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Thread: Discussion #1: House elf rights

  1. #1
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors

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    Aug 2006

    Discussion #1: House elf rights

    Before going on to read the discussion prompt below, please drop by the New Rules/Introduction thread if you haven't.

    So, here's the first of our new set of discussion topics:

    It'd be doin' 'em an unkindness, Hermione…It's in their nature ter look after humans, that's what they like, see? Yeh'd be makin' 'em unhappy ter take away their work, an' insultin' 'em if yeh tried ter pay 'em . . . I'm not sayin' there isn't the odd elf who'd take freedom, but yeh'll never persuade most of 'em ter do it - no, nothin' doing, Hermione.
    As Hagrid here summarizes in OotP, house-elves are magical creatures who seem to have devoted their kind to the use of Wizards and Witches. However, not every Wizard/Witch/Elf is happy with this. In the books, Hermione devotes herself to teach the elves the concepts of freedom and payment, while Ron and Hagrid seem more inclined to accept them as they are.

    What is your opinion of House-elf rights? Would you side with Hermione and promote SPEW? Are you more inclined to agree with Hagrid and leave them be? Or would you have an entirely different standpoint?

    Use this form when posting:
    Drabble you’re responding to (title, original author and post number):
    Please don't post questions here - this thread is for discussion drabbles only. Have fun and a good argument!
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  2. #2
    Well, I'll start it out. . . . I'm hoping this is decent enough.

    Name: HARRYHARRYHARRYs_twin/Selina
    House: Slytherin
    Title: What About Kreacher?
    Drabble you’re responding to (title, original author and post number): N/A
    Warnings: None
    Words: 236

    “Hermione, you can’t set Kreacher free!” Ron said loudly, trying to speak over the yelling of Mrs. Black. He rolled his eyes, and walked to stand by the hearth in the kitchen.

    “And whyever not? He has the right to be free! House-elf enslavery is an example of the unfair treatment of magical animals! He has served Harry’s family, and ours, for that matter, for years, and he should be able to have wages, at least!” Hermione glared at her husband, fingers clenched on the edge of the table.

    “But Hermione, I’m not saying that it isn’t true. It’s just that it should be Harry’s choice, since Kreacher is technically the only one who has that right.” The yelling halted, and his voice went back to a normal level.

    Hermione made a scathing noise, as Harry walked into the kitchen. “Just wondering, but why were you two fighting? That damned portrait wouldn’t shut up once she got started.”

    Ron walked to the table, and leaned on a chair. “Hermione wants to set Kreacher free.”

    “Not a bad idea, actually. I know he likes us, and all, but once we get some kids running around. . . . . He should get a choice if he wants to stay around.”

    Hermione smirked at Ron. “See, I knew he would agree.”

    Ron rolled his eyes. “Well, if he takes off, I’m going to miss his cooking.”

    “Is that all you think about?”
    kehribar: Yes, it's decent enough for the starter drabble Three points to Slytherin.


  3. #3

    Here we go..

    Name: Danielle_Malfoy
    House: Hufflepuff!
    Title: No.. No...Definatley Not.
    Drabble you’re responding to : HarryHarryHarrys Twin. Post#2 Title: What about Kreacher?
    Warnings: None I Think. Apart from a rubbish ending.
    Words: 244

    "No...No Kreacher won't"

    "But Kreacher don't you want to be free" Hermione was trying to stay calm as Ron stood smirking smugly in the corner.

    "No Kreacher doesn't" he stood there stubbornly.

    "Kreacher, you've worked here for a very long time" Hermione sunk down onto a chair.

    "Kreacher knows that Miss Granger, Kreacher likes working here".

    "It's Mrs Weasley now Kreacher" Hermione said gently.

    Kreacher nodded understanding her.

    "Sorry, Kreacher..Kreach- Kreacher forgot" tears began to well in his eyes.

    Hermione stood up and tried to comfort him, but he put his hands up in protest.

    "No if Kreacher isn't wanted.... Kreacher shall go" he sniffed.

    The door opened as he fell to his knees.

    “What’s going on? Kreacher are you okay?” Harry looked concerned.

    “Hermione tried to set him free” Ron stated.

    Harry looked at her in disbelief, she had the grace to look ashamed.

    “We talked about this Hermione, Kreacher can leave when he wants to”

    “So Kreacher doesn’t have to leave” Kreacher looked up from the floor.

    “No Kreacher doesn’t… I mean no you don’t” Harry corrected himself.

    “So Mr Potter and the Weasleys want Kreacher” a hint of a smile lingered on his face.

    “Of course” Ron and Harry said in unison.

    They looked pointedly at Hermione.

    “I do too, I was only trying to help”.

    “Thank you Mrs Weasley…But…” Kreacher began.

    “But what?”

    “But…don’t try and help Kreacher again”

    “Please” Kreacher added as an afterthought.

    Hermione laughed.

    All was well.
    kehribar: That's a good response, seeing as you present the issue from Kreacher's point of view. On the other hand, we don't see anything new. We know that House elves -usually- don't want to be freed, so maybe focusing on Harry, Ron or Hermione's points of view would make a better argument in this case Three points to the 'Puffs.

  4. #4
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
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    Name: Phia Phoenix
    House: Ravenclaw
    Title: You Learn Something New Every Day
    Drabble you're responding to: both HARRYHARRYHARRYs_twin's number two post, What About Kreacher, and Danielle_Malfoy's number three post, No... No... Definitely Not.
    Warnings: This is my first attempt at Next-Gen, and I know how they can go horribly wrong.
    Words: 500... as per usual with my drabbling... I had to cut down.

    Is it OK that this isn't really my own opinion, so much as exploring other possible opinions? I was thinking about racism and sexism, and how if you grow up in a culture that encourages mistreatment of a faction then you may find it hard to see them from a different standpoint. Not necessarily because you're a bad person or believe in cruelty so much as because you've never known any different.

    Scorpius shifted uncomfortably in his seat, trying not to look as left out as he felt. Beside him Rose chatted animatedly to some second cousin across the table, and Scorpius was left to stare in some confusion at the flocks of people – mostly Weasleys – that milled around the Potters’ kitchen-cross-dining room. Grimmauld Place was properly decked out for Christmas and made for a much cheerier setting than the ones Scorpius had always endured in Malfoy Manor, but he knew full well that he was tolerated here tonight only because he was the boyfriend of Harry and Ginny’s favourite niece.

    Gradually all the various relatives found seats and the chatter died down as steaming plates of mouth-watering food floated one by one to the table. Or... were they floating? Trying inconspicuously for a better view, Scorpius caught a glimpse of an aged house-elf as it scurried away for the next load of Feast.

    ‘What’s that old thing doing here?’ Scorpius whispered to Rose in surprise. ‘It’s ancient! Surely they could find a more capable servant – this is the Potters’ house, for Salazar's sake!’

    Rose shook her head minutely and frantically, but it was too late. In the chewing-filled gap of conversation the first course of food had brought with it Scorpius’s words had traveled half the length of the table, to where Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sat at the head of it.

    ‘Actually,’ Ron replied loudly with ill-disguised contempt for his daughter’s choice in boys, ‘Kreacher is a faithful friend of the family, who helped us in our fight against You-Know-Who, which is more than I can say for the parents of some people here. Because of that, he will always be welcome!’

    Scorpius scowled, figuring that now that he had attracted the entire room’s unfavourable attention he may as well keep it.

    ‘But something that prehistoric would surely be more of a hindrance than a help. We fire our house-elves when they get to be slower-moving than the rats!’

    ‘What are they, some kind of cat?’ Hermione sounded affronted, trying though she was to maintain politeness. ‘In any case, Scorpius, your family’s treatment of your servants obviously differs to ours, but I’m afraid that’s not really a topic under discussion here.’ Hermione muttered something under her breath as she turned back to her husband, and Scorpius glowered into his turkey as he caught the general gist of it.

    ‘I don’t get it,’ he muttered to Rose. ‘They’re just tools, a means to an end – why do your parents act like the house-elf’s a part of the family?’

    ‘I think,’ Rose chose her words thoughtfully, ‘that they feel that house-elves deserve as much respect as human beings. Both have feelings and can think for themselves, don’t they? Why should elves be treated like slaves?’

    Scorpius sat back, stunned. ‘Because... that’s how it’s always been!’

    Rose shrugged. ‘Whatever. Pass the salt, will you?’

    Scorpius did, watching the bobbing of a head with white-tufted ears as it sped happily around the table.
    kehribar: Ooh, good one. An interesting choice of character for exploring the PoV, and great drabble. Ten points to the 'Claws!

    xD You notice I managed to avoid giving Harry any dialogue? I'm good at that... Or rather, bad at NOT doing that...

    (Avvie and banner by me, quote from Fancy, by John Keats)

  5. #5
    Name: Azhure
    House: Ravenclaw
    Title: It's Not What You Know, It's What You Learn.
    Drabble you're responding to: Phia Phoenix. You Learn Something New Every Day. Post #4.
    Warnings: None, except babbling...
    Words: 323

    I hope I did this correctly...

    A House-elf bounded up the stairs, ignoring the glare of one Sirius Black.

    “Mistress Bellatrix!”

    “Kreacher?” A young woman was standing in first doorway off the landing. “What is it?”

    “Master Orion needs to speak with you,” panted the elf.

    “Fine, now off with your business.” Bellatrix waved her arm in dismissal.

    “Yes Mistress.” The House-elf bowed and then was gone with a pop.

    “I don’t know how you can stand him.” Bellatrix turned around to face her sister, Narcissa.

    “How do you mean?”

    “I mean, how can you bear to talk to that thing? He’s vile!” Narcissa indeed did look disgusted.

    “He’s not that horrible.” At her sister’s look, Bellatrix continued, “He’s devoted to us, you should know that. The Blacks come off as ‘hard’ people, but I know that if I show a little bit of kindness, it can go a long way. Our father disagrees, however, he always taught us to treat everyone below our level like dirt, as you know. Cousin Sirius, on the other hand despises Kreacher, yet he tries to differ himself from us.” Bellatrix moved over to the bed on which Narcissa was sitting and then sat down herself. “Who do you think is kinder? Me, who gives Kreacher kindness, or Sirius, who treats him like dirt? It’s as if Father taught Sirius to hate Kreacher for the both of us.”

    “I still don’t understand. Father taught us to treat anything below us like dirt. Why go against his wishes? You know what he’s like.”

    “You give a little, you get a little. It’s not always what we’re taught, it’s what we learn,” stated Bellatrix. Narcissa shook her head.

    “You could be right, but I’m not disobeying Father,” she said. “Do you know where Regulus is?” Bellatrix smirked at the change of subject.

    “I believe he is down in the parlour. Want to join him?” At Narcissa’s nod, the two women stood up and left the room.
    Okay, I'm not really sure why Kreacher ran up the stairs and then disapparated... he just did. Also, Bellatrix and Narcissa are in their teens (you would notice Sirius hasn't run away as yet).

    Sorry that there's a lot of dialogue there!

    kehribar: Hmm, interesting one. Bella is such a Slytherin xD Five more points to the 'Claws!


  6. #6
    Name: la_vie_boheme
    House: Ravenclaw
    Title: The Oven
    Drabble you’re responding to (title, original author and post number): Azhure’s It's Not What You Know, It's What You Learn [Post #5]

    Warnings: I guess that the punishment counts as self-mutilation.
    Words: 298

    I think that this is more of a response to the two individual posts above than the original prompt. I hope that I’m doing this right.
    Bam! Dobby winced and cried out in pain as he felt the top of the oven door hit his ears. Slowly, he pulled the door back once again. He had to close it once again, but Dobby didn’t want to. It hurt. He had no other choice though. As he was bracing himself for the pain once more, Dobby heard footsteps. Dobby turned to face the door and saw the older Malfoy master staring at him.
    “Dobby, your mistress told you to have dinner ready five minutes ago. What the hell is taking so long?” Lucius Malfoy yelled at his trembling servant.
    “Dobby is sorry, Master Malfoy, sir. Dobby burned the potatoes. Dobby is punishing himself while new ones cook. Dobby is very sorry, sir.” The elf looked up at the wizard towering over him, feeling fear and regret. He took the oven door in his hand and once again slammed it as quickly as he could to his already burned, bleeding and bruised ears. “Dobby will have food ready in two minutes, sir,” he whispered, tears coming slowly down his face, partly out of shame and partly from the pain. He took the edge of his tattered pillow case, wiping away the tears. Dobby knew that his master didn’t like tears.
    “See that you do.” Lucius Malfoy spun around, leaving the elf to finish his work. “Dobby, make sure to punish yourself a couple more times before you serve,” the master yelled, before slamming the kitchen door behind him.
    Dobby stood up straight, stirring the potatoes on the stove. Shuddering for every moment, he wasn’t following his master’s orders. After making sure that this batch didn’t stick to the pan, Dobby bent over, grasping the cast iron handle in his hands, preparing himself for punishment once more.
    kehribar: A good drabble and it makes us feel sorry for Dobby, but it doesn't add anything to the discussion/show the issue from a different PoV. We already know about Dobby-Malfoy relationship at large. Three points for this once.

  7. #7
    Name: Rushia
    House: Ravenclaw
    Title: Work is Better
    Drabble you’re responding to (title, original author and post number): The Oven, by la_vie_boheme, post number 6
    Warnings: none
    Words: 245

    Bartemus Crouch slumped into the armchair, sighing heavily. Winky poked her head in curiously and frowned. “Master? You is not looking very well,” she said, slowly approaching him. “You is needing anything?”

    “Tea would be good,” he said, closing his eyes and finally relaxing. “And a fire.” She bobbed and pointed at the fireplace, flames immediately jumping into the grate at her will. As she headed back to the kitchen for the makings of tea, she heard, “Thank you, Winky.”

    “Winky is happy to serve Master,” she said, bobbing again and smiling back at Mr Crouch. “Anything Winky can do, she does gladly. Tea in just a moment, sir,” she added and flitted back into the kitchen.

    Not only did she make tea—she also made him some biscuits to munch on because he did look rather pale and tired. Eating something would do him good. As she returned to his armchair by the fire, she crooked a spare finger at the table, which scooted closer to Mr Crouch so he could easily reach the tea and biscuits that she put on it for him. “Winky will make Master dinner, now. He needs to eat. Master want anything, or shall Winky surprise him?”

    “I shall trust your judgment,” he said, sipping thankfully on the cup she had poured for him. “Ah....” She watched him proudly for just a moment, pleased that she was helping him relax, before heading back to get a start on dinner.
    kehribar: Like the drabble you're 'responding' to, this drabble too doesn't really give a clue about what you think of house elf rights (or about the reasons behind the characters' attitude towards the elves). Three points for this once.

  8. #8

    Haylee hopes she did this right.

    Name: XhayleeXblackX or Haylee
    House: Slytherin
    Title: Generations See Differently
    Responding to: You Learn Something New Every Day, Phia Phoenix, Post Four.
    Warnings: None
    Words: 245
    Scorpius watched scathingly as his father directed their house-elf around the kitchen. He had spent sixteen years silently watching his father and grandfather’s treatment of the little creatures, but recent discussions with a certain friend had sparked his voice.

    “Honestly, Father, I think that they know what they are doing. You needn’t remind them how to wash the flatware,” he stated calmly, crossing his arms in annoyance.

    “Since when do you tell me how to run my household?” his father snapped. "Besides, they do not seem to know their place. House-elves are lowly beings. If you do not remind them constantly were their service lies, they will disobey you.”

    “Yes, but I’ve been talking to Rose, and she sees differently. She says that they are equal creatures and deserve the same respect as they give us.” Scorpius rolled his eyes as his father’s change in attitude at the mention of Rose.

    “Well, coming from her mother, I can see why; however, I will not steep to their level,”
    Draco replied.

    “I have to say that I quite agree with her, though. If they are willing to serve us freely, then the very least they deserve is our respect.”

    “I thought that I specifically told you not to associate with that family?” Draco questioned, taking no notice to his son’s statement.

    “You did. Shame your family can’t obey you in the same fashion as your house-elves,” declared Scorpius before turning and walking out of the room.
    kehribar: I really like this drabble, but that's more of expanding on Phia Phoenix's drabble than adding anything to the topic at large. This would be perfect if you'd, for example, give more lines to Draco in order to show us what he thinks and why he treats the elves the way he does. Three points.


  9. #9
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors
    Phia Phoenix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Oz- the REAL land of the free!
    Aww, Haylee, you went back and changed Scorpius's last line! But... I liked it how it was before! *wails* Meh.

    Name: Phia Phoenix
    House: Ravenclaw!
    Responding to: Rushia's Work Is Better, post number seven.
    Title: Mistreated
    Word Count: 440
    Notes: It isn't my best piece of work. Not by a long shot. But I think it gets the point across.

    Hokey peered through the bars of her cell, eyes owlishly squinting through the gloom. The holding area she was contained in wasn’t uncomfortable or inhumane; fitted with a small bed and even mini-bathroom, certainly a long stretch from a place like Azkaban. No, these were Ministry facilities, cage-like cells made for the temporary holding of human-like Magical Creatures convicted for crimes. Granted, Hokey’s crime had been manslaughter rather than murder – poisoning her mistress had been accidental – but when it came to Magical Creatures, the law didn’t distinguish between the two crimes. She had killed a witch, and therefore was a “danger” and sentenced to death in a few days.

    But she was still entitled visitors. So far she had had just the one: a man named Albus Dumbledore. Old as she was, Hokey’s memories of this visit were blurred. But now a new visitor had come to distract her; her niece, a young house-elf named Winky.

    ‘Aunt Hokey?’ the young elf was hesitant, nervous about being here at all.

    ‘Ahh, Winky...’ Hokey smiled as her niece was let into the cell with her. ‘Lovely, my dear, to see you one last time.’

    ‘I is not supposed to be here. Winky is supposed to be working.’

    Hokey frowned slightly. ‘Working? You have a family now, do you Winky?’

    The younger elf nodded earnestly. ‘Yes, Aunty. The Crouches. They is an old wizarding family, with lots of work for Winky. I is honoured to serve them, Aunty.’

    Hokey sighed, shaking her head. ‘You deserve better, my dear. They don’t really respect you. They don’t care about a house-elf. It pains me to see you going down the same path I did, serving a family that wouldn’t give a dishcloth about you. Mightn’t you end up here someday?’

    Winky stood up, offended. ‘Never! Winky would never kill Mr and Mrs Crouch like Aunt Hokey poisoned Miss Smith! Winky is a loyal servant, who does everything her family asks of her! She takes joy in working for them, and making them happy!’

    ‘But Winky,’ Hokey implored, standing too and outstretching her thin little hands before her. ‘So did I! I served Madam Hepzibah all my life, catering to her every wish. Never a kind word did I get, even when I got old and doing my tasks hurt. I made a mistake – just one mistake, Winky, that any blind old house-elf could make – and here I am, sentenced to death. We are abused, taken for granted and mistreated by wizardkind, Winky, and one day you will know it. Work is NOT better than freedom.’

    But Winky was already gone, and Hokey was alone again.
    kehribar: Three more points for a good drabble. Though I'm not thoroughly convinced that the incident would result in such a sharp turn in Hokey's look at life.

    (Avvie and banner by me, quote from Fancy, by John Keats)

  10. #10
    Third Year Ravenclaw
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    Jun 2006
    Name: Lydia!/xOxLyDzxOx
    House: Ravenclaw!
    Title: Sirius and the Stupid Bat
    Drabble you’re responding to: You Learn Something New Every Day, Phia Phoenix, Post #4
    Warnings: None
    Words: 348

    Sirius glowered at the dark, silky grain of the table, while his mother blustered on and on and on about how Sirius’ friends were filth, scum, an absolute shame on the Wizarding World and on the pure blood of the Blacks.

    “Are you quite finished, mother?” he asked icily, standing to leave.

    “I want you back downstairs in an hour, Sirius, we have guests coming tonight. Kreacher! Kreacher, where are you?”

    Sirius groaned as his mother called the elf. Guests. That meant – and oh, the joy was unbearable! – Bellatrix and Narcissa.

    “Wonderful,” Sirius muttered to himself, stalking out of the kitchen.

    On the stairs, he met the small, vile little house-elf that his mother had called from the kitchen.

    “Master Sirius,” Kreacher said respectfully, bowing low and adding under his breath, “Ungrateful little swine, oh yes, Kreacher hear what Mistress says about him!”

    Naturally, Sirius’ temper was far too foul at the present to deal with the twisted, malevolent elf. He would have pushed the thing aside, had Regulus not appeared on the landing.

    The elf bowed so low that his nose was pressed into the carpet. Sirius shot Kreacher a disgusted look and offered his brother a sarcastic bow and said:

    “Prince Regulus, do allow me to kiss your feet!”

    “Oh ha ha,” Regulus snapped, “I know what you were thinking, Sirius, don’t you be nasty to him!”

    Sirius rolled his eyes and stepped around the elf, stamping up in the direction of his room, intending to shut himself in there for as long as he could get away with it.

    “You should treat Kreacher with more respect. You never know, one day you might need him, but you’ll have already alienated him.”

    Sirius glared at Regulus, then at Kreacher, who was watching with a smug little grin on his face.

    “I wont ever need it. And if I do, well then, I’ll just go without.”

    “Master Sirius is a bad boy, just as Mistress said!” Kreacher said gleefully, skipping down the stairs to answer Mrs Black’s call.

    “Stupid little bat,” Sirius muttered, angry at the world.
    kehribar: This is a very well written drabble and characterization is mostly spot-on. However, in terms of 'house elf rights', I don't really see anything other than what we already know. Three points.

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