Forget Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin, or even Fred Weasley – brave and strong wizards all who fell in the quest to vanquish Lord Voldemort. For many fans, no death in the series caused more sobs than that of a certain character from the last book.
After the jump, find out what author J.K. Rowling had to say about the tragic demise.
As we alluded, perhaps no death to date upset fans as much as that of Dobby the House Elf, who was killed with a knife to the chest while rescuing a group of prisoners from Malfoy Manor, whose last words are “Dobby has no master! Dobby is a free elf,” and then, “Harry…Potter…”
Excuse us, we might need a moment. [wipes eyes]
Turns out, Rowling feels our pain. “I’m sorry,” she told a group of 1,600 school children during a recent Q&A event. “I take responsibility [for Dobby].”
Introduced in the second novel, “Chamber of Secrets,” Dobby was always slated to die, Rowling said, insisting that, although sad, his death served a very specific narrative function.
“I suppose you could say very prosaically that Dobby had to die do he couldn’t tell Harry who had sent him,” Rowling explained, referencing Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus’s brother who Harry doesn’t learn about until much later on in the novel. “But that’s not why. For me, Dobby’s death woke Harry up to what he was doing.”
Indeed, Dobby’s death comes at a crucial time in Book 7, when Harry must decide whether to continue chasing Voldemort’s horcruxes, or to abandon that quest and search for the legendary “Deathly Hallows” instead. The death of Dobby “focused [Harry],” in his resolve to choose the former, Rowling insisted.
“[Dobby was] someone that was very vulnerable and really entirely guiltless in anything concerned with the wizarding world – who wasn’t even a wizard,” Rowling said. “It was another senseless murder in the same way that Cedric Diggory’s death was senseless, purely because they were there. And I think there’s something particularly chilling about entirely innocent victims of violence.”
“It woke Harry up,” she repeated. It would be hard to argue. From the moment Harry buries Dobby (“Here lies Dobby, a Free Elf”) until the end of the novel, he’s engaged in almost non-stop action, with every move one that’s concentrated on destroying the horcruxes.
Maybe now the filmmakers will wake up as well. Dobby didn’t appear in “Order of the Phoenix”. Although his role in the novel is relatively quite small, there is no word yet on whether he will appear in “Half-Blood Prince” either.
Did Dobby’s death affect you as much as it did me? Was there another character whose demise hit you harder? Sound off below.