|“||Go? I think not. My sons and daughters do not harm Hagrid upon my command, but I cannot deny them fresh meat when it wanders so willingly into our midst. Goodbye, friend of Hagrid.||„|
Aragog is a minor antagonist in the Harry Potter franchise. He served as a minor antagonist in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and a posthumous character in Harry Potter and the The Half-Blood Prince. He is an Acromantula, a giant spider that belonged to Rubeus Hagrid.
Aragog was acquired as an egg by a young Rubeus Hagrid while he was still a student at Hogwarts, in 1943. Due to the fact that Acromantula eggs are a Class of Non-Tradeable Material and Acromantulas themselves are dangerous creatures with a taste for flesh, Hagrid hid him in a cupboard in the school dungeons and fed him scraps so that nobody would find out about his most unusual pet. At the time he was said to be "the size of a Pekingese".
Somehow, Tom Marvolo Riddle found out about Aragog and confronted Hagrid about him. It was at the height of the school's hysteria during the attacks by Slytherin's Basilisk, and after the death of Moaning Myrtle, most of the school governors were ready to close Hogwarts. Tom was ready to prevent this and accused Hagrid of being Slytherin's heir, thus responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets and the subsequent attacks by the monster it housed. Hagrid, desperate to save Aragog, helped him escape to the Forbidden Forest before Tom could capture him, an act that resulted in Hagrid's expulsion from Hogwarts and the loss of his wand. It was only through Dumbledore's timely intervention that allowed Hagrid to stay at Hogwarts in the position of the Gamekeeper, giving him the freedom to visit Aragog whenever he wanted.
Some time after Aragog settled into the Forbidden Forest, Hagrid acquired another Acromantula, Mosag, and gave her to Aragog as a mate. Together, they had hundreds of sons and daughters, so many that they single-handedly established an Acromantula colony in the forest. Mosag died some years later, and Aragog became blind.
Due to all the help that Hagrid provided over the years, Aragog became very fond of him and indebted to his kindness. In turn, he ordered his large brood to never attack Hagrid as a form of gratitude for keeping him safe and helping him to settle down.
The Chamber of Secrets is opened again
After Hogwarts descended into panic once more after a slew of petrified students, Hagrid indirectly told Harry Potter and Ron Weasley to "follow the spiders" while conversing with the then Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge. Braving the treacherous conditions of the Forbidden Forest and Ron's severe arachnophobia, both managed to find Aragog after they were captured by his children and were brought to their domed web deep inside the forest. There, they learned of the reason for Hagrid's expulsion from Hogwarts and his history with Aragog. Additionally, they learned that Aragog was framed for the attacks, as the creature responsible possessed such a terrifying ability and singular viciousness that all spiders (including Acromantulas) fear it, and refuses to give the creature's name.
Harry and Ron thanked Aragog for the valuable information he shared with them and attempted to leave, only to be stopped by Aragog. He stated that while he forbade his children from attacking Hagrid specifically, that protection did not extend to Hagrid's friends; to do so would be to deny his family fresh meat. Harry and Ron barely escaped the onslaught of the giant spiders before the Weasley's flying Ford Anglia, previously thought to have been lost forever and now living feral in the woods, came to their rescue.
Later Years and Death
Aragog contracted a mysterious illness over the summer of 1996 that put him into a period of steady decline. Despite Hagrid's best efforts to cure him and keep him well fed with meals of grubs, Aragog succumbed to his disease and died the following year on the 20th of April. Hagrid managed to tow his body out of the forest and onto the grounds of the school before his restless family could eat him (as it is a custom for Acromantulas to devour the bodies of deceased family members). He held a funeral for Aragog, which was attended by Harry Potter and Professor Slughorn, the latter attending because he was only interested in acquiring some valuable and rare Acromantula venom to sell. After sharing bizarre statements of condolences, Hagrid buried Aragog in a large pit dug near his house and proceeded to mourn his death by getting drunk with Professor Slughorn.
At the time of his death, Aragog was described as being close to the size of a small elephant.
Aragog is described as a massive, dark, hairy brown/black Acromantula with the ability to communicate with humans. His size dwarfed that of his offspring and he possessed eight eyes that were milky white and totally blind, possibly due to his advanced age.
Aragog was a regal and imposing creature who held a deep respect for Hagrid, since he was raised by him since infancy in the relative seclusion of the school dungeons. Out of gratitude, he prohibited his children from attempting to eat Hagrid, giving him all of the freedom to visit him and his family in the forest, visits that Aragog greatly enjoyed. Such was the respect that Aragog commanded over his prodigious family that through his orders alone he was able to keep Hagrid safe. This loyalty did not extend to Hagrid's friends, as Aragog stated it would've made him a bad parent to prevent his spawn from enjoying fresh meat. While revealing him as a rather caring and concerned parent/patriarch, it also made him rather callous and indifferent when it came to regarding the lives of other living beings; it was always his family and Hagrid above all.
He exhibited a preference for flesh and expressed no troubled thoughts over eating other highly intelligent, sentient beings like him. Anyone and anything besides Hagrid was simply food to him. However, he personally never attacked a human in his life, and restrained his instincts to do so out of respect for Hagrid.
Like all Acromantulas, he greatly feared Basilisks and wouldn't even dare to name or even mention Slytherin's Basilisk.
- His name is derived from the words "arachnid" and "Gog/Magog (Biblical names)." The latter half of his name may also be from the Greek "agog," meaning leader, further emphasizing his role as the patriarch of the Acromantula colony. This is not entirely implausible, given that author J.K. Rowling studied and taught languages and used her knowledge of them as the basis for the etymology of the series' spells and character names.
- Despite his species' name being based on tarantulas, in the films, he and his family closely resemble wolf spiders.
- Similar to how the wizarding community was terrified of saying Voldemort's name and used euphemisms to describe him, Aragog and his children were deeply afraid of even speaking about the Basilisk, and eschewed its mention in all conversation altogether.
- A major issue in how he was framed for the attacks on students and the death of Moaning Myrtle was that school governors and the Ministry of Magic readily took Tom Riddle's word for Aragog's guilt, when it's common knowledge that the only creature to cause death by petrification is the Basilisk. This could have happened due to the school officials' desperation to find someone to pin the blame for the attacks on and stop them, or even due to their unwillingness to side with Hagrid due to prejudice against a half-giant student or a dangerous creature that had been smuggled into the school.
- In 2017, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter franchise, arachnologists Anton A. Nadolny and Alireza Zamani named a new species of Iranian wolf spiders (Lycosidae) after Aragog, as Lycosa aragogi Nadolny & Zamani, 2017. The single specimen was collected on April 26, 2016, almost 19 years to the day after Aragog died (April 20, 1997 in the world of the books), according to the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling.
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