Is Dobby Annoying? – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 1 & 2

Welcome to the Chamber of Secrets, everyone! And also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARRY!

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

Here on Muggles and Mocha, we’ve reached the second book in the Harry Potter series. I’m beyond excited to keep going. If you missed the end of Sorcerer’s Stone, you can check out the video and article here. It was a celebration!

I had a lot of nice comments about the end of the first book, so thank you very, very much for that. I’ve enjoyed this so much, and I hope you have, too.

But now… on to book two! In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we’re familiar with the Wizarding World and we get to move on to some of the deeper elements of the story. Keep an eye out—A LOT from this story comes back in later books!

In the video today, we’re covering two chapters—chapters one and two. We focus on Dobby and the news he’s come to tell Harry. Let’s get to it!

As we start the second book, we’re back at the Dursleys’, who are just as bad as last year… if not worse! However, we do get a spot of happiness in this chapter due to the introduction of a character who’s a fan favorite. It’s a certain house-elf we all know and (most) love—DOBBY!

Now, the reason I’m writing this article is to dive into Dobby’s character and analyze an opinion of him I’ve heard floating around. Some believe Dobby is flat-out annoying without acknowledging any of his other qualities! After pondering this thought for a while, I’ve come to a conclusion for why this is the case. Let’s talk about it!

Many of us use the “Movie Dobby” mindset when thinking of this character, which is extremely unfair to him. After Chamber of Secrets, Dobby grows and changes during a couple of the later books and becomes an extremely lovable character. We get to watch his relationship with Harry grow, too, which makes his death simply tragic. Goodness, it’s painful to think about.

BUT CONSIDER THIS: Dobby is in five of the books. HE’S ONLY IN TWO OF THE MOVIES.

Yes, you heard that right. Poor Dobby was cut from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (it’s been so long since I’ve read that one, I can’t even remember where he appears). The disrespect! What did Dobby do to deserve this?

Dobby being cut from the movies has done more than hurt my feelings, though—it’s hurt our perception of him! I doubt many of us read the books constantly (props if you do). Movies are much quicker if you’re looking for a Harry Potter fix, so this version of Dobby is the one we most commonly receive. This means we only see:

  • Chamber of Secrets Dobby, who’s trying to cause bodily harm to Harry for the majority of the time.
  • Deathly Hallows Part 1 Dobby, who pops in to interact with Kreacher for a quick second, saves Harry, and dies.

But with this being all we see of Dobby, we don’t have the opportunity to fully appreciate who he is. We miss out on ALL the character development, all the relationship building—EVERYTHING. And all of his good deeds are stolen!

His contribution of gillyweed to the second task in the Triwizard Tournament? Nope, now it’s Neville.

His presentation of the Room of Requirement to Dumbledore’s Army as a practice space? Also Neville, actually (the movies realized cutting Neville’s scenes from earlier films was a mistake, I suppose).

His lovely example of house-elf rights as he wore clothes, demanded a paycheck for working in the kitchens, and assisted Winky, a newly-freed house-elf, with the transition process? Nobody stole that one BECAUSE THE FILMMAKERS COMPLETELY CUT HOUSE-ELVES AND S.P.E.W. FROM THE FOURTH MOVIE.

I’m tempted to keep caps lock on for the remainder of this article.

The movies did Dobby wrong, and because of that, viewers everywhere think Dobby is just some annoying house-elf who tried to kill Harry for an entire movie then died for him. There’s no investment in his character, which means viewers aren’t invested either.

This is extremely sad because Dobby is more than what the movies show us. Now, does Dobby make some questionable decisions in this book to save Harry? Yes. But once we get to know him better, they become more endearing! And if you consider the danger he put himself in by approaching Harry in the first place, you realize the sacrifices he made in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

We learn Dobby works for the Malfoy family, and at the beginning of the book, he overhears Lucius Malfoy’s plot regarding Voldemort and the Chamber of Secrets. As a result, he seeks out a stranger—Harry—to warn him about the potential danger, disobeying his master in the process. As I mention in a bit more detail in the video, I’m definitely going to be talking about house-elves and the idea behind that system in the future, but for now, I’ll just say disobeying for house-elves is painful, a true sacrifice for Dobby to make for a person he doesn’t know. Dobby shows a lot of courage in this book, even with the bad decisions he makes to keep Harry from Hogwarts. The point is Dobby is willing to do whatever’s necessary to save the great Harry Potter’s life.

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

I mean… how could you not love him, though? He’s protecting Harry, this boy he’s heard wonderful things about, at great risk to himself.

Honestly, I think Dobby is the most pure-hearted character in the books—change my mind! Though misguided in his actions at times, Dobby is always working to help and encourage others, even when it’s not in his best interest.

We’ll be talking more about Dobby as this book progresses, especially in the videos. And like I mentioned, we’ll tackle the subject of house-elves in general a little later in the series. For now… cut Dobby some slack. I think we’ll realize how wonderful of a character he is as the series continues!

Next week, we’re flying this coop—let’s go to the Burrow. It’ll be our first visit there, and as always, I’m pumped! Let’s go meet the best family in the book series! Read chapter three in preparation for next week.

Bye, Muggles!

Disclaimer: I do not own any element of the Harry Potter series.


7 Replies to “Is Dobby Annoying? – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 1 & 2”

  1. So excited to keep this (scarlet) train moving!

    First off, I was a little surprised at just how horrible the Dursleys got as soon as they found out that Harry couldn’t actually practice magic outside of school as well. The way that they constantly flirt with child abuse throughout this series is really tragic, even though it provides crucial interactions and plot points. The one good thing that comes of this is that maybe this can provide hope for those who live in similar circumstances in their own lives – you CAN come out the other side okay, and if you allow it, those experiences can make you stronger.

    I couldn’t agree more about Dobby…

    After being reminded about just how much he actually does, the movies really did him a disservice. If you find Dobby unlikeable as a character, you just don’t actually know him. Your argument for him being the most pure-hearted character is a very strong one. I’m not convinced I’d be able to come up with another that is more so. He definitely makes some poor decisions here in the beginning, but we see later that he learns from them and becomes infinitely more awesome. Consequently, he is also given one of the best lines (I think you know what I’m talking about!) in the books or movies. But we’ll revisit that in The Deathly Hallows.

    I loved learning that if Dobby was to be confronted by a Boggart it would change into Voldemort! Surely Dobby would have met him in person seeing as he works for the Malfoys, and the interaction(s) obviously were scarring… I think Dobby’s willingness to go to such lengths for a stranger speaks to how strongly he believes in Harry as a “savior”. Voldemort is no friend to house elves, and a world in which he rules would be a truly terrible one for Dobby and the rest of the elves. I say that just to point out how big of a deal it is that there is any hope at all for someone being able to overthrow Voldemort. Harry’s victory has ramifications for the entire wizarding world, not just for his own personal life. In fact, others making sacrifices for the sake of Harry’s success quickly becomes a theme that runs through the whole series, and is something that Harry has to constantly come to grips with. I also couldn’t agree more about how tragic it is that Harry’s offering of a seat is enough for Dobby to burst into tears. This does not speak well of the wizarding world as a whole in Great Britain… I’m SUPER pumped to dive into talking about SPEW and how house elves interact with the rest of the wizarding world. I think this is SUCH a big deal, and is overlooked a lot of the time. Plus I don’t like that it was completely removed from the movies. The “movies only” people really only know a shadow of the world Rowling created…

    Obviously your rant forced me into one of my own… Anyway, great job as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s go! The Dursleys really ARE the worst. It’s just horrible… Like were they just waiting to lock him up like this, and once they found out he couldn’t do magic, they were given the chance?

      I agree with you about Dobby! What’s funny is when I started writing the article, my opinion wasn’t as glowing… then I realized it’s the stupid movies! I’m curious about this quote. I think I know what you mean, but I’m going to have to investigate…

      Oh my goodness, I didn’t even think about Dobby meeting Voldemort in person. How horrible! You’re probably right! For him to have that strong of a fear, I feel like that has to be the case. Dobby’s actions just show that he’s always thinking of the bigger picture, at something above himself–the defeat of Voldemort. Why else would he have fought so hard to protect Harry? S.P.E.W. is going to be great! Honestly, I think I’ll be shocked to find out how much I’ve forgotten. I think Goblet of Fire is the one I’ve reread the least (maybe because it’s so long?).

      Thanks for your thoughts!


  2. One more point I just like to emphasis on. It is important to note that he is the house elf of the Malfoys. A family which hates Harry Potter so much and has tried to hurt him in many occasions. Anybody who is exposed to that environment is bound to grab on to a few things. For example, from Kreature we can see how he remain so loyal to his family and calls everyone filthy mud blood and other names throughout The order of Phoenix. It is difficult to not be influenced by your surrounded and be blinded by their constant thoughts. Dobby manages to stay pure through this toxic environment and takes initiative to stay true to his identity and do what he truly desires which in this case is save Harry Potter. I feel like this always goes unnoticed because we can argue that Draco Malfoy and Narsicca has always been blinded by such toxic thoughts and once he realized tried to change. However, Dobby has always stayed true to his identity and not let it get wavered by the environment he was in. He always was aware what was right and what was wrong. Another example of that can be the fact that he wants freedom and be paid for what he is doing, shows that he has always been aware of whats right and whats wrong and constantly in his small ways tries to face to world and stay true to his beliefs.
    Not sure if I make sense or if I am just repeating myself.
    Great job on this blog! I am thoroughly enjoying this journey. I found this blog quite late, I had already started rereading Harry Potter a few months ago, in the beginning of this pandemic and I am currently reading Goblet of Fire. I can’t follow your reading schedule but I will definitely follow your blog journey. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, this is a great point. It truly speaks to how noble Dobby is as a character. I can’t imagine living in such a hateful, damaging environment every day, and his ability to keep his morals at the forefront and deny the Malfoys’ point of view is the same strength that drove him to seek out Harry… He’s a great character!

      Thanks so much for your comment! Your thoughts were very interesting, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had forgotten how much was left out of the movies about Dobby! I love his character. I think he’s more child like than annoying. It will be great to see how his character evolves throughout the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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