Why does Harry live with his aunt? I know that his parents are dead but why couldn't he live with Hagrid?

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In the Magical world, Harry Potter was not safe from Voldemort or his followers.  This was especially true after Harry survived Voldemort's attack on Harry's family.  The death of Harry's parents led Dumbledore to find a safe shelter for the boy until such a time that he would come into his own as a wizard.  Petunia is Lily Potter's only sister and is a Muggle.  Dumbledore believed that it would be safer for Harry to be hidden among the Muggles with his aunt and uncle than for anyone in the Magical world to attempt to hide him from danger.  Since Hagrid lives at Hogwarts in the Magical world, it would not have been safe for "the boy who lived" to stay there.

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Harry lives with his aunt because when his mother sacrificed herself to save him, she brought into play a very ancient type of magic that of "blood protection", which offered Harry the most and best protection possible in any world, magical or muggle; however there was a "catch."  For Harry to receive and maintain this protection he had to remain with a blood relative, live with that relative and call that place home; since Aunt Petunia was his mother's only living relative, that is where he was forced to go.  There was never any option in order to keep Harry alive.  His living situation, up until the time he turned eleven and all summers, had nothing to do with laws or legalities; it did however have everything to do with keeping Harry alive, safe and though not entirely as healthy as he should have been, relatively healthy.  Brenda

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Harry's aunt and uncle are his only living family. Like in America, in England legal custodial care of orphaned children is given to the closest living relative. As long as Harry's aunt and uncle are alive and willing to be his legal guardians, Harry must stay with them. It is the law where he lives. In addition, the two sides of Harry "Muggle" and "Wizard" are maintained because he must exist in both worlds. His muggle side gets him in trouble at school, while his magic gets him in trouble in the real world (like the time in book 5 he has to save his cousin from the dementors).

Lastly, I strongly agree with the two additional explanations offered below by gbeatty.

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Good question. Harry lives with his aunt and uncle to link him to family (without them, he would have no living family) and to keep him separate from the wizarding world while he is growing up/until it is time for him to go to school.

There are two other reasons as well. First, from a writer's point of view, it's a dream situation. It allows Rowling to introduce the reader to the world of magic through Harry's eyes. He stands in for us. And second…Hagrid! Think of all that goes wrong with his pets. He'd probably feed his baby dragon food and vice versa.

Greg

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