Hi, Muggles! Welcome back to Muggles and Mocha!
Today, we’re finally breaking our streak—we’re joining two chapters together this time around: Chapters 14 and 15! “Cornelius Fudge” and “Aragog” were full of action that spurred our plot along. Hermione was petrified, we found out Hagrid was innocent of opening the Chamber of Secrets, and we met the infamous Aragog… who may or may not have haunted my nightmares when I was a child.
To join our full discussion of these chapters, watch the video below! Also, here’s a fun game: Try to count how many times I say, “excited.” I’m guessing the final count is in the twenties. As always, we’ll have *SPOILERS* in both the video and article today.
For our article, we have to break down the new magical creatures Harry and Ron come up against in this chapter—the acromantulas. Today, we’re going to learn a ton of cool stuff about these huge spiders and their place in the Wizarding World.
Did you guys ever read the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook? It was released well before the latest movies came out (almost twenty years ago!). I had the little red one with the fake tear (you know the one), and I was beyond proud of it.
With this book, in my opinion, I was on my way to becoming a real-life Hogwarts student. But in all seriousness, I was obsessed with this book as a kid and read it over and over again. And some of the creatures even scared me more than a little. Especially the Lethifold. Guys, for real, look it up.
Anyway, the acromantula was a creature covered in that book as well, and since it’s one we get to see firsthand in the books, I of course always found it fascinating. Harry and Ron even wrote some “notes” about their experiences with them in the margins of the book. So, so cool.
Today, we’re going to talk about acromantulas in general in even more depth than ol’ Newt Scamander!
In these chapters from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron meet the supposed monster from the chamber—an acromantula named Aragog. But as we quickly learn, Aragog is not the monster that’s been terrorizing all of Hogwarts, petrifying people, ghosts, and animals left and right. But even though he isn’t Slytherin’s monster, he’s still extremely interesting. So, who is Aragog, and where did he come from?
Aragog – Our Favorite Acromantula
Even though Aragog is obviously a deadly creature, that still doesn’t stop me from loving his character!
In this book, we learn Hagrid somehow obtained Aragog from a traveler who was carrying Aragog’s egg in his pocket. Oh, resourceful Hagrid… even from a young age, he always had an interest in extremely dangerous creatures. I’d like to hear more about the story of how Hagrid got Aragog from Hagrid himself.
Aragog is extremely intelligent and remembers his time being raised in a cupboard inside Hogwarts. He even recalls the details of the opening of the Chamber of Secrets fifty years prior to the events in the second Harry Potter book.
After Hagrid was framed and expelled for opening the Chamber of Secrets, he continued to look after and care for Aragog, who lived the rest of his life in the Forbidden Forest. Hagrid even brought him a wife, and they raised a family! A deadly, dangerous family… but still.
Even though Aragog, just like all acromantulas, had a taste for human flesh, he genuinely cared for Hagrid and protected him from the rest of his family. Actually, he respected Hagrid so much that Aragog says in this chapter he never personally harmed a human being. Even though he does let his children attempt to eat Harry and Ron, I truly enjoyed reading the scene dedicated to him. You can see the genuine care he has for Hagrid, and we also see him show concern and anger about Hagrid’s second arrest in connection with the Chamber of Secrets.
We don’t see Aragog for a while after this book—not until he passes away in the sixth. He dies a couple of years later, in 1997, after falling ill. All through this illness, we learn Hagrid traveled into the forest to feed and take care of him in his dying days. I found this very heart-warming! Gosh, I never thought I’d love a relationship between a human and a spider so much. Then, when Aragog dies, Hagrid ventures into the forest to retrieve his corpse from Aragog’s children, who are trying to cannibalize him. Yeah… I know. As we see in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Hagrid buries Aragog beside his hut.
Fun fact: Aragog actually has a real-life spider named after him! In 2017, some arachnologists who discovered a new species of wolf spider decided to dub this arachnid “Lycosa aragogi.” If you look up a picture, the spider does look like Aragog. They found this specimen almost nineteen years to the day after Aragog died… It can’t get much more perfect than that.
Like I said, I truly like Aragog’s character, and I wish we got more of him in the books!
Next, let’s talk about acromantulas as a whole, which are one of the most interesting creatures we meet in the series, in my opinion.
What Are Acromantulas?
Well, to start… they’re giant spiders. Like average-height-of-fifteen-feet giant spiders. They’re native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, Borneo in particular. I found this extremely interesting: It’s believed they were bred by wizards to guard homes or even treasure. They were created before the Ban on Experimental Breeding was passed (1965) and were spotted as early as 1794.
Acromantulas have the highest (most dangerous) classification rating by the Ministry of Magic: XXXXX. This is because they view humans as prey. Think about this—Hagrid got his hands on one of these when he was thirteen years old! Oh my goodness.
One of the most fascinating facts about acromantulas is they are sentient and capable of human speech. As we see in these chapters of Chamber of Secrets, Harry is able to communicate with Aragog quite easily.
Although they view humans as prey, acromantulas can form attachments and relationships with humans, as seen with Hagrid and Aragog. They also live in colonies (unlike non-magical spiders) in forests or jungles. The only colony we really know of in the Harry Potter universe is Aragog’s family in the Forbidden Forest in Scotland, right beside Hogwarts. Which is full of human children. Lovely.
As we learn in this book, Basilisks are the acromantulas’ greatest enemy, the creature they fear above all else. Maybe I’m crazy… but I didn’t realize why this was the case until I researched for this article. Apparently, the Basilisk is their most deadly foe because of the nature of its attack—a stare that kills anyone who glimpses it. Since spiders have so many eyes and a larger field of sight than most other creatures, they are highly vulnerable to this stare since they’ll most likely see it if it’s even remotely close to them. There isn’t too much chance of them being petrified—they’ll almost certainly catch a full blast of it if faced with a Basilisk.
So that’s why it’s their biggest enemy! Neat, huh? Is this something I should have known? Maybe.
We unfortunately don’t get to see acromantulas too much more in the series, but they’re a representation of some of the awesome creatures we get in the Harry Potter universe.
That’s all we have for today! I hope you learned a lot about these creatures, and if you have any questions about them or anything else in the article or video, feel free to comment or send me a message through the contact button below.
Thanks for tuning in to Muggles and Mocha! Don’t forget to watch the video above, and come back next week as we travel into the Chamber of Secrets… We’ve made it, guys. Let’s end this book strong!
Read Chapter 16, and I’ll see you next time.
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Harry Potter series.