The house-elves of the wizarding world play a small, yet vital role in the film adaptations of Harry Potter. While readers sorely miss lovely creatures such as Winky, the overall presentation of house-elves is well received. Dobby, the rebellious house elf at the forefront of this society, makes an especially emotional mark on Harry Potter fans after his own sacrifice.
But between the millions of words that make up J.K. Rowling's novels and the near twenty hours of Harry Potter screen time, there is surely a detail here and there that goes completely unnoticed. Even the most invested fans may not know all the tidbits about the house elves of the wizarding world. Unless you can remember every chapter that Rowling writes about these individuals, you will surely be surprised by these hidden details about house-elves.
10 Winky Makes A Brief Appearance
Winky is the devoted house-elf to the Crouch family. She doesn’t make an appearance in the films, although her drunken Butterbeer scenes definitely would have been a comedic highlight. Naturally, Harry Potter fans were quick to voice their disappointment in leaving Winky out of the films.
Or did they?
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Winky should have made her first appearance, there is a brief shot of the Quidditch World Cup campgrounds that shows two house-elves riding on llamas. People surmise that this is Winky and Dobby. If this is true, then Winky has been severely neglecting her duty of babysitting Barty Crouch Jr. Which explains how he is able to escape and cast the Dark Mark over the field. Warner Bros. hasn’t come right out and said that this is it Winky, but given the circumstances, it seems pretty likely.
9 They Work At Hogwarts
Kreacher and Dobby are the primary house-elves that show up in the films. Along with Winky, the Hogwarts house-elves are also left out of the films. Most readers will remember this detail because Harry, Ron, and Hermione see them hard at work in the Hogwarts kitchen. What you may not remember is that the Hogwarts house-elves actually cover all aspects of the castle. Along with being the cooks behind the Great Hall's nightly feasts, they also clean the dormitories and the common rooms. One of their other duties is being the invisible hands that bring up all of the student's luggage after they arrive at Hogwarts. Helga Hufflepuff is the first person who suggests bringing house-elves to Hogwarts so they could work freely without being abused.
8 Dobby Got Paid
Dobby isn’t seen much since his pivotal role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The next time there is really a full scene with the house-elf is when he unexpectedly shows up in the dungeon in Malfoy Manor.
In the books, Dobby also works at Hogwarts, primarily cleaning up the dormitories. And even though it is against the nature of house-elves to accept payment for their services, when Dumbledore offers to hire Dobby at a Galleon a week, Dobby unabashedly accepts this generous offer. This could be the reason why the rest of the house-elves at Hogwarts don't take too kindly to the newly recruited Dobby.
7 House-Elves & Self-Hatred
House-Elves & Self-Hatred is a psychology book that discusses the habit of house-elves punishing themselves when they disobey their masters. Dobby does this a number of times in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, even once ironing his hands for his direct disloyalty. This book on house-elves can be seen in the films, most notably in the Chamber of Secrets and the Goblet of Fire.
It’s not one that has been picked up much, but it can be purchased at Flourish and Blotts. The first volume copy of House-Elves & Self-Hatred can be seen on the shelf at Borgin and Burkes in the films.
6 They Can Refuse Service
House-elves are bound by their own rules, known as the Elf Legislation. A house-elf must oblige their master's command, or suffer their own psychological and physical consequences. But clever house else find a way around these rules. House-elves can find loopholes in their master's instructions in order to find a way out of performing certain tasks.
Likewise, elves are not required to fulfill the instructions of anyone other than their master (unless their master specifically tells them to do so). For example, when Hermione starts trying to give clothes to the Hogwarts house-elves in order to set them free, the house-elves refuse to continue cleaning the Gryffindor dormitory. This leaves Dobby to do it by himself; though, he's grateful for the extensive wardrobe. Since the work is still getting done, they aren’t really disobeying orders, they are just finding ways around it.
5 House Elves' Role During The Battle Of Hogwarts
Almost every witch and wizard in the Hogwarts castle comes to aid in the fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Even the creatures of the Forbidden Forest (the centaurs and Grawp the Giant) join the cavalry.
Considering there had been a massive amount of house-elves working at the castle, this also meant that they also took part in the Battle of Hogwarts. In fact, Kreacher leads the house-elves himself. He riles up his fellow house-elves by yelling, “Fight, fight for my master, the defender of the house-elves! Fight for brave Regulus! Fight!"
4 Grimmauld Place Beheadings
Before the Ministry of Magic set regulations on the treatment of house-elves, these poor creatures had been undergoing years worth of torment. One of the chapter illustrations in the books even shows that the Black's beheaded their house-helves when they were no longer useful.
The shrunken heads of all of the Black's former house-elves hang on display in the halls of number 12 Grimmauld Place. In the films, this rough image is exchanged for the house-elf heads floating in some kind of liquid in jars.
3 They Don't Need Wands
Learning to use magic without wands or performing tasks such as Apparation requires years of schooling and practice for witches and wizards. When it comes to house elves, however, this magic seems to come organically. They don’t require wands to use magic and they don't need schooling in order to learn to harness this innate ability.
Dobby is even able to Appparte around the Hogwarts grounds, even though there are restricting charms in place around the school to prevent this type of magic. In the books, Harry even notes that he thinks that house-elves are able to perform levels of magic that surpasses even some of the best wizards.
2 None Of The Students Know Elves Are At Hogwarts
Harry, Ron, and Hermione don’t discover that Hogwarts employs hundreds of house-elves until their fourth year. They accidentally learn this after Nearly Headless Nick mentions that Peeves has scared the kitchen elves. It seems astounding to them that they never knew this bit of information, especially once they see just how many house-elves actually work at Hogwarts.
Nearly Headless Nick explains that the house-elves are required to work discreetly, which is why none of the other students know of their existence either. It’s the sign of a good house-elf if they can do the work without being noticed.
1 Harry As Kreacher's Master
Harry receives a generous inheritance from his godfather after his death. Along with becoming the owner of Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry also inherits the Black family house-elf. Kreacher is none too happy about having to serve his new master and uses the aforementioned loopholes to his advantage. Harry isn’t too happy about this match-up either until he sees that Kreacher has been living in a cupboard under the stairs; a demeaning feeling that he knows all too well. After this, it seems that Harry and Kreacher develop an unspoken bond and mutual respect for one another.