"Call me Hagrid," he said, "everyone does. An' like I told yeh, I'm Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts -- yeh'll know all about Hogwarts, o' course.
   "Er -- no," said Harry.
   Hagrid looked shocked.
   "Sorry," Harry said quickly.
   "Sorr?" barked Hagrid, turning to stare at the Dursleys, who shrank back into the shadows. "It's them as should be sorry! I knew yeh weren't gettin' yer letters but I never thought yeh wouldn't even know abou' Hogwarts, fer cryin' out loud! Did yeh never wonder where yet parents learned it all?"
   "All what?" asked Harry.
"ALL WHAT?" Hagrid thundered. "Now wait jus' one second!"
   He had leapt to his feet. In his anger he seemed to fill the whole hut. The Dursleys were cowering against the wall.
   "Do you mean ter tell me," he growled at the Dursleys, "that this boy - this boy! -- knows nothin' abou' -- about ANYTHING?"
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

What does the phrase mean? (I don’t find any relationship between angering and he filling the hut.)

3 Answers 3


This isn't so much a question of language as of the reality which language presents. In this case, the sentence refers to both the Dursleys' perception of Hagrid's behavior and the behavior itself.

  • Hagrid is large to begin with; when he leaps to his feet and becomes more threatening he looks larger, because he becomes the focus of the Dursleys and occupies most of their narrowed field of vision.

  • By the same token, when Hagrid becomes angry he attempts to impose his anger on the Dursleys by becoming not only louder (he thundered) but "larger": he leaps to his feet, and he probably raises his shoulders and arms and rolls to the balls of his feet in order to appear more threatening. Animals do the same thing: just think of a cornered cat, which hyperextends its legs, arches its back and erects its fur in order to appear larger and therefore more dangerous.

  • If I was presented that with my own tongue, I may have pictured your explanation well. Not a few occasions, I’ve gone dumb with narrowed vision what with prepositional phrase and stuff.
    – Listenever
    Sep 25, 2013 at 14:15
  • @Listenever Ha,ha! Yes, prepositions are very small but very frightening in any language, sort of like hordes of rats--or The Birds in Hitchcock's film. Sep 25, 2013 at 14:24

When a very large man leaps to his feet in a relatively small room, he can seem to fill up the room all by himself. When that giant is angry, all the more so.

That said, what little space is left in the room gets filled with Hagrid's anger. It might be worth mentioning that, irrespective of whether Hagrid is a giant of a man or not, someone's anger can fill a whole room – even when that person is quite small. A writer can employ a metaphorical usage of "fill" that essentially means "his anger was so noticable you could feel it everywhere in the room."

In the same way that anger can fill a room, tension can fill a room. So can joy, sorrow, silence, music, singing, or darkness. Not everything that "fills" a room need be tangible; just about anything that the occupants are able to sense can "fill" a room, and that includes a wide range of emotions.

That said, you may not need quite as much anger to fill a room when the anger is coming from an angry giant. After all, there is less to displace when there is so much bulk in the room!

  • 1
    This is quite true; but what JKR states is that Hagrid seemed to fill the hut, not his anger. Sep 25, 2013 at 14:25
  • 1
    @StoneyB - Right you are! Methinks I skimmed the original too quickly, and interpreted "his anger seemed to fill the whole hut" instead of Rowling's words. In the original, yes, the fact that Hagrid is a giant is important. I'll have to tweak the intro to my answer.
    – J.R.
    Sep 25, 2013 at 14:59
  • If you can figure out a way to work 'presence' in I'll upvote. I couldn't fit it into my answer. Sep 25, 2013 at 15:01

You've actually nailed it perfectly; his anger is the cause of his appearing to fill the whole hut.

Remember, Hagrid is part giant, so he is already quite large (over 7 feet tall, and several hundred pounds), and the hut relatively small. Now he leaps to his feet, suddenly re-displaying his full size. And, because he is angry, he becomes much more the focus of attention, making the rest of the hut effectively vanish from an observer's awareness. Furthermore he may also wave his arms or make other large motions, which would also give the impression that there is no room left over in the hut.

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