Friday, December 10, 2021

Friday Creature Feature - House-Elves

The time between October and December are essentially Harry Potter months in our home. I don’t know if that’s the case with anyone else’s home, but we tend to run through all eight movies between Halloween and Christmas. You know who doesn’t get enough credit in the movies? The house-elves. So let’s check them out. 

House-elves are indentured servants of wizards and witches. And to a large extent, they don’t mind. They work for the love of work. They tend to only be owned by the rich and powerful, but there’s also a legion of them working in the Hogwarts kitchen. The only way to free a house-elf is to present them with clothing, but generally considered shameful to be let go… except for Dobby. So let’s start there...


We first met Dobby when he was the slave of the Malfoy family. He knew something dark was afoot, so he tried to save Harry from inevitable danger. After the basilisk was defeated, Harry tricked Lucius Malfoy into freeing Dobby from the abusive servitude. In his freedom, Dobby went looking for new masters but also began demanding pay (a big no no for house-elves). Dumbledore eventually hired him to work at Hogwarts where he reunited with Harry. His loyalty to Harry and his friends never wavered, even when he was face to face with Bellatrix and the Malfoys. He saved Harry and the others, losing his life in the process. Forget house-elves, you’d be hard pressed to find many better people than Dobby. 


Born into servitude, Winky followed her ancestors by serving the Crouch family. As servant of Barty Crouch and his family, she was privy to the secrets at work in the home, including Barty Jr being snuck out of Azkaban. This led to her taking Junior to the 1994 Quidditch World Cup (her idea) where he summoned the Dark Mark. After the Mark, Crouch Sr fired Winky and she eventually ended up with Dobby working in the Hogwarts kitchens. At the end of the year, she was called in by Dumbledore as they discovered Barty Jr was posing as Mad-Eye Moody. We wouldn’t see Winkly again until years later during the Battle of Hogwarts, fighting alongside Kreacher and the other house-elves.


Born to serve the Black family, it was Kreacher’s greatest desire to be beheaded and hung by his mother’s head when he died. He was fiercely loyal to Regulus Black and was used to hide Slytherin’s locket and again to retrieve it after Regulus defected. Later, after Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, Kreacher was forced to serve him. After Bellatrix killed Sirius, Kreacher was left to Harry Potter and sent to work at Hogwarts. But he would later be instrumental in tracking down the locket horcrux again to avenge Regulus’s death.


In the Harry Potter parody play Puffs (read more about the play here), we get a new beloved house-elf: Bippy. She doesn’t show up until year seven, but acts as though she’s known Wayne and Megan for years. An obvious jab at how Dobby was written out of two films and Kreacher out of one. Regretfully, she died in the Battle of Hogwarts saving our Puff trio, not unlike Dobby dying to save Harry and friends. Everyone ought to love Bippy. And watch Puffs. Like now.

Santa’s Elves

Now for the head-canon. At this time of year we’re singing songs of Santa Claus and his reindeer. But let’s stop and consider his elves for a moment. We’ve seen many renditions of Santa’s elves from the child-like ones in The Santa Clause to the grouchy old ones in Disney’s Noelle. But what if his elves are house-elves? You may have heard the Harry Potter head-canon/theory that Santa Claus is a wizard using floo powder to make it appear he’s going down chimneys. If this is the case, it would make sense that his helpers would be house-elves. However… This makes you wonder why Dobby would choose to work for Dumbledore and not Santa. He’d be searching for a couple years before he ended up at Hogwarts. So the benevolent Santa Claus was less willing to work with Dobby’s requests than Dumbledore? That doesn’t reflect well on Santa… just saying. 

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