In ‘Malfoy Manor’ Dobby paid the ultimate sacrifice to save Harry.
Dobby's funeral at Shell Cottage.

From the moment Dobby entered our lives by landing a sugared violets pudding onto the Dursleys’ house guest, he has had a special place in our hearts.

The big-eared, big-hearted house-elf, who just wanted a fair wage for his work, was easy to love and helped Harry Potter out on plenty of occasions. But the moment that will always stick with us was when the free elf made the ultimate sacrifice for Harry and his friends, and died while helping them to escape from Malfoy Manor.

‘Malfoy Manor’

Harry, Ron and Hermione’s luck ran out and they found themselves captured and helpless at Malfoy Manor. While the boys were put in the cellar with Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas and Ollivander, Hermione was tortured for answers by Bellatrix Lestrange. With all hope lost, Harry desperately called for help through a shard of a mirror once given to him by Sirius Black, where he was sure he kept seeing Dumbledore’s piercing blue eye looking back at him…

Dumbledore’s eye was gazing at him out of the mirror.
‘Help us!’ he yelled at it in mad desperation. ‘We’re in the cellar of Malfoy Manor, help us!’
The eye blinked, and was gone.
Harry was not even sure that it had really been there.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

But like on so many previous occasions when Harry had been in need of help, it wasn’t Dumbledore who came to his aid, but his faithful friend, Dobby. Much like when Dobby had to punish himself to tell Harry about the Chamber of Secrets, or when he stole Gillyweed for Harry to use during the Triwizard Tournament, Dobby risked everything to help out his friend in this chapter.

Why it matters

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It’s heartbreaking to think of how truly scared poor Dobby must have been to be back at Malfoy Manor. Not only was he risking his life by answering Harry’s pleas for help, he was returning to a place where he had been enslaved, to face the family that were cruel to him for many years. It just goes to show that Dobby really would do anything to help Harry. Of all of the places Harry could have been, he was in Dobby’s old home. And the house-elf was terrified to be there.

‘Dobby’s enormous, tennis-ball-shaped eyes were wide; he was trembling from his feet to the tips of his ears. He was back in the home of his old masters, and it was clear that he was petrified.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

But of course, Dobby’s heroism wasn’t just limited to rescuing the captives in the cellar. When Dobby left with Ollivander, Dean and Luna, the trio were again thrown into mortal peril when Voldemort was summoned and Bellatrix held a knife to Hermione’s throat, promising her to the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback. With Harry and Ron unable to act, once again they would have been lost if it wasn’t for Dobby’s idea to drop a chandelier onto Bellatrix.

Dobby drops the chandelier on the assembled Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor.

This move would have been something only a nimble house-elf could have managed without detection, which was probably why Bellatrix was so caught off guard, and it also says so much about the strength of Dobby’s character. In this moment, Dobby was not only defying his old masters, he was directly trying to harm one, which most definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s notoriously difficult for house-elves to break away from the families they once belonged to, and as if this act of defiance wasn't enough, Dobby truly showed his masters that he was a free elf (and has his own impressive brand of magic) by stealing their wands.

As Narcissa dragged Draco out of the way of further harm, Bellatrix sprang to her feet, her hair flying as she brandished the silver knife; but Narcissa had directed her wand at the doorway.
‘Dobby!’ she screamed, and even Bellatrix froze. ‘You! You dropped the chandelier –?’
The tiny elf trotted into the room, his shaking finger pointing at his old mistress.
‘You must not hurt Harry Potter,’ he squeaked.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Dobby’s death is one of the saddest moments in the entire series, and like everyone, we were devastated when Bellatrix killed Dobby. But that being said, if Dobby really had to die, we are so glad that he finally got a chance to declare himself a free elf in front of his former masters, who had treated him as a slave for all of those years.

‘You dirty little monkey!’ bawled Bellatrix. ‘How dare you take a witch’s wand, how dare you defy your masters?’
‘Dobby has no master!’ squealed the elf. ‘Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends!’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

True to the end

Harry at Dobby's Grave at Shell Cottage.

If you are easily distraught thinking about Dobby’s death, now might be the time to look away and think of happier times. Okay, here we go. After Harry and his friends Apparated to the safety of Shell Cottage, and Harry thought they’d all come away (mostly) unscathed, he saw the knife – thrown in one last-ditch attempt by Bellatrix Lestrange – protruding from Dobby’s chest and begged his house-elf friend not to die.

Harry caught him and laid him sideways on the cool grass.
‘Dobby, no, don’t die, don’t die –’
The elf’s eyes found him, and his lips trembled with the effort to form words.
‘Harry … Potter …’
And then with a little shudder the elf became quite still, and his eyes were nothing more than great, glassy orbs sprinkled with light from the stars they could not see.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Dobby’s death was particularly devastating as it was the one time that he couldn’t do what Harry wanted him to do: stay alive.

Dobby taught us that heroes come in all different shapes and sizes and that even a little house-elf can stand up for himself and his friends, face his fears and show those who doubted him just what he is made of. We love you, Dobby.

Dobby bows to Harry in his bedroom in Privet Drive
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