Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8: Beware the Veela
Veela are absolutely stunning women with the ability to seduce any man. But when angered by the slightest provocation, they sprout wings and bird-like heads, and lash out accordingly.
I think J. K. Rowling is trying to tell us something.
Pretty girls are dangerous!
Think about it: they are irresistable to men and precariously easy to piss off. You can’t trust them as far as you can throw them. One wrong move, and they’ll start gnawing at your face with their vulture beaks. They had to be forcibly removed from the Quidditch World Cup simply because their team was losing. Dangerous and sore losers. Toxic combo!
So I guess it’s fortunate Fleur Delacour is only 1/4th Veela. The odds of her transforming into a harpy from Hell are dramatically decreased by the watering down of her blood line. Good thing for poor Bill! A werewolf attack is enough – surviving a lifetime with an angry Veela is more than any innocent man should be subjected to.
I’m taking liberties here, of course. There’s no solid evidence half-blood Veela don’t transform into wrathful sirens. I’m just assuming that with only a quarter Veela in her genes, an angry Fleur is less likely to become this:
And probably resembles something more along the lines of this:
I just think maybe there’s a subtle message from Ms. Rowling we’re supposed to pick up on here.
Think about it.
On a completely different note, anyone remember Winky? Poor little elf wasn’t even offered a movie contract!
What’s nice about this diminutive lady is that she offers an alternate view of Dobby’s newfound freedom. We could go on for weeks about the presence of slavery in the Harry Potter series and the social implications of the house elves, but I’m not feeling quite that ambitious right now. Let’s just keep things simple.
For better or worse, Winky justifies house elf servitude and in doing so, exonerates well-intentioned wizards. Let me stress that: well-intentioned wizards. Barty Crouch, who makes Winky climb up into the spectator’s box even though she is afraid of heights, is not well-intentioned. Lucius Malfoy, who beats Dobby on a regular basis, is not well-intentioned (he should really save some of that rage for his sister-in-law – she makes the Veela look about as terrifying as Big Bird).
Winky represents what Ron has been saying all along. Of course, there’s a danger in making sweeping generalizations about any species; Winky may stand for the majority of house elves who want to serve wizards, but that doesn’t make Dobby wrong for wanting his freedom. It’s all so complicated and controversial, even the characters in the story can’t agree.
But it’s also all conveniently left out of the films, so it’s worth noting here as we re-read Goblet of Fire.