Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 23
In the twenty-third chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends face the consequences of his outburst of Voldemort’s name: endless tragedy. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 23: MALFOY MANOR
We are gathered here today to remember the short and courageous life of Dobby the house-elf.
The events of chapter twenty-three still hurt and sting us. Dobby’s death was sudden, unexpected, and unbelievably cruel. He saved everyone, while taking the knife Bellatrix Lestrange meant for Harry, and he died doing what he did best: thinking of the interests of other people.
We first met Dobby at the start of Chamber of Secrets; we didn’t know it, but Dobby was just as lovable and caring then as we came to feel about him. We were blinded by his dedication and his enthusiasm. We interpreted it wrongly. Because even from the beginning, Dobby cared about Harry Potter and wanted to save his life. If Dobby had not told Harry that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened before, he would not have been able to save himself, Ginny, or the rest of the wizarding world.
We celebrated the compassion Harry showed Dobby when he freed him at the end of that novel; ironically, Harry asked Dobby not to attempt to save his life again, but the house-elf’s heart was so full of love that he disobeyed this order and it cost him life.
He proved, time and time again, that his devotion to Harry for his kindness was genuine and real. From helping out in the Hogwarts kitchen, to supporting Winky during her rough bout as a free elf, to showing Harry the Room of Requirement, to trying to save Dumbledore’s Army from Dolores Umbridge, and spying on Malfoy during Half-Blood Prince: there are few literary characters more devoted to empathy, kindness, and courage.
We have suffered an immense loss. We are still in shock. And for those of you have are being forced to relive the moment of his death, I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for you. This chapter, specifically, is perhaps one of the most awful things in the entire series. Before Dobby even arrives, we’re forced to deal with Harry’s Stinging Curse, the capture of our trio, and the unbearable torture of Hermione at the hands of Bellatrix. There’s the threat of suffering a fate similar to Bill or Lupin at the hands of Greyback. And Harry, Ron, Luna, and Ollivander all watch Wormtail get suffocated to death by his own hand.
Dobby’s final moments were filled with bravery: He dropped the chandelier on Bellatrix, saving Hermione. In the ensuing chaos, he was able to Disapparate to safety, where it was discovered that Bellatrix’s knife had mortally wounded Dobby.
His last words were speaking Harry’s name. Dobby, filled with love and poetry, betrayed the Malfoys, a deeply shameful thing for a house-elf to do, in order to do the right thing for Harry Potter and his friends.
We will miss his voice, his strange way of talking, his dedication, his loyalty, and the smile he put on our faces whenever he showed up. His death was not in vain: it is proof that those we sometimes least expect are those who turn out to be the most important, the most valuable. Sirius said we should judge a man based on how he treats his inferiors; given Dobby’s life as a house-elf, I don’t think it’s much to suggest that he was better than us all.
Goodbye, Dobby. I am going to miss you.