The Significance of Hedwig

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
I was just thinking about what the purpose or significance of Hedwig may be. Why a snowy owl? In the book we see no other white owls mentioned, we even see the point of Hedwig being considered a hinderance (GoF & OotP) because she dtands out so much because of her color. So why would JKR give Harry this owl in particular? Anyone have a meaning of the name?


afraid of my own shadow
I think that Harry and Hedwig are kindred souls, personally.
Harry stands out because of his scar, despite his best efforts to hide it, and everyone knows his name. His name alone can get him in to trouble.
I'm not sure, but i think Hedwig understands Harry, and his desire to fit in. We've seen her get stroppy because Harry can't use her.
Perhaps like Fawkes was to Dumbledore, Hedwig will be to Harry.


I looked up Hedwig the name and came up with this

Quite rarely used in Finland. Old German name Hedwig "female fighter" includes two words meaning battle. The name was popular in the German speaking area all through the middle ages, which was influenced by the well liked St Hedwig, Duchess of Silesia, who was originally Polish princess Jadwiga (died 15.10.1234). The catholic church has celebrated her day October 17th since 1706 and October 16th since 1929. In Finland Hedvig was a queen's name, king Carl Gustav X's wife was Hedvig Eleonoora (died 1715). Hedda is the Nordic version of Hedvig.

I also read that St. Hedwig provided education for orhan children.
I think the saint thing is important.

I also think her color is important. She's a snowy white owl. White usually symbolizes purety and goodness, which is definatly Harry.

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
I like that! thanks Seeker! the "female fighter" part sounds real interesting. We know she can take care of herself, she got away from Umbridge (or whomever tried to get her) in OotP! I wonder what role she may play in the finale?


Time Turners
Harry has an affinity with alot of animals-Hedwig,Fawkes, Fang, Crookshanks,etc.. and let's not forget snakes (Voldemort connection there)-thinking of what you said on another thread SPF, about how Harry has befriended all the different magical creatures:) . Could all of his animal friends play a big role in the demise of Voldemort too? Just a thought....

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
SnarkologyMajor said:
Could all of his animal friends play a big role in the demise of Voldemort too? Just a thought....

You know, handn't thought of that . . . but, YEAH! I like it! Voldemort is only looking at fighting Wizards . . . there could be alot more than that to deal with!


Don't forget Buckbeak who came to Harry's aid when Snape was going at him in HBP.

It seems that a lot of magical creatures may play a role in the end. We learned a lot about them in the Harry books.
I like that idea. It supports the lesson in book 4, that Harry is as strong as the people he surrounds himself with. Being able to have a ramport with animals is a nice peice of Hagrid in him.

It also is a chunk of Dumbledore. Things/people most would have rather washed their hands of, Dumbledore sought to have a relationship with. Not only the outcasts of the wizarding world giants, house elves, were wolves, but children. Not many people like children or are willing to take the time to get to know them. Some people, and Fudge seems like he might be one of them, might treat a child like he has jam hands until 17, so as not to deal with the mistakes, questions, and the need for someone. Dumbledore has filled all unpopular posts.


Staff member
I have seen some pretty wild spec on Hedwig, most about her being an animagus but I think even JKR killed that at one point.
I'm not sure there is more to her than just Harry's loyal pet who delivers some pretty important mail over the books.
I think it was important Harry had an owl considering the amount of clandestine letters he will deliver over the series - so made sense he had his own owl.
Of course, said all that and could be very wrong :D


Time Turners
Does anyone think there is any signigicance to the fact that Harry didn't pick out an owl for himself----Hagrid got her for him while Harry was in Olivander's getting his wand. Seemed like nothing more significant than a kind gesture from Hagrid at the time, but, looking back over the entire series, it's hard to find an event that is significant only to itself......the woman simply doesn't write anything that does not connect in some way to something else, either through backstory or foreshadowing. Anyway, food for thought.....
Last edited:

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
That's a very good point Mr. Bandman. Harry didn't pick Hedwig, Hagrid showed up with her. . . and in another thread somewhere on here we discussed the fact that Harry has been closeley watched by DD. Hedwighas also been known to be gone for long periods of time to "hunt" . . . good time for an animags to stretch their legs instead of their wings I think . . . And of course understandably irritated when Hedwig was locked in her cage all summer . . . What a seemingly innocent way to watch Harry, and what an oportune moment to bring her in. Also noted, At #4 Privit drive Hedwig stays with Harry constantly using the cage . . . at Hogwarts (where Harry is "safe" and can be watched by others more easily) Hedwig stays in the owlry where she if free to come and go as she pleases. Another thing, is that with "Hedwig" delivering Harry's mail, "someone" would also know everythng Harry is writting to others . . . Why DD knew so quickly that he wasn't really needed at the Ministry in SS? Just a few new thoughts!


Staff member
Actually I never considered that much - but you are right - it would be ripe for a 'plant' - as in the fact the bird wasn't random might suggest some 'interference' from the Order ...
But could someone have kept that up for such a long time?
And I haven't really seen any JKR 'clues' concealed to suggest it ... but then again if you aren't looking and all!


Sherbet Lemon
Sometimes I wonder why JKR has never met an intelligent fan who would ask a couple of darn good questions.
Then she comes out and says she is surprised why no one has asked this, or that.
Hedwig has always stood out in my mind ever since I saw movie 1. Yes, movie 1, not book 1. Because Hedwig's actual picture rang a loud bell in my fanatic mind.
Again, my whole agreement here with Hedwig being a animagus may have been for nothing once book 7 comes out, but if you make a list of all the wizards who are in friendly league with Harry, but have not been revealed as to what animagus they could be, you will say........ ahaaa.......
ding ding ding........


Time Turners
Remember that it is in the film version that Harry is at Olivanders' while Hagrid gets Hedwig. In the book;

Outside the Apothecary, Hagrid checked Harry's list again. "Just yer wand left - A yeah, an' I still haven't got yeh a birthday present."
Harry felt himself go red.
"You don't have to --"
"I know I don't have to. Tell yeh what, I'll get yer animal. Not a toad, toads went outta fashion years ago, yeh'd be laughed at - an' I don' like cats, they make me sneeze. I'll get yer an owl. All the kids want owls, they're dead useful, carry yer mail an' everythin'."
Twenty minutes later, they left Eeylops Owl Emporium, which had been
dark and full of rustling and flickering, jewel-bright eyes. Harry now
carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with
her head under her wing. He couldn't stop stammering his thanks,
sounding just like Professor Quirrell.

Morfin Gaunt

dumbledores army
i tried to see a hidden meaning in hedwigs name, did nt get very far at all, first off i got die h w g which i thought may be hermione s intitals but her middle name is jane so not a hint that hermione dies.
then thought ginny (middle name molly) GEorge(middle name unkown to me ), so the best i got was hide george/ ginny weasly
i guess there s nothing in the name