87

Hermione's crusade is portrayed as comically misguided because it kind of is comically misguided, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. Rowling commented on this in a 2000 interview with CBC Newsworld: JK: My sister and I both, we were that kind of teenager. (Dripping with drama) We were that kind of, 'I'm the only one who really feels these ...


84

Well, for one, it did not seem that Nearly Headless Nick was surprised that Hermione did not know about the house-elves. Nearly Headless Nick looked surprised at her reaction, which was 'horror-struck'. So, you see, Nick did not expect them to know that Hogwarts was maintained by house-elves. Afterall, as you said, it is really difficult to catch one at ...


52

House-elf magic is different than wizards’. Any protection that Bludgers have from magical interference mightn’t work against house-elf magic, since house-elf magic is different than wizards’ magic. For example, both Hogwarts and the Dark Lord’s Horcrux cave are protected against wizards Apparating in and out, but house-elves still can - the protection ...


48

I would say it is consistent with someone who hates so much his family and everything to do with them. There are many indications of this throughout the books, I gathered some of them here. Sirius hated his mother: [Sirius' mother portrait] "Filth! Scum! By-products of dirt and vileness! Half-breeds, mutants, freaks, begone from this place! How dare ...


44

Most of them find satisfaction in serving their masters BUT that's part of the horror of enslavement. From the point of view of a free person, the fact that a majority of house-elves seem happy with their fate is puzzling, but it is actually a part of the vicious mechanism that perpetuates the system. 1/ The idea of freedom itself House-Elves are born and ...


43

I have no canon information, but I think we can reason this out: Servants are more useful if you're rich- Housework is hard. It's even harder in a large house. If you have an estate, you will pretty much need to hire people in order to keep it tidy. Why hire someone when you can get a house elf and not pay them? You still have to feed them- If you are a ...


40

Like practically everything else in HP, it is part of the overall racism theme Q. Your books have a theme of racism with the wizards oppressing other races and half­bloods. Do you think this has changed how people think when they read them? JK Rowling: do not think I am pessimistic but I think I am realistic about how much you can change deeply ...


38

In chapter 3 of Chamber of Secrets, when Harry is talking about house-elves, we get this dialogue: "I don't know whether the Malfoys own a house-elf..." said Harry. "Well, whoever owns him will be an old wizarding family, and they'll be rich," said Fred. "Yeah, Mum's always wishing we had a house-elf to do the ironing," said George. "But all we'...


37

The current headmaster or headmistress. In Goblet of Fire, chapter 21: “Can’t house-elves speak their minds about their masters, then?” Harry asked. “Oh no, sir, no,” said Dobby, looking suddenly serious. “‘Tis part of the house-elf’s enslavement, sir. We keeps their secrets and our silence, sir. We upholds the family’s honor, and we never speaks ...


36

The House Elves didn't clean Gryffindor tower any more because they considered the hidden clothes as an insult. Dobby says in Order of the Phoenix: None of them will clean Gryffindor Tower any more, not with the hats and socks hidden everywhere, they finds them insulting, sir. Dobby does it all himself, sir. And Hermione cannot free house elves ...


35

I think Dobby is being careful with his words: pre·sent2    [v. pri-zent; n. prez-uhnt] Show IPA verb (used with object) to furnish or endow with a gift or the like, especially by formal act: to present someone with a gold watch. to bring, offer, or give, often in a formal or ceremonious way: to present one's card. afford or furnish (an opportunity, ...


32

I'm not sure if there's canon info on direct orders to kill, but there's most certainly proof that they can be ordered to take actions that will result in other people's deaths. Dobby was ordered not to tell anyone about the consequences of opening the Chamber of Secrets, and he didn't, even though it was almost certainly going to result in people dying (and ...


29

Genuinely there could be, but it has never been said in canon. Rowling has never said there isn't but she's given no inclination that there is, either. There's nothing about it in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them or in any Harry Potter book. The House-elves resemble Brownies or Domovoi or all number of mythical beings: the use of the word elf is more ...


29

All House Elves enjoy serving a family that is kind to them “Sirius was horrible to Kreacher, Harry, and it’s no good looking like that, you know it’s true. Kreacher had been alone for such a long time when Sirius came to live here, and he was probably starving for a bit of affection. I’m sure ‘Miss Cissy’ and ‘Miss Bella’ were perfectly lovely to ...


28

Don't forget that Kreacher failed to destroy the Slytherin's locket Horcrux the first time. 'And he told Kreacher - to go home - and never to tell my mistress - what he had done - but to destroy - the first locket.' [...] 'Nothing Kreacher did made any mark upon it,' moaned the elf. 'Kreacher tried everything, everything he knew, but nothing, ...


28

I don't have any additional quotes to support this, other than those provided in elrond's answer, which I think go some way to explaining why he dislikes Kreacher specifically (because he is linked to everything he hates about his family). My speculation is that his outlook didn't change, but rather that he never really viewed Kreacher as having feelings to ...


27

There really isn't any reason to complicate this beyond "house elves come with big manors". The key is to realize that house-elves are like serfs, not slaves. They're not free, but they aren't property, either. Instead, they're bound to a property, in a totally practical sense (as opposed to a magical sense, though with house-elves there's doubtless a ...


25

It's not surprising in the context of the universe that Rowling created. It's also a world where wizards and witches enforce segregation between themselves and Muggles, and call their fellow human beings "Muggles." It's always struck me as very analogous to the historical United States—while the violent Ku Klux Klan/Death Eaters perpetrate lynchings on the ...


23

TL;DR - they were brought in by Helga Hufflepuff, who presumably was the safest least mean owner at the time to work for. Since there's no known descendant of Hufflepuff, they are owned by Hogwarts (not enough info to clearly imply whether it's "by headmaster" or not). http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/12/23/transcript-of-part-1-of-pottercast-s-jk-...


23

Yes, (or at least they can be order to kill themselves) The Grade 2 WOMBAT test that Rowling posted on her website in September 2006 included the following question about house-elves. Question 7 out of 18 Which of the following statements on house-elves is FALSE? ☐ House-elves have an average life-expectancy of 200 years ☐ A house-elf's allegiance ...


20

The only information I could find on House Elf breeding came from the Wombat Grade 2 Test which was originally published on J K Rowlings' website website now resides on the HP-Lexicon. In the Wombat Grade 2 Test we come across this question: Which of the following statements on house-elves is FALSE? a. House-elves have an average life-...


19

I want to extend the good answer of ibid abit. The phrase "entrenched prejudice" is important. If the house elves had not wanted to be slaves, the whole situation would have been so simplistic as to be almost babyish. Adding a layer of entrenchment of the prejudice to include the house elves themselves challenges us to think "whoa, is it possible that ...


19

There wasn't a shift in Sirius' attitude toward house-elves between the books. The only house-elf we see Sirius interact with on-screen (err...on-page) is Kreacher, which colors our perception of him. Dumbledore outright says that Sirius was kind to house-elves in general and his treatment of Kreacher was an exception. "SO SIRIUS DESERVED WHAT HE GOT, DID ...


18

Unfortunately this answer is going to be largely supposition based off known magic as I don't believe there is an in-universe explanation as to how it was definitively done. My guess would be that Dobby could place a variant of an Intruder Charm (the spell that Slughorn uses to let him know of visitors when he's squatting) to let him know when an owl ...


18

This is answered in chapter 14 of HP and the Deathly Hallows, shortly after they've realised Grimmauld Place is now out of bounds (emphasis mine): Harry wanted to believe that Kreacher had changed toward him in the past month, that he would be loyal now, but who knew what would happen? What if the Death Eaters tortured the elf? Sick images swarmed into ...


18

The companion book "Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them" notes that Newt Scamander spent several years working for the Office for House-Elf Relocation. Presumably this is a department that allocates and reassigns House Elves who need a new owner, perhaps when their current owner dies without having an heir. After two years at the Office for House-Elf ...


18

Just wanted to add to the excellent answers already here... If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. This doesn't mean that he necessarily has enlightened attitudes on house-elves. He's merely making a point about Crouch. I read the passages where the gang discuss this, and IMO, I don't ...


16

It's possible that placing house-elves with wealthy wizarding families with long histories in the wizarding world is wizarding tradition or perhaps even wizarding law. On the fourth floor of the Ministry for Magic is the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures Office for House-Elf Relocation. This suggests that the Ministry has some ...


16

I don't recall any canonical evidence that house-elves can or can not side-along apparate others inside Hogwarts. However, it seems likely that they can: We know that side-along apparating inside Hogwarts is possible for magical creatures as a concept: Fawkes flashed out of Dodge City with Dumbledore. We know from canon in general that you can side-along ...


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