18

It is known that Dobby was the house-elf (servant) which belonged to the Malfoy family; until he was set free by Lucius (as set-up by Harry with a sock in Tom Riddle's diary) in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

What is interesting is that there is no mention of the Malfoys replacing Dobby (that I know of), even considering:

  • How upset Lucius was to lose Dobby:

    Lucius Malfoy stood frozen, staring at the elf. Then he lunged at Harry.
    “You’ve lost me my servant, boy!”
    But Dobby shouted, “You shall not harm Harry Potter!”
    There was a loud bang, and Mr. Malfoy was thrown backward.
    -Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter Eighteen (Dobby's Reward).

  • It is customary for "old families"1 to have house-elf servants, and given that the Malfoy family are one of the oldest (and wealthiest) families2, you would think that they would acquire a new house-elf.
Is there mention anywhere within canon that the Malfoys replaced Dobby with a new house-elf?


1. House-Elf Wikia Page
2. Malfoy Family Wikia Page

  • 1
    Do we even know that the family only had one House Elf? I sort of assumed that they lived in a rich manor with several house elves. – b_jonas Dec 31 '15 at 13:44
  • I'm pretty sure that the diary was in the sock in the book and it was the film that it was the other way around. Either way I don't recall there ever being a reference to another house elf for the Malfoys but that doesn't mean anything since most of the story wasn't at Malfoy Manor. – Pryftan Mar 15 '18 at 20:58
13

I’m conflicted on this one.

I can’t find any canon statements about this. The references to the Malfoy’s house-elf are oblique at best, presumably driven by the belief that house-elves are not worth discussion, and should be neither seen nor heard.

On the one hand, Draco himself calls attention to the fact that their house-elf has changed, at the beginning of the very next school year:

“Look at the state of his robes,” Malfoy would say in a loud whisper as Professor Lupin passed. “He dresses like our old house-elf.”

Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)

The Malfoys are a very proud family, so I don’t think they’d want to admit they don’t have a servant. But if they haven’t replaced Dobby, then this just reminds people that they’re between servants, so why would he say this? Ergo, they must have replaced Dobby.

But where would they get the replacement from? House-elves, and their entire family tree, are usually tied to a family or house (e.g. Malfoy family or Grimmauld Place). There don’t seem to be many on the house-elf dole queue, and any who are must have been dismissed by the previous owners, which carries a considerable stain, as Dobby explains:

“You see, sir, it is very difficult for a house-elf who has been dismissed to get a new position, sir, very difficult indeed —”

Goblet of Fire, chapter 21 (The House-Elf Liberation Front)

I don’t know if the Malfoys would accept a second-hand house-elf.

  • Was wondering when you'd step in here :) Nothing on Pottermore? – Möoz Jan 20 '15 at 1:01
  • 3
    I see. +1 Good point about no second-hand house-elves for the Malfoys! And they fact that they are uncommon might mean that they still haven't. Hmmm. – Möoz Jan 20 '15 at 1:21
  • 2
    While they would accept a dismissed house elf, they may have accepted one taken or gifted from someone/somewhere else. The school has many. If there is a slytherin country club or stone cutter's lodge they might have a few...spares... but it isn't stated. – kaine Jan 20 '15 at 14:12
  • 5
    i was thinking the same thing about where to get house elves, however, Winky states that only her maturnal line where house elves to the crouches, that leads me to believe that their is some sort of system where someone with a male house elve brings them over to someone with a female house elf, and the children are split between the families and sold. This is based off of how slaves were treated in the US, good solid "stock" was used to breed more slaves. essentially a house elf breeding program. – Himarm Jan 20 '15 at 14:14
  • 2
    It makes sense that there is a system of acquiring house elves (probably some shady corner of Knockturn Alley, eh?) seeing as 1) your elf might die for whatever reason and you wouldn't want to go without, 2) your elf might be unable to have children, 3) you never had an elf and you want to get one, 4) you suddenly have a need for an additional elf or two. – roobeedeedada Jan 20 '15 at 17:04

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