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2064The House-Elf Question (w / spoilers)

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  • Margaret Dean
    Aug 3, 2000
      LSolarion@... wrote:

      > :::silky voice of the Enterprise computer answers:::"I'm sorry; insufficient
      > data to answer these questions."

      All too true . . .

      > 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?

      Well, that's to take Ron's view of the matter, which I'd say
      would be shared by your wizard-on-the-street; having grown up in
      a wizard family, Ron's usually a good touchstone for that.
      Hermione brings in the 20th-Century Muggle reaction, which would
      probably occur to most readers even if they didn't end up
      agreeing with it. My guess is that the Truth (if we ever find it
      out) will lie somewhere between the two extremes. Watch
      Dumbledore (speaking of touchstones). He doesn't try to disrupt
      the system as it stands, but he's perfectly willing to support
      Dobby's variation as well.

      IOW, watch this space. :)

      --Margaret Dean