Aragog, King of arachnids
“Terribly misunderstood creatures spiders are. It’s the eyes I reckon, they unnerve most folk.” -Hagrid (from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the film) “‘It’s not ev’ryone appreciates how beau’iful they are,’ said Hagrid to Slughorn’s back, tears leaking from the corners of his crinkled eyes. ‘I didn’ know yeh were int’rested in creatures like Aragog, Horace.'” -Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or watched the movies knows and loves Hagrid, the half-giant groundskeeper at Hogwarts. He loves all animals, and has a penchant for the dangerous ones. He can’t seem to find any fault in them, be they a giant three-headed dog, a feisty baby dragon or a giant spider. Aragog the acromantula was Hagrid’s first monstrous pet. He raised him from an egg while he was a third year student at Hogwarts, keeping him hidden in books and such. Unfortunately, that same year a monster had been released in the school by the Heir of Slytherin, Tom Riddle. Riddle found out about Hagrid and Aragog and framed them for the attacks. Hagrid managed to get Aragog to the safety of the Forbidden Forest, where he grew to an enormous size and had many children. Hagrid was expelled, but Dumbledore allowed him to stay on as gamekeeper. Throughout the years, Hagrid paid frequent visits to his friend Aragog, who commanded all the other spiders to leave Hagrid alone.
It wasn’t until Harry’s second year at Hogwarts that anyone besides Hagrid found out about Aragog. The monster that Riddle had released so many years ago was loose again and attacking students and Hagrid had been hauled off to Azkaban, leaving Harry and Ron with the cryptic clue that they should “follow the spiders”. The spiders led Harry and Ron to Aragog’s hollow, where he explained about his relationship to Hagrid. But even the kindness of Hagrid was not enough to overcome the acromantula’s nature and Aragog proceeded to tell his children to eat the two boys. Only the fortuitous arrival of an enchanted car prevented Harry and Ron from becoming spider food.
Later, in Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, he received a tear-stained note from Hagrid telling him that Aragog had died and requesting that he, Ron and Hermione come to the burial. Ron and Hermione refuse, but Harry, under the influence of Felix Felicis, the lucky potion goes, running into Professor Slughorn along the way. Professor Slughorn comes along, because acromantula venom is extremely rare and valuable. At the graveside, Hagrid tells them weepily all about how wonderful Aragog was, and Harry doesn’t have the heart to tell him about his experience with the spider. Hagrid notes that they have to bury Aragog by the pumpkin patch because the other spiders won’t let him come near their hollow. It was only because of Aragog that they didn’t attack him. They bury Aragog and Harry and Slughorn stay with Hagrid to comfort him.
On the one hand, Hagrid’s friendship with Aragog shows that even the most despicable monster is not immune to friendship. However, Aragog’s interaction with Harry and Ron shows that while Aragog was friendly to Hagrid, he was still a monster. These are both important things to take note of. The first in our relationships with other people: there isn’t a person who is so horrible that they will not respond to kindness. The second in our personal lives: no matter how nice and friendly evil seems, it is still evil, and it will still destroy you when given a chance.
That’s my take on Aragog, King of arachnids.