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Harry, Ron, and Hermione immediately sneak out to Hagrid's hut.
Hagrid isn't looking so good: his hair is "matted with congealed blood and his left eye had been reduced to a puffy slit amid a mass of purple and black bruising" (20.12).
Hagrid doesn't want to talk about what's happened to him.
He takes a dragon meat steak and slaps it over his black eye to help the stinging.
Hagrid says he can't tell Harry what he's been doing; it's top secret.
But Hermione asks, "Did the giants beat you, Hagrid?" (20.29).
Hagrid drops his steak in his shock.
They all guessed where he has been.
So finally, Hagrid comes clean.
He and Madame Maxine (the Headmistress of the French school Beauxbatons and another half-giant like Hagrid) set off to find the giants right after school ended the year before.
The two of them pretend they were on a holiday so as not to arouse the Ministry's suspicions that Dumbledore is acting on his own to contact the giants.
They find seventy or eighty left in Europe, even though "there was loads once, musta bin about a hundred diff'rent tribes from all over the world [...] Wizards killed a few, o' course, bu' mostly they killed each other, an' now they're dyin' out faster than ever" (20.92).
Hagrid and Madame Maxine approach the Gurg, the chief giant, with gifts.
The Gurg's name is Karkus.
Dumbledore has given Hagrid and Madame Maxine gifts for the Gurg: a branch of everlasting fire and a battle helmet.
With these gifts in hand, the Gurg sits down and listens to what Hagrid and Madame Maxine have to say.
The Gurg has heard of Dumbledore and his support for the British giants.
But that night, it all goes wrong.
A fight breaks out, and the next morning, there is a new Gurg.
Karkus has been slaughtered in the night.
This new Gurg is named Golgomath.
Hagrid says, "I knew it was no go before I'd opened me mouth. He was sitting there wearing Karkus's helmet, leerin' at us as we got nearer. He's massive, one o' the biggest ones there. Black hair an' matchin' teeth an' a necklace o' bones. Human-lookin' bones, some of 'em" (20.134).
Hagrid still tries to be diplomatic. He hands Golgomath a gift of dragon skin.
But before he can finish his first speech, two of the Gurg's henchmen grab Hagrid.
Madame Maxine saves Hagrid with some fancy spellwork and the two run away.
Hagrid and Madame Maxine lie low and watch what Golgomath does.
They discover that it isn't wizards in general he hates; Golgomath is set against representatives of Dumbledore.
He is perfectly happy to receive Death Eaters from Voldemort.
So, Hagrid and Madame Maxine watch and wait to see if there are any giants who are set against Golgomath.
They find three badly injured giants who Golgomath had beaten unconscious.
They nurse these giants and manage to convince six or seven of them to join their cause.
But then, "Golgomath's lot [raid] the caves. The ones tha' survived didn' wan' no more ter do with us after that" (20.167).
So, there aren't any giants coming to join Dumbledore's side.
Still, Hagrid is proud that he has done what Dumbledore asked: he "gave 'em Dumbledore's message an' some o' them heard it an' [...] some o' them'll remember it" (20.169).
Hermione asks if Hagrid heard any word of his mother while he was there.
Hagrid answers, "Dead [...] Died years ago. They told me" (20.176).
Ron changes the subject: "But you still haven't explained how you got in this state, Hagrid" (20.180).
And Harry wants to know why Hagrid is coming back so late. He's heard that Madame Maxine got back to Beauxbatons ages ago.
Before Hagrid can answer, someone knocks at the door.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione hide under Harry's Invisibility Cloak.
It's Professor Umbridge.
She introduces herself to Hagrid and tells him that she is now the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and Hogwarts High Inquisitor.
She asks what has happened to Hagrid.
She sounds suspicious and cold, and she keeps peppering Hagrid with questions.
Harry suddenly realizes, "She knows" (20.229).
Professor Umbridge warns Hagrid, "I shall, of course, be informing the Minister of your late return [...] You ought to know, too, that as High Inquisitor it is my unfortunate but necessary duty to inspect my fellow teachers [...] The Ministry is determined to weed out unsatisfactory teachers, Hagrid" (20.232-4).
Once she leaves, Harry tells Hagrid that Professor Trelawney is already on probation on Professor Umbridge's order.
Hermione wants to know what Hagrid is planning.
Hagrid will say only that he wants to show the class something interesting.