Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has made it an annual tradition over the last few years in honoring the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts by apologizing for the death of one of her characters. Last year, she said sorry for the death of Snape. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, her apology goes out to the one and only Dobby the House Elf...
As J.K. Rowling notes in her Tweet, Dobby didn't actually die at the Battle of Hogwarts. The free elf never lived long enough to make it there, though he wasn't unrepresented at the famous battle, which ended Voldemort's reign of power. Dobby's death occurred moments after he helped Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Ollivander and Griphook escape Malfoy Manor. It was an especially meaningful act, when we take into account that Dobby once resided at the estate, having been owned and enslaved by the Malfoy's prior to being accidentally liberated by Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Upon whisking Harry and Griphook away from the Manor and off to the safety of Shell Cottage, Dobby was struck by a dagger thrown by Bellatrix Lestrange seconds before he disapparated. The stab wound was fatal, but not before Dobby was able to utter two final words: "Harry Potter."
Given Dobby's love and appreciation for Harry, his death was particularly heartbreaking, as were his last words. But he died a hero and a free elf, which is likely how he would have wanted it. Had he not gone to Malfoy Manor on Aberforth Dumbledore's orders, who knows what might've happened to Harry, Ron and Hermione.
While Dobby didn't get to fight at the Battle of Hogwarts, the house elves did play a role in the castle's defense against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Kreacher, the Black family's house elf, led the charge there.
As we mentioned, this isn't the first apology J.K. Rowling has issued on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. In 2014, she took a moment of (Twitter) silence to honor the fallen. Then, in 2015, she stated that she decided she would pick a character each year, with Fred Weasley being the first to receive an individual apology from her. In 2016, the shoutout went to Remus Lupin. And in 2017, she whispered an apology for the death of Severus Snape. This year, Dobby joins the list of fallen heroes. And there are quite a few more deaths she's likely considering for future acknowledgements, especially if she's willing to extend beyond those who died at the actual Battle. Sirius Black, Lily and James Potter, Hedwig and Dumbledore come to mind. There are others, including Colin Creevey, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody and Cedric Diggory who may get a mention someday as well.
This year marks 20 years since the event, by the timeline of the books, which put the Battle in May of 1998. The actual books themselves celebrated their 20th anniversary last year, with the original publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone hitting shelves in 1997. More than two decades later they remain hugely popular among muggle children and adults. And while Rowling may take this day each year to look back at one of the characters she had to write off, the author is also hard at work looking forward at the future (and the past) of the Harry Potter universe, through the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them films, which take us back to the earlier decades of the 20th century to tell the story of Newt Scamander. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Crimes Of Grindelwald will hit theaters this November.