After the death of Dobby, Harry speaks to Griphook.

Their conversation goes like this:

“You buried the elf,” he said, sounding unexpectedly rancorous. “I watched you from the window of the bedroom next door.”

“Yes,” said Harry. Griphook looked at him out of the corners of his slanting black eyes. “You are an unusual wizard, Harry Potter.”

“In what way?” asked Harry, rubbing his scar absently.

“You dug the grave.” “So?”

Griphook did not answer. Harry rather thought he was being sneered at for acting like a Muggle, but it did not much matter to him whether Griphook approved of Dobby's grave or not. He gathered himself for the attack.

"Griphook, I need to ask - "

"You also rescued a goblin."


"You brought me here. Saved me."

"Well, I take it you're not sorry?" said Harry, a little impatiently.

"No, Harry Potter," said Griphook, and with one finger he twisted the thin, black beard upon his chin, "but you are a very odd wizard."

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

What is it that Griphook is not sorry about? Why did Harry say that?

I have two things in mind:

  1. Griphook isn't sorry that Dobby, a lesser creature, died!

    Griphook "enjoyed the idea of pain in lesser creatures" and so he wasn't sorry that Dobby died. (source: Harry Potter Wiki)

  2. Griphook isn't sorry that he hates wizards! [Even after one just saved his life]

    In the same source above, it says that Griphook has always hated wizardkind. And that he "was eager to harm wizards".

    It would make sense for Harry to be asking, "Well, I take it you're [still] not sorry [for thinking ill of us wizards, for being distrustful of us, for wishing to harm us, even after I saved your life]?"

  • 22
    Think of it as "I take it you're not upset that i just saved your life, right?" That's the meaning of the quote in this situation. Taken into context as a whole it makes sense, but if you were to just look at those 2 lines I can completely understand what makes it confusing. Dec 16, 2019 at 20:52
  • 2
    Related: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/232232/…
    – Alex
    Dec 17, 2019 at 2:38
  • @Alex And cross referenced there.
    – AIQ
    Dec 17, 2019 at 2:39
  • 3
    It's another way of saying "Do you resent the fact that I saved you?" or "Are you angry because I saved you?"
    – Strawberry
    Dec 17, 2019 at 12:36

2 Answers 2


Or, 3) Harry assumes Griphook isn't sorry that Harry rescued Griphook.

Griphook made what Harry took to be a digression in mentioning that Harry saved Griphook (without the context of thanking him for it), so he said something mildly dismissive and sarcastic to move the conversation past that ("I take it you're not sorry [that I saved you]?")

Griphook then thanks Harry in a very subtle way by calling him a very odd wizard, e.g., one who has shown consideration for Griphook's life that Griphook would not expect from most wizards.

  • 1
    But why would anyone be sorry if they get saved?
    – AIQ
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:18
  • 53
    @AIQ presumably no one would be; Harry's statement is sarcastic.
    – gowenfawr
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:20
  • 8
    @AIQ Merriam-Webster's definition of "sorry" is "feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence." The two are equivalent in this example; replace "you're not sorry" with "you're not feeling regret".
    – gowenfawr
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:28
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    @AIQ Just as a supplementary example - when someone tells you that a relative of theirs recently passed away, the most common response is "I am so sorry." Or, in response to any sort of someone else's bad news, it is fairly common to hear something like "Damn, really sorry you had to go through that." I am not sure about England, but in the US the term "sorry" is very often used to mean "regret."
    – Misha R
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:56
  • 2
    @FrankHopkins I would argue almost the exact opposite. I've heard people say they regret something that happened to them many times. But I've never heard of anyone saying "I'm sorry" for anything that happened to them. I would never say "I am sorry that you didn't save me a cookie," but I would possibly say "I regret that you didn't save me a cookie." I very much suspect that Harry's usage of "sorry" here is a Britishism. As an American, it took me several seconds to figure out what Harry could possibly mean, but I'm sure it was obvious to a Brit (or Rowling wouldn't have written it that way).
    – trlkly
    Dec 17, 2019 at 10:25

Harry rather thought he was being sneered at for acting like a Muggle

There's your answer right there. Harry is still emotionally vulnerable and is gearing up for a fight because Griphook is using a rancorous (characterized by bitterness or resentment) tone to address him. Harry assumes Griphook is looking down his nose at burying an Elf or rescuing a Goblin as something unfit for a Wizard, and Harry is sick of Griphook's complaints. He goes into sardonicism (characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering) with the "Well, I take it you're not sorry?" in frustration over the fact that he saved Griphook and Griphook was still complaining.

But in fact, Griphook is becoming cranky because Harry isn't fitting into Griphook's neat little xenophobic worldview, where Goblins are always the victims and Wizards always the perpetrators. Wizards aren't supposed to give a dungbomb about nonhumans, and Harry is actually doing manual labor (something Goblins do a lot of via making magic objects, and Wizards very much do not do) to bury a House Elf. How dare he be nice and cause Griphook internal turmoil when Griphook is having to deal with so much external turmoil!

  • 1
    And in real life, it is possible for people to be bitter they've been saved. Think of any house fire, where some make it...and some do not. You'll hear 'I wish it could have been me instead' or other comments. If you as a rescuer heard that, and, being frustrated or expecting an attack, you may very well lash out with that same statement. Just a thought.
    – J.Hirsch
    Dec 20, 2019 at 1:54

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