[DWJ] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 17 15:48:23 EDT 2007

>idea that house-elves might truly need to be in service doesn't have to be 
>human justification, and based on the actions of every house-elf but Dobby,
>it seems to be true.  It also fits with the lore about brownies, who serve
>the same purpose, have very strict rules governing their behavior--remember
>how in "The Elves and the Shoemaker" the little guys left for good when 
>were given clothes?--and seem to have no other existence outside their
>interaction with humans.

I recall a conversation where someone argued that this was *not* the case. I 
don't know brownie lore very well, but the way it works with the Swedish 
vättar/tomtar (and I got the impression that British lore was similar), the 
loyalty is to the location, not to the people. That is to say, the tomtar 
will aid the masters of the house in order to make the household prosper, 
but if the master runs the household poorly, or fails to pay the tomtar 
respect and tribute, they WILL take their revenge. They're not in service, 
and they don't work for free. They're free agents who happen to share your 

OTOH, maybe I misunderstood and brownies really do work the way JKR's house 
elves suggest.


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