hedwig was a dignified and proud creature and was disapproving of less mature owls such as Pigwidgeon. Hedwig would also make a lot of noise if she was locked in her cage for too long. Like most owls, Hedwig was a keen hunter and when possible, was allowed to fly outside free and catch food for herself, such as frogs. She would also eat Eeylops Premium Owl Treats.
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 in October 16th every year since she was canonised in 1267.
Behind the scenes
- A Hedwig plush is available for purchase at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- In the films, Hedwig is played by Gizmo, and his main stunt replacements, Ook and Sprout. Further owls were Kasper, Swoops, Oh Oh, Elmo and Bandit.
- Since the owls who played Hedwig were all male, her appearance in the movies is that of a male snowy owl, not a female one. A female would have much more dark spots (see image at right). The choice of using male owls was because they are smaller and therefore easier for young actors to handle.
- Ook was the first cast member to be chosen for a role in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- The death of Hedwig symbolised Harry's loss of innocence as he came of age.
- J. K. Rowling originally intended to make Hedwig open Harry's Golden Snitch in Deathly Hallows.
- "Hedwig's Theme" is the musical leitmotif associated with Hedwig. Composed by John Williams, it is considered by many to be the Main Theme of the Harry Potter films and is featured in some form or another in many other tracks throughout the franchise.
- J. K. Rowling considered snowy owls to be "the most beautiful owl of all," ergo her choice in Hedwig's colour.
- On 17 August, 2009, The Telegraph reports that a new series of mysterious crop-circles (patterns cut in farmers fields) have appeared on that summer in fields in Wiltshire, and the most recent is the 400 foot pattern, they wrote it as a tribute to the late Hedwig from the Harry Potter series.
- In the the first part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hedwig dies when she tries to protect Harry and Hagrid from the Death Eater's attacks, being hit with a killing curse and her lifeless body spiralled down to the ground and all Harry could do was watch in grief. Hedwig was allowed to fly free behind Harry during the sequence, and her attempt to protect Harry and Hagrid was key in allowing the Death Eaters to identify him as the real Harry Potter.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry arrives at the Leaky Cauldron Tom the barman refers to Hedwig as 'he'.
- In the Harry Potter novels, J. K. Rowling writes that Hedwig hoots, but, in real life, snowy owls actually bark. This fact was pointed out to J. K. Rowling after the publishing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. She admitted her mistake, but decided to leave Hedwig's vocalisation as a hoot in the latter books for continuity.
- Hedwig appears as a playable character in the console versions of the Prisoner of Azkaban video game.
- A deleted scene in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets shows Harry asking Hedwig "Who am I, Hedwig? What am I?" after he learns that he is able to speak Parseltongue.
- The site Mugglenet.com released a book titled MuggleNet.com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End? In the book, they gave odds as to which characters would live and which would be killed off, but did not include odds for Hedwig. After the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, they posted the results of the odds on their website, and also listed Hedwig with 1/1000 and the note "Just kidding."
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Listed during credits)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Listed during credits)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Creator: Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- LEGO Dimensions
Notes and references
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
- ↑ Snowy owl at Wikipedia
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 5 (The Order of the Phoenix)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 3 (The Invitation)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 3 (The Advance Guard)
- ↑ http://pagannames.witchipedia.com/hedvig
- ↑ Meet Gary Gero, Animal Trainer for Two Harry Potter Movies
- ↑ First Movie Trivia
- ↑ Portuguese language Wikipedia
- ↑ Bloomsbury Live Chat
- ↑ "Hedwig: Owl of a Different Fate?" on the Harry, A History site
- ↑ Who Cast the Owl Crop Circle Spell?
- ↑ Movie-Censorship.com - Comparison - Theatrical Version / Ultimate Edition - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Deathly Hallows Scorecard- Mugglenetdead link, 2017-07-12