Did House elves have families? Who taught them how to cook or clean houses?


1 Answer 1


Well, from Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix

“Who’s Kreacher?” he asked. “The house-elf who lives here,” said Ron. “Nutter. Never met one like him.” Hermione frowned at Ron. “He’s not a nutter, Ron —” “His life’s ambition is to have hi s head cut off and stuck up on a plaque just like his mother,” said Ron irritably. “Is that normal, Hermione?”

So, I assume they have families. Other than this citation I haven't been able to find any other reference about house-elves families, yet.

“Oh you is a bad elf, Dobby!” moaned Winky, tears leaking down her face once more. “My poor Mr. Crouch, what is he doing without Winky? He is needing me, he is needing my help! I is look- ing after the Crouches all my life, and my mother is doing it before me, and my grandmother is doing it before her . . . oh what is they saying if they knew Winky was freed? Oh the shame, the shame!” She buried her fa ce in her skirt again and bawled.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch. The House-elf Liberation Front

So, I think we can make objective conclusion, that house-elves, indeed, have parents, families. But it's hard to tell, what family means in this context. Other than Hogwarts I can't remember any place, where there would be more house-elves at one place, living together and working together. Hokey, Dobby, Kreacher, Winky, all seem to be the only living house-elf, at the time we meet them. Winky's quote suggests, that she worked at Crouches together with her mother, even grandmother. If that is true, than we can conclude she also learned from them.

As for what was it like to be an elf-child I'll quote Winky again:

“Begging your pardon, miss,” said the house-elf, bowing deeply again, “but house-elves has no right to be unhappy when there is work to be done and masters to be served.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch. The House-elf Liberation Front

Even if Winky didn't think so in her youth, she thinks it now. So that gives us another view on the education she was given.

I don't know, how old Dobby is,but he does not seem like a kid to me anymore, but I'll quote him anyway:

"Dobby is used to death threats, sir. Dobby gets them five times a day at home."

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrests, Ch. The Rogue Bludger

Kreacher and Dobby both seem to work for their families not as first generation and probably could've learnt from their predecessors. Let's support it at least for Kreacher, with a quote from OoP

passing a row of shrunken heads mounted on plaques on the wall. A closer look showed Harry that the heads belonged to house-elves. All of them had the same rather snoutlike nose.

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, Ch. Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place


I do not like speculations and generalizations. I do not know, whether it was always possible for house-elf to teach his kid, but I assume it is only natural for a parent to care and teach his child

  • 2
    Nice sources. Maybe elaborate how the quotes answer the question just for clarity. You know, "based on these quotes we can infer that houses elves ..."
    – RedCaio
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 21:11
  • Did the parent elves taught their kids? Are there any details available about what was it like to be an Elf-child?
    – Wand Maker
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 16:45

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