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Dobby Character Analysis: Free House-Elf

Dobby Character Analysis: Free House-Elf

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Dobby was a House Elf attached to the Malfoy family until he decided to try and protect Harry Potter from a plan hatched by Lucius Malfoy.

The events that followed led to Dobby being freed, and he was one of the few House-Elves happy with the idea of freedom.

He took up a post at Hogwarts, where he continued to develop his friendship with Harry Potter and help him. He would eventually sacrifice his life rescuing Harry and some of his friends from Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor.

About Dobby

Born28 June unknown year – March 1998
Blood StatusHouse Elf
OccupationMalfoy Family Servant Hogwarts House Elf
Zodiac SignCancer

Dobby Biography

Dobby was a House-Elf attached to the Malfoy family and beholden to serve Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, and other family members.

When he did not follow their orders to the letter, he was forced to punish himself. The family treated him cruelly and sometimes forced him to inflict extra punishments on himself.

While House-Elves were generally treated as subservient by their wizarding family, Dobby appears to have been abused. He became accustomed to death threats and was often recovering from injury.

Dobby Sabotages Harry Potter

Dobby had an extremely strong will and a desire to help those he considered deserving. So, when he learned that Lucius Malfoy had a plan to reopen the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts in 1992/3, with the hope that Harry Potter, among others, would be killed, Dobby became determined to save the famous young wizards.

Dobby spent much of the summer of 1992 spying on Harry and trying to dissuade him from returning to Hogwarts the following year, believing this would keep him safe. For example, Dobby blocked all wizarding post arriving for Harry, hoping that he would feel like there was nothing for him in the wizarding world and not return.

This eventually led to a confrontation between Harry and Dobby, during which Dobby explained that he was trying to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts for his own protection and had to punish himself on multiple occasions.

When Dobby could not convince Harry not to return to the school, he used a hover charm to dump a pudding made by Harry’s Aunt Petunia on one of the guests of the family. This led the Ministry of Magic to believe that Harry had broken the ban on underage wizards performing magic at home.

As expected, Harry was locked in his room by Vernon Dursley and told that he would not be allowed to return to Hogwarts. But Fred, George, and Ron Weasley broke him out of the house and took him to the Burrow.

Dobby floats Aunt Petunia’s Pudding

Dobby and the Chamber of Secrets

Dobby tried to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts again by blocking his and Ron’s entrance to the Hogwarts Express. But the two boys decided to drive Arthur Weasley’s enchanted car to the school. They got in a lot of trouble for this, but they were not expelled.

While Harry was at school, Dobby cursed a Bludger to seriously injure Harry during a Quidditch match in the hope that he would be sent home.

Dobby visited Harry in the hospital wing and again admitted to his actions and implored Harry to leave, accidentally admitting that his concerns related to the Chamber of Secrets.

Dobby Becomes a Free Elf

Master Has Given Dobby a Sock
Dobby receives a sock

The information that Dobby let slip about the Chamber of Secrets helped Harry, Ron, and Hermione Granger find the Chamber and destroy the monster inside.

They were also able to determine that Lucius Malfoy had opened the chamber with an enchanted diary that had once belonged to Tom Marvolo Riddle, who would become Lord Voldemort. But they were unable to prove this.

Realizing that Dobby belonged to the Malfoys, Harry confronted Lucius Malfoy with the diary. Lucius laughed off Harry’s accusations and gave the diary to Dobby to carry.

But unbeknownst to Malfoy, Harry had removed one of his socks and placed it in the diary. When a wizard gives a house-elf a piece of real clothing, he sets them free.

While Lucius did not notice the sock, Dobby did. When Malfoy called him to follow, Dobby refused, pointing out that his master had given him clothing and, therefore, that he was now free.

Lucius Malfoy was incredibly angry to lose his servant, who knew so many of his secrets, and tried to attack Harry in retaliation. But Dobby used his elf-magic to protect Harry and blast Lucius down a flight of stairs.

Dobby thanked Harry profusely for freeing him. This was unusual for a house-elf, as most dreaded the idea of being free. But Dobby was treated so badly that he was happy.

Harry told him that he could repay the favor by never trying to save his life again.

See more: Learn the full meaning of the quote “Master has given Dobby a sock”

Dobby at Hogwarts

After being freed, Dobby started to look for work since house-elves enjoy being busy and useful.

However, he was unsuccessful since, as a free-elf, he wanted to be paid. Eventually, he was offered a position at Hogwarts by Albus Dumbledore.

Professor Dumbledore offered Dobby ten Galleons a week, and weekends off, but Dobby beat him down, miss… Dobby likes freedom, miss, but he isn’t wanting too much, miss, he likes work better.

Dobby, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

When another house-elf Winky was freed by her family for failing to protect a family secret, Dobby took the distraught elf under his wing.

Unlike Dobby, she was not happy to be free and took to drinking. Nevertheless, Dumbledore also offered her a position at Hogwarts, where the other house-elves were embarrassed by Winky but still accepted her.

In that same year, Dobby became the only house-elf willing to clean Gryffindor Tower. This is because Hermione Granger started a campaign to free the house elves by knitting hats and socks for them and hiding them around the room.

The other elves did not want to be freed and found this insulting. So, Dobby did the tower himself and collected and wore all the items of clothing.

Dobby and Harry’s Friendship

This meant that Dobby got to spend more time with Harry and his friends. He even realized that Harry needed help on the second task of the Triwizard Tournament.

He overheard Alastor Moody talking about gillyweed and stole some from Severus Snape’s supply cupboard to give to Harry before the task.

Dobby helped Harry again the following year. He helped Harry find a place for the Dumbledore’s Army defense against the dark arts group to meet, in the Room of Requirement.

He also raised the alarm when Marietta Edgecombe revealed information about the DA to Umbridge, and she and her Inquisitorial Squad were on the way.

When Harry inherited the house-elf Kreacher from Sirius Black, he was transferred to Hogwarts so that he and Dumbledore could keep an eye on him.

At some point in 1996/7, Harry decided that he needed someone to spy on Draco Malfoy for him. He called Kreacher since he belonged to Harry and would have to comply.

When Kreacher showed up, Dobby showed up as well, and the two were fighting. Kreacher had been insulting Harry, and Dobby did not stand for it.

Dobby volunteered to help Kreacher spy for Harry Potter, and the two discovered that Draco was spending most of his time in the Room of Requirement, which was being guarded by his friends Crabbe and Goyle, transformed into small girls using Polyjuice Potion.

Dobby Returns to Malfoy Manor

Harry, Ron, and Hermione did not return to Hogwarts in 1997/8 because they were hunting Horcruxes, and the school fell under Death Eater control.

It is unclear whether Dobby continued there or not. But he did form a close friendship with Aberforth Dumbledore in this time, and he may have been staying with him at Hogsmeade.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were caught by Snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor, Harry desperately called for help to an eye that he saw in a two-way mirror that had been given to him by Sirius Black.

This turned out to be Aberforth Dumbledore, and so he asked Dobby if he would return to his former home to help the prisoners there.

Dobby apparated into the cellar where Harry and Ron, along with a number of other prisoners, were being held. They told Dobby to disapparate away with the other prisoners as they made their way upstairs to save Hermione and a goblin called Griphook, who was being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange.

Dobby at Malfoy Manor

When Dobby returned, there was an ongoing skirmish upstairs. Dobby unscrewed a chandelier to fall on top of Bellatrix Lestrange.

She was appalled to see that he was betraying his Masters, but he reminded her that he was a free elf.

Dobby has no master! Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Death of Dobby

Dobby grabbed the remaining four prisoners to disapparate away. But as he magically left, an enraged Bellatrix Lestrange threw a silver dagger at him, which struck Dobby. Dobby died moments after they arrived at their escape destination at Shell Cottage.

Distraught by the death, Harry, Ron, and Dean Thomas, who Dobby also saved, dug his grave by hand.

They placed him in the grave with the clothes that he treasured. Luna Lovegood spoke over his grave, thanking him for rescuing them all. They described Dobby as a free elf on his gravestone.

These actions convinced the goblin Griphook that Harry might be more trustworthy than other wizards when it comes to dealing with other magical creatures. He agreed to help them break into Gringotts Bank.

Dobby Personality Type & Traits

Dobby sets himself apart from other house-elves in his willingness to defy the Malfoy family to do what he thinks is right. But he is still incredibly loyal and willing to risk his life for others.

He was also caring and understood that not all house-elves wanted the same things as him. Dobby did not try and “convert” the Hogwarts house-elves and understood Winky’s grief.

Dobby Zodiac Sign & Birthday

While we do not know what year Dobby was born, his birthday was June 28, making him a Cancer. This is one of the deeply caring water signs.

They are usually quite tied to tradition, which may explain why the revolutionary Dobby was able to understand the other house-elves that did not desire freedom. Loyalty and selflessness are also key traits of this sign.