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Strawberry07



Joined: 06 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Elves' enslavement Reply with quote

Romione wrote:
Definitely. Hermione did the same thing with Harry when she went behind his back to tell McGonagall about the Firebolt. She had plenty of time to discuss it with Harry and tell him that she thought Sirius Black might have sent him the broom, but she assumed that he wouldn't listen to her and waited until after the Christmas tea to tell McGonagall instead.


Something for the Hermione discussion, I'll say more on it there.


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I wouldn't consider that a direct action even technically. Lucius was not giving it to Dobby at all - he was tossing it aside. Dobby had to choose to catch that sock - and he knew that Lucius was not giving it to him in any sense of the word. The best analogy would be a quarterback throwing the football to his team's receiver with the opposing team intercepting it. That's not a direct pass because it didn't reach the intended target - it was intercepted by an unintended target. That's why they call that an interception rather than a pass. Wink Dobby intercepted the sock and was able to use that to gain his own freedom.


But Lucius wasn't trying to give the sock to anyone else - he was simply discarding it. For Dobby to be able to interpret that as Lucius giving him a sock, the rules must work on a literal level as well as the level of the master's intent. Lucius clearly did not intend to give the sock to Dobby. He just threw it away in disgust. But, if it had not been possible for Dobby to interpret it as his freedom, it would not have worked.

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I would say that's why the Malfoys were so careful actually. The fact that Dobby was able to choose to intercept the sock and claim freedom in spite of the fact that it was obvious Lucius was not giving it to him put the control in Dobby's hands. Having him do laundry as part of his duties was a more specific chore that would have included instructions to put the clothes back where they belonged after they were clean - making it clear those clothes were not being given to Dobby.


But Dobby speaks of the family being careful to pass him no clothing, not even a sock - which suggests that in ordinary circumstances, Dobby could use this as his claim to freedom, regardless of the Malfoy's intentions.

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Dobby had to choose to intercept the sock though - that was on him.


He did - and he chose to interpret the rule about passing clothes to an elf quite literally. He chose to take his freedom when he saw the opportunity.

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I think that was covered by Harry's instruction for Kreacher and Dobby to "stick to Malfoy like a couple of wart plasters". Harry was actually a little too specific there - they didn't eat or sleep because they were following Malfoy around the clock. That would have prevented Kreacher from contacting Narcissa.


Very Happy Yeah, that would make sneaking off to Narcissa quite difficulty. Although, Harry probably should have specified "stick to Draco Malfoy..."

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However, I don't think Kreacher actually considered that. He saw an opportunity to talk to Draco when Harry first mentioned him following Draco - and Harry realized that right away and made his instructions very specific to prevent that. Kreacher tried to find any loophole in that, but could not - and was pretty resentful when he told Harry, "Master has thought of everything".


The loophole might have occurred to him later, though, if not for the order to stay close to Malfoy at all times.

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Again, that was my point. As it stood during the time frame of the books, the house-elf's highest law was their master's command. That was what needed to be changed - something put in place that would enable the house-elf to countermand such an order if their master was hurting them.


That may not be possible if the "highest law is a master's command" was something to do with the elf's enchantment binding them to the master rather than an actual law of the Ministry.

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House-elves did not want freedom so that would never work, IMO. Dobby was an exception there. The rest of them would react the same as Winky did - they would feel ashamed and humiliated by that. They would likely become depressed. Freeing them against their will would cause more harm than good.


I got the impression that elves considered freedom shameful because it would mean they were a disappointment, not good enough, not needed. That's the message sent by being freed, as shown in Winky's case -giving clothes meant being fired in disgrace and left without a purpose.
If however, the elves could choose freedom and still remain working for their humans, I wonder if they would continue to see it as shameful. Perhaps they still would not want freedom - I agree with you on that, their attitude to freedom would take a long time to change, if ever. However, I think it would be difficult to ensure that elves were not abused if they remained as slaves.

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That's what I was thinking of exactly. That would require learning about the enchantment that binds a house-elf to their master and possibly creating an additional spell that would enable them to circumvent their master's command being their highest law in specific circumstances such as abuse. That could also be used to enable house-elves in Dobby's situation to report crimes - i.e. Lucius planning to send the diary into the school to re-open the Chamber of Secrets to kill muggleborns.


If that were possible, it would be a huge improvement all around, for everyone. It would keep house-elves happy and safe, and it would help the Ministry, also. However, I doubt that most elves would report their master's criminal activities - Winky kept her silence about Crouch Sr. keeping his criminal son safe in the house. The elf may well feel that their loyalty is to their human masters, and not to any law - the centaurs don't consider themselves bound by human laws, either and the goblins resent the human ideas of ownership. But if a spell could be put in place allowing them to speak on their own behalf if they needed to, then it would be a huge step in protecting elves. Such a spell would probably take a lot of research.

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An interesting point there is that the actual enchantment appears to magically bind a house-elf to the house - or building - rather than an actual person. Harry becomes Kreacher's master because he inherited Grimmauld Place from Sirius. The current headmaster and staff at Hogwarts are the masters of the house-elves there - and who those people are changes over the years. Ron and the twins mention this to Harry in COS as well - explaining that house-elves "come with" old manors and castles. People don't buy and sell house-elves like property from what we're shown. They are bound to a building and their master is whoever owns that building. If the building is sold or passed along through inheritance, the house-elf would go with it from what we're shown.


Possibly, but I imagine that if a witch or wizard wanted to move house, they could bring their elf with them.

Wildflower wrote:
Back to Elves. One thing too - Dobby got away with disobeying orders by punishing himself, following Lucius' orders. Lucius hadn't realized that it would allow Dobby to disobey as long as he punished himself for it. It was so ingrained in him that he went on punishing himself even when the person he disobeyed was not his master or mistress - like when he went to warn the DA in the RoR. Umbridge wasn't his mistress then, she wasn't headmistress yet, she was still "only" the High Inquisitor. Yet he threw himself against the wall as punishment and was only saved by his pile of hats, and Harry stopping him.



This raises another question - if Dobby could defy Lucius by punishing himself later, why could he not go directly to Dumbledore? Or give Harry a straight answer? Perhaps he had to punish himself because he knew he wasn't allowed to go to Harry, even if Lucius had never even thought to forbid him specifically from speaking to Harry. But then, it's likely that Lucius forbade him from telling anybody. Hmmm.
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Romione



Joined: 28 May 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Elves' enslavement Reply with quote

Strawberry07 wrote:
But Lucius wasn't trying to give the sock to anyone else - he was simply discarding it. For Dobby to be able to interpret that as Lucius giving him a sock, the rules must work on a literal level as well as the level of the master's intent. Lucius clearly did not intend to give the sock to Dobby. He just threw it away in disgust. But, if it had not been possible for Dobby to interpret it as his freedom, it would not have worked.


Lucius wasn't trying to give the sock to anyone - he was tossing it on the floor. So I would still call Dobby choosing to catch it an interception rather than a direct pass. It was obvious that Lucius did not intend to give Dobby the sock - and he was shocked to realize that Dobby had intercepted it. Even Harry understood that - it was his intention to trick Lucius into doing that, but he wasn't entirely sure it would work. Lucius blamed Harry, but it really came down to what Dobby wanted. He wanted to be free and, even thought Lucius did not actually give him the sock, he was able to claim that Lucius had because he intercepted it.

I see that in the same context as the other loopholes we see house-elves take advantage of - Dobby and Kreacher both seemed particularly capable in that area. I don't think Winky did so as often, but she did leave the tent when Mr. Crouch had ordered her to stay - I believe the loophole for her was her additional instructions to keep Crouch Jr. subdued and she was trying to keep him away from the Death Eaters at the time.

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But Dobby speaks of the family being careful to pass him no clothing, not even a sock - which suggests that in ordinary circumstances, Dobby could use this as his claim to freedom, regardless of the Malfoy's intentions.


Dobby also talks about ironing - which would be part of doing the laundry - so we know that doing laundry was included in his duties. That wouldn't qualify as giving him clothing because the instructions for doing laundry would be more specific to make that clear - specifically that part of it would be to put the clothes back where they belong.

We see that with the Hogwarts house-elves as well. Doing laundry is one of their duties - and that was part of Hermione's rant when she was trying to get other students to join SPEW. That was another flaw in Hermione's plan - even if a student did have the authority to free a house-elf, leaving clothes laying around wouldn't work because laundry was part of their duties. On that note, it would have been hilarious if the house-elves had simply washed the hats and such that Hermione left laying around and put them back in her dorm room. Laughing

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Very Happy Yeah, that would make sneaking off to Narcissa quite difficulty. Although, Harry probably should have specified "stick to Draco Malfoy..."


Well, he was very specific in the overall instructions and said Draco Malfoy then - it was the way Kreacher reacted to be asked to follow the youngest Malfoy that alerted Harry to the danger so he was more specific to prevent Kreacher from talking to him.

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The loophole might have occurred to him later, though, if not for the order to stay close to Malfoy at all times.


I'm not sure if that would have been a loophole since Harry was so specific in asking him to follow Draco. If Harry had done that near the Christmas or Easter holidays maybe, but this was after Easter so I don't think Kreacher would have been able to use that to go to Narcissa.

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That may not be possible if the "highest law is a master's command" was something to do with the elf's enchantment binding them to the master rather than an actual law of the Ministry.


Without knowing more about the actual enchantment, it's hard to say. I think it would be possible to alter it or add an additional spell - especially if the enchantment was actually on the house, which is what it appears to be to me.

However, considering that we see both Kreacher and Dobby find ways to circumvent the whole "highest law is a master's command" aspect of it, I do think that would be possible.

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I got the impression that elves considered freedom shameful because it would mean they were a disappointment, not good enough, not needed. That's the message sent by being freed, as shown in Winky's case -giving clothes meant being fired in disgrace and left without a purpose.
If however, the elves could choose freedom and still remain working for their humans, I wonder if they would continue to see it as shameful. Perhaps they still would not want freedom - I agree with you on that, their attitude to freedom would take a long time to change, if ever. However, I think it would be difficult to ensure that elves were not abused if they remained as slaves.


I think it was all one and the same to them. It seems likely that their sense of honor regarding their enslavement stems from the origins of the enchantment. I lean towards that originally being a mutual agreement with the enchantment put in place to bind it. I do agree it would be difficult to ensure house-elves were not abused, but I think that would be difficult either way to be honest. Abuse comes in many forms after all. Refusing to hire a house-elf - a situation Dobby had to deal with after being freed - would also be an issue. People like the Malfoys wouldn't like being forced to pay for a service they once got for free - or even just having that service regulated and/or monitored more closely in regards to their behavior.

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If that were possible, it would be a huge improvement all around, for everyone. It would keep house-elves happy and safe, and it would help the Ministry, also. However, I doubt that most elves would report their master's criminal activities - Winky kept her silence about Crouch Sr. keeping his criminal son safe in the house. The elf may well feel that their loyalty is to their human masters, and not to any law - the centaurs don't consider themselves bound by human laws, either and the goblins resent the human ideas of ownership. But if a spell could be put in place allowing them to speak on their own behalf if they needed to, then it would be a huge step in protecting elves. Such a spell would probably take a lot of research.


I think it would depend on the individual house-elf and their relationship with their masters in regards to reporting criminal activity. The Centaurs and the goblins are very different from house-elves though - they didn't hold themselves to human laws or form any kind of relationship with humans. House-elves did form relationships with their human masters and followed human laws in respect to the highest law being their master's command. That might have involved breaking the law because they were not allowed to speak of their master's crimes, but it was still human laws.

If they were able to alter the enchantment or create an additional spell that would enable the house-elf to speak against their masters in certain circumstances - i.e. abuse or crimes - it would then come down to what the house-elf chose to do in such situations. Other people reporting abusive situations would be helpful in that as well. If there had been such a system in place when Harry met Dobby, he could have reported the Malfoys for example.

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Possibly, but I imagine that if a witch or wizard wanted to move house, they could bring their elf with them.


It doesn't seem as though they can. I think that was one of the things that Jo included from the original mythology regarding Brownies - the inspiration for house-elves. The bit about clothes freeing them comes from Brownies being so offended by being presented any kind of gift for their services - i.e. clothes - they would leave the house forever. I believe that was also the inspiration for the story of The Shoemaker and the Elves - when the shoemaker left clothes and shoes for the elves as a thank you, they left and never returned.

My impression is that the origins of the enchantment bound house-elves to buildings rather than people - which is what we see with Kreacher and how Ron and the twins explained it to Harry. There's no evidence of anyone being able to buy or sell a house-elf. It would appear that their human master is determined by who owns the building rather than the human actually owning the house-elf.

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This raises another question - if Dobby could defy Lucius by punishing himself later, why could he not go directly to Dumbledore? Or give Harry a straight answer? Perhaps he had to punish himself because he knew he wasn't allowed to go to Harry, even if Lucius had never even thought to forbid him specifically from speaking to Harry. But then, it's likely that Lucius forbade him from telling anybody. Hmmm.


Dumbledore explained that in OOTP. While house-elves could defy their masters using loopholes - as we see with both Dobby and Kreacher - there were limits on how far they could go. Kreacher was unable to tell Narcissa and Bellatrix anything about the Order because he had been very specifically forbidden to reveal any information about the Order. Dobby could not tell Harry any specific information because he had been forbidden to discuss such things. You can tell what Dobby had been specifically forbidden to discuss because he acts very much like Kreacher did when Harry told him to shut up in HBP and when he forbade Kreacher to call Hermione a mudblood in DH - it appears that they physically could not say those things.

Here's the quote from HBP, pgs 52-53.

Kreacher’s voice had risen to a scream. Harry could think of nothing to say, except, “Kreacher, shut up!”

It looked for a moment as though Kreacher was going to choke. He grabbed his throat, his mouth still working furiously, his eyes bulging. After a few seconds of frantic gulping, he threw himself face forward onto the carpet (Aunt Petunia whimpered) and beat the floor with his hands and feet, giving himself over to a violent, but entirely silent, tantrum.
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inkling7
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:40 am    Post subject: Kreacher met Petunia? Reply with quote

Quote:
Here's the quote from HBP, pgs 52-53.

Kreacher’s voice had risen to a scream. Harry could think of nothing to say, except, “Kreacher, shut up!”

It looked for a moment as though Kreacher was going to choke. He grabbed his throat, his mouth still working furiously, his eyes bulging. After a few seconds of frantic gulping, he threw himself face forward onto the carpet (Aunt Petunia whimpered) and beat the floor with his hands and feet, giving himself over to a violent, but entirely silent, tantrum.


Funny I don't remember that scene and was surporised that Kreacher ever met Petunia.....LOL But then it's years since I read the books and don't even know where I put them now.... super grin

Still it sometimes feels good to throw a tanty as we call them...LOL
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:19 am    Post subject: Re: Kreacher met Petunia? Reply with quote

inkling7 wrote:
Funny I don't remember that scene and was surprised that Kreacher ever met Petunia.....LOL

If it's any consolation, I don't remember Petunia ever having been in the same room with Kreacher either. Where did this scene take place? I don't remember Kreacher having been at 4 Privet Drive, nor do I remember Petunia having been at Grimmauld Place. It must have been at Privet Drive though, since Petunia whimpered over Kreacher on her carpet, LOL.

I do know where my HP books are, but it's too late to dig them out tonight. I'll have a look at HBP in the morning. super grin
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Strawberry07



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: Elves' enslavement Reply with quote

Quote:
inkling7 wrote:
Funny I don't remember that scene and was surprised that Kreacher ever met Petunia.....LOL


It's in HBP, Will and Won't, when Dumbledore comes to Privet Drive. He summons Kreacher there to ascertain whether he has truly passed into Harry's ownership.

Romione wrote:

Lucius wasn't trying to give the sock to anyone - he was tossing it on the floor. So I would still call Dobby choosing to catch it an interception rather than a direct pass. It was obvious that Lucius did not intend to give Dobby the sock - and he was shocked to realize that Dobby had intercepted it. Even Harry understood that - it was his intention to trick Lucius into doing that, but he wasn't entirely sure it would work. Lucius blamed Harry, but it really came down to what Dobby wanted. He wanted to be free and, even thought Lucius did not actually give him the sock, he was able to claim that Lucius had because he intercepted it.


Lucius did not intend it, but the sock passed directly from him to Dobby. It was certainly not what he wanted to do, and freeing Dobby wasn't on his to-do list, but it worked. From what Dobby said earlier, it seems that an elf can be freed even if it is not the master's intention to do so. It was Dobby's choice to catch the sock and interpret that as his freedom, but the house elf enchantment must also have allowed him to do so, or he could not have been freed no matter how much he claimed it.

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I see that in the same context as the other loopholes we see house-elves take advantage of - Dobby and Kreacher both seemed particularly capable in that area. I don't think Winky did so as often, but she did leave the tent when Mr. Crouch had ordered her to stay - I believe the loophole for her was her additional instructions to keep Crouch Jr. subdued and she was trying to keep him away from the Death Eaters at the time.


I think so, too - the main task entrusted to Winky was to keep Crouch Jr. safe and hidden, and that took priority over sitting in the tent, so she was able to leave with him, trying to bring him back.

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On that note, it would have been hilarious if the house-elves had simply washed the hats and such that Hermione left laying around and put them back in her dorm room. Laughing


Laughing That would have been a good one!


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Well, he was very specific in the overall instructions and said Draco Malfoy then - it was the way Kreacher reacted to be asked to follow the youngest Malfoy that alerted Harry to the danger so he was more specific to prevent Kreacher from talking to him.


It was not so bright of Kreacher to be so obvious about his intentions - it was practically like a light bulb going on over his head.


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However, considering that we see both Kreacher and Dobby find ways to circumvent the whole "highest law is a master's command" aspect of it, I do think that would be possible.


They found loopholes and played with technicalities, but could not directly defy an order.


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People like the Malfoys wouldn't like being forced to pay for a service they once got for free - or even just having that service regulated and/or monitored more closely in regards to their behavior.


And people like that are exactly why measures need to be put in place to prevent abuses. Of course the Malfoys don't want to be monitored more closely and of course they don't want to be expected to treat their elves decently.
However, freeing the elves, but allowing them to stay with their masters would not necessarily require paying them - the elves themselves consider it a disgrace. It would simply mean that the elves had a way to leave if they were ill-treated.


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I think it would depend on the individual house-elf and their relationship with their masters in regards to reporting criminal activity. The Centaurs and the goblins are very different from house-elves though - they didn't hold themselves to human laws or form any kind of relationship with humans. House-elves did form relationships with their human masters and followed human laws in respect to the highest law being their master's command. That might have involved breaking the law because they were not allowed to speak of their master's crimes, but it was still human laws.


That's a possibility - could the law prevent house elves from reporting their master's crimes? I can imagine families like the Malfoys or Blacks having a hand in that one.


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My impression is that the origins of the enchantment bound house-elves to buildings rather than people - which is what we see with Kreacher and how Ron and the twins explained it to Harry. There's no evidence of anyone being able to buy or sell a house-elf. It would appear that their human master is determined by who owns the building rather than the human actually owning the house-elf.


Dobby himself said he was bound to serve one family forever, suggesting it is the family and not the building. Winky speaks of her ancestors also serving the Crouch family. While the Malfoy family, of course, would live in their Manor for generations, can the same also be said of the Crouch family? Although I would imagine that wizards don't move house as much as Muggles do, thanks to instantaneous wizarding transport.
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Romione



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Re: Elves' enslavement Reply with quote

Strawberry07 wrote:
Lucius did not intend it, but the sock passed directly from him to Dobby. It was certainly not what he wanted to do, and freeing Dobby wasn't on his to-do list, but it worked. From what Dobby said earlier, it seems that an elf can be freed even if it is not the master's intention to do so. It was Dobby's choice to catch the sock and interpret that as his freedom, but the house elf enchantment must also have allowed him to do so, or he could not have been freed no matter how much he claimed it.


A direct action would be Lucius intentionally handing the sock to Dobby - directly placing it into his hand because he wanted to. Tossing the sock aside, expecting it to land on the floor, and Dobby choosing to intercept it is an indirect action because Lucius did not intend to give Dobby that sock. Dobby knew that Lucius was not giving him the sock - that was obvious.

That's where these loopholes give house-elves some control over their situation - not enough, but some. Dobby is able to claim that Lucius gave him the sock because he caught it. Lucius could not do anything about it because he had been careless in tossing the sock aside without paying attention and without giving any instruction along with it. It was an indirect action and he had no intention of freeing Dobby, but Dobby was able to use that to free himself. He took the power away from Lucius in that moment. It only took one moment of carelessness to put that loophole into effect.

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I think so, too - the main task entrusted to Winky was to keep Crouch Jr. safe and hidden, and that took priority over sitting in the tent, so she was able to leave with him, trying to bring him back.


Agreed. This is one of the things that bugged me about SPEW actually. It was this incident that sparked Hermione's outrage. They see Winky moving towards the forest in a funny way - like something was pulling her back and she was fighting against it. Harry assumed that was due to Winky not having permission to leave the tent and this upsets Hermione. That is compounded by witnessing Diggory's interrogation when they found Winky with Harry's wand and Barty Crouch's fury at Winky resulting in him punishing her by giving her clothes. But even here, Hermione focuses on the fact that Winky was not paid - that's what slavery meant to Hermione. If you don't get paid for your work then you're a slave. Kind of makes you wonder what Hermione thinks of volunteer work. Laughing

Anyway, it was revealed in the end that Harry had been wrong. The reason Winky was moving that way was because she actually was being pulled back by Crouch Jr. - he was trying to get to the Death Eaters so she had magically bound him to her and was dragging him away from them. Winky also chose to lie about finding Harry's wand and picking it up to protect Crouch Jr. - the truth being that he had taken the wand from Harry's pocket. It was also revealed that it was Winky who convinced Barty Crouch to take Crouch Jr. to the Quidditch World Cup in the first place - demonstrating that she had some control over things and influence. And they had seen for themselves how destructive it could be to free a house-elf against their will when they encountered Winky at Hogwarts. None of this seems to have any impact on Hermione's opinion at all. She comes back in OOTP even more determined to set house-elves free whether they want freedom or not. She never considered the potential damage her actions could have caused if she had actually had the authority to free house-elves at Hogwarts.

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Laughing That would have been a good one!


Yeah. That would have been a really amusing way to show Hermione finding out she wrong about the house-elves wanting freedom. Though it would have been a process because you know Hermione would choose to think the house-elves had simply misunderstood at first and try to find another way to give them clothes. Laughing

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It was not so bright of Kreacher to be so obvious about his intentions - it was practically like a light bulb going on over his head.


I think Sirius explained that best - Kreacher had been alone in that house for so long that he got used to not being seen or heard by people. There were times when it did appear that he genuinely did not realize that people could hear what he was saying and didn't expect them to notice him at all.

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They found loopholes and played with technicalities, but could not directly defy an order.


Not directly, no. But they were able to manage quite a bit using those loopholes and technicalities. My point was simply that the fact that they were able to do that much on their own should make it possible to give them some direct control in certain circumstances either by altering the existing enchantment or casting an additional spell.

It would be helpful to know more about the actual enchantment. For all we know, that is something that was already regulated and controlled by the Ministry - i.e. the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. House-elves would fall under that - and it did appear that Diggory had authority over Winky due to his position in that department.

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And people like that are exactly why measures need to be put in place to prevent abuses. Of course the Malfoys don't want to be monitored more closely and of course they don't want to be expected to treat their elves decently.
However, freeing the elves, but allowing them to stay with their masters would not necessarily require paying them - the elves themselves consider it a disgrace. It would simply mean that the elves had a way to leave if they were ill-treated.


I agree that people like the Malfoys are exactly why changes needed to be made to the system. However, I still don't think freeing them was the answer. That's not what the house-elves wanted and I think there was more to that than them simply being brainwashed. In any case, it is best to start with the bigger issue of abuse and how they were treated. Ultimately, what was best for the house-elves was something that could only be determined by the house-elves I think.

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That's a possibility - could the law prevent house elves from reporting their master's crimes? I can imagine families like the Malfoys or Blacks having a hand in that one.


It doesn't seem as though there was a specific law regarding that. As I said before, Amos Diggory appeared to have quite a bit of authority and expected Winky to answer his questions honestly. I think that had more to do with their highest law being their master's command - and Winky did lecture Dobby about how a good house-elf keeps their master's secrets. That's why I think that would come down to the individual house-elf and their relationship with their master. Dobby hated the Malfoys because of how they treated him so he wanted to reveal their secrets and report their crimes. Winky adored the Crouches and had been treated well prior to the incident at the World Cup so she was completely loyal to them and wanted to keep their secrets.

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Dobby himself said he was bound to serve one family forever, suggesting it is the family and not the building. Winky speaks of her ancestors also serving the Crouch family. While the Malfoy family, of course, would live in their Manor for generations, can the same also be said of the Crouch family? Although I would imagine that wizards don't move house as much as Muggles do, thanks to instantaneous wizarding transport.


Actually, I would still take that as a reference to the building rather than the family. Jo established this in COS with Ron and the twins telling Harry that whoever owned Dobby would be an "old wizarding family" and rich because house-elves only "come with big old manors and castles". That would apply to the Crouch family as well - they had to be an "old wizarding family" and own an old manor or castle in order to have a house-elf at all. With the new information from Pottermore, we know that is true with the Malfoys. Malfoy Manor has been in that family for generations. Dobby being bound to Malfoy Manor would mean he was bound to that family. Dobby's choice of words is significant there because he is revealing that the ownership of the house is tied to his enslavement. A member of the Malfoy family has always owned that house and their tradition of passing it to the oldest male Malfoy - too keep it in the Malfoy family directly - meant Dobby would simply be passed along with the house from one owner to the next. The same as Kreacher was with Grimmauld Place.

Kreacher is the most definitive evidence of that. Sirius did not leave Kreacher to Harry. He left Harry #12 Grimmauld Place and Kreacher came along with it. Harry was not part of the Black family - which was why Dumbledore was concerned about whether or not Sirius actually could leave the house to Harry. The possibility of the Blacks casting a spell to prevent #12 Grimmauld Place from being passed to anyone outside the Black family was something he had to consider. That reveals that Kreacher was not actually bound to the Black family at all. If he had been bound to the Black family, then he would have automatically gone to Bellatrix Lestrange - as the eldest living Black relative - regardless of who owned #12 Grimmauld Place. The fact that he was passed to Harry along with the house demonstrates that he was actually bound to #12 Grimmauld Place itself and not the Black family.

That is also demonstrated by the house-elves at Hogwarts. They are bound to the castle - their masters are the Headmaster/Headmistress and staff within the castle. Their masters change over the years as staff members retire or quit and new staff members are hired. House-elves are not specifically bound to any people, but to the building itself from what we're shown.
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Strawberry07



Joined: 06 Jun 2011
Posts: 149

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Elves' enslavement Reply with quote

Romione wrote:
It was an indirect action and he had no intention of freeing Dobby, but Dobby was able to use that to free himself. He took the power away from Lucius in that moment. It only took one moment of carelessness to put that loophole into effect.


I agree - Lucius did not intend for it to happen, and Dobby had to choose to catch the sockand claim his freedom. However, the enchantment on the elves also had to allow for Dobby to make that claim.


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But even here, Hermione focuses on the fact that Winky was not paid - that's what slavery meant to Hermione. If you don't get paid for your work then you're a slave. Kind of makes you wonder what Hermione thinks of volunteer work. Laughing



In the tent, Hermione was also critical of the way Diggory spoke to Winky. However, it is interesting that her priorities are clothes/freedom and pay. Hermione, who knows how badly Dobby was treated, focuses on pay rather than ill treatment. Perhaps because for her, pay for work is something she can relate to and understand.


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It was also revealed that it was Winky who convinced Barty Crouch to take Crouch Jr. to the Quidditch World Cup in the first place - demonstrating that she had some control over things and influence.


I think that also shows how house elves are normaly treated - Crouch was willing to listen to the advice of his elf. I think Winky and Hokey are examples of how house elves are normally treated - in particular Hokey, as she wasn't involved in covering up an escaped felon.


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I think Sirius explained that best - Kreacher had been alone in that house for so long that he got used to not being seen or heard by people. There were times when it did appear that he genuinely did not realize that people could hear what he was saying and didn't expect them to notice him at all.



Yeah, that makes sense. It's just funny that he was so blatant about his intentions. Laughing

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It would be helpful to know more about the actual enchantment. For all we know, that is something that was already regulated and controlled by the Ministry - i.e. the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. House-elves would fall under that - and it did appear that Diggory had authority over Winky due to his position in that department.


Perhaps, but if it was regulated, elves like Dobby would be able to report to the Ministry. From Winky's criticism of Dobby in GoF, it seems as if house elves have little to do with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures - Winky warned him that he would be before th Department "like some common goblin".


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I agree that people like the Malfoys are exactly why changes needed to be made to the system. However, I still don't think freeing them was the answer. That's not what the house-elves wanted and I think there was more to that than them simply being brainwashed. In any case, it is best to start with the bigger issue of abuse and how they were treated. Ultimately, what was best for the house-elves was something that could only be determined by the house-elves I think.


I don't think the elves were brainwashed. However, I think that they should be presented with the option of freedom- if they are to remain bound by the enchantment, it should be their choice. I think they should have the option of staying with their family/house if they chose freedom.

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It doesn't seem as though there was a specific law regarding that. As I said before, Amos Diggory appeared to have quite a bit of authority and expected Winky to answer his questions honestly. I think that had more to do with their highest law being their master's command - and Winky did lecture Dobby about how a good house-elf keeps their master's secrets. That's why I think that would come down to the individual house-elf and their relationship with their master. Dobby hated the Malfoys because of how they treated him so he wanted to reveal their secrets and report their crimes. Winky adored the Crouches and had been treated well prior to the incident at the World Cup so she was completely loyal to them and wanted to keep their secrets.


I think most elves would be reluctant to report their master's crimes. I think it would go against their aim of looking after the family.


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Kreacher is the most definitive evidence of that. Sirius did not leave Kreacher to Harry. He left Harry #12 Grimmauld Place and Kreacher came along with it.


Sirius left everything he owned to Harry -which would include Kreacher. However, Dumbledore says "if you have inherited 12 GP, you have also inherited Kreacher", which would support the idea that elves are tied to a building, not an individual.
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Romione



Joined: 28 May 2009
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Elves' enslavement Reply with quote

Strawberry07 wrote:
I agree - Lucius did not intend for it to happen, and Dobby had to choose to catch the sockand claim his freedom. However, the enchantment on the elves also had to allow for Dobby to make that claim.


That was my point actually. The enchantment allows the house-elves to take advantage of such loopholes - thus giving them some control. Or rather, more control than Hermione perceived them to have.

I think the more significant factor - what Hermione did not acknowledge - was the fact that Dobby made this choice on his own. He wanted to be free and he chose to take advantage of it when that opportunity was presented. Not only does that demonstrate that house-elves are not simply brainwashed - as Hermione wanted to believe - but they are fully capable of making choices and decisions based on what they want for themselves. Dobby chose to be free - he wasn't deceived or forced into it against his will.

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In the tent, Hermione was also critical of the way Diggory spoke to Winky. However, it is interesting that her priorities are clothes/freedom and pay. Hermione, who knows how badly Dobby was treated, focuses on pay rather than ill treatment. Perhaps because for her, pay for work is something she can relate to and understand.


Possibly. This is still one of the more disappointing aspects of the whole SPEW plot arc for me because it presents Hermione in a rather negative light. Earning wages - and how much a person is paid - are very human concepts and rather shallow ones on the whole. While Hermione comments on how Amos Diggory spoke to Winky, she displays more outrage over the fact that Winky was not paid. She displays a similar outrage when Dobby reveals what his wages are because she didn't feel he was getting paid enough. But that's what Dobby wanted. He didn't really need the money after all - it was more of a symbol to him than anything else. Hermione doesn't really say anything about how house-elves are treated and the potential for abuse until DH - at which point her entire attitude toward house-elves had changed for the better.

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I think that also shows how house elves are normaly treated - Crouch was willing to listen to the advice of his elf. I think Winky and Hokey are examples of how house elves are normally treated - in particular Hokey, as she wasn't involved in covering up an escaped felon.


I agree. Winky and Hokey were both treated very well from what we're shown. It appears Winky ran the Crouch household overall - Barty Crouch was presented as someone who spent more time at work than at home. Still, he listened to Winky and considered her opinion important. We also see that with the house-elves at Hogwarts.

Dobby appears to be an exception all the way around really. He is the only house-elf shown to have suffered such extreme abuse. He is the only house-elf shown to actually want freedom - which stems from the extreme abuse. Dobby mentions to Harry that house-elves had been treated like vermin during Voldemort's first reign, but he also reveals that changed when Voldemort disappeared - except for him. He was still treated like vermin by the Malfoys.

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Yeah, that makes sense. It's just funny that he was so blatant about his intentions. Laughing


Yeah - Kreacher was amusing at times. Laughing

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Perhaps, but if it was regulated, elves like Dobby would be able to report to the Ministry. From Winky's criticism of Dobby in GoF, it seems as if house elves have little to do with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures - Winky warned him that he would be before th Department "like some common goblin".


I think that would depend on what the enchantment actually is. To be clear, I'm not saying that was the case - just that it could be because the actual enchantment was never explained in terms of when it was put into place, who did it, and exactly how it worked. It does not appear that Hermione included that in her research for SPEW - which was something she should have done, IMO.

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I don't think the elves were brainwashed. However, I think that they should be presented with the option of freedom- if they are to remain bound by the enchantment, it should be their choice. I think they should have the option of staying with their family/house if they chose freedom.


Well, I do agree that the choice belongs to the house-elves. From what we're shown, I honestly don't think other house-elves would want to be free. As I said above, Dobby appears to be the sole exception in that regard.

Really, that's what Ron was trying to get through to Hermione from the start. She should have been focusing on what the house-elves wanted rather than what she thought they should want. He wasn't opposed to a house-elf being freed if that's what they wanted - he was opposed to her trying to deceive them and force them into freedom against their will.

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I think most elves would be reluctant to report their master's crimes. I think it would go against their aim of looking after the family.


That's probably true. But I would still say that would stem from their relationship with their master. Winky didn't want to report Barty Crouch because he was good to her and she was loyal to him. Dobby would have gladly reported the Malfoys if he'd been able because they abused him and treated him like vermin - he felt no loyalty to them at all. Kreacher felt no loyalty to Sirius - and Harry until Harry told him that they were going to try to destroy the locket and gave him Regulus' locket to keep. After that, Kreacher was loyal to Harry because he started to like him and appreciated that Harry treated him well.

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Sirius left everything he owned to Harry -which would include Kreacher. However, Dumbledore says "if you have inherited 12 GP, you have also inherited Kreacher", which would support the idea that elves are tied to a building, not an individual.


That was what I was referring to. Dumbledore brought Kreacher to Privet Dr. as a means to test Harry's ownership of #12 Grimmauld Place. If Harry did genuinely own the house, then he also owned Kreacher because he came along with the house.

Along with the explanation that house-elves only come with old manors and castles and how the house-elves at Hogwarts get new masters every time there is a staff change, I think it was made clear in the text that house-elves were bound to the building rather than any specific person. From what we're shown, their master was determined by who owned the building they were bound to rather than house-elves themselves being sold or purchased.

I think that was at least part of Sirius' reasoning in leaving #12 Grimmauld Place to Harry. He hated the house himself and knew Harry didn't like it. And the house itself wasn't really a problem - the Order could vacate the premises and make sure they left nothing behind if Bellatrix had inherited it after all. The problem was Kreacher. If Bellatrix inherited the house, then she would become Kreacher's mistress - enabling her to get all of the information he knew about the Order from him. From what we're shown, the only way that Sirius could ensure that Bellatrix did not become Kreacher's mistress was to leave the house to Harry instead - ensuring that Harry became Kreacher's master.
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RavenStar



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 682
Location: RavenClaw House

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: Tied to a family or a building? Reply with quote

I've followed with interest the argument about whether a House Elf is tied to a family or a building. Romione makes a good point with Kreacher going to Harry because Sirius left Grimmauld Place to Harry. But then he left everything he owned to Harry, and that included Kreacher. Kreacher may have been tied to the Black family, but only to the direct descendants - Bella and Narcissa were cousins, not sisters to Sirius and Regulus.

I'm bothered about the building thing because, what happens when a family moves, for a reason or another? Do they leave the Elf behind to the new owner? What if they leave because the building is being destroyed? What happens to the Elf? confused
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Romione



Joined: 28 May 2009
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Tied to a family or a building? Reply with quote

RavenStar wrote:
I've followed with interest the argument about whether a House Elf is tied to a family or a building. Romione makes a good point with Kreacher going to Harry because Sirius left Grimmauld Place to Harry. But then he left everything he owned to Harry, and that included Kreacher. Kreacher may have been tied to the Black family, but only to the direct descendants - Bella and Narcissa were cousins, not sisters to Sirius and Regulus.

I'm bothered about the building thing because, what happens when a family moves, for a reason or another? Do they leave the Elf behind to the new owner? What if they leave because the building is being destroyed? What happens to the Elf? confused


From what Ron and the twins told Harry, house-elves come with old manors and castles so buying one or inheriting one would include the house-elf bound to that building. If the building were destroyed, I think that would probably break the enchantment as there would be nothing for the house-elf to be bound to in that case.

However, Jo has also indicated that there is a way to change the location a house-elf is bound to if they are willing to do so - Helga Hufflepuff convinced house-elves to come to Hogwarts by promising them better working conditions. That was their choice from what Jo said. Another example of house-elves having more control than Hermione acknowledged I think.
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