In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare) was created. How did its creation drive the plot of the book forward? To me, it doesn't seem to drive the plot in any way. In fact, the movie removed it entirely.

What was the point of adding S.P.E.W to the story?

3 Answers 3


The major effect it had was to give Hermione a reason to go to the kitchens (to talk to the house-elves there). That leads to Harry reuniting with Dobby, and Dobby ends up being essential to solving the second task

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    Backed by the Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter.
    – user56
    Commented May 7, 2011 at 20:45
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    I believe it also influenced Harry's interactions with Kreacher later on in the series, which had some pretty significant effects on the plot.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 2:09
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    Plus comedic effect and character building. Spew is the most common slang term for vomit in England/Australia/etc (Not sure if many North America readers got the joke, though), and Hermione's zeal for house elves (who seem pretty happy with their place in society) is both amusing and reveals something about Hermione herself. Ron's reaction to her SPEW enthusiasm is also priceless, and tells us something about him.
    – MGOwen
    Commented May 9, 2011 at 3:42
  • @Kyralessa Oh yeah, OK. I had a Canadian tell me he'd never heard it used for vomit.
    – MGOwen
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 3:39
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    oh no! SPEW was the most important - it resulted in Hermione throwing down all the basilik fangs, flinging her arms around Ron's neck and kissing him hard on the mouth. that's a major plot point. :) Commented May 24, 2012 at 10:35
  1. Character development. First of all, it shows Hermione being both an (ineffective) organizer AND very concerned with all the creatures well-being; as opposed to merely know-it-all.

  2. Plot development. Aside from - as Michael noted - getting Dobby into the picture, it ALSO provided a point to finally push Hermione to fully emotionally reunite with Ron before the Battle of Hogwarts in DH7.

    "No, I mean we should tell them to get out. We don't want any more Dobbies, do we? We can’t order them to die for us–"

    Also, this presages her post-war career (She worked in the Ministry for Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures).

  3. Theme/ethics development. Rowling went to great pains to paint concern with non-pure-wizarding-wellbing to be correllated with "goodness" and the opposite with "not-goodness", from the obvious points like Malfoy mistreating Dobby to less subtle like Sirius' mistreatment of Kreacher leading to his demise.

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    YES. This is why the film is so shallow compared to the book. So many dramatic but pointless chase scenes, at the expense of stuff like this.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 10:27

It's also pretty important in the later books. It doesn't seem like it, but her perspective and opinion on house elves helps them out with Kreacher.

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    Could you elaborate on your point a little more - you've got the makings of a great answer here, but I'd just like to see you take it a little further! Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 3:40

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