Why Hedwig Was Killed Off In Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

The Harry Potter books and movies saw the deaths of many characters, both good and dark, and one of the most heartbreaking deaths was that of Hedwig, Harry’s eternally loyal owl, and there’s a reason why she had to die in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In 1997, J.K. Rowling shared her Wizarding World with readers in her debut novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first entry in what would become a series of seven novels and a huge pop culture phenomenon that continues to have a solid fanbase.

The Harry Potter series tells the story of the title character, best known in the Wizarding World as “The Boy Who Lived” as he survived the killing curse cast at him by Lord Voldemort, the darkest wizard of all who had dangerous plans for both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds, and wanted revenge against Harry. The Harry Potter novels were so successful that it didn’t take long for Hollywood to set eyes on it, bringing the series to the big screen in a saga released between 2001 and 2011 (with the final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, divided into two movies). The movies allowed fans to have a clearer image of the characters and their personalities, which also allowed them to grow attached to them and some minor characters, as happened with Hedwig.

Related: How Harry Potter's Final Battle Is Different In The Books

Hedwig was Harry Potter’s snowy owl and a birthday gift from Hagrid. Like any other owl in the Wizarding World, Hedwig delivered mail to Harry but also served as his close and loyal companion, and was his only friend during his time at 4 Privet Drive. The bond between Harry and Hedwig was so strong that she even accompanied him during the Battle of the Seven Potters, and died when struck by the killing curse – in the book, she was in her cage, while in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, she flew directly at the face of a Death Eater to protect Harry and was then struck. In both versions, Hedwig’s death was heartbreaking, but there was a good reason for her to die.

Over the years, Rowling has shared some secrets about the Harry Potter saga and answered various fan questions, and she once spoke about Hedwig’s death and why it happened. According to her, Hedwig’s death symbolizes the loss of Harry’s innocence as he came of age, so it was very fitting for her to die during the Battle of the Seven Potters in the most obscure book of the series. In-universe, however, fans have come up with different interpretations of why Hedwig had to die, especially in the movie, as the scene happened differently in the book and the movie. A Tumblr user (in a now-deleted post) suggested that the one who killed Hedwig was Severus Snape, and he did so in order to keep Harry safe. With seven Harry Potters indistinguishable from each other, and Hedwig obviously not aware of the plan, she stayed close to the real Harry to protect him, and that would have given away who the real one was, allowing the Death Eaters to kill him.

Readers and viewers saw Harry Potter go from a kid who just learned he’s a wizard and finally found a family to a young man brave enough to put himself on the danger line to save his two worlds and the people he loved, and while Hedwig’s death might seem like just a heartbreaking moment, it was a lot more than that as that was the end of Harry’s childhood and innocence, being a tragic turning point in his story.

Next: Harry Potter: Why Voldemort Didn’t Use Avada Kedavra On Snape

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