When Harry needed help escaping Malfoy Manor, Aberforth Dumbledore sent Dobby to apparate them out of there:

... the mirror fragment fell sparkling to the floor, and he saw a gleam of brightest blue - Dumbledore’s eye was gazing at him out of the mirror. “Help us!” he yelled at it in mad desperation. “We’re in the cellar of Malfoy Manor, help us!” The eye blinked and was gone.
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23, "Malfoy Manor")

Dobby would never be able to tell them who had sent him to the cellar, but Harry knew what he had seen. A piercing blue eye had looked out of the mirror fragment, and then help had come. Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24, "The Wandmaker")

He wore spectacles. Behind the dirty lenses, the eyes were a piercing, brilliant blue. “It’s your eye I’ve been seeing in the mirror.” There was a silence in the room. Harry and the barman looked at each other. “You sent Dobby.” The barman nodded and looked around for the elf. (Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28, "The Missing Mirror")

So, when Harry begged for help, how did he know to send specifically Dobby?

  1. Why did he pick Dobby and not another house-elf?

    I can't recall a single evidence that anyone outside the Trio and Albus knew about Harry's relationship with Dobby; or that he used to serve Malfoys and would thus have an advantage.

  2. How did he know Dobby - and how to contact him - in the first place?

    He wasn't exactly on friendly terms with Albus, or with Harry.

    And calling Dobby via house-elf means can only be done by employer (at the time, presumably McGonagle) and Harry himself since Dobby gave Harry his allegiance.

  • 2
    @Chenmunka - not even remotely. Read the actual numbered questions please on both posts. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 16:03
  • 7
    @Chenmunka - Not a dupe, but DVK hasn't helped himself by posting semi-identically formatted questions a few seconds apart.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 16:06
  • 2
    @Richard - That's because I crammed 2 unrelated questions into one originally. Then realized that and split them up before someone noticed :) Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 16:07
  • I would think that Dobby, being a Free Elf had something to do with it. Word would travel far/wide about a Free Elf, because there just aren't too many of them ... IIRC Dobby is the only one we are aware of in the series (I could be wrong on that note - but the number is SMALL). AND Dobby let it be known that HP was the one who gained him his freedom. Seems like this knowledge would have gotten around. I have no canon to back this up, so leaving as a comment. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


Some guesses with a bit of logic to back them up

  1. Why Dobby?
    • Dobby is a FREE house elf. Something very rare. The other one known is Winky but even if she is in condition to help, she has plenty of reasons to dislike Harry and will most probably refuse to do so. Dobby, on the other side likes, Harry a lot. All other house elves in Hogwarts hold their allegiance to Snape who is the enemy at the moment. Kreacher would be a good option too but most probably he is out of reach for Aberforth.
    • Dobby used to work in Malfoy Mannor so he knows his way around.
  2. How did Aberforth know about Dobby?
    • Most probably Albus told him. A house elf on salary is a very rare thing so it is plausible that Albus shared that with his brother.
    • Another option is that he knew it from Neville (no cannon source that Neville and Dobby knew each other though).
  3. How did Aberforth contact Dobby?
    • By just calling him? Remember how Dobby came along with Kreacher when Harry called him (Kreacher) to ask him to follow Draco Malfoy? So it is possible that a house elf might come to aid when called if he wants to.

He wasn't exactly on friendly terms with Albus

That's true but they were not completely alienated either. (going a bit off-topic here but this is just to prove that Albus and Aberforth did talk to each other on regular basis) There are some canon sources of information for that:

  • Aberforth told Albus about the death eaters accompanying Voldemort when he came to apply for a DADA teacher position (happened somewhere shortly after Dumbledore became headmaster but disclosed in the Half Blood Prince)
  • Albus explained Aberforth the purpose of the two-way-mirror of Sirius (happened somewhere in the Half Blood Prince but got clear in the Deathly Hallows)

Aberforth attended the funeral of Albus (Half Blood Prince and of course no talking here but proves that Aberforth loved Albus enough to go and tell him good bye)

  • 1
    House elves have the ability to apparate in an out of places that wizards cannot (i.e. the cellar in Malfoy Manor...)
    – anduril
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:12
  • 1
    @randal'thor I have to agree :). I just tried to hide at least the BIG spoiler since is very hard to avoid any spoilers by answering questions here. One should either first read the books and then read here or be prepared for heavy spoilers.
    – vap78
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 12:22
  • "Remember how Dobby came along with Kreacher when Harry called him (Kreacher) to ask him to follow Draco Malfoy?" Weren't they fighting, and therefore physically connected, at the time that Kreacher responded to Harry's summons? I always assumed that Dobby was just dragged along for the ride, but maybe I've always misinterpreted the scene. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 12:57
  • I'm pretty sure that Aberforth also told Albus about the meeting setting up Dumbledore's Army as another example. Presumably there are others too even some not specifically cited.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 21:11

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