Tuesday, May 18, 2010
There is a weird, somewhat annoying creature hanging out in Harry's room. He introduces himself as Dobby the House-Elf and he's there to convince Harry not to return to Hogwarts. Harry refuses, Dobby reveals that he's been stopping Harry's letter and then goes downstairs and drops the pudding on the floor. Shortly thereafter, and owl arrives with a letter for Harry (ruining Vernon's shot at selling the Masons his drills) which informs him that if he performs magic again he'll be expelled. Upon finding out that Harry isn't allowed to do magic outside of school, Vernon determines to lock Harry in his room and keep him from going back to Hogwarts. Harry's just resigned himself to his fate, when Ron appears at his window...
Love 'em or hate 'em, they're a huge part of the Harry Potter world for the rest of the series. Personally, I don't mind them. I've always had a soft spot for the "cutesy" characters my fellow geeks generally love to hate. I don't even mind Jar-Jar that much, though that could just be because the rest of the movie was so awful I didn't see the point in singling him out for derision.
At any rate, I like Dobby. I don't love him (I love Kreacher), but he doesn't make me want to beat him over the head like Winky does. That being said, I can definitely understand why some people dislike him so much.
First of all, there's the fact that he kinda came out of nowhere. So many other creatures were mentioned, at least in passing, in Philosopher's Stone, that it's a little jarring to discover a new sentient creature. A passing mention in Philosopher's Stone, might have helped (no idea where, obviously Malfoy would be the easiest way to get a mention in, but that might have then given away the game as to who Dobby's master was).
Then there's his Bob Dole-itis. "Dobby came to warn Harry Potter." "Dobby must..." "Dobby is..." blah blah blah. Then he occasionally throws in a first person reference, just to see if you're paying attention, "Sometimes they reminds me to do extra punishments." It's enough to drive anyone mad. I feel like this may have been toned down in later books though. That or I just got used to it.
Finally, at this point, he seems like a big old McGuffin. Useful for now, and then we'll ignore him. Obviously, this doesn't end up being the case at all, Dobby and the other house-elves are integral to the story, but Rowling certainly took her time paying it off!
I can't let this chapter go without mentioning the Dursley's. I can't help but wonder what Vernon's plan is. Harry's only 12, so are they going to let him out for public school? Home school him? (Yeah right) Really, Vernon, isn't your best option letting him go to school so you can get rid of him for 10 months? Especially now that you know he's not allowed to do magic when he's "home"? It seems pretty win-win to me. (Obviously that's the problem, Dursley doesn't mind losing as long as Harry does too, still, not the best laid plan.)
Let's hear from some of the Dobby-haters out there. What is it about him that bugs you? How about the Dobby fans? Why do you like him so much? I look forward to your answers!