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Elves Are the Answer



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  #1  
Old February 20th, 2007, 2:34 am
Rayjo  Female.gif Rayjo is offline
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Elves Are the Answer

Discussion for the editorial Elves Are the Answer by Dan Newell.


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  #2  
Old February 20th, 2007, 2:46 am
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I'm still puzzled about why anybody expects a bit "Battle of Morranon" analog in Deathly Hallows. It simply is not that sort of story. The final battle will be between Harry and Voldemort: I'd be surprised if anyone other than Ron and Hermione (and possibly Ginny) are there.

If there are any larger battles (and we have no reason to expect them: it does not seem that they happened in the prior war), then we almost certainly will not read about them. Harry will be off Horcrux hunting, and if he's not present, then we don't read about it: the narrative allows for only one protagonist, after all.


If a House-elf will be important, then it almost certainly will be Kreacher: and for what he knows and remembers, not for his magic.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 3:46 am
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I think House-elves already had a major role in the books, but the point is will Hermione give up S.P.E.W?

Now, there are Goblins - we have to worry about them - we really don't know which side they belong to....do we? They might join Voldemort because most goblins are anti-wizards - they are also treasure keepers and who knows they might be gaurding something precious.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 3:49 am
cdmHPfan  Female.gif cdmHPfan is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I agree that house elves are set up for a large part in DH. They are overlooked, looked down upon, treated as slaves, regulated, and ignored. "The mark of a good house elf is that you never know they are there".

But obviously by not being noticed, they see and hear a huge amount of information.

Information is the basis of espionage and the #1 weapon in war. If you know what the enemy knows and what they plan to do, you win. Not to mention looking for hidden objects. If the horcrux have been placed in anyone's care (like the Riddle diary) a house elf may have the information on how to find it. Not too mention the power to unlock or destroy it.

Again as mentioned, why would so much information and time be spent on house elves in the books if they are not to be included in the finale? The whole SPEW storyline is complete trash if it is not leading up to something. The whole time I was reading the GOF I was irritated by this seemingly left field intrusion of blah blah blah from Hermione. It does not further define her already developed character at that point or advance the storyline.

I also agree that the final show down will be Harry and LV. But... the vast majority of the book will be leading up to this show down. Liberally peppered with house elves!


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Old February 20th, 2007, 4:43 am
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Remember what Ron said {House elves have powerful magic } Harry now owns Kreacher and Dobby will do anything for Harry. I agree that house elves will help Harry in some way.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 5:14 am
frizzle  Undisclosed.gif frizzle is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

First, a thank you to the editorialist Dan. Very clear straightforward writing highlighting a very good point!

Next, a response to the question of why "everyone" expects a big final battle. It seems that since Harry's greatest strength is his ability to love (as he's been told over and over by DD), it's only logical that those he loves and has protected will come to his aid when needed. I actually anticipate several confrontations (one for each horcrux) in which Harry will be helped by different allies with different strengths as they are needed. (I'm really looking forward to the Flying Fight, as I've come to think of it. All the Weasleys and Victor Krum will join Harry in a match more mind-boggling than any quidditch game.) I seems very likely that house elves, particularly Dobby, will play an important role in at least one of the horcrux missions.

Also, let us not forget that Dobby has told Harry that he is happy to keep Dumbledore's secrets (I think that was in GoF). Unquestionably, one or more of these secrets will be crucial to Harry's success/survival.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 6:49 am
sfgilgalad  Undisclosed.gif sfgilgalad is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

well, probably everyone will have his time of glory, as the magic world will need the "sacred union". Olympe, Hagrid, and his brother will bring the giants, etc... and they all have a big giant party at the end, everyone will love everyone, and then, well, business is business, everyone goes back to his old or new occupation. What if Dobby became the next minister of magic?
What stroke me in what you explained (very nice editorial) is that the elves seem to be the most magical creatures in this world. They don't have to learn and don't need a wand. And also, might represent a big crew full of love and hope. Exactly what Harry needs.


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  #8  
Old February 20th, 2007, 6:59 am
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Prior to the final battle Harry's allies will do whatever they can to assist him. Whether or not this includes elves I don't know but, without doubt, Dobby will help Harry regardless. The final battle will be between Harry and Voldemort and I doubt anyone else will be present.

You bring up an interesting point but I am not sure if I agree with it. A good editorial nonetheless.



Last edited by bribe; February 20th, 2007 at 7:01 am. Reason: spelling
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Old February 20th, 2007, 11:48 am
Linda_Carrig  Female.gif Linda_Carrig is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I happen to agree with the editorial. The house elves are going to be fundamental is some way and I can hardly wait.


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  #10  
Old February 20th, 2007, 1:11 pm
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

There doesn't have to be a big "final battle" for the decisions of the various non-human creatures to be critical to the story. Who takes which side will determine what resources Voldemort and Harry have available for their parts of the story.

I'm not sure that the "house elves" as a unit, will take sides. Each individual house elf is tied to its own family, and likely to side with their family for that reason. So Kreacher will remain who he is, Harry's reluctant and unreliable slave. Dobby will remain a free agent personally loyal to Harry, capable of helping, but also capable of doing harm, or causing mischief, if he wishes. The Hogworts house elves may prove useful, if they can be moved to act outside the school proper.

I like the idea of the goblins at the bank proving unexpectedly important. If they openly take sides, either Voldemort and his followers or Harry and his supporters could find themselves unexpectedly short of cash. If they take sides as a group quietly, there could be a lot of information about one side passed to the other. You can learn a lot from someone's spending habits. A big withdrawal probably means a big action of some sort in the near future, requiring the purchase of supplies. The wizarding gold based currency makes this even more important, since one can't clear out a vault of gold with the ease that one can withdraw and carry a lot of paper money. If the goblins don't act as a group, but pick sides as individuals, you might see bits of intelligence being passed to each side, with unpredictable results.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 1:53 pm
lmk  Female.gif lmk is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I think the author of this article did an excellent job of illustrating just how powerful house-elf magic must be. I agree that house-elves will play a role in the final book (Didn't J.K.R. mention on her website that she was having some trouble with house-eleves at some point while writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?), but I doubt that they will form some sort of regiment in an army determined to defeat Voldemort and his followers. Once again, congratulations on having written a fine editorial.

I read through all the replies posted on this thread prior to mine and there is one thing that Wimsey wrote in the very first comment that I don't understand. Wimsey writes that "Harry will be Horcrux hunting, and if he's not present, then we don't read about it: the narrative allows for only one protagonist, after all."

I believe that we have read about plenty of things in the HP series that have happened when Harry is not present. The bulk of the opening chapter of the first book takes place without Harry, and it sets up the entire series. While it's true that Harry witnesses Voldemort killing Frank Brice in the Riddle House at the conclusion of the first chapter of the Goblet of Fire, he does not witness everything that occurs in that chapter. Then there's the beginning of the Half-Blood Prince. We read all about the "Other Minister" and his relationship with Cornelius Fudge and his introduction to Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister of Magic. Next, we read all about Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy's visit to the home of Severus Snape and we the readers - not Harry, the protagonist - are made aware of the Unbreakable Vow Snape takes with Narcissa.

These examples seem to prove that there have been scenes, entire chapters, that have been written in the series that have not included Harry at all. Many details of what happened in these chapters remain still remain unknown to Harry. For example, does he have any idea of what transpired at Spinner's End the night that the sisters came to visit Snape? I don't think he does, and yet that visit is very important to the mystery surrounding Severus Snape.

While I don't think much of what happens in the final book will take place without Harry's direct involvement, I still believe it's possible that we might indeed read about something that takes place without Harry's physical presense, or even his knowledge, that could be very important to the story.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 3:10 pm
Chas  Male.gif Chas is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Fascinating editorial, Dan. Thanks. You bring up many possible directions for thinking.

Personally, I think house elves are a tremendously diverse lot. We have met Dobby, Winky, and Kreacher. Dobby is clearly great pals with Harry, but still has a bit of loyalty to the Malfoys (because he punishes himself whenever he has to report on them). Winky has had a nervous breakdown over leaving the Crouch family. Kreacher belongs to Harry but loathes doing what Harry asks. We don't have enough time/book-space to build a new culture for the elves.

There are two other classes of magical creatures in the Ministry Fountain that could have a role in the final resolution, and again, they are diverse.

First are the centaurs. Only one is clearly on the "Good-Guy" side, Firenze. What will come of the centaurs? Will they remain aloof? Will they be provoked by Voldemort's disruptive evil? Will they be offended by the ministry's bumbling?

The second are the goblins. They are often present but unseen. What can they do? Are they masters of defense since they guard the wizarding world's assets? Can they train dragons? Do they have any loyalties? What is the nature of their servitude?

As a final thought, Dan mentions the giants in the editorial. From what Hagrid reported, they are good at causing damage but totally unmanageable. Voldemort may like them, but I doubt if he-- or anyone else-- can count on them for anything.

Thanks, Dan for getting me thinking!


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  #13  
Old February 20th, 2007, 3:28 pm
HP_hedgehog  Male.gif HP_hedgehog is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Finally! I've been saying this for months and months... but I think it'll go even further.

Deathly Hallows will also be about uniting Hogwarts and the Wizarding World (also the creatures). Only if they can work together and forget their differences, they can withstand Voldemort (see Dumbledore's speech when Cedric died). Now... we know there are a lot of differences to be worked out with both house-elves and goblins. Also the centaurs aren't exactly kind to wizards and the merpeople also live their own lives. The giants live in exile. The werewolves are banned from society (most of them).

I've always said, (which you did here too) that Voldemort will command the Death Eaters, Dementors, Giants, Inferi and Werewolves. (I think the vampires, hags and ogres will stay out of this... we haven't been properly introduced to "groups" of them... but if they will join, I think they'll join Voldemort.)

The good side: the Order, House-Elves, Centaurs, Merpeople, Veela and Goblins. They will have to work out some serious issues there but they need allies. (I think S.P.E.W. finally has succes) Of course, there are exceptions: Lupin will join the good side, Grawp will (somehow) but there will also be Goblins and House-Elves who will choose for Voldemort (Goblins: for the $, House-Elves, unwillingly...)

But in general, I hope that it'll go like this... almost all the humanoide creatures will fight. (Ghosts and Poltergeist will not be very important... I think).

Then something else, in particular about the House-Elves. We've met Dobby. He worked for a Death Eater (Malfoy) but is now willing to do everything Harry tells him to. We've met Kreacher. He worked for a Death Eater (Regulus.. plus the other Blacks, who weren't the nicest) but has to do everything Harry tells him to now. We've met Winky. She worked for a Death Eater (Crouch Jr.) and is very depressed. But I think that she will somehow turn and go with Harry.

See the connection? Three House-Elves who have information on Death Eaters, have a motivation to fight for the good side (Kreacher has to... or maybe he'll switch sides at one point ... but that's not very likely). They are very different, but extremely powerful. Plus, there's a whole soon-to-be-army at Hogwarts.. thousands of House-Elves!

Also bear in mind that Dobby worked for Dumbledore and that he was PROUD to keep Dumbledore's SECRETS. (It's in the Kitchen-Chapter in GoF). He can provide valuable information.

Will our three House-Elves command the entire Hogwarts House-Elves-population and help Harry? I hope so.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Great editorial, by the way! Sorry if I got carried away too much by my own thoughts..


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  #14  
Old February 20th, 2007, 4:08 pm
The_Old_One  Male.gif The_Old_One is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Excellent editorial, Dan. I have had similar thoughts since I first read about Dobby in CoS. However, there are some serious counter-arguments, most of which have been made already in previous responses within this discussion. My own concern with the house elves (by the way, HP Hedgehog, not thousands at Hogwarts, over a hundred, according to Nearly Headless Nick - but still a considerable number with considerable force given their abilities) is that they have loyalties that, whether real or forced, do not allow them to divulge certain information, though they can alter the information (witness Dobby's inability to directly tell Harry about the Chamber in CoS, although he tried to give him a hint about who was responsible). The fact they are required to serve one family unless freed may actually be a help when the decisions must be taken by those families that own house elves - even "bad" families that decide to repent and "choose what is right instead of what is easy" can require their elves to serve good. I suspect that house elves, in and of themselves are neither inherently good nor bad, but reflect the attitudes and mores of their families. Unfortunately, we haven't a lot of information on their histories and origins that might give us further insights.

I think, ultimately, they will play a role, as they have in other circumstances in the canon, for both good and ill. Will their contribution be decisive? I can't say for sure, but I suspect not - Harry has greater resources on his side than he realizes at this time, and, I think, than he really cares about at this time - his desire is to avenge the ill fates of his loved ones, and in so doing, relieve the wizarding world (and the muggle world too) of a burden they should not be forced to bear - servitude to the Dark side - but his desire is his own, and he is not, at least yet, feeling the surge of support he will later, except from Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville (and maybe Hagrid who supports Harry through thick and thin). Remember that he feels, because Dumbledore instilled it in him, that he alone will have to face and vanquish Voldemort. His friends support him, this he knows, but he also believes that they cannot help him except to die for him, which is why he didn't want them to accompany him to the MoM in OOTP, or on his journey to meet his destiny as HBP ends and Deathly Hallows begins.

Ah, this is going t be fun for years to come - reading, re-reading, discussing, analyzing, sharing new and deeper insights! And maybe the esteemed JKR will be able to join us in these explorations more fully, though I, for one, would rather have the latter happen at a later date, sort of a revelation to clarify, when we feel we have done all we can.

Thanks for all of this -- the forums, the discussion, the theories and refutations -- it makes life so very interesting!

M.


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  #15  
Old February 20th, 2007, 4:25 pm
SiriusElessar  Male.gif SiriusElessar is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

SIAP (sorry if already posted), but Dobby also apparated into Hogwarts and out somehow during COS. That must take special magic as well.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 4:26 pm
Ticci  Female.gif Ticci is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I too believe the house elves will have an important role to play in DH, even if it's subtle as was Buckbeak's attack on Snape at the end of HBP. Jo has told us throughout the series that they have powerful magic of their own and that seems like preparation for something more significant. Thanks for the editorial, Dan!


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Old February 20th, 2007, 4:55 pm
HP_hedgehog  Male.gif HP_hedgehog is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Old_One View Post
by the way, HP Hedgehog, not thousands at Hogwarts, over a hundred, according to Nearly Headless Nick - but still a considerable number with considerable force given their abilities
Really? I thought it said at some point (maybe in the kitchen) that there were thousands... anyway, JKR guessed that there are around 3,000 wizards in Britain, right? I'm not sure... but anyway, not every household has a house-elf... only the rich, old, etc. Some of those families are "evil" and thus, their house-elf is forced to do whatever evil they want him/her to do. But I think that the number of Hogwarts house-elves easily outnumbers the other house-elves...

but indeed, their powers are remarkable. They can Apparate anywhere and do lots of stuff that most wizards would dream of. They would be a great help


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Old February 20th, 2007, 6:50 pm
katsirius  Undisclosed.gif katsirius is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

I am always surprised when anyone mentions Hermione as someone who knows anything about house elves. Her attempts are misguided at best and often arrogant and offensive. Hermione is so busy being right she does not find out whether or not she is being helpful. Hermione would be the last person I would let speak to a house elf. She is blinded by her own agenda and they resent her interference. House elves may be small however they are not children unlike Hermione and do not need to be rescued by a teenager. JKR paints Hermione's attempts with ridicule and shows clearly that Hermione does more harm than good.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 7:12 pm
The_Old_One  Male.gif The_Old_One is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by HP_hedgehog View Post
... anyway, JKR guessed that there are around 3,000 wizards in Britain, right? I'm not sure... but anyway, not every household has a house-elf... only the rich, old, etc. Some of those families are "evil" and thus, their house-elf is forced to do whatever evil they want him/her to do. But I think that the number of Hogwarts house-elves easily outnumbers the other house-elves...
Interesting point about the number of wizarding households in Britain. Not so much the number itself as the fact that I forgot that there are other wizarding populations - witness the variety of wizards (100,00) that attended the Quidditch World cup, from all over the world! I don't think it says anywhere that house elves exist only in Great Britain, so there may, in fact, be substantially greater number than we think.

Having said that, of course, there is also no indication that anyone outside Great Britain (with the exception of a very few wizards and witches from the other two schools we know of) is or will in any way be involved in the final book.

I still think that overall, elves will play a role, but not a decisive one. Also, having re-read the responses so far, I am beginning to agree that there will be other magical creatures involved in some way, particularly centaurs and goblins. I keep thinking there has to be some greater significance to the Fountain of Magical Brethren than just as a vehicle for illustrating the attitudes of human witches and wizards relative to what they consider "lesser" magical creatures.

By the way, and if this is too far off topic, just ignore it, I see a discrepancy in the Fountain. The three groups (elves, centaurs and goblins) that are represented there are represented even though it is unclear as to whether they can be classified as beasts or beings. Following Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Centaurs choose to be classified as beasts because of their disdain for humans, elves are so classified because they lack any desire to etablish themselves otherwise, and it is unclear as to exactly why goblins are so classified, except perhaps because of the goblin-human conflicts that have been recorded in the past. But where are the merepeople? I must say, I thought merpeople would also have been represented because, according to Scamander, merpeople also have chosen to be classified as beasts. I wonder?

M.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 9:08 pm
cenzonico  Male.gif cenzonico is offline
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Re: Elves Are the Answer

Jo Rowling certainly can’t write everything that our prodigious minds have expected or hoped for. However, I believe house elves certainly won’t have less a role than they had in the previous books. Maybe there is another kind of elf, which is not enslaved to wizards, called simply-elves. These would be free to do whatever they choose. Why are elves house elves anyway? What is their origin? But back to the original question….

What we might be able to expect would be Kreacher’s knowledge of the locket horcrux, from when he probably helped Regulus get it in the first place. He might have saved it from Mundungus’ sticky fingers, thinking it to be an heirloom he would rather not give up.

We might also see the elves of Hogwarts help in protecting the castle, which seems likely. Kreacher also has knowledge of the Malfoy’s residence, which could be helpful to Harry if Lucious was in possession of another horcrux (probably unlikely).

Certainly there may be new elf characters that come forward to protect the good guys and Harry.


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