Hedwig is Harry Potter's owl. According to J. K. Rowling, Hedwig is a Snowy Owl, which Rowling considers to be the most beautiful owl of all. In the story, Hedwig is a gift to Harry from Hagrid in the first book of the series, purchased in Diagon Alley while shopping for supplies for Harry's first year at Hogwarts. The name Hedwig is a name Harry found in his schoolbook, A History of Magic. Hedwig is used for messages throughout the series. In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hedwig is intercepted by Professor Dolores Umbridge and is hurt. Harry pretends he feels unwell in History of Magic lesson and sets off to find Professor Grubbly-Plank, Hedwig behind his back. Keeping Hedwig at home during the summer holiday continues to be just one more area of conflict between Harry and the Dursleys.
Hedwig could be considered an owl with a 'formal' personality, and has a habit of staring/hooting "reproachfully", cuffing Harry with a wing when miffed (which is rather often), and being far more vocal than the average Snowy Owl. She also can act with hurt or anger due to Harry's sometimes innocently thoughtless actions or words. It is implied throughout the books that Hedwig can fully understand Harry and, apparently, to some extent vice versa. This implies in turn that she is a very intelligent owl, or that owls hide their intelligence from Muggles. At the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hedwig is killed during Harry's escape from the Dursleys' by a stray killing curse. Hedwig's death represented the death of innocence.



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