Culture

Watch and remember: the final moments of Dobby the house elf at Freshwater West

20 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Dobby’s grave – socks and pebbles. Image by J Lawday

While social media and the film world is full of talk of plans to celebrate Harry Potter’s twentieth anniversary, there is a smaller, but perhaps more poignant date someone in the Nation Cymru office wishes to remember.

On 19 November 2010, the film which portrayed the death of Dobby the house elf was released.

Certain scenes for the final films of the hugely successful Harry Potter franchise, Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, were filmed on the beach and the dunes of Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire, although in the books they were set in Cornwall.

Shell Cottage, the home of Bill and Fleur Weasley, was built in the dunes for filming, which took place in May 2010, providing the backdrop for one of the most upsetting scenes in the entire series.

Dobby the house elf was a powerful magical being, Harry Potter’s friend and equal, fighting fearlessly in the Wizarding War and paying the ultimate price.

So…someone round here may have told their children’s school office that there was a “forgotten dental appointment” and gone and collected said children and whisked them off, not to the dentist at all, oh no, but to the first screening of the much-awaited film.

And then that person may have sat watching with those children as their favourite character, the loyal, courageous and fiercely funny house elf gave his life to protect his friends, in particular, the boy wizard who had freed him from a life of cruelty and servitude by giving him a sock.

Honour

As the three young wizards took in the enormity of their loss, Harry Potter decided to lay Dobby to rest, without the aid of magic, but with the honour of their own love and effort, right there in the dunes of the beach.

While the beautiful Shell Cottage – which was constructed from intricately moulded plastic and weighted down with water barrels to stop it from blowing away – was dismantled straight after filming of the two part finale, the site of Dobby’s grave has become a site of pilgrimage for Potter fans, and over the years a mound of stones has grown, decorated with pictures of Dobby or quotes, and accompanied by socks which symbolise his freedom.

The site of Dobby’s grave at Freshwater West. Image by J Lawday

Blog sites have recorded how exactly to reach the spot, and shared beautiful images of the tributes, and even now people still go to follow in the footsteps of the wizarding trio and their charming friend.

So, should a blustery day out on a wintery beach need an extra attraction to the little Potter fan in your life, pack a picnic and a flask, wrap up warm and go and add a pebble to the pile in memory of dear Dobby, the loyal house elf.

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