Harry Potter’s Dobby Can Keep His Wales Beachside Memorial— But Stop Leaving Socks
One of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter franchise (for some reason) is Dobby. The former House Elf turned Free Elf played a minor role in the Harry Potter novels, but in the film world, he only showed up in Chamber of Secrets and Deathly Hollows: Part 1. His tragic death while helping Harry Potter, and the fact that Harry dug a grave for him by hand, were some of the more emotional moments in the films and books. Since then, fans have gone to Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales (where the scene was filmed) to leave tickets and socks for Dobby. It became a bit of a problem.
In case you don’t remember, in Harry Potter, a House Elf can be freed only if their owner gives them a piece of clothing. In Chamber of Secrets, using one of his dirty socks, Harry tricks Malfoy Sr. into giving it to Dobby and freeing the creature. Dobby, therefore, develops an obsession with socks, which also became a popular association with the character.
According to NPR, earlier in May, a survey commissioned by National Trust was set up to ask for opinions from the residents if the grave should stay or go. While it was a popular tourist attraction, it is also a legally protected conservation area. Therefore covering it with socks could impact the wildlife in the area. A proposal to move the “gravesite” elsewhere got mixed responses from some; moving it elsewhere on the property would not solve any problem, and others found having a gravesite for a fictional character to be silly.
Eventually, the National Trust Cymru released a statement saying the following:
“…based on the consultation results, the memorial to Dobby will remain at Freshwater West in the immediate term for people to enjoy. The Trust is asking visitors to only take photos when visiting the memorial to help protect the wider landscape. Items like socks, trinkets, and paint chips from painted pebbles could enter the marine environment and food chain and put wildlife at risk.
Freshwater West is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the surrounding area is home to large grey seals, harbour porpoise, and some of the largest populations of seabirds in the world. To protect local wildlife from plastic polluting the marine environment, the Trust asks all visitors to Freshwater West to leave no trace.”(via, National Trust Cymru)
It is a compromise that makes sense for the environment and will allow Potter fans to get to enjoy something that hasn’t been tainted by J.K. Rowling.
(via NPR, image: Warner Bros.)
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