The Second War Begins: What Role Can House-elves Play?

by Stacey W. 

As we eagerly await the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, various scenarios wander through our minds as to how the war will play out. We pretty much know the basics regarding the powers of wizards and witches, but what about the other magical creatures? What about goblins, centaurs, and of course, house-elves? We can assume, arguably, what side most non-humans will take. For instance, we can count on Trolls, Dementors, and most Giants to align with Voldemort, right?

The house-elves, however, are a toss up. Obviously, like humans, house-elves cannot be strictly categorized as “good” or “bad.” An example, is of course, Kreacher and Dobby. They are powerful creatures, but just how powerful are they? Little more is known about them other than that they are magical creatures, bound to serve one house and one family forever, as we are told in CoS. Is this one of the mysteries that will be central to the plots of books six and seven? Will the house-elves play a major role in deciding the outcome of the second war?

The thought occurred to me while rereading OotP recently. Like many other JK Rowling fans, I am now familiar with her style of dropping clues ever so slightly. One question that was never answered in OotP was who killed Mr. Bode. Mr. Bode was in the hospital during the time when Ron’’s father was there after being attacked by the snake (Voldemort). He also worked in the DoM. Names such as Peter Pettigrew, as well as Lucius Malfoy, have been mentioned as suspects, but after careful review of certain chapters, one cannot exclude Kreacher as the killer. I know most people will not believe it possible, but you cannot deny there is evidence, and so much is still unknown about the power of house-elves. I will attempt to shed light on the possibility. Just bear with me, and keep an open mind. Also, please note that this theory is based on the killer being the one who came to St. Mungo’’s the same afternoon Harry and the others did, to visit Mr. Weasley.

What we must first look at, before considering Kreacher as the possible killer of Mr. Bode, is the description we have of the person who came to St. Mungo’s to visit that night. The passage, on page 486 (US edition) reads as follows: “”A very old, stooped wizard with a hearing trumpet had shuffled to the front of the queue now. ‘”I’’m here to see Broderick Bode!”’ he wheezed.”” Now at first, this looks unassuming. It certainly doesn’’t seem like we have any evidence of the person’s identity, but look again. There are quite a few similarities between Kreacher and the visitor.

First, on page 107, Kreacher enters the room where Harry and the others are cleaning. Here is the description given: “”Except for the filthy rag tied like a loincloth around its middle, it was completely naked. It looked very old.”” Now we have clue number one. The relative age between Mr. Bode’’s visitor and Kreacher is “very old.” Not much evidence right? Keep reading.

Second, on page 107 another descriptive passage reads: “”The elf took absolutely no notice of Harry and the rest, it shuffled hunchbacked, slowly and doggedly, toward the far end of the room.”…” Very interesting, because Mr. Bode’’s visitor also shuffled. Hunchbacked? Hunchbacked and stooped happen to have very similar meanings, one might even call these two words interchangeable.

Thirdly, on page 108, the passage reads: “”Harry didn’t know whether to laugh or not. The elf straightened up, eyeing them all malevolently, and apparently convinced that they could not hear him as he continued to mutter.”” We are not told that Kreacher is hard of hearing, but a sign of someone being hard of hearing is being unaware of how loud one’’s own self is speaking. Don’’t we all know hard of hearing people tend to shout, even though they are the ones who cannot hear? JK Rowling makes a point to describe Mr. Bode’’s visitor as wearing a hearing trumpet. Is that something we need to know necessarily? Next, on page 740 when Harry is questioning Kreacher about Sirius’’s whereabouts, we are told that “the house-elf gave a wheezy chuckle.” Mr. Bode’’s visitor also wheezed, remember? Finally, there is what may be the calling card left by the killer. A hippogriff calendar. Strange that Buckbeack happened to be residing at Grimmauld Place, along with Kreacher, during this time. Even stranger is that it was Kreacher who later injured Buckbeak the hippogriff.

Are these mere coincidences? I don’’t think so. Rather it was Kreacher or not, there is at least, circumstantial evidence for him to be a suspect, as the murderer of Mr. Bode. Kreacher would have been happy to play a part in destroying the Order, even if indirectly. We know he hated Sirius and was not at Grimmauld Place during the same time this stranger was seen at St. Mungo’’s. What we don’’t know is the extent of a house-elf’’s power. If it was Kreacher this means that house-elves are indeed even more powerful than we thought. This would mean they have the power to be transfigured into human beings. They could be deadly enemies or fantastic allies. Don’’t we hope that most house-elves will be on the side of our favorite hero, Harry Potter?