JK Rowling introduced us to a new world. A world where magic is real , wizards and witches exist, owls send posts and Floo powder is transport.
Anyone who has read the books or watched the movies knows Harry Potter was not about a boy waving a magic wand. They deal with deep issues of society and life. Issues that affect us , that we need to understand.
Rowling’s world was full of fascinating magical creatures.Each one of them was there for a reason , I believe they represent an aspect of this world. Dementors represented depression, Goblins greed or materialism and Centaurs represented wisdom. But of all the ‘fantastic beasts’ the ones that intrigued me the most were House elves.
House elves are shown as timid creatures that are servants to wizards.These peculiar creatures were introduced very early in the second book when Dobby tries to warn Harry about grave dangers awaiting him at Hogwarts.
As the story progresses we learn more about House Elves. They are creatures that live to serve. Wizards don’t care much for how they are treated but the house elves are loyal and devoted to their masters. House Elves seem used to the ill treatment and deem it dutiful to behave in a manner considered ‘appropriate.’
Was Rowling thinking of unconditional loyalty when she wrote about elves? I don’t think so. I believe that the house-elves represent a particular segment of our society, one that seems to be growing rapidly.
It is those people who may seem distressed and confined to the whole world but they don’t think so.It is the women who believe it is their husbands right to control every moment of their life.It is the families who do not see anything wrong in being treated as second class citizens.
In the books House Elves could only be freed if they were presented clothes. The House Elves dreaded getting clothes from their masters.Much like the elves , these people do not believe they are being abused. They resist the punishment that we call freedom.How do you save someone that doesn’t need saving? I usually have very clear points of view about everything. But this gets me all the time. They reject our notions of freedom.
In the books Hermoine tries to liberate the elves but that just agonizes them. They don’t understand what she means by freedom. They don’t want what she has to offer to them. Dobby was the only rebel among the elves. He was a free elf who had no master and worked for Dumbledore who paid him a knickel (Wizard money)
Do you just let these people be? Or do you intervene because you know they are not being given what is rightfully theirs ;Even if they clearly do not want to be freed .What if your intervention no matter how well intentioned comes In the way of their perceived happiness? I mean isn’t life all about finding our perceived happiness?( their is no such thing as absolute happiness..It’s subjective its perceived.) But we cannot just close our eyes and look away , right?
Do we wait for all the houselves to understand what Dobby meant? Or do we force freedom on them?