Friday, May 3, 2024

Friday Creature Feature - Dobby

(Guest post by Russell)

Our first introduction to the house elf, Dobby, comes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He is overzealous in his attempts to “protect” Harry Potter from bad things that are to occur at Hogwarts that year. Under Dobby’s “protection”, Harry is sent a letter of warning about using magic, even though he didn’t use magic,  suffers humiliation at not being able to get through platform nine and three quarters, crashes into and is attacked by the Whomping Willow, and gets hit by a rogue bludger and subsequently has all his bones removed and then subsequently regrown. Sorry for the spoilers. Needless to say, Dobby is not very good at “protecting” Harry. 

Nevertheless, even after all these “protective” acts, Harry grows to love Dobby and does in fact orchestrate Dobby’s release from the Malfoy family. Again, sorry for the spoilers. I have come to develop a great affinity for this overprotective house elf. He is reminiscent of various people that we may encounter in life from younger siblings, to well meaning friends, to loved ones who try to “protect” us and end up causing some sort of harm. While we encounter Dobby over the course of the Harry Potter series, I want to fast forward to the end.

I was a missionary when the 7th Harry Potter book came out. To be honest, I still have never read the book, but I have listened to the audiobook (Jim Dale is great!) countless times. I remember painting my sister’s room in the days after arriving home and having the chance to listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As best I can remember, my mom and I were painting the ceiling when it happened. Stop reading now, if you don’t want another spoiler. Bellatrix’s knife found it’s mark and Dobby met his doom. I stopped painting and let out a cry of agony. It felt as if a good friend was gone. It took a few minutes for me to get back to painting.

Only later did I discover the irony in Dobby’s death: in spite of Dobby’s poor attempts at protecting Harry early on in the series, he does a great job of it at the end and ultimately sacrifices his life to save Harry’s. 

I hope that none of our younger siblings or friends or loved ones are ever in a situation to sacrifice their lives for you, but I do hope that the next time they try to do something well meaning, you think of a  well meaning house elf and Luna Lovegood’s fitting tribute to him.

“Thank you so much, Dobby, for rescuing me from that cellar. It's so unfair that you had to die, when you were so good and brave. I'll always remember what you did for us. I hope you're happy now.” 

Read more about Dobby and other house-elves in another Creature Feature

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