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

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  • Margaret Dean
    ... How do you account for Dobby s attitude? Was he sent round the bend by the Malfoys cruel treatment? He seems to continue to enjoy working, but wants to
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 29, 2000
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      LSolarion@... wrote:
      >
      > In a message dated 07/26/2000 5:52:05 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
      > margdean@... writes:
      >
      > << What do people think of the house-elf situation? >>
      > s
      > p
      > o
      > i
      > l
      > e
      > r
      >
      > s
      > p
      > a
      > c
      > e
      >
      > (w
      > h
      > a
      > t
      >
      > a
      >
      > g
      > r
      > e
      > a
      > t
      >
      > i
      > d
      > e
      > a
      > )
      > I confess that I'm not yet ready to SPEW (wonderfully appropriate acronym
      > that). House-elves belong to the magical world, not the muggle world, and
      > while the two may have resemblances, each follows its own laws, social as
      > well as physical.
      >
      > The house-elves are true to their folkloric nature; they like to serve as
      > some dogs like to fetch. They are not human, so equality issues don't apply.
      > Even if you gave them the freedom humans have, they would continue to serve.
      > So what does freedom mean, if not allowing the free to do what THEY want, not
      > what WE think they should? So, the well-meaning but do-gooding Hermione
      > should follow Ann Landers' advice and MYOB.

      How do you account for Dobby's attitude? Was he sent round the
      bend by the Malfoys' cruel treatment? He seems to continue to
      enjoy working, but wants to be paid as a human would. Is he
      enlightened or looneytunes?


      --Margaret Dean
      <margdean@...>
    • LSolarion@aol.com
      In a message dated 07/29/2000 9:18:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, margdean@erols.com writes:
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 31, 2000
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        In a message dated 07/29/2000 9:18:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
        margdean@... writes:

        <<
        How do you account for Dobby's attitude? Was he sent round the
        bend by the Malfoys' cruel treatment? He seems to continue to
        enjoy working, but wants to be paid as a human would. Is he
        enlightened or looneytunes? >>

        s
        p
        o
        i
        l
        e
        r

        a
        l
        e
        r
        t

        h
        e
        r
        e

        As someone pointed out in the book, Dobby was unusual for a house-elf. His
        attitude was certainly unpopular, even unnatural, from their perspective.
        It's an interesting question: who gets to define what a certain group's
        attitude and values are to be? If the house-elves are happy and fulfilled in
        their natures by freely offered service (and that choice is important; it
        would be different if overseers with whips were standing behind them forcing
        them to work against their will -- which of course Dumbledore would never
        allow), who is some self-righteous meddler to interfere? Should they be
        "freed" by force? Is that freedom? If it turns happiness into misery and
        contentment into frustration, how is it a good thing? If a creature's nature
        is to serve, they are happiest serving. 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, etc.).
        But that's us. We may call a dog's devotion fawning or grovelling (unless we
        are its object), but to the dog, it's natural.
      • Sophie Masson
        A veela is indeed a East European(indeed, Bulgarian)creature of folklore--rather like the Rusalka in Russian folklore, or the Yangammara in Australian
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 1, 2000
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          A veela is indeed a East European(indeed, Bulgarian)creature of
          folklore--rather like the Rusalka in Russian folklore, or the Yangammara in
          Australian Aboriginal folklore!
          Sophie
          Author site:
          http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Stolzi@... <Stolzi@...>
          To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
          Date: Thursday, 27 July 2000 4:01
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter IV (w / spoilers)


          >
          >> > The "foreign" elements were interesting. Are the *veela* a real
          creation,
          >> > or did JKR make them up?
          >
          >
          >I think they're real: haven't looked it up, but one of the famous arias in
          >THE MERRY WIDOW by Franz Lehar begins, "Vilya, O Vilya, the witch of the
          >wood..." at least in its English translation.
          >
          >Mary S
          >
          >
          >
          >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          >
        • Julia Palffy
          The veelas in Harry Potter reminded me of the Wilis in the classical ballet Giselle - though it s a long time since I read that story. I guess they do have a
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 1, 2000
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            The veelas in Harry Potter reminded me of the Wilis in the classical ballet
            "Giselle" - though it's a long time since I read that story. I guess they do
            have a common source, and that the original figure was adapted to the
            respective works.

            Julia Palffy
            Zug, Switzerland
            jupalffy@...

            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Stolzi@... <Stolzi@...>
            > To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
            > Date: Thursday, 27 July 2000 4:01
            > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter IV (w / spoilers)
            >
            >
            > >
            > >> > The "foreign" elements were interesting. Are the *veela* a real
            > creation,
            > >> > or did JKR make them up?
            > >
            > >
            > >I think they're real: haven't looked it up, but one of the
            > famous arias in
            > >THE MERRY WIDOW by Franz Lehar begins, "Vilya, O Vilya, the witch of the
            > >wood..." at least in its English translation.
            > >
            > >Mary S
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
            > >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
            >
            >
          • Margaret Dean
            ... 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
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 1, 2000
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              LSolarion@... wrote:
              >
              > In a message dated 07/29/2000 9:18:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
              > margdean@... writes:
              >
              > <<
              > How do you account for Dobby's attitude? Was he sent round the
              > bend by the Malfoys' cruel treatment? He seems to continue to
              > enjoy working, but wants to be paid as a human would. Is he
              > enlightened or looneytunes? >>
              >
              > s
              > p
              > o
              > i
              > l
              > e
              > r
              >
              > a
              > l
              > e
              > r
              > t
              >
              > h
              > e
              > r
              > e
              >
              > As someone pointed out in the book, Dobby was unusual for a house-elf. His
              > attitude was certainly unpopular, even unnatural, from their perspective.
              > It's an interesting question: who gets to define what a certain group's
              > attitude and values are to be? If the house-elves are happy and fulfilled in
              > their natures by freely offered service (and that choice is important; it
              > would be different if overseers with whips were standing behind them forcing
              > them to work against their will -- which of course Dumbledore would never
              > allow), who is some self-righteous meddler to interfere? Should they be
              > "freed" by force? Is that freedom? If it turns happiness into misery and
              > contentment into frustration, how is it a good thing? If a creature's nature
              > is to serve, they are happiest serving.

              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, etc.).
              > But that's us. We may call a dog's devotion fawning or grovelling (unless we
              > 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?


              --Margaret Dean
              <margdean@...>
            • alexeik@aol.com
              In a message dated 8/1/0 2:53:54 PM, Julia Palffy wrote:
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 1, 2000
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                In a message dated 8/1/0 2:53:54 PM, Julia Palffy wrote:

                <<The veelas in Harry Potter reminded me of the Wilis in the classical ballet
                "Giselle" - though it's a long time since I read that story. >>

                They're the same. _Willi_ is just a German spelling of South Slavic _vily_.
                Adam's librettist obviously got the story from a Germanic (probably Austrian)
                source.
                Alexei
              • Sophie Masson
                The idea for house-elves came, I m sure, from the story The Elves and the Shoemaker, in which the naked elves are given clothes and shoes at the end, and thus
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 1, 2000
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                  The idea for house-elves came, I'm sure, from the story The Elves and the
                  Shoemaker, in which the naked elves are given clothes and shoes at the end,
                  and thus lose their servitude. They in turn have echoes in folklore with
                  brownies and the like, who are tied to people's houses--and in turn derive
                  in a way from the Roman 'genii loci' who had their own shrines in each
                  house, and protected it.
                  Very clever, as usual, for JK to use these pre-existing things--my only
                  problem with it is that the house-elves' language and attitudes sound very
                  close to the 'happy slaves' idea of the Deep South..but then, I think that's
                  probably meant deliberately. Everyone except Hermione has a blind spot about
                  it.
                  Sophie
                  Author site:
                  http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Margaret Dean <margdean@...>
                  To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
                  Date: Wednesday, 2 August 2000 3:05
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter IV (w / spoilers)


                  >LSolarion@... wrote:
                  >>
                  >> In a message dated 07/29/2000 9:18:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                  >> margdean@... writes:
                  >>
                  >> <<
                  >> How do you account for Dobby's attitude? Was he sent round the
                  >> bend by the Malfoys' cruel treatment? He seems to continue to
                  >> enjoy working, but wants to be paid as a human would. Is he
                  >> enlightened or looneytunes? >>
                  >>
                  >> s
                  >> p
                  >> o
                  >> i
                  >> l
                  >> e
                  >> r
                  >>
                  >> a
                  >> l
                  >> e
                  >> r
                  >> t
                  >>
                  >> h
                  >> e
                  >> r
                  >> e
                  >>
                  >> As someone pointed out in the book, Dobby was unusual for a house-elf.
                  His
                  >> attitude was certainly unpopular, even unnatural, from their perspective.
                  >> It's an interesting question: who gets to define what a certain group's
                  >> attitude and values are to be? If the house-elves are happy and fulfilled
                  in
                  >> their natures by freely offered service (and that choice is important; it
                  >> would be different if overseers with whips were standing behind them
                  forcing
                  >> them to work against their will -- which of course Dumbledore would never
                  >> allow), who is some self-righteous meddler to interfere? Should they be
                  >> "freed" by force? Is that freedom? If it turns happiness into misery and
                  >> contentment into frustration, how is it a good thing? If a creature's
                  nature
                  >> is to serve, they are happiest serving.
                  >
                  >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,
                  etc.).
                  >> But that's us. We may call a dog's devotion fawning or grovelling
                  (unless we
                  >> 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?
                  >
                  >
                  >--Margaret Dean
                  > <margdean@...>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >
                • LSolarion@aol.com
                  In a message dated 08/01/2000 10:10:23 AM Pacific Daylight Time, margdean@erols.com writes:
                  Message 8 of 13 , 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,
                    etc.).
                    > But that's us. We may call a dog's devotion fawning or grovelling (unless
                    we
                    > 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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