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5 friendship lessons we learned from Dobby the house-elf

Harry, Ron and Hermione were helped on the path to fight Voldemort by a gaggle of loyal friends but arguably none more devoted than Dobby.

Dobby holds the sock which grants his freedom from the Malfoys.
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The plucky house-elf may have been a bit of a nightmare at times – redecorating the Dursleys’ kitchen with cake, hiding Harry’s personal post and almost getting him expelled weren’t ideal – but you can’t say he was never a great friend.

While we don’t condone violence towarts desserts or banging your head repeatedly with a lamp, we can all look to Dobby for a lesson in how to be a good pal.

So what did the bravest house-elf in the wizarding world teach us about friendship?

Sometimes you need to show tough love

Agreeing with your friends and backing them up is all well and good, but sometimes what they want is not what they need. Dobby’s methods of keeping Harry out of Hogwarts in Chamber of Secrets maybe weren’t such a good idea (see the aforementioned cake-dropping) but he had great intentions.

While all Harry wanted was to go back to school, Dobby knew it was a dangerous place and it would be safer, albeit more miserable, to stay at the Dursleys’. He also knew he’d have to be tough and do unpopular things to make that happen.

Dobby stands on Harry's hospital bed.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Help your mates in their hour of need

A good friend will do anything to help out their buddy, whether that’s sitting up until four in the morning talking about a bad date, picking them up from the airport, or stealing Gillyweed from a teacher’s private stores to help them breathe underwater. What, just us?

The moment Dobby overheard (faux) Mad-Eye Moody talking about the properties of Gillyweed, he sped off to steal Snape’s stocks so Harry wouldn’t fail in his second Triwizard Tournament task, even though getting caught would probably have got him sacked.

We’re not suggesting nicking anything for your pals but you get the idea. Dobby would do anything to be a good friend.

Stand up for your friends

Whether it’s defending your friend’s honour in front of the school bully or telling off their boyfriend/girlfriend for upsetting them, standing up for your mates can be nerve-wracking.

Dobby was so committed to defending Harry that he stood up to the intimidating Lucius Malfoy just moments after being freed from servitude.

Using magic on a wizard a whole lot taller than you must have been terrifying, yet Dobby did everything in his power to stop Malfoy from harming Harry.

Keep their secrets

We all know that Dobby had trouble with not letting things slip, but he knew when to cover for his friends in their embarrassing moments.

Fellow house-elf Winky was devastated to have lost her job with Barty Crouch Sr, and descended into a drinking spiral at Hogwarts. To spare her blushes, Dobby would move her to the Room of Requirement when she had one too many and try to keep her spirits up in those dark moments.

So maybe we should take a leaf out of Dobby’s book and not put those pictures of your friend falling over in the nightclub up on Facebook.

Never let anybody hurt the ones you love

None of us ever want our pals to be hurt, but Dobby was even willing to put himself in danger to save his friends. In Deathly Hallows, Dobby threw himself between Bellatrix Lestrange and Harry, announcing: ‘Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends.’

His unwavering devotion led to Dobby’s heartbreaking death, but to the end he was a loyal friend through and through.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to have a little cry.

An illustration of Dobby in Harry's bedroom.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets