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Things You Probably Didn't Know About House-Elves

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Vote up the most magical bits of info about the wizarding world's under-appreciated elves.

The Wizarding World in the Harry Potter series seems like an appropriately magical place to be but a deeper look reveals just how backward its practices are. House-elves are magical creatures who are treated horribly by wizards and it takes the sacrifice of characters like Dobby to bring in the necessary change. There's a long history behind the role that house-elves play in the Wizarding World along with points of interest about established house-elves such as Dobby, Kreacher, and Winky.

Learning about the details behind house-elves will provide fans with a different lens to view these creatures with and place the Harry Potter series itself in a brand new context.

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    45 VOTES

    Kreacher Was Going To Be Excluded From The Movies But Was Included At J.K. Rowling's Suggestion

    Kreacher Was Going To Be Excluded From The Movies But Was Included At J.K. Rowling's Suggestion
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Harry Potter movies have a habit of cutting out elements that are important in the novels to fit the runtime. Kreacher was nearly a casualty to the practice of getting cut from a movie until J.K. Rowling herself intervened to save his role.

    The seventh novel hadn't been released at the time of the filming of Order of the Phoenix, so the film developers were unaware of Kreacher's importance in Deathly Hallows. Rowling didn't give away major spoilers, but she did suggest keeping Kreacher in because it would be a major problem for the Deathly Hallows movie. Kreacher's part in the stealing of Voldemort's Horcrux was a plot point that couldn't be ignored.

  • 2
    41 VOTES

    It's Not Necessary For House-Elves To Refer To Themselves In The Third-Person

    It's Not Necessary For House-Elves To Refer To Themselves In The Third-Person
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The tendency for house-elves to refer to themselves in the third person has to do with their low self-esteem. House-elves aren't limited in speech and can easily talk like a normal person but choose not to do so. Dobby is the best proof of how a house-elf can communicate.

    Dobby largely adheres to the house-elves' trait of referring to themselves but switches to first-person on occasion when he's treated like an equal. It happens several times, such as when Dobby says "I shouldn't have said that" to Harry after blurting out the secret of the Chamber of Secrets, and when he tells Harry he hasn't met good wizards like him before.

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    39 VOTES

    There Were Official Rules To Prevent Mistreatment Of House-Elves That Were Never Enforced

    There Were Official Rules To Prevent Mistreatment Of House-Elves That Were Never Enforced
    Photo: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Lucius Malfoy kicks Dobby around at his leisure in public and nobody does anything about it. Malfoy is technically breaking the law when he mistreats his house-elf because it is a violation of the Guidelines on House-Elf Welfare

    The Ministry of Magic issued regulations that were supposed to be followed but were never actually enforced. Characters like Malfoy could have been charged with abuse for the way they treated house-elves but the Wizarding World actively ignored it in favor of retaining their control over the magical beings.

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    31 VOTES

    Winky Never Completely Got Over Her Butterbeer Addiction

    Winky Never Completely Got Over Her Butterbeer Addiction
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Barty Crouch's former house-elf, Winky, becomes addicted to Butterbeer in her depression after she's freed; it's something she never gets over.

    Winky isn't fully addicted as she was shortly after she was let go, but she's still known to consume Butterbeer for her sorrows even years after the demise of the Crouch family.

  • 5
    47 VOTES

    Butterbeer Is Alcoholic To House-Elves

    Butterbeer Is Alcoholic To House-Elves
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Butterbeer contains very low levels of alcoholic content and wizards don't generally get inebriated. House-elves' tolerance for Butterbeer is weaker, however, and they can easily become drunk if they consume the drink.

    In fact, drinking Butterbeer in excess can be fatal to a house-elf - Dobby confirms this when he looks after Winky. Dobby is the only house-elf who cares for Winky because the others shun her for her addiction. House-elves require an antidote to survive excessive intake of Butterbeer and Dobby finds these in the Room of Requirement that he uses to save Winky's life.

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    41 VOTES

    The Fidelius Charm Doesn't Work On House-Elves

    The Fidelius Charm Doesn't Work On House-Elves
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The rules of apparition don't apply to house-elves, who can appear and disappear at will even with protective enchantments. The Fidelius Charm is similarly inapplicable toward house-elf magic and can be ignored by them if they are ordered to.

    Dobby enters Malfoy Manor to rescue Harry and his friends when he's not privy to their location; he similarly arrives at Shell's Cottage when Bill Weasley is the Secret Keeper, whom Dobby never actually met. Hogwarts is protected by concealment charms full-time but Kreacher goes to work there on Harry's orders - Kreacher knows where the school is though nobody tells him its location.