The Late, Great Dobby the House Elf
Everyone may have jumped down my throat for not shedding a tear over Dobby’s death in Chapter 23, but no one cared to mention that the true gut-wrenching part – the burial – wasn’t until Chapter 24. I no longer feel like a cold-hearted wench.
No, I still didn’t cry.
That’s not where you thought this train of thought was going, was it? You didn’t think I was going to go into a whole speech about how I finished off a box of Kleenex over Harry’s former house elf, did you? Sorry, no. But with a little help from Chapter 24, I did find it sad, if that’s any consolation.
Way back in July, I complained that I found Dobby annoying – the Jar Jar Binks of the Harry Potter franchise. He didn’t really endear himself in any way until he was a free elf, and subsequently a far less troublesome one. Plus, with the introduction of Kreacher, Dobby suddenly seemed downright pleasant to have around.
He has been a useful character, far more so than I would have ever guessed when he first popped up. I’m trying to recall everything he accomplished to little avail (this is where I default to you folks who have read this series more than once), but one major contribution that comes to mind is how he helped Harry survive the underwater segment of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry’s untimely drowning would have put a damper on the whole story.
Dobby may still be a little annoying in the end, but he’s loyal, and that manages to outweigh all other qualities. He’s…a Hufflepuff. Dobby the Hufflepuff, eating paste and running with scissors.
I can’t say I didn’t anticipate his death.
She’s gearing us up; that’s all this is. J.K. is gearing us up with minor deaths before she wipes out a major character or two. First, she kills the character no one had heard of until she was dead. Next, she kills the pet that can’t speak, a powerful Order member who was only really important in one book, a series of random extra good guys, a bad guy who caused all this trouble in the first place, and now a good guy we have grown quite accustomed to. Side note: told you Peter Pettigrew would die! A-thank-you!
The next death may hurt. Dobby’s death stung; this next one may wallop. I just don’t know, but I have my concerns.
So I have to say, it wasn’t Dobby’s death that really got me, it was the aftermath. Harry digging the grave by hand was one of the best moments in the book so far. Brilliant decision for the character. It seems to say that magic is far too easy, and relying on it is not always the way to go, which is a fantastic foreshadowing for Harry’s refusal to chase after the Elder Wand in the next chapter. Maybe some things have to be done as a Muggle.
Now for the pertinent question: who sent Dobby? He’s a free house elf, so technically anyone could dispatch him if he had the inclination to listen to them. You know who I’m going to guess, because I’m dead set on this prediction being right – I think Snape sent him.
Dobby’s living at Hogwarts, correct? Snape is headmaster of Hogwarts. If Bellatrix called Voldemort back to Malfoy Manor, wouldn’t Snape, as a fellow Death Eater, also sense the call? Look at the timeline of the scene: Bellatrix called Voldemort and Dobby arrived.
THIS WORKS, PEOPLE!
Granted, don’t tell me if I’m right or wrong – I’ll know in due time – but I give you full permission to gush over my glorious powers of deduction to yourselves (or laugh unabashedly at me if I’m completely off-base). Either works.
But I’m definitely right.
While we’re still hanging out in Malfoy Manor (where I feel we’re beginning to over-stay our welcome), I have to mention my favorite part of the scene: Ron.
Woah, bet you didn’t see that one coming. When do I ever say my favorite part of anything is Ron?
His reaction to Hermione’s torture upstairs is absolutely fantastic. I like drama, can you tell? Harry’s freaking out about the whole situation, but Ron is absolutely losing his mind. The slight difference between the two is very telling, in a blatantly obvious sort of way. Bellatrix might as well have been torturing Ron, too.
Something I just noticed – way to create a damsel in distress, Rowling. Up until this point, Hermione has been on par with, if not a few steps ahead of her male counterparts. In this scene, however, she’s a helpless girl…almost. It’s not until she manages to keep her wits about her enough to lie about the Gryffindor Sword that she shows she’s no damsel. I’m going to guess that Rowling didn’t choose Hermione as the victim because of her gender, but rather because of her blood status. Still, it’s an interesting archetype to have the girl falling prey as two guys stand by, unable to help.