Winky was a freed female House-elf who neither wanted freedom nor took to being a free elf. She was employed at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when released from the Crouch family where for years, Winky had been devoted to Bartemius Crouch Sr. The elder Barty Crouch sacked Winky when she was found holding a wand in suspicious circumstances, which not only publicly associated him with Dark magic, but demonstrated that her guardianship of his son might be unreliable.
Serving the Crouch family
Winky was dedicated to her master, Barty Crouch Sr. and his family, a duty passed down from her mother before her, and grandmother before that. Barty Crouch Senior's son, Barty Crouch Jr. was a convicted Death Eater who had been smuggled out of Azkaban by his father, and replaced by his terminally ill mother, disguised by using the Polyjuice Potion, as her last, dying wish. It was Winky's duty to take care of Barty Crouch Jr., who had been placed under the Imperius Curse by his father to prevent him from running away, which she did loyally and in secret, for years. During such time, Winky persuaded Barty Sr. to reward his son for good behaviour, despite it being a byproduct of the Imperius Curse, and Barty Jr. thought this love was no more than pity.
One day, when Bertha Jorkins came to the household with papers for Barty Sr. to sign, Winky had her wait for her master to return. Bertha caught Winky speaking with the hidden Barty Jr., and heard enough to deduce who was underneath the Invisibility cloak. This caused the elder Crouch to rectify the problem with a brain-damaging Memory Charm.
As a reward for his son's good behaviour, Crouch Sr. reserved a seat at the 1994 Quidditch Cup between Ireland and Bulgaria for Winky and himself, and allowed his son to take his seat under the concealment of an Invisibility Cloak. Winky used her magic so that she and Crouch Jr. were magically bound to one another, so he could not escape, though her fear of heights had led her to cover her eyes the entire time, leading her to miss out Crouch stealing a wand in the open. Following a riot instigated by Death Eaters at the camp grounds of the Quidditch Cup, Crouch Jr. was able to fight the Imperius curse and gain some control over himself. He was able to drag Winky away with him, towards the woods, and cast the Dark Mark (the sign of Lord Voldemort) into the sky during the attack. Winky and Crouch Jr. were then both stunned by Ministry officials. When searching the woods, they could only find Winky's stunned body with the wand Crouch Jr. had used to cast the curse, as Crouch Jr. was still under the Invisibility Cloak and out of sight.
The Ministry of Magic Officials then revived Winky and blamed her for casting the Dark Mark with the wand, despite Winky claiming she didn't know how to. Though he indignantly claimed that blaming Winky was implying that she learned how to do such a thing at his own home, Crouch Sr. freed Winky to avoid associating himself with the Dark Mark, and as it was apparent to him Winky's guardianship of his son was unreliable. Winky screamed and begged in what Harry described as a pitiful manner when she was facing her master's cold remarks, which apparently did not stir his sympathies at the very least. Barty Crouch Sr.'s treatment of Winky led Hermione Granger to create the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W.).
Winky fell into a state of depression after being fired by her master, having shamed her mother and grandmother before her, and started drinking Butterbeer regularly, which contained very little alcohol, but was apparently potent for a house-elf. She wore the new clothes (a dress for her size) that Barty gave her, though took little care for them as they suffered damage from her negligence. Dobby, a friend of Harry Potter and former servant of the Malfoy family, was able to get her a job at Hogwarts working in the kitchens, though she was still attached to her former masters and had no interest in doing any work. She did not do much work, but took to sitting on a stool by the fireplace getting drunk. The other House-Elves were embarrassed by her self-pity, though Dobby attempted to take care of and looked out for her. Occasionally, Dobby would put Winky in a bed he had found inside the Room of Requirement when she was extremely drunk. Winky was later distressed to find out her former master Barty Crouch Sr. had been murdered, and she was completely devastated to learn that Barty Crouch Jr. had committed the murder himself.
Battle of Hogwarts
Winky slowly improved over the years but continued to drink heavily. She kept her job at Hogwarts, and participated in the Battle of Hogwarts along with the other House-elves, led by Kreacher, against the Death Eaters.
After the war, Winky would continue to work at Hogwarts and would eventually stop her Butterbeer addiction (although she never fully recovered from it). However, it is unknown if she ever got over the losses suffered by the Crouch family.
Bartemius Crouch Sr.
- "You is not insulting my master, miss! You is not insulting Mr. Crouch! Mr. Crouch is a good wizard, miss! Mr. Crouch is right to sack bad Winky!"
- —Winky still showing respect for her old household.[src]
Like most house-elfs, Winky saw her master Barty Crouch, Sr. as a being to be treated with the utmost respect. She willingly followed his orders to watch after Barty Crouch, Jr., and held no ill will against him for firing her when she failed in those duties. Quite the contrary, she had trouble acknowledging that she was now a free elf under employ of Hogwarts, and still referred to Crouch, Sr. as her master; if anything, she considered herself as a disgrace for being unable to satisfy her master's needs. The pain of not being able to serve him any longer led her to sink into a Butterbeer-fuelled depression she would never truly recover from. She was devastated when she heard that Crouch, Sr. was "ill", and even more so when she learned he had been murdered by his own son.
On the opposite end, Crouch saw Winky as nothing more than a servant who is expected to follow orders without question, and that her failure was unacceptable. Upon preparing to dismiss her, she begged and cried at his feet in a pitible manner, to which he simply backed away as though she was something "filthy and rotten contaminating his over-shined shoes".
Barty Crouch, Jr.
- "Nooo! Master Barty, Master Barty, what is you saying?""
- —Winky during Barty Crouch Jr. confession.[src]
Winky took care of her master after his escape from Azkaban, the wizard prison in secret. She was very faithful and felt great affection to him. Winky escorted him to the Top Box at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, pretending to be saving a seat for Barty Crouch, Sr., while Barty Crouch, Jr, watched the match from under an Invisibility Cloak. His real intention, though, was not to view the match, but to cast the Dark Mark, the sign of Lord Voldemort, into the sky afterwards. He stole the wand of Harry Potter, then after casting the Mark into the sky, he thrust it into Winky's hands, making her look guilty. This caused Winky to be fired by Barty Crouch Sr.
During Barty Crouch, Jr's confession to impersonating Mad-Eye Moody to put Harry Potter's name into the Goblet of Fire, Winky became quite distressed. She did not want to believe that her beloved master had committed such acts of evil, and took the news horribly. Crouch expressed his belief that Winky's care was no more than duty and pity.
- Winky: "Did sir just call me Dobby?"
- Harry Potter: "Sorry. I just thought you were someone I know."
- Winky: "But I knows Dobby too, sir!"
- — Harry Potter and Winky discuss their mutual acquaintance.[src]
Dobby and Winky had met sometime prior to the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, and were apparently on good enough terms for Winky to be informed on his current whereabouts. Dobby may have considered Winky a friend, as he offered to assist her in finding a new job at Hogwarts after she was sacked by the Crouch family, and seemed to be the only Hogwarts house-elf that cared that she was suffering from a Butterbeer addiction.
Winky, on the other hand, did not seem to like Dobby much. She was appalled at the fact that he was receiving wages for his work at Hogwarts, and that he was so willing to speak ill of his former masters. If she was grateful for the care and kindness Dobby showed her, she didn't seem to outwardly show it.
During her time in Hogwarts' employment, Winky was heavily intoxicated with Butterbeer, due to her self-pity for being dismissed. Her colleague elves did not condone her for such actions, nor did they attempt to comfort her, as they saw her as a disgrace for not being committed to her current masters, and for drinking while on the job. However, she did participate alongside Kreacher in the Battle of Hogwarts.
When Winky was still working for Barty Crouch Sr., she wore a tea-towel draped like a toga. After her dismissal, she wore a skirt and blouse with a matching blue hat. During her period of depression, however, her clothes were stained and burned.
Personality and traits
Like all house-elves, she used present-tense singular verbs and referred to herself in the third person. With permission from her masters, she used her elf magic, a form of powerful, wandless magic that differs from the powers of wizards and witches.
Despite being dismissed, Winky retained her loyalty towards her old masters, especially Barty Crouch Sr. She had traditional views about house-elves and considered being set free or being paid disgraceful. She also was very caring to Barty Crouch Jr., as his usual keeper, though Barty Jr thought she cared for him mostly out of pity and her sense of duty. When Winky discovered that Barty Jr killed Barty Sr., she was horrified and devastated.
Winky also suffered from acrophobia, a fear of heights. However, for her master, she was willing to overcome this fear, even though she did so with great difficulty and had to cover her eyes.
Magical abilities and skills
As a house-elf, Winky has access to a brand of magic unique to her race. She cannot utilise it without express permission from her master.
Behind the scenes
- Winky is one of the characters that does not appear in the films, nor even get a mention.
- Although Winky does not make an appearance in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, concept art for her has been made and released to the public.
- Winky has decent magical ability, able to magically bind Barty Crouch Jr. to her and restrain him from escaping during the Riot at the Quidditch World Cup.
- J.K. Rowling stated in an interview that unfortunately Winky would never fully recover from her addiction to Butterbeer.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film), one can see two house elves riding llamas at Roberts's campsite. One of them could, possibly, be Winky, while the other resembles Dobby.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Concept artwork)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Indirect mention)
Notes and references