Before August 1991
Hedwig (b. before early 1991 - 27 July 1997) was Harry Potter's pet Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). She was a gift to Harry on his eleventh birthday from Rubeus Hagrid, in 1991 and was purchased from Eeylops Owl Emporium. Owls are used by wizards to deliver mail but Hedwig was also an important companion as Harry was initiated into the wizarding world, and continued to be one of his closest companions until her death in the Battle of the Seven Potters in 1997.
Harry Potter's pet
Hagrid bought Hedwig as a birthday present for Harry when they went to Diagon Alley together. Harry decided on her name after finding it in A History of Magic. Before attending his first year at Hogwarts, Harry routinely stayed in his bedroom with Hedwig, away from the Dursleys, since she was the only living creature in the house that did not hate him. Throughout her life, Hedwig provided Harry with mail service, as well as loyal companionship. Hedwig often showed Harry her affection by gently nibbling his ears and fingers, and seemed fully capable of understanding his wishes (as she faithfully followed Harry's orders to peck Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger until they responded to him).
Hedwig was also highly intelligent, as she flew to France completely of her own accord while Hermione was on holiday there with her parents, just to ensure that Harry received a gift from her for his thirteenth birthday, later arriving at the Leaky Cauldron shortly after Harry stormed out of Privet Drive after a particularly bad argument despite the fact that she had been away and allegedly staying with the Weasleys when Harry left the Dursleys; she was also able to deliver letters even though there was no specific address given. Hedwig was a proud creature, and had a habit of staring or hooting "reproachfully," and showing Harry her tail, cuffing him with a wing, or even nipping him a little harder than usual if she was offended by his thoughtless words or actions. She also seemed fairly disdainful of the hyperactive behaviour of Ron Weasley's pet owl, Pigwidgeon.
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, the first holidays after Hogwarts were a frustrating and boring time for her, as much as for Harry. When Harry was rescued by the Weasley brothers in 1992, Hedwig was freed from her cage and flew along following behind the flying Ford Anglia all the way to The Burrow. In 1992 when Harry thought his friends had forgotten him, he mused that Hedwig was the only reason he knew that discovering the wizarding world had not just been a dream. Fortunately, her frustrated hooting during her first year with them convinced the Dursleys to subsequently let Harry let Hedwig out for flights so long as he didn't use her to send messages.
Snowy Owls are not native to Great Britain, and this caused some inconvenience, 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 always going to and from a specific location, prompting a brief disagreement between the two when Hedwig resented being neglected in such a manner. During 1995, she was attacked by associates of Dolores Umbridge when Umbridge tried to intercept Harry's mail, requiring Dobby and Professor Grubby-Plank to nurse her back to health.
Battle of the Seven Potters and death
In 1997, Hedwig was killed during the Battle of the Seven Potters. While in the air, a Death Eater cast the Killing Curse, which was most likely meant for Hagrid, but struck Hedwig instead, killing her instantly. It was said she fell like a rag doll to the bottom of her cage immediately.
To add to his grief, Harry was forced to destroy the side car with Hedwig's body inside to slow down the pursuing Death Eaters. Harry was devastated by the loss, for which all of his friends comforted him. Hagrid consoled him by asserting Hedwig lived "a great old life."
Personality and traitsHedwig 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. She 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.
Behind the scenes
- In the films, Hedwig is played by Gizmo , and his main stunt replacements, Ook and Sprout.
- Ook was the first cast member to be chosen for a role in the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- The death of Hedwig was meant to symbolize 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.
- In reality, there are two female saints named Hedwig. One is Saint Hedwig of Andechs (1174–1243), Duchess of Silesia. The other one is Saint Hedwig (Jadwiga) (1373–1399), 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.
- J. K. Rowling considered Snowy Owls to be "the most beautiful owl of all," ergo her choice in Hedwig's colour.
- In the films, Hedwig is played by male owls, as male Snowy Owls are whiter and also smaller, and therefore easier for young actors to handle.
- 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 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 spiraled 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.
- A Hedwig plush is available for purchase at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- In the film adaption 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 so that there would be continuity through out the series.
- Hedwig appears as a playable character in the console versions of the Prisoner of Azkaban video game.
- 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
- Harry Potter LEGO Sets
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ Snowy Owl at Wikipedia
- ↑ 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
- ↑ The-Leaky-Cauldron.org: St. Hedwig's day
- ↑ Who Cast the Owl Crop Circle Spell?