House-elves have their own brand of wandless magic that only they have access to, as do many other magical creatures. The upper limits of Elf magic are not known, however it is incredibly versatile and allows them to perform very powerful magic. To learn more about the examples of House Elf magic, see 'Examples of House Elf Magic' below.
Their magic allows them to perform tasks, such as Apparating, where wizards literally cannot. They can perform charms, disarm their opponents, even duel witches and wizards and perform extremely powerful feats of dark magic if they so wished. More than just a mere housekeeper, a house-elf is capable of performing very powerful magic and is a ruthless protector of the master, and will attack threats with great fury and strength.
A common mistake made by many in the wizarding world, is to overlook and underestimate a House Elf because of their tiny stature and because they so rarely display their magic, this is due to their loyalty and personal boundary issues. However when facing off against a House Elf, even the most powerful dark wizards have struggled; shown when Kreacher was still capable of apparating in and out of Voldemorts Locket Horcrux cave with ease, despite Dumbledore, one of the most powerful wizards of all time, being incapable of doing so. And when the House Elves took part in the battle of Hogwarts, many a dark wizard fell to their might.
It should also be noted that House Elves have displayed feats of magic that even wizards with wands have been unable to break. This and the above mentioned, is a testament to the level of power a House Elf can wield if they so wished it and only a fool would deny it. Of course it is limited in certain instances because they lack wands.
To test the security around the locket Horcrux in the 1970s, Lord Voldemort required a house-elf for the job, and Regulus Black nominated Kreacher. After using Kreacher for his purposes, Voldemort left him there to die. Bound by the laws of his kind, Kreacher was able to Disapparate out of the cave and return to Regulus because Regulus had told Kreacher to return after the task was finished.
In 1993, Dobby protected Harry Potter by using his magic to throw Lucius Malfoy across the floor, and in 1994, Winky used her magic to bind Barty Crouch Jr. to her, to make sure he did not escape. Winky's magic broke when she was rendered unconscious.
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 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. - It wasn't specified at what time in history this took place however.
Examples of House Elf Magic
House Elves have access to their very own brand of wandless Magic that only they can use. It should be noted that House Elves do not verbally cast spells, rather their magic is performed through their sheer force of will and intent. This makes a House Elf all the more dangerous, considering they can perform feats of magic in places that restricts even witches and wizards from doing so. The upper limits of their magic is not known, however it is incredibly versatile and on occasion has proved to be very powerful, despite having certain limitations due to the fact they don't use wands.
- Apparation: House Elves could apparate even in places where Wizards and Witches could not. Including places that literally forbade it by magical means. This was proven when Kreacher apparated in and out of The Cave of Voldemorts locket Horcrux to test the lockets security. The cave had an extremely powerful dark magical barrier to forbid such from happening, placed there by none other than the greatest dark Lord of all time, Voldemort. However despite this, Kreacher succeeded where even Dumbledore did not. This is a testament to the power of House Elf magic. House Elves could also apparate in groups, in order to transport others, such as when Dobby would apparate his friends Harry, Ron and Hermione together, this is called Side-Along Apparition. Another example of a House Elf apparating into a location that has been heavily protected from such things, was when Dobby apparated in and out of Malfoy Manor to save Harry and his friends. This was an impossible feat for Witches and Wizards alike who had to gain entry by the front gate. Another example of impossible House Elf apparating would be when Hermione and Ron warned the Hogwarts House Elves of the coming attack on Hogwarts, and even when the faculty of the school had joined their magic together to raise an extremely powerful barrier around the grounds that prevented even the likes of Voldemort until it was destroyed, some of the House Elves that left, were still capable of apparating in and out while the barrier was still up. Despite there not being any evidence to say that an Elf-Apparition can't be stopped, when two of the most powerful wizards of all time can't stop one, and when the entire faculty of Hogwarts still can't stop one and when the barriers on Malfoy Manor can't stop one, it does bring it into question.
- Charms: House Elves were capable of casting charms. This is shown when Dobby notably performed the Levitation charm on a cake in the Dursleys house. This is also shown when Kreacher performed the cleaning charm to assist in his errands for the House of Black. House Elves are renowned for using domestic charms around the homes of their masters.
- Duelling: House Elves were capable fighters and could duel witches and wizards in magical combat. This was shown when the House Elves took part in the battle of Hogwarts and when Dobby attacked Lucius Malfoy in order to protect Harry Potter.
- Disarming Charm: House Elves could disarm witches and wizards with the snap of their fingers. This was shown when Dobby disarmed Narcissa Malfoy in combat.
- Dark Magic: Once again proving their worth, House Elves could perform powerful feats of dark magic if they so wished. This is proven when Dobby Hexed the barrier that leads to Platform Nine and Three Quarters, a very powerful magical barrier, so that Harry Potter and his friends could not enter. This is also shown when Dobby once again hexed a bludger forcing it to chase Harry hoping that if it hurt him badly enough he'd be sent home. Naturally Dobby was not intending to kill Harry; in fact he was trying to save him from Lucius Malfoy's plan to open the Chamber of Secrets. Winky also performed a very powerful Jinx to bind an individual to her proximity. This seems to be quite powerful, as when she used it on Barty Crouch Jr., he could not sever the bond even after acquiring a wand. However once she had fallen unconscious, the spell broke.
House Elves and Wands
Despite a House Elf not requiring a wand to perform any of the above mentioned feats of magic, it is known throughout the wizarding world that an Elf has the potential to wield a wand. Doing so would greatly increase their already formidable powers, however after the ban on wand use by magical creatures, Elves are forbidden to do so. Despite this, Elves are quite happy not using a wand as it doesn't greatly diminish their capabilities anyway.
Behind the scenes
- In the LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 level, Dobby's Plan, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley try and capture Dobby while he curses the rogue bludger. Whenever Dobby would be hit, he would Apparate to the next location. When playing as Dobby in levels, the only spell he had was the Levitation Charm inspired by the similar charm he used on Aunt Petunia's pudding.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4