Harry Potter Companion Essay "What Did Dobby Know?"

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Harry Potter Companion Essay "What Did Dobby Know?"

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:40 am

Harry Potter Companion Essay "What Did Dobby Know?"

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. At that time, this thread was still set in the "New Discussions Threads Not Approved or Placed" folder of the WC forum. Elanor

Soul Search - Nov 16, 2009 10:48 am
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 17, 2009 6:57 am
Recently a post on this forum referenced the Harry Potter Companion website (http://hpcompanion.com). I took a look and was delighted. Great artwork and very good HP material. I was particularly taken with John Kearns' Essay "What Did Dobby Know?." (Click "Essays" then "What Did Dobby Know?")

Dobby and his visits to Harry are important to the CoS plotline, but Dobby's actions seem quite inconsistent with what we learn about House Elves' enslavement. John Kearns explains this inconsistency with the idea that Lucius Malfoy was using Dobby so much of Dobby's actions were within his orders from Malfoy. A well presented theory.

My first "ah ha" moment was Kearns explanation that Malfoy intended that Harry was to get the Diary. In Borgin & Burkes Harry gets a set of books from Lockhart and dumps them in Ginny's cauldron. Malfoy sees this and thinks the cauldron holds Harry's books. So, he slips the Diary in one of those books, not knowing that Harry had gifted the books to Ginny. Makes as lot more sense that Malfoy, perhaps with Draco's help, would try to get the Diary to Harry, rather than Ginny, even though Malfoy's desire to discredit Arthur Weasley did make sense.

In my spot checking CoS related to this essay I also discovered something that relates to our ongoing discussion of "when did Dumbledore suspect Harry was a horcrux?" Harry reveals that he is a Parslemouth in the dueling scene in CoS. It always seemed to me that Dumbledore made a startling conclusion in a short amount of time when he explained this to Harry at the end of Cos. But Harry actually revealed his ability to talk to snakes in SS/PS at the zoo! We have a number of references to Harry spotting his constant watchers, so it isn't much of a stretch to suggest Dumbledore learned of Harry's ability from a Harry watcher even before Harry arrived at Hogwarts. So, Dumbledore actually had two years to contemplate the full meaning of Harry's ability to talk to snakes.

While there are readers' comments on the website, they are mostly (well deserved) compliments without a lot of critical discussion (but there is some.) I would like to use this thread to discuss "What Did Dobby Know?" So, go to the website, read the Essay, then join in.

Among weak points might be:

Who was Lucius talking to when Dobby overheard the discussion? Must have been Draco, but Draco didn't seem to know much when the polyjuiced Harry and Ron confronted him in the Slytherin common room.

Why/how did Dobby accompany Lucius to Hogwarts at the end of the book? It was important to the plotline, and for the plotline of Deathly Hallows, that Dobby be freed, but there doesn't seem to be a good reason for him to have been there. Was Dobby still trying to save Harry?

Was Harry Lucius' initial target for the Diary, or was Ginny his target all along? How would Lucius even know Ginny? Even Draco wouldn't, since it was her first year at Hogwarts. This part of the plotline, and Kearns' theory, is still a bit uncertain.
avatar
Elanor
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 44
Location : France

Back to top Go down

Harry Potter Companion Essay "What Did Dobby Know?" (Post 1 to 34)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:41 am

mona amon - Nov 16, 2009 10:21 pm (#1 of 34)
Soul Search, I haven't read the essay, but from your post ~

Was Harry Lucius' initial target for the Diary, or was Ginny his target all along? How would Lucius even know Ginny?

Ginny was the target from the time he saw her in Flourish and Blotts. ("Here, girl - take your book - it's the best that your father can give you -" CoS chapter 4) Before that he probably didn't have any fixed idea about who to pass the diary to. But after he sees the Weasleys in the bookshop, he gets the bright idea of hiding the diary in Ginny's Transfiguration textbook, so that he can unleash the heir of Slytherin, and discredit Arthur Weasley all in one stroke.

Who was Lucius talking to when Dobby overheard the discussion?

My guess would be Narcissa. She clearly has a lot of influence over him (from what we see in DH) and I think he'll be likely to confide in her most of the time.

- - - - - - - - - -
PeskyPixie - Nov 17, 2009 12:27 pm (#2 of 34)

Lucius and Narcissa would probably be an ideal couple - if they weren't for the whole evil thing!

So, Lucius was carrying around the diary in his pocket, looking for the perfect opportunity to slip it to someone? Well, I suppose he'd want it with him ...

- - - - - - - - - -
legolas returns - Nov 17, 2009 1:32 pm (#3 of 34)

I wonder whether Dobby was meant to hear (like in GOF) so that Harry would eventually hear about it-Kill two birds with one stone. Or did Dobby hear accidently?

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Nov 17, 2009 5:43 pm (#4 of 34)

legolas returns.

Not sure what you mean "... Dobby was meant to hear (like in GOF)." Meant by whom?

With Kearns essay Lucius used Dobby to watch Harry Potter to see when he would be going to Diagon Alley. Dobby overheard Lucius explaining about opening the Chamber of Secrets to someone (never revealed who,) but Lucius did not intentionally inform Dobby of the details of his plan.

- - - - - - - - - -
legolas returns - Nov 18, 2009 10:23 am (#5 of 34)

I was meaning something along the lines of how fake Mad-Eye had a loud discussion with McGonagall in front of Dobby (who was doing something for fake Mad-EYe) about Gillyweed just prior to the second task. He knew that Dobby and Harry were friends because of the Christmas gift of socks. He was trying to help Harry win the task.

I was suggesting that Lucius did something similar so he could try and get Harry killed by the Basalisk.

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Nov 18, 2009 12:33 pm (#6 of 34)

legolas returns,

Ah, I had forgotten that GoF moment. Thanks. No, I think Dobby had to have evesdropped a conversation he wasn't supposed to hear. I can't see any reason why Lucius would want to clandestinely give his loyal house elf that information. Dobby had to obey whatever orders Lucius gave him without any background whys and wherefores.

Kearns essay suggests Lucius was using Dobby to spy on Harry so he would know when Harry was going to Diagon Alley. He still needed an excuse to be in Flourish and Blotts and someone to recognize Harry. Lucius may not have ever seen him; although Harry's resemblence to James might have been enough, Lucius had to be sure. So, Lucius told Draco he wanted them to go to Diagon Alley and for Draco to point out Harry Potter to him, maybe even to help him plant the Diary on him. I do note Lockhart solved that problem by announcing Harry to the crowd.

Ron also dumped his books in Ginny's cauldron, probably making it difficult for Lucius to make sure Harry got the Diary. He hangs on to Ginny's battered copy of "Encyclopedia of Toadstooks" until after the scuffle with Arthur, then returns it, now with the Diary slipped inside. My thought is Harry was Lucius' initial target but Lucius decided Ginny would be even better after his encounter with Arthur.

Lucius couldn't know the Weasleys would actually accompany Harry in the bookstore, and he had never even seen Ginny, so that was a chance happening. The way things worked out, The Weasleys, and Ginny, were already in the bookstore when Harry, Ron, and Hermione arrived. Lucius waited until after Harry was there before trying to plant the Diary. Seems to suggest he was waiting for Harry.

Going a bit further than the essay, it seems Dobby overheard Lucius say something that specifically endangered Harry, hence his desire to prevent Harry from going to Hogwarts. But Dobby did not know that someone else, not Harry, had received the Diary and was now the primary target for whatever was to happen? Would Dobby have enchanted the bludgers, risking serious injury to Harry, if he had known Harry was no more at risk that any other student?

- - - - - - - - - -
Solitaire - Feb 28, 2010 3:25 pm (#7 of 34)

Who was Lucius talking to when Dobby overheard the discussion? Must have been Draco

Why must it have been Draco? Didn't Rowling allude to having cut a scene including visit by the Notts to Malfoy Manor? Surely DEs (especially those who were not being hunted by the Ministry) occasionally visited the Malfoys. I can certainly envision Dobby overhearing conversations between Lucius and his fellow DEs.

As to Dobby thinking Harry would be in more danger than any other student, perhaps he didn't think that. If all Half-Bloods and Muggleborns were in danger, then he would know Harry was in danger. It wouldn't have to be more danger in order for him to act. Remember that Dobby revered Harry even before he met him. Once he did meet him, he came to love Harry, so his efforts would have doubled, I think.

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Mar 2, 2010 1:16 pm (#8 of 34)

I don't see Lucius telling other Death Eaters about his plans for the Diary. While he might have associated with the Notts, he still wouldn't trust them. He wouldn't need the Notts for anything.

Lucius wanted to discredit Dumbledore. How much did Lucius know of the Sorcerer's Stone and first novel events? Did he know that Voldemort had made an appearance? Was he trying to curry favor with Voldemort?

Dobby seems to know more than Draco, but, as Kearns essay explains, Lucius was using Dobby and Dobby might have learned a bit thereby.

My thoughts are along the line of Lucius only cautioning Draco about what might happen at Hogwarts to keep him safe, but not really telling him the details. Dobby could have picked up some information from the overheard conversation and put two-and-two together with what Lucius already had told him.

As an aside, it seems reckless to turn a monster loose at the school one's son attends, even if the son is given some cautions. Was Lucius that desparate?

- - - - - - - - - -
Choices - Mar 3, 2010 9:11 am (#9 of 34)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I always thought it was perhaps a conversation between Lucius and Narcissa that Dobby overheard. I think Lucius would trust her before he would trust any of the other Death Eaters. I really don't think he would trust Draco with the knowledge - Lucius doesn't seem particularly "fond" of Draco. He loves him as his son, but doesn't seem very confident in Draco's abilities. Just my thoughts.

- - - - - - - - - -
Julia H. - Mar 3, 2010 11:10 am (#10 of 34)

As an aside, it seems reckless to turn a monster loose at the school one's son attends, even if the son is given some cautions. (Soul Search)

I absolutely agree. I don't think that Lucius is such a loving, thoughtful, family-centred father after all. Sure, he loves his son in his own twisted way, he loves him enough to buy broomsticks for the whole Slytherin Quidditch team, for example, but his own ambitions are more important than his son's safety. In the end, when he loses everything else, he may understand the true value of a family, but before that, he is far too busy with his own petty little games for a responsible father. (Cf. his behaviour at the Quidditch World Cup.)

As for Narcissa, my guess is that she probably did not know about the monster. At least I don't think she agreed to a monster that could kill with its eyes being on the loose in her son's school.

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Mar 3, 2010 2:42 pm (#11 of 34)

"I always thought it was perhaps a conversation between Lucius and Narcissa that Dobby overheard. I think Lucius would trust her before he would trust any of the other Death Eaters." (Choices)

I agree, but Julia H. makes a good point with "As for Narcissa, my guess is that she probably did not know about the monster. At least I don't think she agreed to a monster that could kill with its eyes being on the loose in her son's school." We see later that Narcissa is very protective of Draco. Lucius would not have been able to carry out his plan had he told Narcissa about the monster at Hogwarts. Actually, that brings up another complication with Kearns contention: if Lucius was using Dobby, it would have had to have been kept from Narcissa.

I also agree that Lucius doesn't think much of Draco's abilities. The dialog in Borgin and Burkes is more what might occur between a father and a six-year old than a twelve-year old. And, he may of bought the broomsticks to show off his wealth, rather than just to favor Draco.

- - - - - - - - - -
Chemyst - Mar 3, 2010 7:14 pm (#12 of 34)

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." A.A. Milne
Can house elves read? Dobby seems intelligent enough to learn. Perhaps Lucius assigned him to do some filing—or even just cleaning the home office, and Dobby learned things that way? Or is that pushing canon too far?

- - - - - - - - - -
Choices - Mar 4, 2010 9:20 am (#13 of 34)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I think Lucius might have soothed Narcissa by assuring her the "Monster" only targeted non-pure bloods, so Draco was safe.

- - - - - - - - - -
Solitaire - Mar 5, 2010 12:18 am (#14 of 34)

Soul Search, I think Lucius could let DEs in on his plans for opening the Chamber without actually telling them about the Diary. Did Lucius really know what the Diary was? I wonder ... Would he really have risked its potential loss or destruction if he'd known it was a Horcrux? I don't think so. If he didn't really understand what it was, he might have confided more than we think. I definitely believe Narcissa was in on it all.

I also believe that buying the broomsticks for the Slytherin team was less about boosting the team's abilities or Draco's ego than it was about slapping Gryffindor in the face.

- - - - - - - - - -
Steve Newton - Mar 5, 2010 10:30 am (#15 of 34)

Librarian
I think its in OOTP where Dumbledore specutaltes that Lucius did not know what he had. Actually, it could be any one of the later books, not DH. Must reread.

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Mar 5, 2010 11:44 am (#16 of 34)

We can speculate a bit on Lucius' motivation for using the Diary to open the Chamber of Secrets and release the monster within. We might shed some light on Kearns essay, thereby.

We know Voldemort gave Lucius the Diary shortly before Godric's Hollow. He only told Lucius the Diary would open the Chamber, not that it was a Horcrux. Apparently, it was Voldemort's intention to use Lucius to get the Diary into Hogwarts where it could wreck havoc, discrediting Dumbledore. Getting the Diary into Hogwarts meant getting Horcrux-Voldemort into Hogwarts.

Voldemort was killed at Godric's Hollow, so Lucius was left with the Diary. He held on to it, but it became a liability when the Ministry started conducting searches of his mansion.

Lucius must of known of the events of the first book, the whole school knew, so he knew Voldemort was not gone. Lucius hadn't been particularly dilligent in searching for his Lord, so needed an opportunity to show his loyalty. The only reason for Lucius to target Harry Potter (Kearns contention) would be to curry favor with Voldemort.

Voldemort's original plan was to discredit Dumbledore and Lucius could also benefit from Dumbledore being dismissed from Hogwarts. He even went so far as to threaten Hogwart's governers so they would vote to dismiss Dumbledore. (Did Lucius want to become headmaster, so he could promote his pureblood prejudice?)

Arthur Weasley had to have been a secondary consideration after the opportunity presented itself in the bookstore.

The plan almost succeeded: the monster was released and Dumbledore dismissed as headmaster.

If Lucius had been completely successful, that is Hogwarts closed, Harry Potter likely dead, and the Diary NOT destroyed, Voldemort would have been pleased and Lucius would, again, have been in his favor.

Curse that Harry Potter.

- - - - - - - - - -
mona amon - Mar 5, 2010 12:16 pm (#17 of 34)

The only reason for Lucius to target Harry Potter (Kearns contention) would be to curry favor with Voldemort. (Soul Search)

But it was never Lucius's intention to target Harry Potter. The diary falls into Harry's hands by pure accident. Lucius could never have guessed that Ginny would try to flush it down a toilet, or that Harry would pick it up.

- - - - - - - - - -
Solitaire - Mar 6, 2010 11:29 am (#18 of 34)

The only reason for Lucius to target Harry Potter (Kearns contention) would be to curry favor with Voldemort.

Is it possible that Lucius had a different agenda? What if he thought that he could use the Diary to wreak havoc at the school and then come in and save the day by putting the monster back? If he didn't know what the monster was, he might have felt that he could do precisely this and then come in and kill the monster, thereby setting himself up as some great "savior" who was more fit than Dumbledore to run the school and "protect" the children. Or, if he was not interested in running it himself, he may have had someone he wanted to see placed in charge of Hogwarts even as early as CoS.

- - - - - - - - - -
legolas returns - Mar 6, 2010 11:43 am (#19 of 34)

I thought that he planted the diary to discredit the Weasley family and stop some of the laws that Mr Weasley was trying to pass.

- - - - - - - - - -
Verity Weasley - Mar 11, 2010 9:59 pm (#20 of 34)

If Lucius planned to use the diary to wreak havoc at Hogwarts, he took a great risk slipping it into Ginny's cauldron at the bookstore. There was no way to be sure Ginny would take the diary to school with her. She might simply have left it at The Burrow. A safer way to get the diary to Hogwarts would have been to give it to Draco and get him to slip it to some unsuspecting student then. The fact that he didn't do this suggests that Draco was not in on the plot.

- - - - - - - - - -
Steve Newton - Mar 12, 2010 4:03 am (#21 of 34)

Librarian
How many good plans do we see in the books?

- - - - - - - - - -
Julia H. - Mar 12, 2010 8:52 am (#22 of 34)

LOL, Steve, that must be one of the realistic aspects of this fantasy series.

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Mar 12, 2010 10:15 am (#23 of 34)

"A safer way to get the diary to Hogwarts would have been to give it to Draco and get him to slip it to some unsuspecting student then. The fact that he didn't do this suggests that Draco was not in on the plot." (Verity Weasley)

Good observation. I agree.

Might say even more. Did Lucius not trust Draco to do that, or did he just not want any possible connection to the family when the monster was released? Lucius was probably right not to trust Draco with anything. Draco says to the polyjuiced Harry and Ron that he wanted to "Help" whoever was doing it. That would have got him killed for sure!

I still think Lucius cautioned Draco about what was to happen at Hogwarts and that was what Dobby overheard.

The whole plan was a bit iffy. Lucius didn't know enough about the diary to be able to predict what would happen.

- - - - - - - - - -
Solitaire - Mar 20, 2010 4:14 pm (#24 of 34)

If Lucius had known what the Diary truly was, would he have even let it out of his possession without direct orders and instructions from Voldy?

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Mar 21, 2010 7:17 am (#25 of 34)

It is a given Lucius couldn't know the Diary was a horcrux. All he really knew was the diary could cause havoc at Hogwarts, thus opening the opportunity to discredit Dumbledore. Lucius was prepared to get Dumbledore dismissed when the situation became serious.

Lucius didn't know the nature of the monster to be released. He thought it would only harm mudbloods, but that turned out not to be the case. The monster attacked pureblood Penelope Clearwater. Draco could have run into the monster just as easily. I am a little surprised Lucius was willing to risk his son's life just to discredit Dumbledore.

- - - - - - - - - -
Solitaire - Mar 25, 2010 7:11 am (#26 of 34)

I thought Penelope was a Muggle-born. No?

- - - - - - - - - -
Hieronymus Graubart - Mar 25, 2010 8:22 am (#27 of 34)

Penelope's blood-status is never mentioned in CS, but nobody saying something like "another mudblood" may indicate that she wasn't muggle-born.

In DH, when the trio is caught by the snatchers, Hermione pretends to be Penelope and says that she is half-blood. She would obviously not try to pass as "Penelope" if Penelope was known to be muggle-born.

- - - - - - - - - -
Soul Search - Mar 25, 2010 2:11 pm (#28 of 34)

I thought Percy was upset with Penelope's attack because he thought she was safe, being a pureblood. Would Percy date a muggleborn, or even a half-blood?

- - - - - - - - - -
mona amon - Mar 25, 2010 9:43 pm (#29 of 34)

Percy was upset because Penelope was his girlfriend. One of the twins thinks he's upset because he thought the monster wouldn't dare attack a prefect. I've always found his reasoning hilarious!

- - - - - - - - - -
me and my shadow 813 - Mar 26, 2010 3:51 pm (#30 of 34)

Image Courtesy of Burgundyeyes at fanpop.com icons -- [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I think Penelope was a Muggle-born or at least a half-blood. The Basilisk tried to kill Hermione; a cat (not pureblood wizard); Justin (Muggle-born); Sir Nicholas? (at least half-blood because of his Muggle knighthood); and Colin (at least half-blood because his father was a Muggle milkman). I think the Basilisk somehow knew not to prey on pure-bloods even without Riddle's command.

Am I still on topic?

- - - - - - - - - -
Thom Matheson - Mar 27, 2010 3:53 am (#31 of 34)

What about Mertle?

- - - - - - - - - -
Solitaire - Mar 27, 2010 10:02 pm (#32 of 34)

Draco: ... I know one thing: last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened, a Mudblood died. So I bet it's only a matter of time before one of them's killed this time… I hope it's Granger,' he said with relish. CoS Chapter 12

Myrtle was the one who died, so I guess she was Muggle-born.

- - - - - - - - - -
Verity Weasley - Mar 28, 2010 12:47 am (#33 of 34)

I think Penelope was a Muggle-born or at least a half-blood. The Basilisk tried to kill Hermione; a cat (not pureblood wizard); Justin (Muggle-born); Sir Nicholas? (at least half-blood because of his Muggle knighthood); and Colin (at least half-blood because his father was a Muggle milkman). I think the Basilisk somehow knew not to prey on pure-bloods even without Riddle's command. ~ Me and My Shadow

I don't think the basilisk targeted anyone in particular. Those people affected were the ones who just happened to run into the basilisk when it was wandering the corridors. The fact that none of them was a pure-blood is just coincidence, in my opinion. Anybody was at risk if they happened to run into the basilisk, pure-blood or not. We don't hear anybody commenting, "Hey, I saw this giant snake in the corridor just now, but it had its eyes closed!" Which means, that Draco would have been in just as much danger as everyone else. Which would suggest that Lucius (and definitely Narcissa) did not know what the monster was.

- - - - - - - - - -
me and my shadow 813 - Mar 28, 2010 3:34 pm (#34 of 34)

Image Courtesy of Burgundyeyes at fanpop.com icons -- [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
That's very possible, Verity. It might be that, the other time the Chamber was opened, the 'monster' was always being commanded and wasn't slithering around in the pipes aimlessly. I can't recall if any attacks had occurred prior to Myrtle's death...?
avatar
Elanor
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 44
Location : France

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum