Even after all these years, the death of Dobby the house-elf in the Harry Potter series continues to leave a gaping hole in our hearts. It's not a problem if you'd like to continue grieving the character, but for the love of Merlin, stop ruining the environment!
According to The New York Times, local officials in Pembrokeshire, Wales have urged Wizarding World fans (mainly tourists) to stop leaving socks at a beachside memorial erected at the site where the elf's tragic passing near the end of Deathly Hallows Part I was filmed. Last week, National Trust (the largest conservationist non-profit in Europe) announced that the loving tribute to the character can remain at the water's edge, so long as no physical objects are left at the spot known as Freshwater West.
"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," Jonathan Hughes — National Trust Cymru’s Assistant Director Operations, South Wales — said in a statement. "Freshwater West is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the surrounding area is home to large grey seals, harbor 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."
"The need to manage the natural environment and uniqueness of this very special beach alongside the enjoyment of everyone who visits is a balance we need to find," added Rhian Sula, National Trust Cymru’s Pembrokeshire’s Interim General Manager. "We look forward to continuing to work together with the many people, communities and other stakeholders in developing the solutions proposed by the Freshwater West UK Community Renewal Fund Consultation. These will guide us in our next steps and future decisions for this exceptional place.”
Socks are, of course, a major part of Harry and Dobby's close friendship, which first began in the second novel: Chamber of Secrets. In that book's final pages, the boy wizard frees the servant from the abusive Malfoy family by gifting the elf with one of his own socks (articles of clothing are the only way to break a house-elf's obligation to continue serving their masters). Dobby's effectively released on a technicality and shows his appreciation by helping Harry in the subsequent books — whether it's securing Gillyweed for Second Task during the Triwizard Tournament, or else informing Dumbledore's Army about the Room or Requirement.
Dobby is killed off in the final book while helping Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Dean, and Ollivander escape from the bowels of Malfoy Manor. Wanting to give his old friend a proper sendoff, Harry digs the grave (located just outside the idyllic, seaside cottage owned by Bill Weasley and his wife, Fleur Delacour) without the use of magic. The elf's tombstone reads: "Here lies Dobby — a free elf."
Looking to relive the magic all over again? All eight Harry Potter films are now streaming on Peacock.