I don't like Norbert.
Before the rotten tomato throwing starts, let me explain.
To me, Norbert is nothing more than the biggest, most obvious McGuffin Rowling uses in the whole series. And it takes an entire chapter.
Think about it. What is the point of Norbert?
a. To get Harry into the forest.
b. To give Hagrid a reason to spill the beans about Fluffy to someone.
This is fine, I'm well-aware that McGuffins exist and I'm generally perfectly okay with them, but Norbert just grates on me and there's a couple reasons for that.
First of all, I really don't like dragons that much.
Please stop throwing food and let me finish!
I can see why some people find dragons appealing, and when they're done right I can really enjoy them (I love the dragons in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, for instance), but Norbert is down-right boring. She bites a hand, starts a small fire and ruins a teddy bear, big deal.
The second reason is that I truly don't understand why Hagrid let two first-years do his dirty work for him. Why couldn't Hagrid borrow the cloak to cover Norbert and carry him up to the tower himself?! He's an adult and a member of the Hogwarts staff, surely he's allowed to "wander the castle at night". Plus, Norbert is heavy! Hagrid is half-giant! No, probably better to let the 11-year-old boy and the 12-year-old girl carry the heavy, dangerous creature by themselves. I mean really, that's just stupid and a little bit mean! Besides, are you seriously telling me that Hagrid couldn't go to Dumbledore, tell him he made a mistake and apologize and that Dumbledore wouldn't help him? That's what they did in the movie and it made WAY more sense.
Finally, I think I'm just annoyed that Rowling just let's Norbert go, when she brings back so many other ostensible McGuffin's in later books as integral parts of the plot. She's mentioned again, specifically when Charlie tells Hagrid that she's a girl and having established the gender change I find it very surprising that she is not then one of the nesting dragons used for the Triwizard Tournament. I think that would make me like this whole thing a lot better.
So, that's my thoughts on Norbert. Rebuttals? (Do I dare hope) agreements?