Memorable movie cleaners: Harry Potter's house-elves

Memorable movie cleaners: Harry Potter's house-elves

Memorable movie cleaners: Harry Potter's house-elves

The Harry Potter universe is filled with colourful characters, including some whose primary role - on the surface at least - is to do housework and clean up after their magical masters.

House-elves are obedient creatures that initially seem meek and unimportant, but they have a significant part to play in J.K. Rowling's famous books and the films that followed.

Proud to serve
The house-elves are essentially servants, usually in the employ of rich and powerful families such as the evil Malfoys and the Blacks, the house to which Harry's godfather Sirius belongs.

They also work at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, tidying up dormitories, cleaning the kitchens and generally looking after the teachers and students who live there.

While the elves seem to take great pride in their work and enjoy their subservient position, the way they are treated by some of their masters provokes the ire of Harry's friend Hermione Granger.

"You know, house-elves get a very raw deal! It's slavery, that's what it is!" Hermione exclaims in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the series.

This leads to a sub-plot in the written stories that does not feature in the films: Hermione's creation of the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, or SPEW.

Unfortunately for Hermione, very few of her fellow witches and wizards - even her best friends Harry and Ron - seem particularly interested in the cause. Even the elves take offence, perceiving Hermione's actions as an insult and consequently refusing to clean the Gryffindor house common room.

Heroes in hiding

At the beginning of the Harry Potter saga, the house-elves are largely ignored and perceived as irrelevant by most other beings in Rowling's magical world. As events unfold, however, it becomes clear that these creatures have hidden depths as they appear at key turning points in the story.

The most important elf of all, in the books and the films, is Dobby, who is mistreated by the Malfoy family and decides to help Harry by warning him of the plot to open the Chamber of Secrets. This is the first of a number of heroic acts by Dobby, who also protects Harry from Lucius Malfoy and later shows a willingness to lay down his life for his wizard friend.

Another house-elf who plays a significant part in the books and the films is Kreacher, initially an enemy to the main characters who gradually changes his ways when Harry treats him kindly.

In the Battle of Hogwarts, the climactic fight between Harry's allies and the evil Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters, Kreacher leads the house-elves as they defend their masters and take on Voldemort's followers.

So while domestic chores might be their first responsibility, these characters are clearly capable of much more than cooking and cleaning.

Here at Aurora, our professional cleaners don't have any magical powers to help them in their work, but their eco-friendly tools and years of experience are more than enough to keep your place of business clean and presentable.



Posted by Julie Tucker