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2062Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter IV (w / spoilers)

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  • LSolarion@aol.com
    Aug 3, 2000
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      In a message dated 08/01/2000 10:10:23 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
      margdean@... writes:

      The next question that comes to mind at this point (at least to
      mine) is how the house-elves came to have that "nature" in the
      first place. What are their origins? Did they come to be
      independently, with the impulse toward service already there? Or
      did some primal wizard or group of wizards alter them somehow?
      If the latter, does that count as enslavement?

      > Our natures are disgusted at this, I
      > think, because we are fallen and prone to rebellion against the idea of
      > service (which we label derogatorily as subservience, obsequiousness,
      > But that's us. We may call a dog's devotion fawning or grovelling (unless
      > are its object), but to the dog, it's natural.

      It's natural to a dog because it serves a practical purpose in
      the social organization of dogs. That it transfers over to
      humans in some situations turns out to be beneficial for both
      species (by and large. There are dog owners, of course, who take
      just as fearsome advantage of the dog's natural inclinations as
      the Malfoys did of Dobby's). How about house-elves? Same or
      different? Were their impulses directed toward humans (wizards)
      originally, or were they =conditioned= to direct them that way?
      If the latter, is the resulting symbiosis beneficial?

      :::silky voice of the Enterprise computer answers:::"I'm sorry; insufficient
      data to answer these questions."
      Speaking hypothetically, if a wizard in the past had changed the nature of
      house elves to make them love to serve, I suppose you could make a case for
      saying that the particular elves so changed were enslaved. However, there
      just isn't a mugglish analogy. Elves are magical creatures, with different
      natures than ours. Perhaps they are unfallen, and therefore lack the
      instinctive rebelliousness of our sinful natures (though of course Rowling
      offers no such hints, thank goodness). We just don't know.

      However, service seems to be the current dominant value in house-elf society,
      as can be seen by the sudden hostility that greeted Dobby when he preached
      (somewhat defensively) his ideal of freedom. Much like the village idiot
      spouting the praise of folly at a Mensa convention. Poor Dobby can't help it,
      he's a bit, you know, off...but trying to convert others arouses the social
      defense system.
      The symbiosis seems to work to everyone's benefit, I think; at least,
      everyone but Hermione the meddler and Dobby the house-elf village idiot are
      happy with it. If the house-elves see no harm in it, why should we?
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