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A Study In Magic, Chapter 10 Postmortem

Attention, Chapter Ten: Mr. Lestrade’s Most Productive Day of A Study In Magic: The Application is up! Yes, it took two months! I acknowledge the title could be better! I will also submit to any ear-boxing for taking so long!

At the risk of sounding like a creaky wheel, I want to state for the record writing this chapter was bloody agony. I never discarded so many drafts as this one. Last I checked, I had twenty plus drafts — for each scene! The only thing that survived from the first draft was the POV. It was Lestrade or bust.

Plot and Characterization

I had to weigh the risk of how much info dump is too much, and what format would best present it. JKR dedicated four chapters of Half-Blood Prince on Voldemort’s past and used magical memory recollection — the Pensieve — to show said past. Those were some of best chapters of HBP and I wanted to preserve them for ASIM:TA. However, 80% of my discarded drafts was me juggling those Pensieve scenes and boring myself to death editing them.

In the end, I said screw this. I’m writing fanfic. There’s only so much regurgitated canon fanfic readers can stomach. Once I let go of the Pensieve, I could cover far more interesting and important things. Like Lestrade’s relationship with Ministry of Magic, Sherlock and John, his daughter Julia, and Dumbledore. Have I mentioned how much fun it is to write from Lestrade’s POV? I also got to explore  Hokey the house-elf’s fate.

House-elves: The Dilemma

Lestrade asks a lot of questions about house-elf regulation and criminal law. As is my custom, I checked the Harry Potter wiki for information on house-elves, and read the pertinent chapters about Hepzibah Smith in HBP. That’s when I noticed Hokey’s fate was left ambiguous.

Dumbledore says Hokey was convicted of accidentally killing her master (chapter 20 of HBP). Convicted of what? Murder? Manslaughter? What was her sentence? More importantly for ASIM, how do you handle beings like house-elves in the criminal justice system?  Elves must obey their master’s orders, even if they don’t want to. So even if they can comprehend wizard law, they lack the ability to carry it out.

In a fair universe, those in the seat of justice would first establish if an elf acted under orders or acted on his/her own initiative. If the former, then the owner is culpable. If the later, then the elf should be prosecuted like a human being.

JKR’s wizarding world is not that kind of universe. Discrimination against non-human magical beings is a key plot element. So we can expect harsher sentences for elves who break the law and/or harm wizards and witches. I wouldn’t be surprised if most wizards treat elves like intelligent animals at best. Dobby’s comment in CS suggests they are treated like animals (“we were treated like vermin, sir!”). Amos Diggory, head of the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, in GoF appears to be the norm. If his attitude and behavior towards Winky, as a ministry worker who has executive and maybe even judicial power over house-elves, is the norm, then I have little hope Hokey received a light sentence.

So what happened to Hokey? By the time Hokey was convicted, the Smiths realized two of Hepzibah’s greatest treasures were missing: the locket and the cup. We don’t know when Dumbledore started his research into Voldemort’s past for sure, but we can make an educated guess.

If Dumbledore started looking for Horcrux candidates after Harry’s second year and collecting Hokey’s memory was the result of his searches, then Hokey lived another fifty years after her conviction. This is doubtful since Hokey was already elderly and feeble when Voldemort was a young man. But it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

I find it more likely Dumbledore kept an eye on Voldemort’s activities as soon as he left school. So he must have found Hokey at a much earlier date. Dumbledore says he was lucky to have collected the memory. Somehow, I don’t think it was because she was difficult to reach. No, I think it was because he reached her before she died. So how did she die?

As much as I’d like to think Hokey died of old age in a prison cell, I think it’s more likely Hokey received the same sentence as Buckbeak. She harmed her master. Even though she didn’t mean to, she posed a danger to wizards and witches. Her “vicitims” would want to see her pay. Therefore…

This is why I’m not allowed to speculate.

What do you think happened to Hokey?

3 Comments

  1. The most important thing is not what the ministry decided to do with Hokey, but if she believed himself to had accidently killed her master. Dobby punished himself for breaking rules. If Hokey believe herself to have killed her master, even on accident, she would probably commit suicide, without a need for the ministry to decide on it.

    • booksofchange
      booksofchange

      2017-06-12 at 4:22 pm

      Suicide could be an option, but I believe JRK stated house-elves cannot kill themselves … or a person can’t order them to kill themselves. Either way, I get a sense while elves can punish themselves grievously, their lives are not their own to eliminate. So I find the suicide option less likely.

      • Well, you know that house-elves are the supreme slave species when you find out then can’t even decide to commit suicide. For millenia, suicide is the final defiance a person could commit against their enslavement, to not even have the ability to do that is, well, kinda of sad, really.

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