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Mama Deb
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Essay: Towards a theory of House Elves

Towards a Theory of House Elves

House-elves are one of the Harry Potter book's most controversial subjects. Are they, as Hermione and Dobby contend, poor, brainwashed slaves, cruelly used by the wealthy and powerful Purebloods? Are they simply fulfilling a biological destiny as Ron and Hagrid say? Why do Winky and the Hogwarts elves act towards the idea of freedom so differently from Dobby? This essay will attempt to present a theory about House-elves, their magic and their place in the Wizarding world.Collapse )

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oh wow. thank you so much for writing this. the house elf issue has bothered me so much i wrote a fic about it. it was based on a different theory but i really like yours. frankly, i don't think jkr meant your theory as her own... not to be mean to either you or her, but i don't think she has such a complex conceptualisation of the house elves. i'm not sure what she really intended with house elves, but major kudos to you for a brilliant bit of fanwanking.

One problem:

If house-elves use the magic of their family members, then why don't people like Draco Malfoy get Underage Magic letters all summer long?

Good question. I'm thinking that Dobby did it on purpose - that he normally can change it or use Lucius's or something. He did say he wanted to keep Harry out of Hogwarts. Expulsion would do it.

hi. i can't get your essay out of my head, and i wondered if you'd like to join and post to by_the_fountain. if not, i'll rec and link to this. :)

Thank you for the recommendation.

I've joined the community, and I'll post a link to this essay.

I'm glad you liked it.

I have rather a different take on the House Elves and their background, but you make a few points that I did not touch on in my own essay.

If you are interested, my essay is entitled "The Servant Problem" and is posted over with the rest of the Potterverse collection over on the Red Hen site.


Ages too late - sorry...

...but: I've just read your essay, and I must admit that I'm fascinated. Very well done, thought-through to (almost) the last bit.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if at least parts of your theory proved to be canonically correct in the future.

One titbit, though: We can't be sure that Kreacher never injured himself. When Harry speaks to him via Floo in the 'Out of the Fire' chapter in OP, it is clearly stated that Kreacher has bandaged hands. Whether the bandages conceal damage done by Buckbeak while Kreacher was injuring the hippogriff or whether the wounds are from self-inflicted injury in anticipation of the ultimate betrayal of his master - I don't think we can say that for sure.

Hear hear!

I just wanted to say that this is an excellent essay, and that I do think that Dobby was leeching into Harry's power - thats why he got the letter.

Your essay was very well thought out, you did a really good job on it.

This is really a brilliant idea! I'm very impressed. :)


You might like to consider posting this essay on FictionAlley. You can find out more about posting an essay on FictionAlley here: http://forums.fictionalley.org/park/showthread.php?s=&postid=1624436

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