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{{Creature infobox
 
{{Creature infobox
 
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|hair=Bald<ref>''[[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]]'' - Chapter 6 (''The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black'')</ref>
 
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A '''house-elf''' is a self-abusive [[magic]]al creature which is devoted and loyal to the one designated as their master. They serve [[wizards|wizards and witches]] and are usually found under the employment of old wizarding families taking residence in elaborate establishments, like mansions, and must do everything that their masters command unless they are freed. A house-elf can only be freed when their master presents them with clothes.
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{{Quote|A house-elf must be set free, sir. And the family will never set Dobby free... Dobby will serve the family until he dies, sir....|Description|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets}}A '''house-elf '''(sometimes also referred to as just '''elves''') is a [[magic]]al creature which is immensely devoted and loyal to the one designated as their master.
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House-elves serve [[wizards|wizards and witches]] and are usually found under the employment of old wizarding families taking residence in elaborate establishments, like mansions, and must do everything that their masters command unless they are freed. A house-elf can only be freed when their master presents them with clothes.
   
 
==Magic==
 
==Magic==
 
{{Quote|Fight, fight for my master, the defender of the house-elves! Fight for master Regulus! Fight!|[[Kreacher]] leading the house-elves during the [[Battle of Hogwarts]]|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows}}
 
{{Quote|Fight, fight for my master, the defender of the house-elves! Fight for master Regulus! Fight!|[[Kreacher]] leading the house-elves during the [[Battle of Hogwarts]]|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows}}
   
[[File:15.JPG|thumb|left|150px|Dobby protecting [[Harry Potter]].]]
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[[File:Tumblr_n4b06pMvhJ1qdsqclo5_250.gif|frame|left|Dobby using his magic to [[Apparate]]]]
All house-elves have their own brand of [[House-elf magic|powerful magic]], which allows them to perform tasks, such as [[Apparition|Apparating]], where [[Wizards|wizards and witches]] cannot.<ref name="HPB">''[[Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince]]''</ref> More than just a mere housekeeper, a house-elf is a ruthless protector of their master, and will attack threats and enemies with great fury and strength and without even a moment's hesitation. In [[1993]], [[Dobby]] protected [[Harry Potter]] by using his magic to throw his former master, [[Lucius Malfoy]], across the floor. However this is limited by their lack of wands, a fact that is shared with all non-human magical beings. However, unlike most magical beings, the house-elf is actually quite happy not to own a wand, as almost all house-elves never require one for the type of magic they perform (mostly domestic spells and Apparition). Apart from that, house-elves usually have to obtain permission from their masters before they could use their own brand of magic, as doing so without their consent would be treated as a sign of transgression, leading to the house-elf in question to apply self-inflicted injury upon himself or herself.
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All house-elves have their own brand of [[House-elf magic|powerful magic]], which allows them to perform tasks, such as [[Apparition|Apparating]], where [[Wizards|wizards and witches]] cannot.<ref name="HPB">''[[Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince]]''</ref> More than just a mere housekeeper, a house-elf is a ruthless protector of their master, and will attack threats and enemies with great fury and strength and without even a moment's hesitation.In [[1993]], [[Dobby]] protected [[Harry Potter]] by using his magic to throw his former master, [[Lucius Malfoy]], across the floor.
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[[File:Tumblr_mxbklyBWRY1rgom1so6_250.gif|frame|Dobby blasting [[Lucius]] away in order to protect [[Harry Potter]]]]
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However this is limited by their lack of wands, a fact that is shared with all non-human magical beings. However, unlike most magical beings, the house-elf is actually quite happy not to own a wand, as almost all house-elves never require one for the type of magic they perform (mostly domestic spells and Apparition). Apart from that, house-elves usually have to obtain permission from their masters before they could use their own brand of magic, as doing so without their consent would be treated as a sign of transgression, leading to the house-elf in question to apply self-inflicted injury upon himself or herself.
   
It is implied that with a wand and the proper knowledge, house-elves may be able to do other magic, as [[Winky]] was accused of using the [[Morsmordre]] spell to conjure the [[Dark Mark]] in the sky, though it was it was in fact cast by [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.]]. [[Bartemius Crouch Sr.]] stated that [[Amos Diggory]] was implying that "I routinely teach my servants to conjure the Dark Mark," suggesting that it would have been possible for Winky to use the spell if she had the knowledge.<ref name="GOF9">''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]'', Chapter 9 - (''The Dark Mark'')</ref>
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It is implied that with a wand and the proper knowledge, house-elves may be able to do other magic, as [[Winky]] was accused of using the [[Morsmordre]] spell to conjure the [[Dark Mark]] in the sky, though it was it was in fact cast by [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.]] [[Bartemius Crouch Sr.]] stated that [[Amos Diggory]] was implying that "I routinely teach my servants to conjure the Dark Mark," suggesting that it would have been possible for Winky to use the spell if she had the knowledge.<ref name="GOF9">''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]'', Chapter 9 - (''The Dark Mark'')</ref>
   
 
==Obedience==
 
==Obedience==
 
{{Quote|GET OUT!|[[Sirius Black]]'s fateful order to [[Kreacher]].|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix}}
 
{{Quote|GET OUT!|[[Sirius Black]]'s fateful order to [[Kreacher]].|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix}}
[[File:Dooby&kreacher.jpg|thumb|right|[[Dobby]] and [[Kreacher]]]]
 
   
A house-elf must obey any commands given to them by their masters. At times, they seem to desire to disobey these orders, but as their master's orders are "the house-elf's highest law", they cannot. However, a house-elf may find loopholes within their master's or mistress's orders. For example, despite his loathing for Sirius Black, Kreacher could not disobey his direct orders. However, when Sirius yelled at him to "get out", which he meant to get out of the kitchen, Kreacher was able to interpret the command in a way that enabled him to leave number 12 Grimmauld Place and go to Sirius' cousins, Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. Also, during the [[1996–1997 school year]], Harry Potter ordered Kreacher to follow [[Draco Malfoy]] in order to find out what he was doing and where he was going, and carefully phrased his command to prevent Kreacher from contacting or alerting Draco. Kreacher, still reluctant to be owned by Harry, was unable to find a loophole in the orders about contacting Draco, but instead merely told Harry only about Draco's mundane daily activities.
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[[File:Dooby&kreacher.jpg|thumb|left|235px|Kreacher obeying Harry Potter's request
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]]
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A house-elf must obey any commands given to them by their masters. At times, they seem to desire to disobey these orders, but as their master's orders are "the house-elf's highest law," they cannot, and are forced to punish themselves if they do. However, a house-elf may find loopholes within their master's or mistress's orders. For example, despite his loathing for Sirius Black, Kreacher could not disobey his direct orders. However, when Sirius yelled at him to "get out," which he meant to get out of the kitchen, Kreacher was able to interpret the command in a way that enabled him to leave number 12 Grimmauld Place and go to Sirius' cousins, Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.
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During the [[1996–1997 school year|1996-1997 school year]], Harry Potter ordered Kreacher to follow [[Draco Malfoy]] in order to find out what he was doing and where he was going, and carefully phrased his command to prevent Kreacher from contacting or alerting Draco. Kreacher, still reluctant to be owned by Harry, was unable to find a loophole in the orders about contacting Draco, but instead merely told Harry only about Draco's mundane daily activities.
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===Mistreatment===
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{{Quote|Kreacher is what he has been made by wizards, Harry. Yes, he is to be pitied. His existence has been as miserable as your friend [[Dobby]]'s. He was forced to do Sirius's bidding, because Sirius was the last of the family to which he was enslaved, but he felt no true loyalty to him. And whatever Kreacher's faults, it must be admitted that Sirius did nothing to make Kreacher's lot easier.|[[Albus Dumbledore]] on [[Kreacher]].|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix}}
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[[File:12GrimmauldPlaceElfHeads.jpg|thumb|215x215px|The heads of house-elves mounted on a wall in [[12 Grimmauld Place]].]]
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In the past in part due to their absolute obedience , house-elves have been treated very brutally by their owners. House-elves have no rights of their own and are looked on by wizarding societies as mere servants; they are often made patsies for the crimes of [[wizards]]. Even the government did not seem to care much for house-elves in the late 20th century; [[guidelines on house-elf welfare]] existed at least in [[1996]], but the Ministry did not enforce said guidelines.
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For instance, Kreacher had to sleep in a cupboard near a kettle, where he made himself a den and was given no attention while [[Sirius Black]] was his master.
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The house-elf [[Hokey]] was framed for the murder of [[Hepzibah Smith]]. She had not the self-worth or pride to defend herself from the charge and simply acknowledged the possibility of mistakenly giving her mistress poison.<ref name="HPB" />
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The house-elf [[Dobby]] was so mistreated and under appreciated by the [[Malfoy family]] that he independently sought out the aid and protection of [[Harry Potter]] in [[1992]].<ref name="CoS" /> Dobby insisted his higher duty was to protect Harry, even though [[Lucius Malfoy]] was the individual who perpetuated the danger at that time. When Dobby was freed, he ever after considered the service of Harry as his mission in life. In [[1998]], Dobby was slain by [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] in the act of protecting Harry's life.<ref name="DH" /> Voldemort forced Kreacher to drink [[Drink of Despair|the potion]] in which his Horcrux was hidden, simply to test the defence's effectiveness, and left him in the lake of Inferi. Also, [[Horace Slughorn]] made a house-elf test of his bottles of mead for poison (although he likely had antidotes on hand).
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When a house-elf is mistreated, they will typically work just enough to obey their master's commands. However, if even the slightest loophole can be found in a master's orders, house-elves that are unhappy with their master will exploit that loophole to their advantage. The best way for a master to ensure full loyalty and compliance with their orders is to simply treat them properly. This was evidenced in [[1997]], when [[Hermione Granger]] convinced [[Harry Potter]] to be nicer to [[Kreacher]]. Soon, Kreacher began to accept his new master, and started serving him much more enthusiastically.
   
 
==Loyalty==
 
==Loyalty==
{{Dialogue a-b-c|Albus Dumbledore|Give him an order. If he has passed into your ownership, he will have to obey. If not, then we shall have to think of some other means of keeping him from his rightful mistress.|Kreacher|Won't, won't, won't, WON'T!|[[Harry Potter]]|Kreacher, SHUT UP!|[[Harry Potter]], [[Albus Dumbledore]] and [[Kreacher]].|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince}}
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{{Dialogue a-b-c|Albus Dumbledore|Give him an order. If he has passed into your ownership, he will have to obey. If not, then we shall have to think of some other means of keeping him from his rightful mistress.|Kreacher|Won't, won't, won't, WON'T!|Harry Potter|Kreacher, SHUT UP!|[[Harry Potter]], [[Albus Dumbledore]] and [[Kreacher]].|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince}}
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[[File:07_Dobby_rescuing_Harry_Potter,_Griphook,_Hermione_and_Ron.jpg|thumb|220px|Dobby rescues [[Harry Potter]] from [[Malfoy Manor]] and later dies for him out of loyalty ]]
   
The house-elf is so intensely loyal to their master that they will not allow themselves to be set free unless the master presents them with clothes. To symbolise this, they usually wear makeshift clothes made with found objects such as pillowcases and rags.<ref name="CoS">''[[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets]]''</ref> These clothes can become quite filthy, and yet the house-elf will not clean their clothes to further express they have no needs which are not specifically commanded to them by the master. House-elves will torture and maim themselves if they think it will please the master (or to punish themselves.)
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House-elves are so intensely loyal to their masters that they will not allow themselves to be set free unless their master presents them with clothes. To symbolise this, they usually wear makeshift clothes made with found objects such as pillowcases and rags.<ref name="CoS">''[[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets]]''</ref> These clothes can become quite filthy, and yet the house-elf will not clean their clothes to further express that they have no needs which are not specifically commanded to them by the master. House-elves will torture and maim themselves if they think it will please the master (or to punish themselves.)
   
 
House-elves not only serve one specific master, but the whole family of the master and whoever the house-elf is ordered by the master to serve. When [[Sirius Black]] was killed in [[1996]], [[Harry Potter]] inherited the [[House of Black]]'s servant [[Kreacher]].<ref name="HPB" /> At first they didn't even get along, because [[Kreacher]] considered his masters to be the House of Black. However, in due time [[Kreacher]] formed a fierce loyalty to Harry after Harry began to treat Kreacher with respect.<ref name="DH">''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]''</ref>
 
House-elves not only serve one specific master, but the whole family of the master and whoever the house-elf is ordered by the master to serve. When [[Sirius Black]] was killed in [[1996]], [[Harry Potter]] inherited the [[House of Black]]'s servant [[Kreacher]].<ref name="HPB" /> At first they didn't even get along, because [[Kreacher]] considered his masters to be the House of Black. However, in due time [[Kreacher]] formed a fierce loyalty to Harry after Harry began to treat Kreacher with respect.<ref name="DH">''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]''</ref>
   
House-elves are bound by magic to obey their masters' every command, but if the masters are cruel to the house-elves, then the elves would only obey their orders just enough to avoid breaking these magical binds. For example, when [[Harry Potter]] sent [[Kreacher]] on a mission to spy on [[Draco Malfoy]], Kreacher did spy on him, but did not take note of any suspicious activity like [[Dobby]] did, instead noting only Draco's mundane activities such as eating and sleeping. However, one year later, Harry started being nicer to Kreacher at [[Hermione Granger]]'s pleading, leading to much smoother compliance with Harry's orders.
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House-elves are bound by magic to obey their masters' every command, but if the masters are cruel to the house-elves, then the elves will only obey their orders just enough to avoid breaking these magical binds. For example, when [[Harry Potter]] sent [[Kreacher]] on a mission to spy on [[Draco Malfoy]], Kreacher did spy on him, but did not take note of any suspicious activity like [[Dobby]] did, instead noting only Draco's mundane activities such as eating and sleeping. However, one year later, Harry started being nicer to Kreacher at [[Hermione Granger]]'s pleading, leading to much smoother compliance with Harry's orders.
   
 
Despite the seemingly horrid lifestyle that house-elves endure, house-elves seem to actually ''enjoy'' being enslaved. With few exceptions ([[Dobby]] being one of them), house-elves will feel insulted if their master attempts to pay them, give them pensions, or reward their service with anything except kindness. In [[1995]], when [[Hermione Granger]] began hiding clothes in [[Gryffindor Tower]] in an attempt to free the house-elves of Hogwarts, the house-elves felt rather insulted, and everyone except Dobby refused to clean the Gryffindor common room in protest.
 
Despite the seemingly horrid lifestyle that house-elves endure, house-elves seem to actually ''enjoy'' being enslaved. With few exceptions ([[Dobby]] being one of them), house-elves will feel insulted if their master attempts to pay them, give them pensions, or reward their service with anything except kindness. In [[1995]], when [[Hermione Granger]] began hiding clothes in [[Gryffindor Tower]] in an attempt to free the house-elves of Hogwarts, the house-elves felt rather insulted, and everyone except Dobby refused to clean the Gryffindor common room in protest.
   
Despite Hogwarts having a large number of house-elves for centuries, it was only in their fourth year that Harry, Ron, and Hermione (rather shockingly) discovered their existence at Hogwarts, which happened inadvertently when the ghost of Sir Nicolas casually mentioned them of being scared by Peeves the Poltergeist's tantrums. Sir Nicolas explained to them that the house-elves work in hiding, and it is considered the mark of a good house-elf that he or she does all the work but his/her existence is not even noticed.
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Despite Hogwarts having had a large number of house-elves for centuries, it was only in their fourth year that Harry, Ron, and Hermione (rather shockingly) discovered their existence at Hogwarts, which happened inadvertently when the ghost of Sir Nicholas casually mentioned them being scared by Peeves the Poltergeist's tantrums. Sir Nicholas explained to them that the house-elves work in hiding, and it is considered the mark of a good house-elf that he or she does all the work but his/her existence is not even noticed.
   
[[File:Dobbythehouse-elf.jpg|thumb|[[Dobby]] warning [[Harry Potter|Harry]] about the [[Chamber of Secrets]].]]
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[[File:Dobbythehouse-elf.jpg|thumb|left|240px|[[Dobby]] warning [[Harry Potter|Harry]] about the [[Chamber of Secrets]].]]
It should be noted, however, that there are elements of coercion in some house-elves' loyalty. [[Kreacher]] disliked [[Sirius Black]] even when he was his master, and helped to sabotage Sirius by assisting [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] and [[Narcissa Malfoy]], though this may have been easier for him since both witches had been born [[House of Black|Blacks]]. [[Albus Dumbledore]] described Kreacher as "forced to do Sirius's bidding, because Sirius was the last of the family to which he was enslaved, but he felt no true loyalty to him".<ref name="OTP">''[[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]]''</ref> Kreacher also initially despised serving Harry, only coming to be willingly loyal to him after Harry showed him kindness and respect and pointed out that by cooperating with him and his friends, Kreacher would be honouring the dying actions of [[Regulus Black]], the late master he was very fond of. [[Hermione Granger]] pointed out that Kreacher was accustomed to "bad, even brutal treatment" and that he was "loyal to people who are kind to him".<ref name="DH" />
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It should be noted, however, that there are elements of coercion in some house-elves' loyalty. [[Kreacher]] disliked [[Sirius Black]] even when he was his master, and helped to sabotage Sirius by assisting [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] and [[Narcissa Malfoy]], though this may have been easier for him since both witches had been born [[House of Black|Blacks]]. [[Albus Dumbledore]] described Kreacher as "forced to do Sirius's bidding, because Sirius was the last of the family to which he was enslaved, but he felt no true loyalty to him."<ref name="OTP">''[[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]]''</ref> Kreacher also initially despised serving Harry, only coming to be willingly loyal to him after Harry showed him kindness and respect and pointed out that by cooperating with him and his friends, Kreacher would be honouring the dying actions of [[Regulus Black]], the late master he was very fond of. [[Hermione Granger]] pointed out that Kreacher was accustomed to "bad, even brutal treatment" and that he was "loyal to people who are kind to him."<ref name="DH" />
   
 
The house-elves of the [[House of Black]] were, in old age, beheaded and their heads were sickeningly stuffed and mounted on the house walls. This was, no doubt, considered by the house-elves as the very highest honour.
 
The house-elves of the [[House of Black]] were, in old age, beheaded and their heads were sickeningly stuffed and mounted on the house walls. This was, no doubt, considered by the house-elves as the very highest honour.
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While some house-elves were treated abysmally by their masters, some were genuinely loved and cared for. Some wizards treated their house-elves like adored pets or dolls, lavishing praise on them for doing their duties.
 
While some house-elves were treated abysmally by their masters, some were genuinely loved and cared for. Some wizards treated their house-elves like adored pets or dolls, lavishing praise on them for doing their duties.
 
==Mistreatment==
 
{{Quote|Kreacher is what he has been made by wizards, Harry. Yes, he is to be pitied. His existence has been as miserable as your friend [[Dobby]]'s. He was forced to do Sirius's bidding, because Sirius was the last of the family to which he was enslaved, but he felt no true loyalty to him. And whatever Kreacher's faults, it must be admitted that Sirius did nothing to make Kreacher's lot easier.|[[Albus Dumbledore]] on [[Kreacher]].|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix}}
 
[[File:12GrimmauldPlaceElfHeads.jpg|thumb|left|250px|The heads of house-elves mounted on a wall in [[12 Grimmauld Place]].]]
 
In the past, house-elves have been treated very brutally by their owners. House-elves have no rights of their own and are looked on by wizarding societies as mere servants; they are often made patsies for the crimes of [[wizards]]. Even the government did not seem to care much for house-elves in the late 20th century; [[guidelines on house-elf welfare]] existed at least in [[1996]], but the Ministry did not enforce said guidelines.
 
 
For instance, Kreacher had to sleep in a cupboard near a kettle, where he made himself a den and was given no attention while [[Sirius Black]] was his master.
 
 
The house-elf [[Hokey]] was framed for the murder of [[Hepzibah Smith]]. She had not the self-worth or pride to defend herself from the charge and simply acknowledged the possibility of mistakenly giving her mistress poison.<ref name="HPB" />
 
 
The house-elf [[Dobby]] was so mistreated and under appreciated by the [[Malfoy family]] that he independently sought out the aid and protection of [[Harry Potter]] in [[1992]].<ref name="CoS" /> Dobby insisted his higher duty was to protect Harry, even though [[Lucius Malfoy]] was the individual who perpetuated the danger at that time. When Dobby was freed, he ever after considered the service of Harry as his mission in life. In [[1998]], Dobby was slain by [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] in the act of protecting Harry's life.<ref name="DH" />
 
Voldemort forced Kreacher to drink [[Drink of Despair|the potion]] in which his Horcrux was hidden, simply to test the defence's effectiveness, and left him in the lake of Inferi. Also, [[Horace Slughorn]] made a house-elf test of his bottles of mead for poison (although he likely had antidotes on hand).
 
 
When a house-elf is mistreated, they will typically work just enough to obey their master's commands. However, if even the slightest loophole can be found in a master's orders, house-elves that are unhappy with their master will exploit that loophole to their advantage. The best way for a master to ensure full loyalty and compliance with their orders is to simply treat them properly. This was evidenced in [[1997]], when [[Hermione Granger]] convinced [[Harry Potter]] to be nicer to [[Kreacher]]. Soon, Kreacher began to accept his new master, and started serving him much more enthusiastically.
 
   
 
==Hogwarts elves==
 
==Hogwarts elves==
{{Quote|Yeah, it's a complicated issue. I would say that [[Helga Hufflepuff|Hufflepuff]] gave- [[Hufflepuff]] did what was the most moral thing to do at that time, and we are talking about over a thousand years ago. So that would be to give them good conditions of work.|[[J. K. Rowling]].|J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview}}
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{{Quote|Yeah, it's a complicated issue. I would say that [[Helga Hufflepuff|Hufflepuff]] gave [[Hufflepuff]] did what was the most moral thing to do at that time, and we are talking about over a thousand years ago. So that would be to give them good conditions of work.|[[J. K. Rowling]].|J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview}}
   
[[File:Dobby-illustration.jpg|thumb|120px|[[Dobby]] working at [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]].]]
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[[File:Dobby-illustration.jpg|thumb|left|160px|[[Dobby]] working at [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]].]]
 
A veritable legion of house-elves are enlisted by [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry]]. They work the kitchens, preparing feasts for the entire school. They also move trunks and baggage to and from rooms, clean dormitories, and presumably other areas of the [[Hogwarts Castle|castle]] as well. In [[1994]], they became angry with [[Hermione Granger]] as she made attempts to free them. [[Dobby]] and [[Winky]], who came under Hogwarts' employ at the time, were considered disgraces to the rest of their colleagues due to Dobby being paid and receiving a vacation while Winky getting drunk out of self-pity. During the [[Battle of Hogwarts]], the house-elves fought against the [[Death Eaters]] with [[Kreacher]] leading them. They defended their masters by using kitchen knives to stab at the attackers' ankles.<ref name="DH"/>
 
A veritable legion of house-elves are enlisted by [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry]]. They work the kitchens, preparing feasts for the entire school. They also move trunks and baggage to and from rooms, clean dormitories, and presumably other areas of the [[Hogwarts Castle|castle]] as well. In [[1994]], they became angry with [[Hermione Granger]] as she made attempts to free them. [[Dobby]] and [[Winky]], who came under Hogwarts' employ at the time, were considered disgraces to the rest of their colleagues due to Dobby being paid and receiving a vacation while Winky getting drunk out of self-pity. During the [[Battle of Hogwarts]], the house-elves fought against the [[Death Eaters]] with [[Kreacher]] leading them. They defended their masters by using kitchen knives to stab at the attackers' ankles.<ref name="DH"/>
   
 
==S.P.E.W.==
 
==S.P.E.W.==
 
{{Main|S.P.E.W.}}
 
{{Main|S.P.E.W.}}
[[File:Hp5hermioneweb.jpg|thumb|left|[[Hermione Granger]], founder of [[Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare|S.P.E.W.]].]]
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{{Quote|You know, house-elves get a very raw deal! It’s slavery, that’s what it is! That [[Bartemius Crouch Sr.|Mr. Crouch]] made [[Winky|her]] go up to the top of the stadium, and she was terrified, and he's got her bewitched so she can't even run when they start trampling tents! Why doesn't anyone do something about it?|[[Hermione Granger|Hermione]] after the [[1994]] [[Quidditch World Cup]].|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire}}
 
{{Quote|You know, house-elves get a very raw deal! It’s slavery, that’s what it is! That [[Bartemius Crouch Sr.|Mr. Crouch]] made [[Winky|her]] go up to the top of the stadium, and she was terrified, and he's got her bewitched so she can't even run when they start trampling tents! Why doesn't anyone do something about it?|[[Hermione Granger|Hermione]] after the [[1994]] [[Quidditch World Cup]].|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire}}
   
In [[1994]], [[Hermione Granger]], in outrage for the inhumane treatment of house-elves, created the student organisation [[Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare|S.P.E.W.]] - Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare - in an attempt to win rights for house-elves. She managed to get several students to join, paying a fee of two Sickles, though they only did so to stop her from badgering them. These students included [[Neville Longbottom]], [[Ronald Weasley|Ron Weasley]], and [[Harry Potter]]. Some people refused to join S.P.E.W., like [[Fred and George Weasley]], because they believed that the elves liked being treated the way they did. Hermione even tried to trick house-elves into picking up little hats and socks she had knitted and left around the [[Gryffindor]] dormitory, so as to grant them freedom. The house-elves did not appreciate this gesture; on the contrary, they took it for insult and refused to clean the [[Gryffindor Tower|common room]], with the exception of [[Dobby]].<ref name="GoF">''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]''</ref>
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[[File:Spew-badge-lrg.png|thumb|165px|A S.P.E.W. badge, an organisation founded by [[Hermione Granger]]
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]]
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In [[1994]], [[Hermione Granger]], in outrage for the inhumane treatment of house-elves, created the student organisation [[Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare|S.P.E.W.]] - Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare - in an attempt to win rights for house-elves. She managed to get several students to join, paying a fee of two Sickles, though they only did so to stop her from badgering them. These students included [[Neville Longbottom]], [[Ronald Weasley|Ron Weasley]], and [[Harry Potter]]. Some people refused to join S.P.E.W., like [[Fred and George Weasley]], because they believed that the elves liked being treated the way they did. Hermione even tried to trick house-elves into picking up little hats and socks she had knitted and left around the [[Gryffindor]] dormitory so as to grant them freedom. The house-elves did not appreciate this gesture; on the contrary, they took it as an insult and refused to clean the [[Gryffindor Tower|common room]], with the exception of [[Dobby]].<ref name="GoF">''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]''</ref>
   
 
Later in life, Hermione would advance the rights of house-elves in the [[Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures]] before transferring to the [[Department of Magical Law Enforcement]].
 
Later in life, Hermione would advance the rights of house-elves in the [[Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures]] before transferring to the [[Department of Magical Law Enforcement]].
   
 
==Physical appearance==
 
==Physical appearance==
[[File:House-Elves at the Quidditch World Cup 02.jpg|thumb|right|House-elves riding on their masters at the [[1994]] [[Quidditch World Cup]].]]
+
[[File:BlackHouseElf2.png|thumb|left|155px|a house-elf]]
 
{{Quote|The little creature on the bed had large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes the size of tennis balls.|Description of [[Dobby]].|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets}}
 
{{Quote|The little creature on the bed had large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes the size of tennis balls.|Description of [[Dobby]].|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets}}
 
House-elves are between two to three feet tall, with spindly arms and legs and over-sized heads and eyes. They have pointed, bat-like ears and high, squeaky voices. Rather than conventional clothing, house-elves wear discarded items like pillowcases and tea-towels. Though when they are freed, and when they are able to pay for proper clothing, they seem to not know how to wear it. For example, [[Dobby]] wore a single different styled sock on each foot, and in fact was under the impression that it wasn't correct to wear two matching socks.
 
House-elves are between two to three feet tall, with spindly arms and legs and over-sized heads and eyes. They have pointed, bat-like ears and high, squeaky voices. Rather than conventional clothing, house-elves wear discarded items like pillowcases and tea-towels. Though when they are freed, and when they are able to pay for proper clothing, they seem to not know how to wear it. For example, [[Dobby]] wore a single different styled sock on each foot, and in fact was under the impression that it wasn't correct to wear two matching socks.
   
 
==Known house-elves==
 
==Known house-elves==
[[File:DobbyHarryBedroom.PNG|thumb|Dobby meeting [[Harry Potter]].]]
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[[File:DobbyDH.jpg|thumb|180px|Dobby]]
*[[Dobby]] Dobby was a house-elf who served the [[Malfoy family]]. During [[Harry Potter]]'s [[1992-1993 school year|second year]] at [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]], he tried to warn the [[Harry Potter|boy]] of the plot to have the [[Chamber of Secrets]] reopened. The same year, Harry freed Dobby from the Malfoys, by giving him one of his socks. Dobby then went on to work in the [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]] kitchens. He provided Harry with [[gillyweed]] for the Second Task of the [[Triwizard Tournament]]. He went on to save the lives of Harry and his friends [[Ronald Weasley|Ron Weasley]], [[Hermione Granger]], [[Luna Lovegood]], [[Dean Thomas]], [[Garrick Ollivander|Mr. Ollivander]], and [[Griphook]] from [[Death Eaters]] at [[Malfoy Manor]], though he was killed by [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] in the process. Dobby was a brave, loyal house-elf, willing to put himself in dangerous situations when he knew it to be the right thing to do. He was also very loyal to the few friends he had. He considered himself to be a good house-elf, though other house elves seemed to find his desires and proclamations of being a free house-elf to be shameful.
+
*[[Dobby]] - Dobby was a house-elf who served the [[Malfoy family]]. During [[Harry Potter]]'s [[1992-1993 school year|second year]] at [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]], he tried to warn the [[Harry Potter|boy]] of the plot to have the [[Chamber of Secrets]] reopened. The same year, Harry freed Dobby from the Malfoys, by giving him one of his socks. Dobby then went on to work in the [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry|Hogwarts]] kitchens. He provided Harry with [[gillyweed]] for the Second Task of the [[Triwizard Tournament]]. He went on to save the lives of Harry and his friends [[Ronald Weasley|Ron Weasley]], [[Hermione Granger]], [[Luna Lovegood]], [[Dean Thomas]], [[Garrick Ollivander|Mr. Ollivander]], and [[Griphook]] from [[Death Eaters]] at [[Malfoy Manor]], though he was killed by [[Bellatrix Lestrange]] in the process. Dobby was a brave, loyal house-elf, willing to put himself in dangerous situations when he knew it to be the right thing to do. He was also very loyal to the few friends he had. He considered himself to be a good house-elf, though other house elves seemed to find his desires and proclamations of being a free house-elf to be shameful.
*[[Unidentified House-elves at the Quidditch World Cup]] - These elves attended the [[1994]] Quidditch World Cup and were seen riding on some creatures.
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*[[Unidentified House-elves at the Quidditch World Cup]] - These elves attended the [[1994]] Quidditch World Cup and were seen riding on some llamas.
*[[Winky]] Winky was a female house-elf, currently in the employment of [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry]] and formerly the servant of the [[Crouch family]] until she was fired when she let [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]] out of her grasp. Dobby helped her find work in the Hogwarts kitchens, but she spent most of her time drinking heavily.
+
*[[Winky]] - Winky was a female house-elf, currently in the employment of [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry]] and formerly the servant of the [[Crouch family]] until she was fired when she let [[Bartemius Crouch Jr.|Barty Crouch Jr.]] out of her grasp. Dobby helped her find work in the Hogwarts kitchens, but she spent most of her time drinking heavily.
*[[Kreacher]] — Kreacher was an aged house-elf who served the House of Black with fanatical loyalty for most of his life, until he was left to Harry Potter upon the death of [[Sirius Black]] in [[1996]]. He was particularly fond of "his mistress" [[Walburga Black]], who died in 1985, but whose portrait still shrieked orders from the wall in the front hall of the Black house. After [[Walburga Black|Mrs. Black's]] death, Kreacher let the home fall into disarray, doing little, if any, cleaning. He was also fiercely loyal to [[Regulus Black]], for whom he fought in the [[Battle of Hogwarts]] along with many other house-elves.
+
[[File:Kreacher,_House-elf._.jpg|thumb|left|196px|Kreacher, Harry Potter's house-elf]]
*[[Hokey]] Servant of [[Hepzibah Smith]]. Hokey was accused of poisoning her mistress's cocoa. She later remembered putting something into the cocoa that turned out not to be sugar, but a lethal poison. The [[British Ministry of Magic|Ministry of Magic]] put it off to an accident given the fact that Hokey was old and probably confused. However, it is very likely that [[Tom Riddle|Tom Marvolo Riddle]] poisoned Mrs. Smith (in order to steal [[Helga Hufflepuff's Cup]] and [[Salazar Slytherin's Locket]]) and then magically changed Hokey's memory, with a [[False Memory Charm]], to make her look like the guilty party.
+
*[[Kreacher]] - Kreacher was an aged house-elf who served the House of Black with fanatical loyalty for most of his life, until he was left to Harry Potter upon the death of [[Sirius Black]] in [[1996]]. He was particularly fond of "his mistress" [[Walburga Black]], who died in 1985, but whose portrait still shrieked orders from the wall in the front hall of the Black house. After [[Walburga Black|Mrs. Black's]] death, Kreacher let the home fall into disarray, doing little, if any, cleaning. He was also fiercely loyal to [[Regulus Black]], for whom he fought in the [[Battle of Hogwarts]] along with many other house-elves.
  +
*[[Hokey]] - Servant of [[Hepzibah Smith]]. Hokey was accused of poisoning her mistress's cocoa. She later remembered putting something into the cocoa that turned out not to be sugar, but a lethal poison. The [[British Ministry of Magic|Ministry of Magic]] put it off to an accident given the fact that Hokey was old and probably confused. However, it is very likely that [[Tom Riddle|Tom Marvolo Riddle]] poisoned Mrs. Smith (in order to steal [[Helga Hufflepuff's Cup]] and [[Salazar Slytherin's Locket]]) and then magically changed Hokey's memory, with a [[False Memory Charm]], to make her look like the guilty party.
 
*The house-elves who formerly worked for the [[House of Black]] - These elves worked on the House of Black before [[Kreacher]], and were beheaded once they were too old to carry a tea tray.
 
*The house-elves who formerly worked for the [[House of Black]] - These elves worked on the House of Black before [[Kreacher]], and were beheaded once they were too old to carry a tea tray.
*[[Kreacher's mother]] The mother of Kreacher served as the house-elf of the [[House of Black|Black family]] sometime before her son. When she became too old to carry a tea tray, she was beheaded, and her head was mounted on a plaque and hung on the wall above the front hall stairs at [[12 Grimmauld Place]]. It was once [[Kreacher]]'s sincere wish to suffer the same fate as his mother.
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*[[Kreacher's mother]] - The mother of Kreacher served as the house-elf of the [[House of Black|Black family]] sometime before her son. When she became too old to carry a tea tray, she was beheaded, and her head was mounted on a plaque and hung on the wall above the front hall stairs at [[12 Grimmauld Place]]. It was once [[Kreacher]]'s sincere wish to suffer the same fate as his mother.
*The house-elves who work in Hogwarts At least a hundred strong, they live at Hogwarts and work in the kitchens. They wear uniforms made of tea towels.
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*The house-elves who work in [[Hogwarts]] - At least a hundred strong, they live at Hogwarts and work in the kitchens. They wear uniforms made of tea towels.
 
*[[Hooky]] - had a statue at Hogwarts
 
*[[Hooky]] - had a statue at Hogwarts
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  +
==Media==
  +
  +
<gallery widths="200" position="center" spacing="small" captionalign="center" hideaddbutton="true">
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File:Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Dobby's Free|Harry frees Dobby
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File:Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Dobby's Infirmary Visit|Dobby's midnight vist
  +
</gallery>{{VideoFooter}}
   
 
==Behind the scenes==
 
==Behind the scenes==
[[Video:Dobby free|thumb|300px|right|Dobby is freed]]
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*In the [[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)|film adaption]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]'', two house-elves are seen wearing green and red and riding a [[camel]] at the 1994 [[Quidditch World Cup]].
*In the [[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)|film adaption]] of ''[[Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]]'', two house-elves are seen wearing the colours of green and red, and riding a [[camel]] at the 1994 [[Quidditch World Cup]].
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*House-elves are clearly based on the fairytale of 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' where a set of elves make shoes for a shoemaker until one day the shoemaker's wife makes them little clothes which he watches them receive. However, afterward they are never seen again.
*House-elves, in particular the fact they are released when they are given clothes, are clearly based on the fairytale of 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' where a set of elves make shoes for a shoemaker until one day the shoemaker's wife makes them little clothes which he watches them receive however afterwards they are never seen again.
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*According to the [[Wizards' Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude Test|WOMBAT]] test, it is possible that house-elves have an average life expectancy of 200 years, cannot be ordered to kill themselves, breed infrequently and only with their master's permission, can override wizard enchantments, and have an allegiance to their home rather than its inhabitants.
*According to the [[Wizards' Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude Test|W.O.M.B.A.T.]] test, it is possible that house-elves have an average life expectancy of 200 years, cannot be ordered to kill themselves, breed infrequently and only with their master's permission, can override wizard enchantments, and have an allegiance to their home rather than its inhabitants.
 
 
*The [[elf-made wine]] may be a product created by house-elves.
 
*The [[elf-made wine]] may be a product created by house-elves.
*During ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]'' Harry Potter remarks how house-elves are actually much more capable of wielding advanced magic than wizards.
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*During ''[[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]]'', Harry Potter remarks how house-elves are actually much more capable of wielding advanced magic than wizards.
 
*House-elves are never identified as "beings" in ''Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'', though presumably they are.
 
*House-elves are never identified as "beings" in ''Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'', though presumably they are.
   
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*''[[LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7]]''
 
*''[[LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7]]''
 
*''[[LEGO Harry Potter|Harry Potter LEGO Sets]]''
 
*''[[LEGO Harry Potter|Harry Potter LEGO Sets]]''
*''[[Pottermore]] ''
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*''[[Pottermore]]''
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*''[[Wonderbook: Book of Potions]]''
   
 
==Notes and references==
 
==Notes and references==
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[[Category:House-elves| ]]
 
[[Category:House-elves| ]]
 
[[Category:Jobs]]
 
[[Category:Jobs]]
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[[Category:Battle of Hogwarts participants]]

Latest revision as of 12:38, October 23, 2014

DOBBY2
House-elf
Species information
Sentience

Sentient

Eye colour

Varies

Hair colour

Bald[1]

Related to
Height of average adult

3 feet

Distinction(s)

Short and skinny

Affiliation

Their master

Status

Being

"A house-elf must be set free, sir. And the family will never set Dobby free... Dobby will serve the family until he dies, sir...."
—Description[src]
A house-elf (sometimes also referred to as just elves) is a magical creature which is immensely devoted and loyal to the one designated as their master.

House-elves serve wizards and witches and are usually found under the employment of old wizarding families taking residence in elaborate establishments, like mansions, and must do everything that their masters command unless they are freed. A house-elf can only be freed when their master presents them with clothes.

MagicEdit

"Fight, fight for my master, the defender of the house-elves! Fight for master Regulus! Fight!"
Kreacher leading the house-elves during the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
Tumblr n4b06pMvhJ1qdsqclo5 250

Dobby using his magic to Apparate

All house-elves have their own brand of powerful magic, which allows them to perform tasks, such as Apparating, where wizards and witches cannot.[3] More than just a mere housekeeper, a house-elf is a ruthless protector of their master, and will attack threats and enemies with great fury and strength and without even a moment's hesitation.In 1993, Dobby protected Harry Potter by using his magic to throw his former master, Lucius Malfoy, across the floor.

Tumblr mxbklyBWRY1rgom1so6 250

Dobby blasting Lucius away in order to protect Harry Potter

However this is limited by their lack of wands, a fact that is shared with all non-human magical beings. However, unlike most magical beings, the house-elf is actually quite happy not to own a wand, as almost all house-elves never require one for the type of magic they perform (mostly domestic spells and Apparition). Apart from that, house-elves usually have to obtain permission from their masters before they could use their own brand of magic, as doing so without their consent would be treated as a sign of transgression, leading to the house-elf in question to apply self-inflicted injury upon himself or herself.

It is implied that with a wand and the proper knowledge, house-elves may be able to do other magic, as Winky was accused of using the Morsmordre spell to conjure the Dark Mark in the sky, though it was it was in fact cast by Bartemius Crouch Jr. Bartemius Crouch Sr. stated that Amos Diggory was implying that "I routinely teach my servants to conjure the Dark Mark," suggesting that it would have been possible for Winky to use the spell if she had the knowledge.[4]

ObedienceEdit

"GET OUT!"
Sirius Black's fateful order to Kreacher.[src]
Dooby&kreacher

Kreacher obeying Harry Potter's request

A house-elf must obey any commands given to them by their masters. At times, they seem to desire to disobey these orders, but as their master's orders are "the house-elf's highest law," they cannot, and are forced to punish themselves if they do. However, a house-elf may find loopholes within their master's or mistress's orders. For example, despite his loathing for Sirius Black, Kreacher could not disobey his direct orders. However, when Sirius yelled at him to "get out," which he meant to get out of the kitchen, Kreacher was able to interpret the command in a way that enabled him to leave number 12 Grimmauld Place and go to Sirius' cousins, Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.

During the 1996-1997 school year, Harry Potter ordered Kreacher to follow Draco Malfoy in order to find out what he was doing and where he was going, and carefully phrased his command to prevent Kreacher from contacting or alerting Draco. Kreacher, still reluctant to be owned by Harry, was unable to find a loophole in the orders about contacting Draco, but instead merely told Harry only about Draco's mundane daily activities.

MistreatmentEdit

"Kreacher is what he has been made by wizards, Harry. Yes, he is to be pitied. His existence has been as miserable as your friend Dobby's. He was forced to do Sirius's bidding, because Sirius was the last of the family to which he was enslaved, but he felt no true loyalty to him. And whatever Kreacher's faults, it must be admitted that Sirius did nothing to make Kreacher's lot easier."
Albus Dumbledore on Kreacher.[src]
12GrimmauldPlaceElfHeads

The heads of house-elves mounted on a wall in 12 Grimmauld Place.

In the past in part due to their absolute obedience , house-elves have been treated very brutally by their owners. House-elves have no rights of their own and are looked on by wizarding societies as mere servants; they are often made patsies for the crimes of wizards. Even the government did not seem to care much for house-elves in the late 20th century; guidelines on house-elf welfare existed at least in 1996, but the Ministry did not enforce said guidelines.

For instance, Kreacher had to sleep in a cupboard near a kettle, where he made himself a den and was given no attention while Sirius Black was his master.

The house-elf Hokey was framed for the murder of Hepzibah Smith. She had not the self-worth or pride to defend herself from the charge and simply acknowledged the possibility of mistakenly giving her mistress poison.[3]

The house-elf Dobby was so mistreated and under appreciated by the Malfoy family that he independently sought out the aid and protection of Harry Potter in 1992.[5] Dobby insisted his higher duty was to protect Harry, even though Lucius Malfoy was the individual who perpetuated the danger at that time. When Dobby was freed, he ever after considered the service of Harry as his mission in life. In 1998, Dobby was slain by Bellatrix Lestrange in the act of protecting Harry's life.[6] Voldemort forced Kreacher to drink the potion in which his Horcrux was hidden, simply to test the defence's effectiveness, and left him in the lake of Inferi. Also, Horace Slughorn made a house-elf test of his bottles of mead for poison (although he likely had antidotes on hand).

When a house-elf is mistreated, they will typically work just enough to obey their master's commands. However, if even the slightest loophole can be found in a master's orders, house-elves that are unhappy with their master will exploit that loophole to their advantage. The best way for a master to ensure full loyalty and compliance with their orders is to simply treat them properly. This was evidenced in 1997, when Hermione Granger convinced Harry Potter to be nicer to Kreacher. Soon, Kreacher began to accept his new master, and started serving him much more enthusiastically.

LoyaltyEdit

Albus Dumbledore: "Give him an order. If he has passed into your ownership, he will have to obey. If not, then we shall have to think of some other means of keeping him from his rightful mistress."
Kreacher: "Won't, won't, won't, WON'T!"
Harry Potter: "Kreacher, SHUT UP!"
Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore and Kreacher.[src]
07 Dobby rescuing Harry Potter, Griphook, Hermione and Ron

Dobby rescues Harry Potter from Malfoy Manor and later dies for him out of loyalty

House-elves are so intensely loyal to their masters that they will not allow themselves to be set free unless their master presents them with clothes. To symbolise this, they usually wear makeshift clothes made with found objects such as pillowcases and rags.[5] These clothes can become quite filthy, and yet the house-elf will not clean their clothes to further express that they have no needs which are not specifically commanded to them by the master. House-elves will torture and maim themselves if they think it will please the master (or to punish themselves.)

House-elves not only serve one specific master, but the whole family of the master and whoever the house-elf is ordered by the master to serve. When Sirius Black was killed in 1996, Harry Potter inherited the House of Black's servant Kreacher.[3] At first they didn't even get along, because Kreacher considered his masters to be the House of Black. However, in due time Kreacher formed a fierce loyalty to Harry after Harry began to treat Kreacher with respect.[6]

House-elves are bound by magic to obey their masters' every command, but if the masters are cruel to the house-elves, then the elves will only obey their orders just enough to avoid breaking these magical binds. For example, when Harry Potter sent Kreacher on a mission to spy on Draco Malfoy, Kreacher did spy on him, but did not take note of any suspicious activity like Dobby did, instead noting only Draco's mundane activities such as eating and sleeping. However, one year later, Harry started being nicer to Kreacher at Hermione Granger's pleading, leading to much smoother compliance with Harry's orders.

Despite the seemingly horrid lifestyle that house-elves endure, house-elves seem to actually enjoy being enslaved. With few exceptions (Dobby being one of them), house-elves will feel insulted if their master attempts to pay them, give them pensions, or reward their service with anything except kindness. In 1995, when Hermione Granger began hiding clothes in Gryffindor Tower in an attempt to free the house-elves of Hogwarts, the house-elves felt rather insulted, and everyone except Dobby refused to clean the Gryffindor common room in protest.

Despite Hogwarts having had a large number of house-elves for centuries, it was only in their fourth year that Harry, Ron, and Hermione (rather shockingly) discovered their existence at Hogwarts, which happened inadvertently when the ghost of Sir Nicholas casually mentioned them being scared by Peeves the Poltergeist's tantrums. Sir Nicholas explained to them that the house-elves work in hiding, and it is considered the mark of a good house-elf that he or she does all the work but his/her existence is not even noticed.

Dobbythehouse-elf

Dobby warning Harry about the Chamber of Secrets.

It should be noted, however, that there are elements of coercion in some house-elves' loyalty. Kreacher disliked Sirius Black even when he was his master, and helped to sabotage Sirius by assisting Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy, though this may have been easier for him since both witches had been born Blacks. Albus Dumbledore described Kreacher as "forced to do Sirius's bidding, because Sirius was the last of the family to which he was enslaved, but he felt no true loyalty to him."[7] Kreacher also initially despised serving Harry, only coming to be willingly loyal to him after Harry showed him kindness and respect and pointed out that by cooperating with him and his friends, Kreacher would be honouring the dying actions of Regulus Black, the late master he was very fond of. Hermione Granger pointed out that Kreacher was accustomed to "bad, even brutal treatment" and that he was "loyal to people who are kind to him."[6]

The house-elves of the House of Black were, in old age, beheaded and their heads were sickeningly stuffed and mounted on the house walls. This was, no doubt, considered by the house-elves as the very highest honour.

Winky was absolutely loyal to the Crouch family, and when she was dismissed for failure to keep Crouch Jr. under control, she suffered a mental breakdown, thinking that her release was the ultimate disgrace to her family.

While some house-elves were treated abysmally by their masters, some were genuinely loved and cared for. Some wizards treated their house-elves like adored pets or dolls, lavishing praise on them for doing their duties.

Hogwarts elvesEdit

"Yeah, it's a complicated issue. I would say that Hufflepuff gave — Hufflepuff did what was the most moral thing to do at that time, and we are talking about over a thousand years ago. So that would be to give them good conditions of work."
J. K. Rowling.[src]
Dobby-illustration

Dobby working at Hogwarts.

A veritable legion of house-elves are enlisted by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They work the kitchens, preparing feasts for the entire school. They also move trunks and baggage to and from rooms, clean dormitories, and presumably other areas of the castle as well. In 1994, they became angry with Hermione Granger as she made attempts to free them. Dobby and Winky, who came under Hogwarts' employ at the time, were considered disgraces to the rest of their colleagues due to Dobby being paid and receiving a vacation while Winky getting drunk out of self-pity. During the Battle of Hogwarts, the house-elves fought against the Death Eaters with Kreacher leading them. They defended their masters by using kitchen knives to stab at the attackers' ankles.[6]

S.P.E.W.Edit

Main article: S.P.E.W.
"You know, house-elves get a very raw deal! It’s slavery, that’s what it is! That Mr. Crouch made her go up to the top of the stadium, and she was terrified, and he's got her bewitched so she can't even run when they start trampling tents! Why doesn't anyone do something about it?"
Hermione after the 1994 Quidditch World Cup.[src]
Spew-badge-lrg

A S.P.E.W. badge, an organisation founded by Hermione Granger

In 1994, Hermione Granger, in outrage for the inhumane treatment of house-elves, created the student organisation S.P.E.W. - Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare - in an attempt to win rights for house-elves. She managed to get several students to join, paying a fee of two Sickles, though they only did so to stop her from badgering them. These students included Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter. Some people refused to join S.P.E.W., like Fred and George Weasley, because they believed that the elves liked being treated the way they did. Hermione even tried to trick house-elves into picking up little hats and socks she had knitted and left around the Gryffindor dormitory so as to grant them freedom. The house-elves did not appreciate this gesture; on the contrary, they took it as an insult and refused to clean the common room, with the exception of Dobby.[8]

Later in life, Hermione would advance the rights of house-elves in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures before transferring to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

Physical appearanceEdit

BlackHouseElf2

a house-elf

"The little creature on the bed had large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes the size of tennis balls."
—Description of Dobby.[src]

House-elves are between two to three feet tall, with spindly arms and legs and over-sized heads and eyes. They have pointed, bat-like ears and high, squeaky voices. Rather than conventional clothing, house-elves wear discarded items like pillowcases and tea-towels. Though when they are freed, and when they are able to pay for proper clothing, they seem to not know how to wear it. For example, Dobby wore a single different styled sock on each foot, and in fact was under the impression that it wasn't correct to wear two matching socks.

Known house-elvesEdit

DobbyDH

Dobby

Kreacher, House-elf.

Kreacher, Harry Potter's house-elf

  • Kreacher - Kreacher was an aged house-elf who served the House of Black with fanatical loyalty for most of his life, until he was left to Harry Potter upon the death of Sirius Black in 1996. He was particularly fond of "his mistress" Walburga Black, who died in 1985, but whose portrait still shrieked orders from the wall in the front hall of the Black house. After Mrs. Black's death, Kreacher let the home fall into disarray, doing little, if any, cleaning. He was also fiercely loyal to Regulus Black, for whom he fought in the Battle of Hogwarts along with many other house-elves.
  • Hokey - Servant of Hepzibah Smith. Hokey was accused of poisoning her mistress's cocoa. She later remembered putting something into the cocoa that turned out not to be sugar, but a lethal poison. The Ministry of Magic put it off to an accident given the fact that Hokey was old and probably confused. However, it is very likely that Tom Marvolo Riddle poisoned Mrs. Smith (in order to steal Helga Hufflepuff's Cup and Salazar Slytherin's Locket) and then magically changed Hokey's memory, with a False Memory Charm, to make her look like the guilty party.
  • The house-elves who formerly worked for the House of Black - These elves worked on the House of Black before Kreacher, and were beheaded once they were too old to carry a tea tray.
  • Kreacher's mother - The mother of Kreacher served as the house-elf of the Black family sometime before her son. When she became too old to carry a tea tray, she was beheaded, and her head was mounted on a plaque and hung on the wall above the front hall stairs at 12 Grimmauld Place. It was once Kreacher's sincere wish to suffer the same fate as his mother.
  • The house-elves who work in Hogwarts - At least a hundred strong, they live at Hogwarts and work in the kitchens. They wear uniforms made of tea towels.
  • Hooky - had a statue at Hogwarts

MediaEdit

Videoswiki For more Harry Potter videos check out Wikia's video library

Behind the scenesEdit

  • In the film adaption of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, two house-elves are seen wearing green and red and riding a camel at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup.
  • House-elves are clearly based on the fairytale of 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' where a set of elves make shoes for a shoemaker until one day the shoemaker's wife makes them little clothes which he watches them receive. However, afterward they are never seen again.
  • According to the WOMBAT test, it is possible that house-elves have an average life expectancy of 200 years, cannot be ordered to kill themselves, breed infrequently and only with their master's permission, can override wizard enchantments, and have an allegiance to their home rather than its inhabitants.
  • The elf-made wine may be a product created by house-elves.
  • During Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter remarks how house-elves are actually much more capable of wielding advanced magic than wizards.
  • House-elves are never identified as "beings" in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, though presumably they are.

AppearancesEdit

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Notes and referencesEdit

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