[DWJ] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Tue Jul 17 15:51:53 EDT 2007

The entire noxious mess is straight out of Stanley Elkin's book on
slavery where he argues for a "slave mentality" in the teeth of
evidence of endless slave revolts and attempts by slaves to poison
their masters. I felt when reading HP and GF that someone had stranded
me in Tara,


On 17/07/07, Katarina Hjärpe <head_overheels at hotmail.com> wrote:
> >The
> >idea that house-elves might truly need to be in service doesn't have to be
> >a
> >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
> >they
> >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
> home.
> OTOH, maybe I misunderstood and brownies really do work the way JKR's house
> elves suggest.
> Katta
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