This is the third part of a series of posts I've been working on for a while detailing what I think are the important hints for the final book in the Harry Potter Series. In the first part I looked at Petigrew's debt to Harry and in the second part I looked at Dumbledore's Unexplained Look of Triumph . In this part I'll be looking at the second book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, because JKR has said that it contains some very important clues for the seventh book. In this post I'll be explaining why I think House Elves are the big clue from this book.
In the second book we get two very important insights into the future of the series. The first is our first look into Voldemort's origins and the second is the introduction of the House Elves. The information we gain on Voldemort has all been dealt with in the sixth book so I don't think it tells us anything important for the final book. What I do think is important are the House Elves and not because of what we have been told about them but rather because of how much we have not been told about them.
What we know about the House Elves
Just about everything we know about the House Elves comes from book two. We learn that they are enslaved and are magically bound to do the bidding of their masters. We know that they are bound to serve one family all their life and that they can only be set free by being given cloths. We also learn that they poses very powerful magic that seems greater than that of the average wizard. Dobby can stop Harry's post, seal up the entrance to platform nine and three quarters, interfere with bludgers, and most impressive of all, apparate and dissaparate in Hogwarts. The only really new thing we learn about House Elves in later books is that the majority of them are happy being enslaved and find the concept of freedom revolting. Dobby turns out to be very much the exception when it comes to House Elves.
What's So Impresive About Their Magic?
A lot of the things we know House Elves can do are considered very difficult by wizards. The three best examples being:
- Dobby stopping Harry's post – We learn in the sixth book that it is very difficult to stop post yet Dobby seems to have no problems with it.
- Dobby interfering with a Bludger – We learn that only complex dark magic could do that yet once again it seems to be no problem for Dobby.
- We know that it is impossible to apparate and dissaparate within Hogwarts yet Dobby does it regularly. This has been pointed out to JKR who said that it was because House Elves use a different type of magic to wizards.
So What are the Unanswered Questions?
To me there are two big un-answered questions. Firstly, what's the story with the House Elf enslavement and secondly what's the story with their magic?
It's obvious that House Elves have a lot of magical ability so how were then enslaved, by who and when? And, more crucially, can this enslavement be broken by means other than the giving of cloths? Would it be possible to free all House Elves in one go? As to why the House Elves were enslaved, I imagine it's down to a desire for free labour and also fear of the Elves obviously great magical ability. As for how, I would guess they were somehow tricked into it because I don't see wizard kind being powerful enough to enslave such obviously powerful creatures. The other thing I wonder about is how old the enslavement is. Could the power behind it be weakening and is that why Dobby could come and try to help Harry during the second book and very obviously work against his master? Yes, he found it hard, but not impossible. Could this be a sign that the House Elves are not as enslaved as the wizards think or perhaps would like to think?
When it comes to House Elf magic I have to ask just how powerful are they and just what all can they do that wizards can't? Have we seen the height of their powers or just the tip of the iceberg?
Another thing I've noticed is that Dobby seems very protective of Harry because he is 'too important'. The question here is too important to who? Is Dobby talking about the good side in general or is he just referring to House Elves? It is possible that Dobby knows part of the prophesy. He could have overheard the bit of the prophecy Voldemort knows in the Malfoy house. Were this to be the case he would know how special Harry is. However, it is also possible that there is another prophecy which makes Harry into the saviour of the House Elves or something like that. I'm not sure on this one but I get the impression Dobby knows more than we have yet seen him let on.
What Does it Mean for Book 7?
This is the bit where I put my money where my mouth is and make predictions for all to see and laugh at when they turn out wrong. Anyhow, I think that the House Elves will be lead into the battle against the death eaters by Dobby and their magic will be a big help in the final victory of good over evil. Voldemort has the giants but I think the House Elves are worth a lot more. I also like the idea that the likes of Malfoy will have been in control of a major force for years without ever realising it. They will be beaten by their former slaves.